SVS PC12-NSD Subwoofer
The cylindrical design of SVS’s PC12-NSD may appear eccentric, but it’s purely functional. The tube-shaped material makes it easy for SVS to create a good, stiff enclosure at low cost. It also minimizes the amount of floor space the sub occupies. While the 3-foot-high PC12-NSD is undeniably tall, its 16.6-inch-diameter form uses only a small amount of floor space. Tuck the sub into a dark corner, and most people will never notice it.
Inside that tube are some pretty impressive guts. At the bottom is a long-throw 12-inch woofer, powered by a Class D amp rated at 400 watts RMS and 800 watts peak. At the top is a port; unlike the ports on the larger PC13-Ultra, this one doesn’t offer the option of a removable grille and foam plugs for fine-tuning the sub’s sound. An internal digital signal processor smoothes the PC12-NSD’s response.
While the controls and the stereo line input on the SVS are pretty standard stuff, the sub does offer an unusual connection option: two stereo line outputs for feeding back to an amplifier or a preamp. One of these outputs has a fixed 80-Hz high-pass filter to keep the low frequencies out of your main speakers. Thus, the PC12-NSD can be used in a stereo music system that lacks a subwoofer crossover; just run the line out of your preamp to the sub, then run its high-passed outputs to your stereo amp.
We have yet to encounter an SVS sub we didn’t love, and the PC12-NSD is no exception. Will mused: “At first I wondered, ‘Is this too powerful to be musical?’ But the more I listened, the more I realized that the sound was well balanced through the entire bass range, and I really liked that it gave me deep response even at low volumes.” Geoff ranked the PC12-NSD right up there with the Power Sound Audio XV15, saying that the two sounded “very, very similar” with music and that the XV15 had just a slight edge on Terminator 2.
I, too, had a hard time finding the sonic dissimilarities between the PC12-NSD and the XV15. Played at a reasonable level (96 dB peak) with Steely Dan’s “Aja” (my favorite test of a subwoofer’s tunefulness), the PC12-NSD sounded close enough to the XV15 that moving either sub 2 feet made a bigger difference than switching subs.
To reveal a performance difference between the two, I had to set the bar very high: running Attack of the Clones and the Organ Symphony as loud as I could stand to listen. While I measured 115 dB from both subs in my listening chair, the XV15’s deepest notes sounded cleaner. But I never would’ve heard this difference had I not pushed the system to an insane volume.SVS PC12-NSD ($749)
Best for: Space-challenged bass fanatics
Worst for: Cat owners
So why did I rank the PC12-NSD as a poor choice for cat lovers? ’Cause it’s covered in black velour that will make it an irresistible scratching post. With that single exception, I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t love this subwoofer.
22 to 235 Hz, ±3 dB
Low bass (40-63 Hz) average: 118.1 dB
Ultra-low bass (20-31.5 Hz) average: 115.6 dBsvsound.com