SVS Ultra Towers


#1

Just got these today and hooked them up right away to the Stellar GCD and M700.

Initial one hour impression:

These are the most neutral and transparent speakers I have heard so far. If the recording or the source has any shortcomings or is lacking, these speakers let it all through. Whereas the KEF, the Def Tech Studio Monitors, Infinity Primus, Energy, B&W (not 802’s) and others automatically work with sources less than optimal, these do not. They reveal the truth.
Previous material that I have and have played countless of times, just showed how poorly recorded it was. Whereas the same reference tracks that I’ve chosen because of their quality, remained sublime and with additional details revealed. Streaming Spotify played through these, showed exactly what I needed, go back to CD and physical media. Most other speakers that I’ve audition, all had lots of coloration that helped theses streaming formats to sound more acceptable, these SVS didn’t care, they showed the truth, and for that reason, I am keeping them, because it felt like a test lab of which recordings where true and which ones were digital trickery and wizardry, which I want none of.
So be warned streamers of low resolution,these may not be for you. But if you love analog, which I do, these are the ones.

Bass was true, controlled and never overtook the other ranges. Vocals are well defined and separated from scrambling with the higher frequencies. The soundstage is large, and it doesn’t change even when standing up and walking out of the generous sweet spot. No reverbrs, echos or weirdness around the sides. The virtual center sound was effortless. Didn’t have to toe-in at all. I placed them 2 feet away from back and side walls and 10ft between each other, sat 10 feet away for about 3 hours just to evaluate that purposely challenging positioning from the walls. I wanted to heard them without assistance from the room itself. Their shape inspires me to trust them closer to the back wall, without getting overwhelmed by boominess. They control the bass extremely well. Clarity on these was present at volume 25 of the GCD, other speakers auditioned only opened around 37 and up in volume. Good sensitivity. The PS gear has only been running music about 22 continuous hours, so I will revisit their own character as more hours are clocked.

In summary. This combo reproduces the music as it really was produced. I always suspected the wizardry, but had never confronted it with the accuracy that the PS and SVS combo revealed.

True waves.


#2

I’m not sure how you establish that…anyway, I’ll take it you’re happy with the new speakers. As consumers we are spoiled for choice, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to “get it wrong” now. Just about anything you might buy now should sound OK. As performance of the various choices levels out purchasing decisions are probably becoming more weighted to “aesthetics” than was previously the case. I do like the aesthetic of the current PS line-up, except of course for those handles!!


#3

It means that the audio stream “produced” from a supplier like Pandora, Spotify, etc does not stand up to the Red Book CD playing directly attached to the balanced input of the SGCD preamp. For instance, the album A New Flame by Simply Red, the streamed tracks not only brings distortion, which wasn’t revealed by other speakers, but also less detail and clarity. I didn’t notice those two specifics before because the previous speakers somehow “resolved” that, with the same PS Audio setup. And I must add that this particular album has nothing remarkable about its audio engineering team. It also means that most speakers cater to the aesthetics consumer as you point out, I just found out that these do not, and they do allow me to be more selective of source material. My SACD Player is about 18 years old, bought it in Japan, nothing special to rave about other than it was made prior to the streaming compression era, so it outputs analog by its design time not its design requirement.


#4

Interesting findings. Streaming pandora and Spotify by PC/Mac has an additional issue beyond being compressed. Even more harmful are the bit level changes your equipment does to the data. If you try to compare Tidal to Spotify without a bit perfect transmission, both will sound bad. Once you get into Bitperfect/Audirvana/Roon and get exclusive/Integer mode going then difference in bit rate should be night and day.


#5

I’m lost about such observations on Spotify sound quality…I admit to being a fussy listener, but I have no issues with Spotify sound quality at all. It can be just as engaging as many CD are engaging, sometimes more so.


#6

Spotify “connect” maybe based on the implementation but image width and depth are night and day different when using standard PC/Mac using the webbbrowser or the desktop application. There is absolutely no comparison. The data goes through floating point/Integer conversion, It jacks everything up. You can hear the effect on even the cheapest systems.


#7

I am curious about which way you connect to Spotify, it could help me determine the best connection besides analog rca, which is my currency connection to Airport Express 3.5mm output. I have EQ turned off and playback quality at Extreme. I’d like to try a streamers network hardwired and with a balanced output to see if there’s an audible difference.


#8

That connection sounds awful. (Speculation)


#9

So let me get this correct. Are you taking the 3.5mm from the airport express straight to DAC analog input section?


#10

Interesting, given Spotify is lossy even if one has purchased its “Extreme” feed. Perhaps you are able to get Redbook streamed over Spotify whereas in the States we can only get a compressed data stream.


#11

Awful indeed…yes, exactly that way, thus the reason that I said that all speakers auditioned prior to the SVS just sounded “ok” with the same connection. Those were leaving all the detail out and just emphasizing highs and lows with no clarity.


#12

Do you have ethernet, either hardwired or through a wireless router, by your audio equipment?


#13

Sorry, can’t your Airport express spit out Ethernet?


#14

It’s WiFi at the moment. Until I find the wired streamer with balanced outs. At the happy price.


#16

Is there a reason you are avoiding the DAC inside the SGCD?


#17

Yes. Haven’t decided if Mac Mini or small Windows PC as the DSD server/streamer via USB. Also wanted to start listening to the analog side of the SGCD first.


#18

@quintanilla FYI, neither of those options have optimal USB outputs. You are going to transfer computer noise into your gear.

It would be better to go with a Sonore UltraRendu with a linear power supply.

Heck I would take a MicroRendu at $499 before I would direct connect a computer.


#19

Thanks for sharing that device. It looks like a real solution to the directly attached computer problem, which I would like to not have near the audio room.


#20

@quintanilla Best if you can have a hard wired Ethernet line going to your equipment. A router right next to your gear is basically a RFI generator.


#21

I use the Spotify Connect renderer built inside the Esoteric DAC.