What? You thought maybe we'd want to keep the best music and home theater audio a secret? Well, even if we did, it's clear the secret is getting out. So don't just take our word for it, listen to people you know, or know of. Expect this list to grow, though only a selection is attached here.. Got an SVS review you want to add? Fire it off to us!
CANADA HiFi : PB10-NSD
SBS-01 Surround Sound Sytems:
It can be a bit tough to promote a speaker package you can't keep in stock. Let's face it, we initially under-estimated just how wildly popular this first full range product would be and it's taken us a while to get more product in the pipeline. These are shipping now and stocks are holding fast finally!
How good is the SBS-01 family? Well, depending on who you listen to, it's either near the top of a large pile of competitive products, or it IS the top of a large pile of competitive products (and while some of those are not very good, some are very good indeed). The themes you'll see as you dig into the first round of professional and customer statements regarding the SBS-01? Namely that these speakers are incredible values, arguably on par with our subwoofers which have long set the industry's price/performance bar. Excellent for music and able to stand up to speakers many times their cost, and simply on a plane few if any products aspire to for home theater use.
The neutral character of these speakers, their accuracy, dynamics and ability to seemingly dissapear are completely out of character with a package so affordable in price. For $1,000 you can have a 5.1 system that's arguably the last speaker set you will need for a small/mid-sized room.
With our legendary customer service, simple elegant styling, and exceptionally good music and movie audio this is product line you'll prize as one of your best upgrades, ever.
"If If you’re looking to upgrade your home-theater speaker system, or if you’re planning your first home theater and want to begin with an outstanding purchase, you can’t go wrong with the SBS-01. Once again, SVS has delivered the goods. The SBS-01 home-theater speaker system represents one of the very best values in the market.you’re looking to upgrade your home-theater speaker system, or if you’re planning your first home theater and want to begin with an outstanding purchase, you can’t go wrong with the SBS-01".
Randall Smith, SoundStage Network
"Simply stunning. At this price point very little compares with it....
Prepare to be the envy of your friends and the bane of your neighbors."
Five Star Value. Tom Andry, Audioholics
"The SVS crew worked hard to build a good set of speakers, and they appear to have done the job right. At less than a kilobuck, you can't go wrong."
Product of the year 2005.
Dr. John Johnson, Secrets Editor in Chief
Guest Review: Periodically we provide no-strings attached equipment to knowledgeable audio experts. Rarely to we find one as meticulous or as experienced as Bill Message. Ex-HP Engineer, accomplished musician and certifiable audiophile. With experience like his we are always bound to learn things even we didn't know about superlative yet affordable gear like the SBS-01 bookshelf speakers and award winning PC-Plus subwoofers (the subject of Bill's piece). Folks often wonder if speakers this affordable can really render music well too, in this seemingly home theater crazy world. Fact is, ever SVS product must perform as well on music as it does for movies. Every one, always. Here's a bit more proof it's working:
... if you want truly wonderful reproduction of two-channel music, consider the SVS systems.
Five Star Value. Bill Message, Colorado Resident Musician and Audiophile
We said right from the start that the new entry level SVS, thePB10-ISD would shatter expectations about what you can get for music and movie audio performance in the $400 range. Well we don't mind being right on things like this. This "right sized" sub is not too big, not too small, but its more powerful, deeper, and more accurate than anything that's come before it. Upstart subwoofer reviewer Ed Mullen ran it though a veritable shooting gallery of tests, and listened intently during all sorts of tough program material. What did he hear?
"amazingly wide and flat frequency response and outstanding bandwidth uniformity."
"The PB10-ISD... is a remarkable achievement, and truly represents a quantum leap forward in the $400 subwoofer class"
There are few folks doing more revealing reviews on subwoofers. And in the end, it's just what customers have been saying too. The PB10-ISD has no peers when it comes to providing you outstandingly precise and (literally) moving bass for any sort of movie or music. You can't spend $429 more wisely when it comes to your sound.
It's called "piling on". You might think from the below that the PB12-Ultra/2 (new name) is all the rage. And you would be right. While the fine textured black is the only color available until wood units are back in supply, you can rest assured that three consecutive rave reviews for this top Powered Box sub from SVS are not some fluke. This is honestly one of those audio products that WOULD be "a bargain at twice the price". At only $1,999 for black (and when available again, $2,399 in real wood finishes)... the PB12-Ultra/2 is yet another sub to lust for, even if two grand isn't exactly "chump change" for most audio enthusiasts.
You can spend more. But you would be hard pressed to GET more than what the PB12-Ultra/2 brings to the table. SoundStage bestowed yet another "Reviewers' Choice" award on SVS for just that reason.
Not one but two guys at Secrets had their hands on a PB2-Ultra (now called the PB12-Ultra/2). None other than Dr. John Johnson for instrumented testing and reviewer Paul Taatjes spent time with SVS's best self-powered sub. Words like "fantastic", "dynamite", "took my breath away" and "in a class of its own" make it evident that once again we'd moved up the bar in a still affordable price point. At only $1,999 in black (wood finishes temporarily on back order but still reasonably priced at $2,399) it's quite simply the most accurate, powerful and complete subwoofer package on the market. Keeping to just the features and elegant designs SVS is famous for. Ones that consistently work better than other brands with fussy, over-engineered "features" no one really needs or even wants. You could easily spend twice as much today with other OEMs and get far far less performance. Could another Product of the Year from one of the most prominent audio web pages around be in the offing? Made in the USA performance from SVS. Soon to be dubbed thePB12-Ultra/2 it's indeed a subwoofer like no other.
Still not convinced? Well Ed Mullen, independent reviewer par excellence at Home Theater Forum... did a thorough thrashing of his own PB2-Ultra and was likewise blown away by the subtle articulation (a hallmark of the SVS TV-12 "Ultra" woofer), depth and power of this SVS. Having tested quite a few subs Ed's quickly made a name for himself as applying rigorous scientific method and not mincing words about what's done right, and not. You can read a lot of magazine reviews and not get 1/10th the good information you would get from this guy.
Jeff McNeal at "The Big Picture DVD" has long been one of our favorite DVD and equipment reviewers. Why? Because he's not afraid to pull punches when an OEM or major studio stumbles on its commitment to great products, and he has the industry experience to know standouts when he sees (or hears them). With years in radio, he was also a pioneer in publicizing DVD, front projection and surround audio for home theater. The fact he's the marvelously trained voice of some of your favorite movie trailers and has a booming Hollywood career doing voiceovers means he knows what sounds right, and not.
What sounds right when it comes to music and movie bass? Short answer: SVS. He sampled a 20-39PCi some time ago and was astounded at what he'd been missing with his old cube subwoofer. So some months ago we decided to up the ante. An SVS PB2-ISD.
"It's going to rock your world, while leaving your savings account (mostly) intact. It has the performance, the power and the subtle refinement that has foreign speaker makers sweating nervously over the rumbles that are emanating from a product designed and built in the U.S. of A."
Spend $5,000?? Or spend $1,200 and get more, get better... get SVS?
Sure, it's easy to drop $5K on a subwoofer. That's actually entry level stuff for the rich and famous. And there are plenty of OEMs that cater to this "price no object" demographic. But where do you go if you want the performance, but can do without the boutique name and mortgage-busting price? Why, SVS of course! Few people have had three of the most well-regarded subs in their room... but Kris Deering of Home Theater Spot is one of them. He spent some time with our latest box sub and summed things up thusly: "I’ve heard are the Krell Master Reference Subwoofer ®, the Martin Logan Descent ® and the Wilson Watchdog ®.... but the PB-2 Plus adds itself to these ranks easily. "
Think that's just one guy's opinion? Maybe we're stacking the deck with some hand-picked reviewer that "owed us" (for the record, we'd only seen his reviews on HT and HiFi Secrets prior to the "Spot's" request for a review sub)??? Guess again, and read on.
It's no coincidence that this month's issue of Wide Screen Review came to a similar conclusion about thePB2-Plus. In this case, veteran equipment reviewer John Kotches likewise grappled with the imposing SVS and came away utterly impressed with its transparent depth and power on demanding music favorites spanning acoustical jazz ... to Blue Man Group.
Said John: "outstanding... with performance that will be right at home in any enthusiast's two-channel or multi-channel music system".
Naturally he spent plenty of time with movies too, spinning "The Core", and classic "Dark City" in the process. He came away "mildly shaken by the intense Low Frequency Effects (LFE) channel experience". The usually understated Mr. Kotches finished up simply by saying:
"Given the low audible distortion, prodigious output, and remarkable acoustical blend with other loudspeakers, this is one tremendous product."
Pick up the November issue of WSR on newsstands, or better yet, subscribe to what's certainly one of the leading home theater magazines in the world today.
Or are you thirsty for more???
Bring on the big guns. Dr. John Johnson is one of our favorite, if torturous, reviewers. Why? Precisely because he's not one to baby your product, nor does he spare words. When he got one of our B4-Plus subs with a Crown K1for power, we actually caused him some problems. See, despite the fact that a pair of Velodyne ® 18" subwoofers had been his previous benchmark, he had to completely change his test regimen with the arrival of thisSVS. At no point could he come close to stressing it in his house. He was driven instead to come up with procedures to testoutside. The depth, the power and the clarity of the B4-Plus was more than he bargained for in other words.
Still, despite all the trouble this caused Dr. Johnson, we feel his comments tended towards praise?
"...the B4-Plus, it is obviously the most powerful subwoofer ever constructed for consumer use."
In case that was too subtle for some folks, he wrapped up with this:
"SVS has done it again. For anyone who wants to have the Darth Vader of subwoofers, the B4-Plus is it. With almost unlimited power and low distortion, the B4-Plus is definitely one of the Masters of the Universe."
Then again, maybe he says that about all the world's subwoofers with quad opposed, 12" long-throw proprietary woofers, in a world-class American made clear hardwood maple cabinet that's custom stained for you?
More awards, more competitors laid waste.
"I certainly have not heard this kind of bass from a sub-$3000 subwoofer, ever -- and the SVS 25-31PC-Plus is $775! "
We're not even going to tell you what happened when he led a liked price competitor sub... "like a lamb to slaughter"... into a head to head comparison. Let's just say the results were predictable if you know anything about SVS. Jeff's conclusion?
Find out why Sound Stage's Home Theater Sound is one of the top "webzines" in the business. Superbly written and with equipment you'll drool over. Hey, we don't send review samples to just anyone!
Beating up on other subs, Part 2.Brian Mitchell over at E-Coustics surprised us somewhat a few weeks ago with a gutsy, winning comparison of our affordable PCi subwoofers, against some more expensive and well-regarded competition (that review is further below). Even though we're sure he asked, no one seemed eager to get into the ring with us this time. One of our killer new 20-39PC-Plus subs had arrived --- so who can blame them for staying away? This sub has close to twice the power of our already stellar PCi platform, an even better woofer (built by famed driver guru TC-Sounds) and 70% more port area. If you do the math, you might guess this $825 wonder-sub is going to knock some heads together in the world of over-priced, under-performing subs. Said E-Coustics...
Hey, we didn't mean to make other subs seem wimpy by comparison --- it just sort of happened that way. The SVS 20-39PC-Plus. You can spend more, but the only place you can buy better ... is from us.
Here we go again.
Dr. John Johnson, Editor in Chief at Home Theater and Hi-Fi "Secrets" has made it clear he's out to conduct some of the most thorough and revealing subwoofer testing ever seen in the home market. While most speaker manufacturers shy away from the professional reviewers armed with state of the art test gear, at SVS we actually seek them out! We figure than anyone willing to cut through the all too common marketing buzz-words by applying both measurements and an experienced ear, will also know how to spot a world class gem in the sea of "me too" subwoofers.
Applying his trademark battery of objective and subjective criteria to a 25-31PCi recently, Dr. Johnson was astounded, saying, "...I have never seen a sub less than $1,000 - from any company other than SVS - that performs like this." Who are we to argue? After all, that's what we've said all along. You should find it refreshing nonetheless, to know there are gutsy experts that see past all the expensive glossy ads and optimistic specifications and hyperbole of our would-be competitors. While John is no stranger to subs that would cost most consumers a couple of house payments, he summed up our stunning PCi's performance by saying, "Frankly, it is almost beyond belief what this thing does for $549." If you read some of our other reviews below, you'll see a strong trend forming. Wimpy subs, beware.
Why should CS-Ultra customers get all the attention??Well, no longer. First in a series of professional reviews of our stunning PCi subwoofers (the hyper-accurate, affordable subs with the built in 325 watt digital hybrid amp)... finds west coast, ex-radio jock Jeff McNeal, of "The Big Picture DVD" website, replacing his old (and long suffering) subwoofer with an SVS 20-39PCi. After 20 years in the professional audio business, a guy that REALLY knows music and movie sound finally found the deep, musical and natural sounding bass he'd always been looking for.
Just how much did our $599 20-39PCi impress this industry veteran?
"It is so far superior to my old cube (which is now being used as an end table) that it isn't even funny."
That just about says it all we think; but if you want to read the entire glowing review, visit "The Big Picture DVD", just a click away.
Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
Dr. John E. Johnson - Editor, Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
"...astonishing performance."What happens when one of the the most respected names in the business says "it's high time I hear what everyone is raving about with SVS"??? Well you send him your best. Dr. Johnson (AKA "JJ") has forgotten more about subwoofers than some reviewers will ever know. We figured... "No guts. No glory". Honestly, even though we know the recently improved CS-Ultras are very very good, we weren't sure if they'd pass muster with this critic, well known to have an affinity for musical sounding, high-end gear. Turns out ...we needn't have worried.
Dr. Johnson summed things up by saying simply...
"The sound quality of the SVS CS-Ultra is really quite spectacular."
We're not surprised in the end; but it's still nice to know superlative performance and value can also satisfy those used to using and owning the best gear in the business.
Music, movies, even intense instrumented testing, all passed this Editor's gauntlet. Color us ... relieved.
AV Interiors has long featured systems and whole theaters only available to those who have truly arrived. Forget about their "ship coming in"... the folks making it into this club typically own the ship. Still, it was probably only a matter of time before the "price, no object" performance of SVS made its way into one of their featured theaters, at an affordable price (don't tell anyone).
Brian Weatherhead - Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
So what's that smack dab in the middle of some very serious competition? An SVS CS-Ultra package of course! Brian's findings? How about that the SVS's pulled a solid 110dB at 20Hz (measured from 4 meters), while the venerated HGS-18 (retailing for $700 more) only managed a respectable, but comparatively sedate, 101dB. The big Velo met its match, and then some.
Howard Ferstler - "The $ensible Sound" Nov/Dec 2001, Issue #88
Sound, Howard is famous for his subwoofer tests. All the best have graced his tests. Still, for 2001 he made the 16-46PC one of his "Staff Picks" in the Nov/Dec issue (#88). His review extends nearly 6 pages, but perhaps these few quips sum up his feelings best:
Guy Kuo - Ovation Software
Guy Kuo is one of the master-minds behind one of the most popular DVD test disks on the planet..."Avia". Guy probably has hardware makers throw gear at him all the time. When Guy ordered we were uncharacteristically out of touch with current events and industry personalities... and had the audacity to treat him like a regular customer, (which he took quite well by the way). That is, he got great customer support and paid up just like everyone else! When he started telling folks about his new found love for SVS, we declared "Oh, that Guy Kuo". Here's a bit of what Guy declared. Or go here for his full unedited comments:
"Fire it off to us" is just what customer Adam Kmiec did!Here's just the bottom line of Adam's foray to a local high-end dealer, with a first-generation SVS 20-39PC in tow (imagine if it had been our new and much improved PCi version at only $599!)
"...So after the tests were done I had them open their eyes and showed them their winner. I know many of you are wondering, what did Mark choose. Well out of the 9 tests he chose the SVS 7 times and the Sunfire ® twice. The two times he picked the Sunfire ® were for Armageddon and for Dark Side of the Moon. The thing was these guys didn't know how much the SVS was. So after some chit-chat, I said to Mark and the guys, "Hey how much do you think the SVS costs?" I got answers ranging from 1200 to 2000. When I told them $750 SHIPPED, they were amazed, wish I had a picture of what they looked like."
John Kotches - Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity, June 2001John is a professional "bottom trawler" ... the sort of guy for whom bass can't go too low, or too tight, or too "musical". A critical ear is there ever was one, John had this to say about our ultra-low performing 16-46CS line:
"With my reference subwoofer, I couldn't really feel the sub-20 Hz tone, but with the single SV it was a different ballgame."
"...my entire home theater room was rumbling...."
"My reference subwoofer was never quite capable of delivering this level of bass reproduction without a sense of strain and an immediate reach for the remote control to mute and turn the volume down."
"...reference level, reference quality bass as low as 16 Hz for a ridiculously low price."
I guess we shouldn't have been surprised when John decided to buy his review sub!
Thanks to John, Editor in Chief "JJ", and the entire crew at "Secrets"!
Tom Nousaine - "The $ensible Sound" June/July 2001, Issue #86
AKA, "TN" and "The Ace of Bass" is, in our humble opinion, the toughest and most objective audio reviewer in the business... and he specializes in torturing subwoofers. A regular contributor to top-flight magazines such as Sound and Vision as well as The $ensible Sound, we naturally were thrilled when he agreed to look at some very early SVS production samples.
Peter Staddon - 20th Century FoxYes, that Peter Staddon, in charge of home video for that stalwart studio. As one of the movers and shakers at Fox Home Video, we were understandably flattered when Peter's order came in -- a clear indication that word about SVS had really gotten around. It's probably safe to say Peter is exposed to some of the best movies and equipment available to home theater today. So in an effort to "field test" some prototype SVS's, we sent him some special subs based closely upon our current line of CS-Ultra subwoofers.
"I have found new dimension to films that I thought I knew very well over this weekend. As one of my guests put it, this sounds better than many of the local theatres."
Elsewhere, Peter was literally at a loss for words saying...
"Words are failing me now so I'm going to stop... you'll have to pardon me if I substitute the excitement and giddiness of a kid who got his Christmas presents a couple of weeks before everyone else!!"
Some day all of Hollywood might catch on to what Peter already knows. We recommend you get in line for your SVS before that happens.
"Someone asked me if I had it all to do again would I have purchased an M&K subwoofer or even another Velodyne? After seeing and hearing the SVS I can honestly say, “No.”
And we couldn't resist adding this gem...
"Even it your budget is limited for a subwoofer you should be looking toward SVS as a viable option. We are talking about subwoofers costing hundreds of dollars that perform like subwoofers costing THOUSANDS, and I mean MANY THOUSANDS of dollars."
The best part? RAF had to wait MONTHS for "Serial Number 0001 16-46PC". They now typically ship in only a matter of a day to two.
PS The Dr. has also take the time to upgrade his original PC woofer to the new Improved Standard Driver.
Robert George - Obi's ReviewsRobert George, known to thousands as "Obi" provides some of the most insightful and critical DVD reviews anywhere on the web through his web site "Obi's Reviews". For good reason, he has the reputation as one of the internet's most demanding HT reviewer's. So maybe he's going to buy just any subwoofer? Nope. He took a chance on the new upstarts -- SV Subwoofers. Here's what he had to say:
"...the bass level was downright scary. I flipped through several DVDs, Blade, Apocalypse Now, Armageddon, and a few others. It was the same for every one. Bass energy I never knew existed, yet the system handled it with grace and precision...."
"Of course I am ecstatic with my new SV Subwoofers on movie soundtracks, but add to that the incredible musicality and these wonderful subs become just about the greatest value in home audio. That is no bullshit."
More Home Theater Forum Quotes: Seems the more people who have SVS, the more amazing stories that come out. Still, it's hard to top this one from Obi. Having used his dual 25-31CS's a good bit more, he had this to say....
"...Lastly, I'll add this as an update now that I have been using the SV Subs for several days in "everyday" use. I seldom get "attached" to a piece of hardware. I suppose you could call me a "software guy". My philosophy is that hardware exists to reproduce software and is only important in the sense that one strives to reproduce the software in the best possible way. The SV Subwoofers have actually changed my perception of the importance of my system. Just as what happened when I paired the Pioneer PRO-710HD monitor with a good progressive scan DVD player I began seeing things I had never seen before, now I am hearing things I never heard before. This has elevated my movie and music enjoyment more than I thought possible. What makes this so satisfying is that this sort of performance can be had at such a reasonable cost. Unlike the Pioneer monitor and the Toshiba DVD player, these subs are not anywhere near the top of the price scale for their product category. Quite the opposite, in fact. How often is it that "one of the best" of anything is also "one of the cheapest". I can't give the SV Subwoofers a higher recommendation."
And lest you though Obi was shy about comparing us to some of the high-end sub makers out there (heck, even WE are bashful about some of the praise our designs are receiving) check out this little tidbit written in response to a prospective buyer:
M&K makes some tremendous subs. Certainly among the best in the business. I was totally satisfied with my MX-100 for several years, even after hearing some rather more expensive Velodynes up against it. However, the sound produced by the SVS design is not the same thing as the M&K. Musically, there is no comparison. Even my very non-technical wife immediately picked up the difference the SVS's made on musical material. Individual bass notes that were previously just some amorphous "mush" became more defined and clearly detailed. I can now hear the individual strikes of a kick drum.
On movies, the SVS's are both lower and louder than the M&K, yet are much cleaner with audibly less distortion. Very fast, very clean, very flat response. Not what one finds in the average commercial sub. I have not regretted selling the MX-100 for a second.
Robert George (Obi)
Thanks for the kind words Obi!
Mike Knapp - Home Theater Talk Administrator
Head tweaker Mike Knapp nabbed some early 20-39CS production samples (plus the now discontinued Fidek 400 watt amp) and had this to say...