Secrets Product Review

SVS SBS-01 5.1 Speaker System

Part II

November, 2005

John E. Johnson, Jr.


The Setup

We tested the SVS system with a Denon 5900 DVD Player, Theta Casablanca III SSP, Classé CA-5200 Power Amplifier, Panasonic PT-AE900U Projector, and Stewart Grayhawk Screen. Cables were Nordost.

First up was Batman Forever (1995). Obviously, I love action movies, and this one has no shortage.

How about the scene in the helicopter where Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones) is telling his henchman to dump a safe containing Batman in the water. The music is playing, the helicopter engine is going fluppety, fluppety, fluppety, and Two-Face is talking. Could I understand what he was saying? Yup. These speakers may be inexpensive, but quality-wise, they are way up there.

Well, I guess things didn't work out the way Two-Face wanted, and the 'copter gets all busted up against the Statue of Liberty. This is where the PB10-ISD subwoofer struts its stuff. At $429 by itself, this subwoofer is really something.

Of course, there were times during the movie that it did not matter what the speakers sounded like.

I watched some other movies with the SVS package, but I won't bore you with the details. Suffice it to say I was astounded at the sound quality you get for $899 with these speakers and subwoofer. Clarity, power, soundstage . . . it's all there. (Screen shots are copyright with Warner Brothers.)

The SVS setup was great with music too.

We get lots of CDs, DVD-As, and SACDs coming through the lab, and I took the opportunity to listen to several of them with the SVS package.

If you have not heard Hiromi, you need to beg or borrow one of her discs. She is some kind of talent. She plays the piano, accompanied by bass and drums. It's high powered jazz.

This new SACD from Telarc (Hiromi: Spiral, Telarc SACD-63631) showcases her skills, and the SVS speakers handled her gently but firmly.

You can play the disc in a CD player, but it sounds its best with multi-channel SACD playback.

Keep in mind that the speakers, being bookshelf in size, are best crossed over to keep the deep frequencies from wasting energy on a 5-1/4" woofer. Say about 80 Hz? And, the PB10-ISD does not have a crossover, so you need to use the one in your SSP or receiver. Setting it for THX would be fine.

The speakers are not very sensitive (85-87 dB), so you need some power to go with them. Receivers with 75-125 watts RMS per channel would do the job.

Click Here to Go to Part III.

© Copyright 2005 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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