SVS SB-1000 Pro Review – Budget subwoofer takes on all comers
Small but perfectly formed, this powerful sealed sub delivers deep bass from minimal space. Add in the Bluetooth ...
How has SVS managed to get so much bass out of a sealed cabinet so compact and so affordable? Steve Withers falls in love with the SB-1000 Pro. Read our SVS SB-1000 Pro Review.
SINCE 1999 AMERICAN company SVS has built a formidable reputation by mainly focusing on one thing – manufacturing powerful home cinema subwoofers that don’t cost the earth. It has some beefy models in its lineup, topping out at the 16-Ultra Series (ported and sealed models with 16in woofers), but the SB-1000 Pro is a timely reminder that amongst the pricier, bigger boom boxes, it can still knock up a compact sealed unit with a sub-£ ticket. And why wouldn’t it? Models like this sell like hot cakes.
PRODUCT: Front-firing sealed subwoofer with 12in driver
POSITION: SVS’s entry model below the 2000 Pro Series
PEERS: Paradigm Defiance V12; REL HT/1205
Okay, it’s not as seductively small as the dual-driver 3000 Micro reviewed, but this sub still appears to be a spot of infrasonic magic, because somehow SVS has managed to cram a 12in driver into a cabinet measuring 13in wide. There’s also real power behind that driver, producing a performance that belies the SB-1000 Pro’s diminutive dimensions. Build quality seems spot on, too.
The 1000 Series is the final SVS lineup to get the ‘Pro’ treatment, which, over recent years, has seen the company filter down features from its high-end models to its mid-range and now entry-level subwoofers. This means the 1000 Pro Series not only benefits from a new driver, but also juiced-up amplification, and the now ubiquitous Bluetooth control app.
Pinch even more pennies
There are two options in the 1000 Pro Series – the ported PB-1000 Pro, and the sealed SB-1000 Pro reviewed here. The ported model only comes in a pedestrian black ash finish, but costs a very reasonable £. The sealed unit offers a bit more choice in the looks department, with the same black ash, but also piano gloss black, and lacquered gloss white, options. We usually recommended going for the saucier gloss variants, but as the finish upgrade amounts to around 15 per cent of the sub’s price, maybe don’t bother.
The two models use the same driver, amplification, and black fabric grille, and offer an identical set of features. So the only difference (aside from being ported) is that the PB-1000 Pro is bigger and claims a greater bass extension – 17Hz compared to the SB-1000’s suggested 20Hz. However, the black ash SB-1000 Pro represents serious affordability when you consider all you get for your hard-earned readies.
The 12in driver features a fibre composite cone for improved stiffness, and a proprietary injection-moulded surround designed to deliver better control and accuracy. This is powered by a Sledge STA-325D Class D amplifier rated at 325W RMS, with peaks up to 820W. An Analog Devices DSP engine – ‘the most advanced digital processor ever used in a subwoofer,’ boasts SVS – then takes control of signal filtering and EQ.
- Audio Affair will give you £20 off all orders over £250 when you use the code 7RW20.
At the rear is the now standard Intelligent Control Interface (ICI), which is a glorified name for a control panel composed of six buttons and some pretty lights. The reality is you’ll never touch the ICI, because SVS’s smartphone app provides full control without having to get off the sofa. Everything from setup and control to manual parametric EQ is at your fingertips.
Connections are line-level and speaker-level inputs, line-level output, a 12V trigger, and a USB port for SVS’s optional SoundPath wireless adapter.
Ready for tomorrow, flying panda?
I kicked things off with my usual round of infrasonic Blu-ray liveners: the opening credits sequence of Edge of Tomorrow; the ‘skadoosh’ scene in Kung Fu Panda; the catalyst bomb in Ready Player One; and the drum dance in House of Flying Daggers. The SB-1000 Pro
‘Bass extension and power to spare, and it plumbs the depths with a cabinet barely bigger than the driver itself’
demonstrated all the key SVS attributes such as depth, slam and sheer output. However, what was really surprising was that all this powerful low-end energy was being generated by a tiny black cube. This sub might be designed for smaller spaces, but that doesn’t mean it’s only fit for your dinky games den. It’s more than suitable for movie night in larger environments.
Sealed models generally tend to offer a faster response and better driver control when compared to their ported siblings, and the SB-1000 Pro is no exception. In the opening of The Greatest Showman (4K BD) – a fantastic test of stop-start LFE – the enthusiastic circus crowd stamped their feet in unison, and the effect made me feel like the bleachers could collapse at any second.
Later on the film’s star-crossed lovers sing while swinging around the Big Top on trapeze cables and ropes, and there’s a perfectly timed low-end thump as counterweights smash into the circus floor. The SB-1000 Pro snapped into action with relish.
Such speed from a subwoofer is always welcome, but let’s be honest – if you’ve got a home cinema then at some point you’re going to want to blow something up. The Outpost on Amazon Prime Video provides such opportunities in spades, with a battle that takes up the second half of the film. The awesome 5.1 mix erupts into a barrage of big bass moments, and each is unique to its specific sound effect.
There’s small weapons fire, machine guns, big 50-calibres, grenades and RPGs. These low-end hits are all subtly different. The SVS SB-1000 Pro renders these carefully designed bass signatures with nuance, but does so with a visceral energy. By the end I actually felt shellshocked.
Having previously reviewed the SVS SB-2000 Pro [ HCC #309], I found myself wondering whether that mid-range model justifies its price premium over the SB-1000 Pro. Both use a single, frontfiring 12in driver and have identical sets of features, although the SB-2000 Pro is slightly larger and has more amplifier grunt. As a result it can go a tiny bit deeper with greater output but, depending on the size of your room, it becomes hard to justify the additional cost when the SB-1000 Pro is this good.
King of the bargain bassmakers
Ultimately this subwoofer represents the very essence of what SVS does so well – it’s solidly built, offers some attractive finishes, and boasts high-end features that include a really useful Bluetooth control app. More importantly it has bass extension and power to spare, and manages to plumb the depths with a cabinet barely bigger than the driver itself. Once you factor in the price, the SB-1000 Pro becomes irresistible, and is now the budget sub to beat
Small but perfectly formed, this powerful sealed sub delivers deep bass from minimal space. Add in the Bluetooth control app, and at this price it’s hard to resist.
DRIVE UNITS: 1 x 12in fibre composite woofer ENCLOSURE: Sealed FREQUENCY RESPONSE (CLAIMED): 20Hz-270Hz (+/-3dB) ONBOARD POWER (CLAIMED): 325W (820W peak) Sledge Class D amp REMOTE CONTROL: No. Bluetooth app instead DIMENSIONS: 342(h) x 330(w) x 375(d)mm WEIGHT: 11.1kg
FEATURES: Low-level stereo phono input; LFE phono input; low-level stereo phono output; stereo speaker-level inputs; 12V trigger; SVS Bluetooth app with three-band parametric EQ; crossover and phase control; Movie, Music and Custom presets; Intelligent Control Interface; Analogue Devices Audio 56-bit DSP; supports SVS SoundPath wireless audio adapter
THE OUTPOST: Director Rod Lurie’s visceral retelling of the Battle of Kamdesh has a B-grade budget and cast (including the sons of Clint Eastwood and Mel Gibson, and the grandson of Richard Attenborough), but features an A-grade 5.1 audio mix. Definitely worth hunting down on Prime Video.