SVS (also known as SVSound, previously SVSubwoofers) offers an extensive line-up of high-performance subwoofers, with eight
powered box models, and fourteen (counting both powered and passive
versions) cylinder models.
SVS has separate R&D and manufacturing facilities in Ohio, and several other
satellite offices across the United States. While the majority of SVS sales
are Internet-direct, a limited line-up of products is offered via exclusive
dealers in Europe and Australia.
SVS ships via UPS or flat rate freight depending on the product, and
provides shipping notice and tracking information to the customer via
e-mail. CONUS orders are typically received within 3-5 business days. Most
international customers will receive their order within 7-10 business days.
The model reviewed here is the PB12-Plus, which is a
ported box enclosure, with a 12" driver, and 525 watt amplifier.
I was impressed with the packaging solution for this subwoofer. It was well
engineered and very protective, and should withstand rough handling during
shipment. The attached pallet further protects the underside of the box, and
also allows a hand truck or fork truck to be used for easier transport. The
subwoofer came wrapped in a white sheet to protect the finish – a nice
Additional items in the shipping container included an SVS pen, a spare
fuse, two foam port plugs, a detachable power cord, optional rubber adhesive
feet, and the Owner’s Manual. I glanced over the manual, and found
it to be well-written and comprehensive, with good diagrams and instructions
on using the PEQ (Parametric Equalizer).
One of the more recent SVS introductions is a family of variable-tune,
single-driver box subwoofers with a new cabinet and porting design, and a
native 20 Hz tune with all ports open. The models in this family (from least
expensive to most expensive) are the PB12-ISD/V, the PB12-Plus, and the
PB12-Ultra. They are distinguished by progressively more capable woofers,
amplifier power levels, features, and finish options.
The PB12-Plus review unit came in gloss piano black finish.
Other available finishes include textured black and four real wood veneers
(oak, maple, cherry, and rosewood). The textured black cabinets are built in
the USA exclusively for SVS. The premium finished cabinets are made by Sound
Art China (SAC), the same company that builds the excellent enclosures for
(among others) the AV123 Rocket loudspeaker line.
The gloss black and wood veneer versions of this sub include a parametric
equalizer control (also found on the more expensive Ultra version). Cabinet
fit and finish on the review model were very good, and the piano gloss black
finish was deep and lustrous. The plate amp and vents were well fitted, with
tight seams and flush mounting.
The physical configuration is a downward-firing
woofer, rear mounted plate amp, three 3” wide-flared rear-firing vents, and
an integral baseplate. The baseplate provides a consistent firing surface
for the woofer, regardless of the flooring material. The baseplate comes
fitted with six semi-rigid rubber disc feet suitable for most surfaces like
carpeting or linoleum. SVS provides a packet of soft rubber 3M half-round
feet for slippery surfaces such as laminate or polished wood. Don’t install
these optional soft rubber feet until the subwoofer is located in its final
position, or they might tear off if you attempt the slide the subwoofer with
The PB12-Plus is a large subwoofer, measuring 25” tall x 18” wide x 25” deep
and weighing about 110 pounds. The large internal volume provides
exceptional efficiency and output at the deepest frequencies, and also
allowed SVS to use longer vents (with internal 90 degree elbows) to achieve the
desired vent length required for a native 20 Hz tune. The interior of the
cabinet is lined with fiberglass and features an extensive two piece brace
that also acts to internally support the triple vent tubes.
About Variable Tuning
While the native 20 Hz tune is deep enough for nearly all applications, the
PB12-Plus can be tuned even deeper. To do so, the user inserts a foam port
blocker (two are provided) and adjusts the amplifier tuning knob from 20 Hz
to 16 Hz. Inserting the port blocker drops the tuning frequency of the
enclosure to about 16 Hz, and adjusting the tuning knob enables a custom
equalization curve and high pass filter optimized for the 16 Hz tune. The
PB12-Plus can be tuned deeper still by inserting two foam port blockers and
adjusting the amplifier tuning switch to 12 Hz (again enabling a custom
equalization curve and high pass filter optimized for the 12 Hz tune).
deep extension by lowering the tune of the subwoofer sacrifices some overall
total SPL output capability, as shown in the objective testing section below. The
PB12-Plus will offer the highest overall output capability (above 20 Hz)
with all three ports open in the native tune, and this configuration is
therefore recommended for larger rooms and/or very high playback levels. In
the 16 Hz tune, the PB12-Plus still retains two 3" ports, which should
remain turbulence-free under all but the most aggressive playback levels.
The 16 Hz tune therefore represents a very good compromise between ultra
deep extension and high output capability.
In my opinion the PB12-Plus is under-ported in the 12 Hz tune, and this
might result in some port turbulence (chuffing) at high playback levels.
This tune also places considerable stress on the driver, because cone
excursion requirements increase substantially over the majority of the pass
band with a 12 Hz tuning frequency. Considering how deep this subwoofer can
play in the 20 Hz and 16 Hz tunes, I don’t see a practical reason to use the
12 Hz tune.
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