Test Bench: SVS SBS-01 Home Theater Speaker System

Frequency response (at 2 meters) front left/right: 76 Hz to 16.2 kHz ±3.4 dB center: 82 Hz to 19.4 kHz ±4.3 dB surround: 76 Hz to 14 kHz ±2.9 dB subwoofer: 34 to 78 Hz ±2.0 dB

Sensitivity (SPL at 1 meter with 2.8 volts of pink-noise input) front left/right/surround: 85 dB center: 87 dB

Impedance (minimum/nominal) front left/right/surround: 2.5/4 ohms center: 3.2/4 ohms

Bass limits (lowest frequency and maximum SPL with limit of 10% distortion at 2 meters in a large room) front left/right/surround: 80 Hz at 85 dB center: 80 Hz at 90 dB subwoofer: 20 Hz at 96 dB SPL 105 dB average SPL from 25 to 62 Hz 109.4 dB maximum SPL at 32 Hz bandwidth uniformity 97%

All of the curves in the frequency-response graph are weighted to reflect how sound arrives at a listener's ears with normal speaker placement. The curve for the left/right front channels reflects SBS-01's response averaged over a ±30º window, with double weight at 30º (the most typical listening angle). The center-channel curve reflects the SCS-01's response averaged over ±45º, with double weight directly on-axis of the primary listener. The surround-channel curve shows the SBS-01's response averaged over ±60º. Speakers were measured on a 6-foot stand, which gives anechoic results to approximately 200 Hz. We take all measurements except those for subwoofers at a full 2 meters, which emulates a typical listening distance, allows the outputs of large speakers to fully integrate acoustically, and, unlike near-field measurements, fully includes front-panel reflections and cabinet diffraction.

SATELLITES/CENTER CHANNEL The SBS-01 satellite and SCS-01 center speaker perform surprisingly well for this price class, although with a few rough edges. The SBS-01 has a curious, narrow on-axis notch at 3.3 kHz that gets obscured by our averaging technique. It is a quite directional speaker with reasonably smooth overall response and above-average dynamic capability at low frequencies.

This solid low-frequency response is shared by the SCS-01 center speaker. Its response exhibits only minor off-axis lobing, though there's a fair degree of roughness above 1 kHz.

The SBS-01 has an unusually low impedance characteristic, remaining under 4 ohms from 100 to 500 Hz and above 3 kHz. The SCS-01 also has relatively low impedance, but not as low as its left/right/surround brother.

SUBWOOFER We measured the PB12-NSD subwoofer's bass limits with it set to maximum bandwidth and placed in the optimal corner of a 7,500-cubic-foot room. In a smaller room, users can expect 2 to 3 Hz deeper extension and as much as 3 dB greater sound-pressure level (SPL).

The PB12-NSD measurements suggest world-class dynamics, low price notwithstanding. It displays strong, deep, even bass output. Maximum SPL capability (109 dB) occurs at 32 Hz, and 102 dB SPL is available from 25 Hz upward. Bass Uniformity, which describes the sub's ability to deliver consistent output across its frequency range, measured 97%.

Although the crossover is marked 120 Hz at the top of the dial, the system half power point (-3 dB) is 78 Hz. At the lower end of the dial, measured response extends from 25 to 60 Hz when the 80-Hz position is selected and 22 to 52 Hz when 40 Hz is selected. Interestingly, overall level is increased by 6 dB at the 80-Hz position, but there is no overall level change when 40 Hz is selected. As with nearly every subwoofer I've tested, adjustments to the crossover control will require rebalancing the subwoofer level as well.

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