Up Close & Personal with SVS's Ultra Evolution Series

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SVS recently introduced a new line of speakers that has the AV world buzzing, the Ultra Evolution series. The company showcased a 5.2.2 immersion setup and a 2.0 system in two separate rooms at AXPONA 2024 to demonstrate its latest innovations.

For example, on all the new models, a diamond/carbon layer is deposited onto the aluminum dome tweeter, with a lattice diffuser added for improved high-frequency dispersion. Glass-fiber midranges and woofers round out the drivers for the line, with the Ultra Evolution Bookshelf ($599/each), Ultra Evolution Titan ($1,999/each), and Ultra Evolution Pinnacle ($2,499/each) featuring curved cabinets to help physically time-align the drivers. The Pinnacle and Titan towers also add matching woofers on the back of the cabinet, in a dual-opposed, force-canceling configuration. All enclosures in this series are ported.

The 5.2.2 Setup
The mini theater room was very simple, with a pair of the Titans up front and two Bookshelf models in the back. The system was equipped with a pair of SVS's venerable SB-3000 subwoofers ($1,200 each in gloss black) and supported by an inexpensive 4k Blu-ray player, a legacy AVR, and a budget HDTV. Height immersion was provided by Ultra Elevation speakers ($449/each), with center-channel duties handled by the Ultra Evolution Center ($799).

The Super Mario Bros. Movie arena fight scene vividly brought to my attention the envelopment of the cheering and jeering audience surrounding Mario from his perspective in the pit, making it feel like I was standing there with him. During the fight, Kong asks Mario if he has had enough, then punches him sky-high. I flinched, almost feeling that uppercut.

Moving on to the Snow Mountain Chase scene from 2014's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the bass went subsonic when Donatello flipped the truck with a jack. The SB-3000s set the entire space abuzz — room, walls, even the air — while the Ultra Evolution Titan, Center, and Bookshelf speakers firmly anchored the ground-level sounds with the Elevations adding the perfect amount of immersion.

A Star is Born rounded out the movie demos, with the duet between Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga showcasing the Ultra Evolution Center speaker's ability to project wide, life-like images while presenting great vocal clarity.

The Stereo Setup
After catching my breath from the immersion demo, I moved next door to listen to the new Ultra Evolution Pinnacle ($2,500 each). This flagship tower has a foundation of eight 8-inch woofers along with the new midranges, tweeters, and "Acoustically Centered Time Alignment Architecture." The system was supported by an Emotiva BasX PT2 preamp/DAC/tuner ($599), Emotiva XPA-2 Gen3 two-channel amplifier ($1,199), and Qobuz, streaming over Cambridge Audio's CXN100 network streamer ($1,099)

Captain Hook & Astrix's "Bungee Jump" was hopping, with electronica sounds appearing across a wide soundstage, the bass full and beefy, as can be expected from a company that has its beginnings manufacturing famously stout subwoofers.

Female voice testing via Anette Askvik's "Liberty" passed with flying colors; I found myself impressed by the solidity of the central sonic image with its locked-in holographic vocals. In my view, the Ultra Evolution Pinnacle is a do-it-all loudspeaker that brings everything you need for a high-end listening experience.

Yookie's "Sunshine of Your Wub" underpinned the bass capabilities of the Pinnacle's massive woofer array, with drivers intelligently placed at the front and back and top and bottom, helping smooth room modes, while the dual-opposed force-canceling woofer configuration minimized cabinet resonance and driver distortions. The cleanliness of the bass produced by these SVS speakers speaks to the effectiveness of the approach.

After these two demos, I found SVS's claim of "World-class sound" to be genuine and can confidently say that SVS has stepped up in a big way with the Ultra Evolution series.