SVS SB-2000 Subwoofer Review & Measurements

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


Every time SVS introduces a subwoofer, it’s news. That’s because it seems like every new SVS subwoofer sets a new standard for its size and/or price. And that’s at least in part because subwoofers have been SVS’s main thing through the company’s 16-year history.

The company just introduced two new subs, both based on the same 12-inch driver and 500-watt amplifier design, but both quite different in size and sound. In this review, I’ll cover the SB-2000, a $699 sealed-box design. In a separate review, I’ll cover the PB-2000, a $799 ported design.

The core of these new subs 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, we’d expect it to have a tighter, punchier sound. And we’d expect the PB-2000 to have a comparatively looser sound but deeper and louder low bass output.

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SVS SB-2000: Features and Setup


• 12-inch woofer
• 500 watts RMS/1,100 watts dynamic peak Class D amplifier
• RCA stereo analog input and output
• 0-180° phase control
• 50 to 160 Hz crossover frequency knob
• 3.5mm trigger input for auto turn-on
• Dimensions 14.2 x 14.2  x 14.2 in / 361 x 361 x 361 mm (hwd)
• Weight 34.8 lbs./15.8 kg

There's absolutely nothing fancy about this feature package -- no exotic controls, no EQ features, no nothing. But in my opinion, few people really need all that stuff. If you have an A/V receiver, it'll be doing the crossover and level adjustments for the sub, anyway.

Accordingly, the setup was completely straightforward. I just put the SB-2000 in my room's "subwoofer sweet spot," connected its LFE input to my Denon receiver's subwoofer output, adjusted the channel balance, and let it rip. The crossover varied between 80 and 100 Hz depending on whether I was using the SB-2000 with my Revel Performa3 F206 tower speakers, the Sonance SB46 L soundbar or the Monitor Audio Radius 270.

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SVS SB-2000: Performance


Check out "My 10 Favorite Stereo Test Tracks" for more info about and samples of my test material.

I compared the SB-2000 directly with the PB-2000 and with my reference subwoofer, a Hsu Research VTF-15H used in sealed and 1-port-open modes.

I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised by the large differences in sound quality among these subs. But still, hearing two subs using mostly the same components, I expected more similarity.

The SB-2000 out-finessed the larger subs, giving me more sense of the character of the bass. It sounds at least as tight -- or as some would say, fast -- as any sub I can recall hearing in my listening room. (And that number would be well into three digits.)

When I played my old fave, Steely Dan's "Aja," Chuck Rainey's studio-slick bass line really 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. My favorite deep-bass test, the 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 Hz lowest organ note with any more than the barest audibility. On Mötley Crüe's “Kickstart My Heart," the SB-2000 couldn't muster the kick I wanted.

Note that this is in my large listening room, which measures roughly 3,000 cubic feet and is open onto two other rooms. In a smaller room, the SB-2000's shallow low-frequency rolloff would be a better match for the room acoustics, and it would likely some more powerful on the low notes.

I almost forgot to tell you how the SB-2000 performs with movie soundtracks, but that's because I found the PB-2000 much better suited to that task. When I played deep-bass classics such as U-571 and Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones, the SB-2000's internal limiter kept it from distorting audibly, but it never delivered the low-frequency shake and rumble I like to hear when watching action movies.

Still, though, the bass reproduction was certainly of high fidelity, and I did enjoy the sound overall with movies. In fact, I thought the SB-2000 sounded like a better match with the big Sonance SB46 L passive soundbar. The two blended perfectly together with my receiver's crossover set to 100 Hz, and the ominous bass tones in the post-apocalyptic flick Elysium filled my room nicely.

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SVS SB-2000: Measurements

Brent Butterworth

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

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

I did CEA-2010A measurements using 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 (i.e., limiter), 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.

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SVS SB-2000: Final Take


The SVS SB-2000's one of the tightest, punchiest, most precise-sounding subs I've ever heard. But it's not for everyone.

Who's it for? Audiophiles who value precision and, dare I say it, musicality. Home theater enthusiasts who have small (say, 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.

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