SVS SB-2000 and SB-3000 - Subwoofers

Reviewer: Arvind Kohli - TNT USA
Reviewed: December, 2021

[SVS SB-2000] [SVS SB-3000]
[Italian version here]

MANUFACTURER'S PUBLISHED DATA
Model SB-2000 Pro SB-3000
Manufacturer SVS Sound SVS Sound
MSRP - US market(USD) $1,700 ash finish, pair $1,100 ash finish
Driver size 12" 13"
Power - Continuous/Peak 500W/1500w 800W/2500W
Frequency Response +/- 3db ; Usable LFE 19-240Hz ; 17Hz 18-270Hz ; 15Hz
Dimensions (H x W x D) 14.6" x 14.2" x 14.6" 15.6 X 15.2 X 17.8
Weight 38.6 lbs 54.5 lbs
Low pass slope Variable 6dB, 12dB, 18dB or 24dB / octave
Phase control 0 - 180 degrees continuous 0 - 180 degrees continuous
Parametric equalizer Yes Yes

SVS is an Ohio based manufacturer of speakers and subwoofers aimed at the home audio market. I was intrigued by their subwoofer lineup, and thought to pick a model for review.

Most models come in a ported or sealed version, that was an easy decision - from all of my past experience I will always only consider sealed designs. Give my room size and conversations with their very knowledable team, I settled on the SB-3000 model (13", 800W). And after initials listening tests and further conversation, we felt it would be even more useful to compare that model to a pair of the SB-2000 model (12", 500W).

Theoretically, there are a few reasons to consider using a pair of subs instead of a single unit. These are - extended and smoother response with more placement options, more headroom , lower driver excursion and lower ability to localize LF. Their website has extensive discussion on the subject. But the only way to really know, is by direct listening comparisions.

Setup of the SVS subs is extremely easy, using their free app, from whence you can control - level, low pass filter, phase, polarity, 3 parametric eqs, room gain, and your spouse's mood [kidding]. The app can control multiple subs quite easily, well done!

MEASUREMENTS

Using a Dayton Audio EMM-6 electret microphone, digidesign MBox interface and TrueRTA software, I ran in-room measurements with a -20dB pink noise signal.

[In room measurements]

The green curve is the AK OB1 DIY open baffle speakers running on their own. There is a 10dB drop from from 95 to 85 Hz, instead of an ongoing drop there seem to be a few modes that I should probably solve for with a high pass resistor, but that is a different battle.

The pink curve is my long time fav the ACI Force, the yellow curve is the SVS SB-3000 and the blue is the SVS SB-2000 pair (both with the parametric EQ adjusted).

It seems I have a room mode at 30Hz, and that is something the parametric equalizer cannot neutralize. So I decided to calibrate all 3 subs to the same level at 30Hz. You can clearly see that below 30hz the SB-3000 is a bit flatter than the ACI Force, and the pair of SB-2000s is even flatter yet. What is quite remarkable, is that the audible differences in listening are much greater that what the differences in the measured curves indicate.

LISTENING TESTS

"Bass resolution test" (Chesky Jazz and Audiophile tests Vol2; Chesky; JD68)
A clean and beautifully recorded solo of a double-bass, running it's full range and dynamics.

Listened to the track without any subs to calibrate my ears to the woofers of the OB1. The light paper and no crossover, makes for a very responsive and transparent sound. The ACI only added legs, and otherwise perfectly integrated with the OB1s, the double bass now sounded like a complete instrument and placed dead center on the stage.

The SB-3000 was noticably deeper than the ACI, and every bit as natural sounding once I got the phase correct - the best way I found to set phase, was to use this track and choose the setting where the instrument seemed to be placed dead center thru all the notes. The SB-3000 also provided a longer and cleaner decay of the double bass much lower in the spectrum, relative to the ACI Force, whose decay was perhaps just as long but only in the higher frequencies.

The pair of SB-2000s were certainly deeper sounding than the single SB-3000, not surprising given the response curves. But the pair were also somehow much cleaner and tighter sounding, I suspect that is the reward of using 2 drivers for roughly half the excursion than one drive doing about twice the excursion for the same SPLs. A single 13" SB-3000 has 531 sq inches of radiating area, whereas the two 12" SB-2000s have a radiating area of 905 sq inches; so it is easy to see why the pair would produce the same SPL with lower excursion and hence distortion. As a result, the decays were just to die for - gorgeously long and natural sounding.

"Tundra" (Dean Peer; Test CD 3; Stereophile; STPH 004-3 )
A well recorded electric bass solo, lots of dynamics and low frequencies.

The SB-3000 again, was much deeper than the ACI Force, and atleast as clean and immediate on transients. But the biggest difference was in the decays - longer, deeper and crystal clear. Predictably from the previous track, the pair of SB-2000s went deeper, perhaps a bit cleaner too. And the decays seemend a bit more extended in frequency, and extremely clean. This brings the system upto a whole new level.

"Rimshot" (Eryka Badu; Baduism; Universal; UD53027)
This album, and specifically this track have a fantastic electric bass line that dominates the balance and mood. I have used this as an acid test of deep bass performance since it's release in 1997.

The electric drum kit on the intro is a very punishing section, I always thought the ACI Force did a commendable job till I heard the SB-3000 on this track. Not only much deeper, but also so much cleaner. And then the pair of SB-2000s went yet a bit lower and deeper and cleaner.

CONCLUSION

As a Finance professional, I have to remark on the astounding value the SVS subs provide. Back in 2004 the ACI Force was a tremendous value, at $800 USD and sporting a 10" driver and a 250W amp. The SB-3000 costs the same in nominal dollars 17 years later, which is $753USD in 2004 dollars or 6% lower. And yet the SB-3000 has a 13" driver and a 800W amp, as well as DSP, 3 parametric equalizers and an app to control it all. That is a miraculous achievement.

A pair of SB-2000's does perform noticable better than a single SB-3000, and for a fractional increase in price, that is a very easy decision for me.
REFERENCE GEAR
Gear Manufacturer and Model
Digital Disc Players Oppo BDP 105
Phono Cartridge •Ortofon Quintet MC Black
Goldring Elite(MC)
•Audio Technica OC9 MLII(MC)
Turntable Technics/KAB SL1200 MkII, with tonearm damper
Phono stage Pass Labs XP-15
Pre Amplifier • Promitheus Audio Reference TVC
Power Amplifiers VTV 1ET400A MonoBlock with Weiss OPA-2BA opamp
• Monarchy Audio SM-70 Pro, in monoblock configuration.
• Classe CA-100
TBI Millenia
Integrated Amplifier TBI Millenia
Speakers AK OB1 open baffle DIY
Dynaudio Contour 1.3 MkII
Subwoofers ACI Force
• Velodyne F1500R
Headphone Amplifier Practical Devices XM3
Headphones • Stax SR-40, with SRD-4 adaptor
• AKG K701
Connectors • Various

© Copyright 2021 Arvind Kohli - arvind@tnt-audio.com - www.tnt-audio.com