SVS SB-2000 Pro Subwoofer Review


Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $899 (piano gloss black), $799 (black ash)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Big bass punch from a small form factor
Excellent value
Versatile smartphone control app
Minus
No auto-calibration/room EQ feature

THE VERDICT
The new SB-2000 Pro delivers big punch for a reasonable price, with tremendous fine-tuning capability offered by its smartphone control app.

With 12 different subwoofers in its line, I'm pretty certain that SVS makes more models than any other subwoofer manufacturer. In providing so many options, not only does the company cover a wide range of price points, but they can also offer subwoofers matched to different use cases, from high-end audiophile setups to big, slamming home theater rigs.

The range is organized into five distinct price tiers. Within each tier there are two or three different models using either sealed, ported, or, in the case of the 2000 Pro and 4000 series, cylindrical enclosures. I decided to check out something from the new 2000 Pro Series, which sits one step up from the entry level 1000 series and covers the $800-950 price range. There are three 2000 Pro series subs: the ported PB-2000 Pro ($900), the cylindrical PC-2000 Pro ($950), and the sealed SB-2000 Pro ($800), which is the model I checked out.

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Sealed subwoofers are typically recommended when the preference is for bass quality over sheer bass quantity. While they may not match the pants leg-flapping thunder or efficiency of an equivalent ported sub, they compensate with tight, articulate bass that starts and stops on a dime, making it easier to blend the sub seamlessly with audiophile speakers for music listening. At around 2,100 cubic feet, my theater room isn't exactly huge, so the SB-2000 Pro's ultimate output limitations compared with a ported sub didn't strike me as an issue. But as a guy who values music at least as much as thunderous movie playback, the advantages a sealed box can provide are important to me.

The "Pro" in SB-2000 Pro isn't there just to make it sound cool. Advancements the new model brings over the older SB-2000 include both a more powerful 550-watt RMS (1,500 watt peak) class-D amplifier along with a new longer-excursion 12-inch driver. Most significant, the SB-2000 Pro uses a wireless control app that offers adjustments far beyond the typical volume, crossover, and phase controls.

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Subwoofers with built-in automated room correction that takes the guesswork out of setting the various adjustments have been gaining in popularity in recent years. While the SB-2000 Pro doesn't offer that, the SVS subwoofer app lets you tweak parameters far beyond the basic volume, crossover, and phase controls found on most subs. The only catch is that some prior sub setup experience can be really useful to make the most of these additional setup and tuning adjustments.

The SB-2000 Pro's back panel includes the basic controls needed for setup, but instead of using a rotary knob for each, you press dedicated buttons to select volume, phase, or low-pass, and then use +/- buttons to raise or lower the setting. A row of LEDs indicates the setting for each adjustment. Inputs and other connections are pretty basic, with just a stereo RCA input and output, plus a USB port to power the optional SVS SoundPath wireless adapter ($120). Power mode selections let you choose between leaving the SB-2000 Pro powered on, auto-switched on by a signal, or controlled by a trigger input.

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The SVS Subwoofer control app communicates with the subwoofer via Bluetooth and provides a wide array of tools to optimize its output for your system and room. Along with the basic functions I mentioned above, there is a parametric equalizer with volume, bandwidth (Q), and center frequency controls, as well as three EQ presets. Using these, you can program the system to deliver bone-vibrating LFE when watching an action movie, and then switch to tighter and more tuneful bass when playing your favorite jazz recordings. When selecting low-pass frequency, the low-pass filter slope can also be changed from 6 dB first-order all the way up to 24 dB fourth-order, and there's an infinitely adjustable phase control and a simple 180 degrees polarity switch to tune the sub's blend with your main speakers. Lastly, a room gain control with adjustable frequency and slope can be used to compensate for boundary placement in smaller rooms.

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While the app's built-in FAQ details some of the adjustments, the sheer number of available tweaks can be heady stuff for the average user. It's a bit like having a sports car where you can adjust the wheel alignment settings using the dashboard controls—great if you know what you're doing, but somewhat intimidating it you don't. You can certainly stick to the basics when setting up the SB-2000 Pro, but it's also nice to know that deeper fine-tuning is possible if you choose to dive in. For example, I was able to use the EQ settings to effectively tame a known 65-Hz peak in my room.

COMPANY INFO
SVS
(877) 626-5623
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COMMENTS
jeffhenning's picture

... Come on, S&V guys, are you ever going to review a sub from Rythmik Audio? Their servo systems are just as spectacular as the subs from any other manufacturer. Possibly more so.

I have four of their L12 subs (the cheapest they make) in my home theater. I set them for optimal music performance and have found the system's headroom to be greater than what my ears and theater can take.

Total cost of the subwoofers with basic Pangea power cables, SVS sub isolation feet and Mogami Gold RCA cables was about $2,500. The performance of this system is very difficult to improve upon in my room unless you have no regard for your hearing.

One other great aspect that no non-servo sub can boast: the servo reduces distortion and any non-linear behavior by a factor of 3. It also means that break-in is basically unnecessary and that the subs will perform with incredible parity & consistency over their usable lives.

To the best of my knowledge, no other subwoofer can offer that (got this last bit from the guy who designs them).

As to SVS, why don't they include their Sub Isolation feet with their subs? They work really well. I'm basing this off of their photos.

dnoonie's picture

I like the more compact design of the Rythmik 12" offerings since I'm tight for space. I also like the XLR I/O in a smaller design. I would like to add 2 more subs to the 2 that I have for the back of the room...actually I'd like more powerful mains for that matter...all in good time. I really do like what I have!

Thanks for the review.

trynberg's picture

It's frustrating in 2020 to still read all of these outdated audiophile tropes about subwoofers. There is nothing inherently "faster" or more "musical" in a sealed design, as compared to a ported design. Especially when the sealed design relies on built-in EQ and limiting circuits (which add group delay) to achieve a reasonable response.

jeffhenning's picture

I agree that "fast" & "musical" are rather innocuous terms when it comes to a sub. The crossover is more important to getting "that". Also, most people that use those expressions aren't musicians or even bassists so it becomes even less useful and quite subjective to the impressions of a person that has never felt an instrument vibrating their body while playing it.

You are, though, very wrong about group delay and phase alignment on ported subs. The only way a ported design can work is for the rear wave in the cabinet to sum with the front wave from the woofer. The only way to do that is to make sure that what is coming out of the port is 360° out of phase with the pressure wave coming from the face of the woofer.

If the port resonance is 25Hz, the 360° phase delay places the ports emission about 40mSec or 40ft behind the direct sound from the woofer's face. There is also port noise. The cabinets also need to be larger. And you need to use an aggressive high-pass filter to control the woofer below the port frequency and that adds a ton of phase delay that starts way further than an octave north. OK, that all sounds terrible, but...

The port usually only offers boost around an two to three octaves wide around its tuning frequency so, in the case above, anything above 60Hz or so is uncorrupted by it's 360° phase distortion. Also, the transition is very mild. As the port kicks in, the woofer dies down.

If a sub's port(s) are designed correctly, port noise should be inaudible.

Also, our ears are very forgiving of phase distortion at ultralow frequencies. That doesn't mean that it can't be heard. It just means that average humans aren't hearing it well.

The big advantage of ported designs are their efficiency at the lowest frequencies supported by their ports. Below that frequency, unfortunately, everything goes down hill like a cliff. They fall apart.

On the other hand, with sealed designs, the 6dB's of EQ to get them to flat to the same level is quite benign temporally. Also, a sealed design can go lower with even extra EQ as long as you don't push it hard.

This is the decision:

#1: It's bigger, louder, has much poorer phase performance and can't go super low

#2: It's smaller, not as loud, has way better phase performance and can go super low, but don't go nuts

As a bassist, I accept that my sealed cabinets will not be as loud, but will give me exactly what my body is feeling when I play my instrument. That's my preference. Yes, I do need more of them and I'm OK with it.

I came to this decision after a few decades, but, in the 70's ported was the way to go. Also, subs didn't exist then.

I can hear the very small difference between a ported system and a sealed system. If both are properly implemented, though, the difference is quite small.

With proper DSP, those differences can be demolished. Then it just comes down to size and output.

You can bone a fish with any knife. Which one you choose is up to you.

roccobruno518's picture

It would be really nice to see a review of the Rythmik Audio F12 Direct Servo subwoofer - Signature Edition.

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