If you’re experienced in the high end home audio world you’ve probably heard of SVS. Their recent expansion into the full-range market already made a lasting impression with our staff (check out our review of their Ultra Desktop Speakers). Even with how impressive their full-range offering is, their true “wheelhouse” lies in their subwoofer offerings. For over ten years now SVS has come out with some of the finest subwoofers on the planet. You can imagine our excitement when we got our hands on one of their latest, the SVS SB-2000 Sealed Subwoofer.
Sealed vs. Ported Subwoofers
This is an elementary explanation of sealed vs ported subwoofers. If you’re experienced in this area feel free to pass over!
Put simply, ported subwoofers have larger enclosures allowing air to flow freely from the woofer’s cone. The advantages offered by ported subwoofers include louder volumes, deeper bass, and less coil heat (in most scenarios). Conversely, a sealed subwoofer has no “free flowing” air coming from the woofer cone to the outside of the box. A sealed subwoofer gives you advantages such as “tighter” more responsive bass, better accuracy, less of a “boomy” reverberating sound, and a smaller enclosure for easier integration. It’s a highly debated topic that goes much deeper than a single paragraph, but for simplicity sake you can generalize it as this: Sealed woofers are a more accurate audio purist solution, where ported woofers are the better choice for someone looking for the loudest option possible.
Design & Dimensions
The SB-2000 is the definition of modern elegance. You won’t find any gimmicky led’s or flashy SPL output displays screaming “look at me”. It has a straight-to-business design that is clean, simple, and attractive. The SB-2000 is available in your choice of two finishes, Black Ash or Piano Black (both pictured below). Both finishes are designed to mesh perfectly with an existing speaker system if you choose to display your new powerhouse woofer in the open.
The SB-2000 also comes with a protective mesh grille to protect the dust cap and surround from flexing into a sharp object. Personally I think using the grille is comparable to putting a veil on the Mona Lisa, but it’s handy to have if you’re looking to protect your investment.
14.6″h, 14.2″w, 17.2″d
3/4 medium density fiberboard
Protective mesh grille, rubber feet for ground isolation
Audio terms you should know
Amplitude – Simply put, this means loudness. Amplitude and SPL are very close in nature.
SPL – Sound pressure level, measured in dB (decibals). When referring to a subwoofer, more SPL = more air displacement when the woofer is firing.
RMS – Maximum continued power output, the true measure of an amplifier’s power.
While the sleek and modern design is appealing, appearance should be an afterthought when looking for a high end subwoofer. The SB-2000 had us floored during performance testing. Simply put, it’s hands down one the best sealed woofers we’ve ever heard. It’s a true heavy-hitter with pinpoint accuracy and enough performance tuning to match any pre-existing home theater setup. We ran all tests in our medium sized testing room, and it’s important to tune your SB-2000 to fit it’s performance space.
While sealed enclosures aren’t necessarily known for their amplitude (physical strength), the SB-2000 had no problem hitting explosive numbers during SPL tests. It’s “sweet spot” covers anywhere from 30 Hz up to approximately 200 Hz, which is where the frequency “roll off” begins. It’s frequency response to amplitude couldn’t sound better. Regardless of which woofer tone was playing, the SB-2000 exhibited a smoothness that only exists in a top-tier subwoofer.
The SB-2000’s thunderous amplitude is a testament to it’s built-in Sledge Amplifier. It handles a true 500 watts rms with ease, with the ability to peak at 1100 watts when needed. The built-in amplifier comes with all the necessary performance tuning features you’ll need to tweak your woofer’s output. We’ll cover these below under the features and fine-tuning section.
This is what having a sealed subwoofer is all about, audio purists will cry tears of joy at it’s lightning fast accuracy. Even at room shaking volume the SB-2000 exhibited stunning clarity and precision. While most subwoofers have trouble with lower-frequency precision, the SB-2000 didn’t waiver. We never detected any hint of reverberation or distortion.
Features & Fine Tuning
As previously mentioned, it’s important to performance tune your subwoofer to fit the room it’s firing in. The built in Sledge amplifier comes with three important tuning features needed to tweak the SB-2000’s performance, as well as additional power-saving features for the audiophile who doesn’t want to waste energy.
Volume Control – Manual volume adjustment, important for fine-tuning the SB-2000 during 2-channel applications.
Phase Control – Allows the user to tweak the signal delay being processed through the Sledge amplifier. This is an important adjustment for certain setups to perfect the overall soundstage.
Low Pass Filter Adjustment – Manually adjust the upper frequency limit being handled by your subwoofer. This also comes with an LFE setting to disable this functionality completely.
Auto Standby Functionality – When toggled on the subwoofer conserves power when an active signal isn’t detected.
It’s easy to see our entire staff has been floored by the SVS experience. Both the Ultra Desktop Speakers and the SB-2000 are absolute top of the line products and hands down BestStuff Editor Choice Award winners. While a starting price point of $699 may drive the average consumer away from the SB-2000, those in the high end home theater market should know that the performance and value brought to the table make it a worthwhile purchase. There’s no question in our mind’s that the SVS SB-2000 is one of the best on the market.