SVS SB-3000 Subwoofer Review

Build Quality
PRICE Price: $1,099 (piano gloss black), $999 (black ash)

Outstanding performance for price
Excellent iOS/Android control app
Compact form factor
Lacks auto-calibration/room EQ

SVS continues its tradition of providing more than ample bass for your buck, this time in a relatively compact subwoofer accompanied by a useful setup and control app.

Over the past 15 years I've reviewed more A/V products than I can count, but the ones I most look forward to watching the FedEx guy hoist off the delivery truck are subwoofers. That's mainly because I love hearing bass—the more the better. Also, the reviewing process gives me an opportunity to revisit some of my favorite movie bass torture-test scenes to see if the latest, greatest subwoofer is up to snuff.

Based in Youngstown, Ohio, SVS has been manufacturing subwoofers since the late 1990s. They started out as a little internet-direct company that sold their wares via online enthusiast forums but have since grown into a global powerhouse with dealer partners all over the world. I've owned many SVS subs over the years and have recommended them countless times to friends and family. In fact, I still use a 15-year-old SVS PC-Ultra in my reference system. (Sure, the upgrade bug has tried to bite me many times over the years, but my wife continues to exercise her veto power as the household CFO.)

Like other companies, speaker makers must regularly innovate and release new products or the competition will pass them by. SVS certainly isn't one to rest on its laurels. I've had at least one new SVS sub find its way to my home theater each year for the past few years, and 2019 is no different.


The company's latest 3000 Series offering consists a pair of subs—one ported (PB-3000) and the other sealed (SB-3000)—in relatively modest-size enclosures. Unfortunately, I had to choose just one, so I went with the SB-3000 for a few reasons. First, I'm aware from previous experience that SVS already knows how to make a reference ported sub and didn't want to give them a layup. Second, the company's marketing states that the SB-3000's reference-level performance "has never been available at this price from a cabinet of this size." A bold claim, but can they back it up? Read on and see….

In the Beginning
The genesis of the 3000 Series extends back a few years to the introduction of the company's 16-Ultra Series, where SVS brought ultra-premium performance to the under-$2,500 subwoofer category and earned a Sound & Vision Top Pick in the process. Next came the 4000 series, which featured slightly smaller woofers (13.5-inch versus 16-inch) and smaller enclosures at a correspondingly lower price. While this move provided customers with more choices, $1,500 remains a lot of coin for most. Could the engineers at SVS push the subwoofer price/performance envelope even further?

As it turns out, yes, they could, and with the SB-3000 they have. The new SVS sub is on the dainty side as far as high-performance models go, measuring 15.2 x 15 x 17.8 inches (WxHxD) and weighing a comparatively back-friendly 54.5 pounds. The SB-3000 is available in two finishes: Black Ash or Piano Gloss Black (reviewed here) with a rigid metal grille to protect the front-firing woofer. Generally speaking, as a subwoofer's cabinet and woofer get smaller, output below 25Hz is reduced, but the engineers at SVS have somehow found a way to coax sub-20Hz extension from this little beast along with surprisingly strong output.

The custom-designed 13-inch high-excursion driver that the SB-3000 uses is possibly the company's best one yet. A new split-coil design seems to be the secret ingredient that delivers the big breakthrough in performance. When playing at moderate levels, only the middle part of the coil is used. Then, as the volume gets louder and the increased demand for low-frequency extension kicks in, the coil expands, allowing you to hear—and feel—the power of the music or soundtrack. The SB-3000 features a Sledge 800-watt continuous class-D amplifier with over 2,500 watts of peak power. Hookup options include line-level inputs/outputs, a 12-volt trigger input, and a port for an SVS Wireless Adapter (sold separately for $120). There's also a detachable grounded power cord.


Setup And Use
The SB-3000's rear panel contains digital controls to adjust the low-pass filter setting, phase, and volume, but I wouldn't even bother bending down to make those adjustments manually. Instead, I'd recommend downloading SVS's excellent 3000 Series subwoofer app, which uses your phone's Bluetooth connection to control the subwoofer.

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hk2000's picture

"Looking at my measurements, what most shocked me . . ." Speaking of measurements, where are they?

Tommy Lee's picture

S&V has stopped publishing measurements for audio components. The reviews sometimes mention such things, but they are never printed. This makes many of the reviews, especially of speakers, totally useless. TVs get a complete set of measurements, but nothing for audio products. I have protested, as have many others, but nobody appears to be listening. The "explanation" from the editor in the magazine was nonsensical. As a result, after many years of reading Audio, Stereo Review and Sound & Vision, I am allowing my subscription to lapse. I'll just visit this site occasionally, and S&V will get no more money from me.

HJC001's picture

Use of "WAF" is offensive. However, remarks of domesticity make the writing more relevant and enjoyable--good work!

David Vaughn's picture
Sorry the use of WAF is offensive to you and I don't use it to offend, it's a reality in my home. If my wife doesn't accept it, I have zero chance of keeping it! As for relevant and enjoyable, thank you very much :)
Mrsnikoph78's picture

So what are the CEA 2010 measurements for the sub? If it is better than a ported 15 incher I was considering, I would buy this because it is smaller and sealed, so maybe a little better for certain kinds of music.

Tommy Lee's picture

S&V will never tell you the CEA 2010 numbers, or anything else that would require them to get out a measuring device such as a sound level meter. They have become useless.

David Vaughn's picture
The SVS website provides measurements that have always been accurate when compared to third-party testing.
3ddavey13's picture

I have a small (1600 cu. ft.) dedicated HT and after reading the S&V review of SB3000 purchased one from SVS. Luckily for me they were selling a piano black one for $999 because there was a blemish in the finish (took me about 5 minutes to find it!). The sound quality compared to my aging Paradigm PW2200 was incredible - tight, well-defined bass instead of a low boom. While the SB3000 provides more than enough oomph for my room, I plan to add another one. Unfortunately the only way I can calibrate the sub is with Audyssey MultEQ XT32 on a Marantz SR7011 which gives some rather strange results. The sub resides ~ 10' from my sitting position. For the PW2200 I typically get results ranging from 25 to 30 ft. The SB3000 is better coming in at 15-18 ft. Has anyone else had a similar experience? Can I trust Audyssey to set up a sub? I'd like to know before I buy another SB3000. I really don't want to spend $300 on a microphone and software which I don't know how to use. Or should I call (shudder) the Geek Squad?

3ddavey13's picture

I recently contacted SVS when my 13-month old SB3000 died. They never once mentioned that my warranty had expired. Instead of shipping the sub back, they had me perform a simple test to determine whether the amplifier or speaker was at fault (it was the amp). They promptly shipped me a new amp module which was easy to install (1 plug & 10 screws) plus a return shipping label for the old amp. Final cost: $0.00