The SVS SBS-01 Bookshelf Loudspeakers Reviewed

Bookshelf loudspeakers with big sound

SVS SBS-01 Bookshelf Speaker
SVS SBS-01 Bookshelf Speaker. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to

When it comes to deciding what speakers to get, sometimes the amount of space you have dictates the size of speakers you are able to comfortably accommodate. Although a good floor standing speaker can deliver that big sound, sometimes a bookshelf speaker fits into your listening space much better. The challenge is finding a bookshelf speaker that can deliver the sound quality you desire, despite its smaller size.

Introduction to the SVS SBS-01 Bookshelf Loudspeaker

The SVS SBS-01 bookshelf speaker provides both positives and negatives but is a good performer. When used in a two-channel system with music listening emphasis, this compact speaker produces good, overall, sound quality. However, the SBS-01 was more restrained in the mid-range and high frequencies than the comparison speaker used (more on this below).

On the other hand, despite their small size, the SBS-01's produced tight, non-muddled upper bass response. In addition, when used as part of the surround sound home theater speaker system, including a subwoofer, these speakers do very well with movie soundtrack material.

SVS SBS-01 Features and Specifications

  • The SBS-01 is an acoustic suspension (sealed enclosure) bookshelf loudspeaker with 5.25-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter. Impedance: 8 ohms.
  • 1-inch ClearSilkT diaphragm tweeter with frequency response up to 20kHz (+/- dB).
  • High-frequency crossover at 1.2kHz. This is the point where the high frequencies are sent solely to the tweeter and the mid/low frequencies remain with the woofer.
  • 5.25-inch polypropylene cone woofer delivers bass response down to 68HZ (+/-3db).
  • Sensitivity rating of 85 dB.
  • Power handling is rated at 20 to 120 Watts. You can use these speakers with just about any stereo or home theater receiver available.
  • Magnetically shielded for home theater use. This means that the speakers can be placed next to a TV if needed.
  • Speaker Dimensions: 12-inches H x 7-inches W x 9.5 Deep
  • Speaker Weight: 11 pounds.
  • The speakers can be placed on a shelf (shelf needs to be about 10-inches deep), top of a cabinet, or mounted on the wall if desired.

Audio Performance

The SVS SBS-01 speakers produced good sound quality in a two-channel setup but were more restrained in the upper mid-range and high frequencies than the comparison speaker used for this review (Klipsch B3). This was evident on several recordings, such as Norah Jones on I Don't Know Why and Loreena McKennit's An Ancient Muse CD. However, despite their small size, the SBS-01's produced tight, non-muddled upper bass response.

In a home theater setup, the SBS-01 worked well as a main, center, or surround speaker. Although these speakers were somewhat restrained in the previous two-channel tests, they did provide a balanced and good, directional, sound image in a multi-channel setup, especially with the addition of a subwoofer. Having only two SBS-01s to use for this review, they were tested in the roles of center, main, and surround channels by switching them out with the Klipsch B-3's mentioned earlier. In the role as a center channel speaker, the SBS-01 provided good vocal clarity, but the B-3 was better.

The SBS-01s were adequate to the task of providing good audio from several DVD, Blu-ray, and HD-DVD clips used, including DVD - House of the Flying Daggers, Master and Commander, U571, Blu-ray - Spiderman 3, Fantastic 4 - Rise of the Silver Surfer, Pirates of the Caribbean 1 and 2, and HD-DVD - Transformers, 300, Hot Fuzz, Batman Begins, and Top Gun.

The SBS-01's were able to handle high volume while maintaining good clarity. However, this speaker seems more at home as part of a home theater system, with the addition of a subwoofer. Although they can serve well as a standalone speaker in a two-channel system dedicated solely to music playback, with a good upper bass response, for the best low-frequency result, consider adding a subwoofer to the mix.


  • Good overall sound quality
  • Tight upper bass response
  • Easy to Place on a table, stand, or on wall
  • Solid construction


  • The sound is somewhat restrained in the upper-frequency range.
  • The midrange needs more presence.

The Bottom Line

Although there were differences in the liveliness between the SBS-01s and the Klipsch B-3, the SVS SBS0-01's are definitely a good value.

SVS has discontinued production of the SBS-01 bookshelf loudspeakers, but they may still be available used via third parties, and is worth seeking out. For a look at SVS's current bookshelf loudspeaker offerings, check out their Official Loudspeakers Page.

For additional suggestions, check out our listing of Best Affordable Bookshelf Loudspeakers.