SVS SB-2000 and PB-2000 Subwoofers Page 2

I started my music listening tests with the Blu-ray of the Eagles' Farewell I Tour: Live from Melbourne and went straight to track 21, "Life's Been Good." The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix features plenty of bass throughout the song, and both subs performed admirably. The sealed SB-2000 was very tight and powerful but didn't have quite the impact of my ported Ultra that I'm more accustomed to. The PB-2000, on the other hand, sounded much more familiar to my ears. While the bass wasn't as tight, per se, I could feel it through my subfloor (I live on a raised foundation). The more I listened to the SB-2000, though, the more I preferred its sound. The kick drum was more distinct and snappier versus the slight boominess it had on the ported sub.

Next up was some streaming of FLAC files through a Squeezebox Touch and the pop sounds of Pink's "Raise Your Glass." The bass track goes quite deep on this song and provides a steady thumping from beginning to end. Once again, the SB-2000 was very tight and solid but couldn't shake the floor like the PB-2000 did. It really seemed like the SB-2000 was overmatched in my 5,000-cubic-foot room, though it's safe to say neither of these value-priced subs is intended to service such a huge space. The PB-2000 fared slightly better in this regard, but even with its larger enclosure, it couldn't come close to matching the output of my Ultra. Granted, the Ultra's enclosure is bigger, and it cost nearly 80 percent more 10 years ago—not even close to a fair fight.

Next, I moved on to my true love, movies, and it really was an eye-opener. The beginning battle of Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge of the Sith is loaded with bass effects, and quite frankly, I was somewhat underwhelmed by the SB-2000. It provided plenty of bass but didn't give me the "feel it in your bones" impact that bigger—and pricier—subs offer. The PB-2000 did better in this respect. If I were given the choice between the two, the PB-2000 would win on the movie test in this situation. Still, I prefer the bass on my action movies to wake the dead, and neither sub had the ability to do so in my large room.

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After putting the subs through the torture test presented by my main theater space, it was time to change the playing field to something more reasonable. Fortunately, I have a secondary system in my home that's located in a small room (approximately 1,200 cubic feet), so I decided to try the subs there. I co-located each one in the same corner of the room and manually calibrated each of them at an 80-Hz crossover using an SPL meter. Wow, what a difference! In the much smaller space, each sub reproduced deeper bass response that I could feel in my sternum; it shook the house.

This was quite evident on one of the most acclaimed movies of 2013, Gravity. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is loaded with truly deep bass, and each sub handled it with ease. In the smaller room, the SB-2000 offered a much more satisfying experience and didn't exhibit the somewhat bloated low end I heard on the PB-2000. So I did a quick Audyssey calibration on my AVR with the PB-2000, which helped immensely with the bloat and evened out the playing field between the two.

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Conclusion
Given the right circumstances, either sub would be a great addition to a moderate-size home theater. On musical numbers, I liked the tightness of the bass from the SB-2000 in both of my rooms, but it really petered out in my large main theater room on movie soundtracks. While the bass was present, it didn't have the visceral impact that I love. True to its ported design, the PB-2000 did go a bit deeper and louder at the lower frequencies but still lacked the punch I require and have grown accustomed to. Both subs proved their mettle in my smaller room, however. Moving them there was a godsend for each—maybe too much in the case of the PB-2000, as it sounded a tad overbearing without a little taming from Audyssey.

In the end, I was pleasantly surprised by the price/performance factor of both subs and would happily live with either of them in an appropriately sized room. As for the debate of ported versus sealed—well, if you listen to a lot of music, then to me the sealed model has the slight edge; but if your preference is more toward movies, in this particular case the PB-2000's low-end punch tipped the scales in its favor. With a 45-day trial period, you can audition either or both of these in your own home at no cost if you decide they're not for you. SVS even pays the return shipping It doesn't get any better than that.

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COMMENTS
mnc's picture

You mention how the PB-2000 isn't as powerful as your PC13-Ultra, but I wonder how two PB-2000s would compare? I haven't found a definitive answer to how much increase in output when you add a second sub.
Thanks for the great review!

avnut@wans.net's picture

I have been a long time subscriber to Sound and Vision and have learned to trust the reviews on home theater equipment. So much that I have made purchases based on the reviews provided by Sound and Vision magazine. However, I must say after reading the latest review of the SVS SB2000 and PB2000 subwoofers by David Vaughn I am very disappointed.

See, I am a very proud owner of the PB200 sub and have been waiting for a professional review. I just received my newest copy of SV magazine today and BAM, a review of my sub. Here I am reading the review expecting to hear how great this sub is, but all I heard was how it was under powered it was for his 5000 cubic foot room. My god, didn't he talk to SVS first to determine the appropriate room size for these subs? Not everyone has that big of room, Then he placed it in a 1200 cubic foot room and complain it was too boomy, really? I am very disappointed that the review I have been waiting for has been diminished by a review not well thought out.

Why not put the sub within its elements and review it in a room which would be 2-3000 cubic foot room where this sub really shines. I don't think you did this sub or SVS justice with this review.

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