SVS SB-2000 Pro Subwoofer Review Page 2

As with most sealed subwoofers, the SB-2000 Pro is fairly compact; at 15 inches cubed, the cabinet isn't much larger than the 12-inch driver it houses. A premium black ash vinyl finish is standard, though my review sample came in piano gloss black (a $100 extra option). While the older SB-2000 came with a perforated metal grill, SVS has switched to black fabric stretched over a plastic frame for the new Pro version, which gives it a more domestically acceptable, if perhaps less high-tech look.

Setup
As I do with most subs, I installed the SB-2000 Pro in my room's front left corner aimed toward the listening position. I tried running the Audyssey MultEQ XT32 room correction program on a Denon AVR-X8500H receiver at first to see where it set things, but ultimately ended up bypassing the receiver's controls and made adjustments manually using a combination of sweep tests with a calibrated SPL meter. Lastly, I tuned adjustments by ear using familiar music and movies. I paired the SB-2000 Pro with two very different speaker types. First up was my PSB Synchrony One towers, and since these are nearly full-range, I used the sub primarily to deliver the deep bass and LFE channel with surround material. I also used it with the new Magneplanar LRS, an excellent audiophile panel speaker with fairly limited bass extension and output.

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Music Performance
Some songs on Billie Eilish's astonishing debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? have deliberately distorted bass, while others like the closing song "Goodbye" have clean bass that provides a solid foundation for Eilish's whisper-like singing voice. This track in particular let me hear just how deep the SB-2000 Pro could go, with each low note coming across as clear and perfectly defined. (With so much bass information on this recording, it left me wondering just how much of this people actually hear when they listen on the typical cheap earbuds.)

One of my favorite songs for checking speaker-subwoofer blend is the title track from The Awakening by The Reddings. This instrumental duet features Otis Redding's son Dexter slapping out an ultra-funky groove on his bass while making fast runs up and down the neck. The bass in the mix also pans back and forth between the left and right speakers, which will highlight any bass directionality problems in a system. The SB-2000 Pro's woofer never once sounded sluggish paired with the lightning-quick ribbon panels of the LRS speakers, and once I tuned in the optimum settings using a 60 Hz crossover, the small Magneplanars ended up sounding like big, full-range speakers with tight, slamming bass.

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Another effect you'll get with a good subwoofer is a sense of the volume of air in the space where a recording was made. A good example of this is the track "Abandoned and Pursued" from the E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial movie soundtrack. The orchestral score is classic John Williams, with sweeping strings and piercing woodwinds to enhance the drama, but there's also a huge-sounding bass drum to provide a foundational accent. Listened to with the SB-2000 Pro, the sheer air-moving quality of the bass drum thwacks expanded the size of the soundstage in a dramatic way that sonically transported me to the Hollywood scoring stage where the soundtrack was recorded.

Movie Performance
The excellent animated feature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has lots hard-hitting action. In one sequence, for example, Miles returns to the abandoned subway station and witnesses Spider-Man and the Green Goblin fighting. The SB-2000 Pro took this scene in stride, rendering the impacts and synthesized ultra-low frequency pulses without once sounding stressed or becoming anemic at high-volume peaks.

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Inception is a movie with plenty of scenes where the sound mixer went nuts with the LFE information, both the wall-shaking low rumbles and harder-hitting impacts. The SB-2000 Pro could go impressively deep in my modest-size, 2,100 cubic foot theater while not overloading the room or sounding boomy. I tried cranking the sound up as far as possible, but with all of my neighbors in my apartment building at home due to the COVID-19 lockdown, I didn't want to be too antisocial! While I never maxed out the limits of the SB-2000 Pro during my listening, there were times when I could see that its 12-inch driver was pumping really hard. Of course, if you have a much bigger room, there's always the company's 3000, 4000, and 16-Ultra Series models.

Conclusion
When I selected the sealed SB-2000 Pro model over the company's ported PB-2000 Pro for evaluation, I figured I was going for the audiophile option at its price level. But it turns out that the SB-2000 Pro is just as proficient at pumping out huge explosions in action movies as it is blending into a two-channel audiophile setup. Better still, the SB-2000 Pro is affordable enough that I would consider buying two a worthwhile option if you want to get more even bass distribution in your room. The SB-2000 Pro might lack the automated setup options found on some of its rivals, but all the essential controls are provided to get this impressive, highly recommended subwoofer sounding its best in your room.

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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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