SVS SB-2000 Subwoofer Review & Measurements

Audiophiles who value precision and musicality, pay attention

Every time SVS introduces a subwoofer, it’s news. It seems like every new SVS subwoofer sets a new standard for its size and price, and that’s at least in part because subwoofers have been SVS’s mainstay through the company’s history.

In 2014, the company introduced two new subwoofers, both based on the same 12-inch driver and 500-watt amplifier design, but both quite different in size and sound. This article covers the SB-2000, a sealed-box design and how it differs from the somewhat pricier PB-2000, a ported design.

SVS SB-2000: 500 Watts, 12 Inches, and a Powerful Pedigree

SVS front quarter
 SVS

The core of the SB-2000 is the Sledge STA-500D, a Class D amp design rated at 500 watts RMS power and 1,100 watts peak power. That’s a lot of power to pump into a 12-inch driver. SVS went through 17 prototypes in its quest to build a driver strong enough to take the amp’s power.

The SB-2000 is much smaller than its ported brother, measuring 14.2 inches square; the PB-2000 is about 2.7 times larger by volume. Because the SB-2000 is sealed, you’d expect it to have a tighter, punchier sound, and you’d expect the PB-2000 to have a comparatively looser sound but deeper and louder low bass output.

SVS SB-2000: Features and Setup

SVS SB-2000 back
 SVS

Features of the SVS SB-2000 subwoofer include:

• 12-inch woofer
• 500 watts RMS/1,100 watts dynamic peak Class D amplifier
• RCA stereo analog input and output
• 0-180 degree phase control
• 50 to 160-hertz crossover frequency knob
• 3.5 mm trigger input for auto turn-on
• Dimensions 14.2 by 14.2  by 14.2 inches
• Weight 34.8 lbs.

There's nothing fancy about this feature package—no exotic controls and no EQ features, but few people need those extras. If you have an A/V receiver, it'll be making the crossover and level adjustments for the sub, anyway.

Accordingly, the setup is straightforward. Position the SB-2000 in your room's subwoofer sweet spot, connect its LFE input to your receiver's subwoofer output, adjust the channel balance, and let it rip. 

SVS SB-2000: Performance

SVS Hero
 SVS

When you compare the SB-2000 directly with the PB-2000, you may be surprised to hear two subs that use mostly the same components sound so different.

The SB-2000 out-finesses the larger sub, giving a sense of the character of the bass. 

In a test, Steely Dan's "Aja," Chuck Rainey's studio-slick bass line sang, every note sounding super-clear and perfectly well-defined.  Same with the deep, powerful acoustic bass lines in Holly Cole's version of "Train Song"; David Piltch's notes growled instead of merely thumping as they do with many subs. The SB-2000 even nailed the brutal synth bass line in Olive's "Falling," sounding tight and powerful on every note.

What the SB-2000 doesn't do is pound out super-deep bass notes with authority. With a recording of Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3 “Organ Symphony” on the Boston Audio Society test disc, the SB-2000 was overwhelmed. It distorted a bit, and couldn't play the 16 hertz lowest organ note with any more than the barest audibility. On Motley Crue's “Kickstart My Heart," the SB-2000 couldn't muster much kick.

In a small room, the SB-2000's shallow low-frequency roll off is a better match for the room acoustics. The SB-2000 is not as well suited to playing movie soundtracks as the PB-2000. It doesn't deliver the low-frequency shake and rumble that people like to hear when they watch action movies.

However, the bass reproduction was of high fidelity, and the overall sound with movies was enjoyable. 

SVS SB-2000: Measurements

SVS SB-2000: Measurements
 Brent Butterworth

The measurements of the SB-2000 are as follows:

Frequency Response
19 to 188 Hz ±3 dB

Crossover Low-Pass Rolloff
-24 dB/octave

Max Output          CEA-2010A           Traditional

                             (1M peak)              (2M RMS)
40-63 Hz avg       117.8 dB               108.8 dB            
63 Hz                     118.2 dB L             109.2 dB L
50 Hz                     117.8 dB L             108.9 dB L
40 Hz                     117.3 dB L             108.3 dB L
20-31.5 Hz avg    107.4 dB               98.4 dB
31.5 Hz                  111.8 dB                102.8 dB
25 Hz                     106.1 dB                97.1 dB
20 Hz                     101.1 dB                92.1 dB

This chart shows the frequency response of the SB-2000 with the crossover frequency set to maximum (green trace) and 80 Hz (purple trace). The measurement was made by close-miking the driver, using an Audiomatica Clio 10 FW audio analyzer and MIC-01 measurement microphone.

The CEA-2010A measurements used an Earthworks M30 measurement microphone, an M-Audio Mobile Pre USB interface and the freeware CEA-2010 measurement software developed by Don Keele. These measurements were taken at 2 meters peak output, then scaled up to 1-meter equivalent per CEA-2010A reporting requirements. The two sets of measurements presented—CEA-2010A and traditional method—are the same, but the traditional measurement, which most audio websites and many manufacturers use, reports results at 2-meter RMS equivalent, which is -9 dB lower than CEA-2010A reporting. An L next to the result indicates that the output was dictated by the subwoofer's internal circuitry and not by exceeding the CEA-2010A distortion thresholds. Averages are calculated in pascals.

At higher frequencies of 50 and 63 Hz, the SB-2000's output is similar to that of the PB-2000. Below 40 Hz, though, the output of the PB-2000 is much higher.

SVS SB-2000: Final Take

The SVS SB-2000 is a tight, punchy, precise-sounding sub, but it's not for everyone.

Who's it for? Audiophiles who value precision and musicality. Home theater enthusiasts who have small—under 1,800 cubic feet—listening rooms. Who's it not for? Hardcore home theater nuts who want maximum shake and have the space for a big sub.