My two weeks with the new SVS PB-1000

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by pcweber111, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. pcweber111 Audiophyte

    pcweber111
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    I was introduced to the SVS brand a few years back by a friend of mine who purchased one of their first cylindrical tube subs. I remember when seeing it for the first time the movie 2001 immediately came to mind. It was huge and imposing; a black monolith that was impossible to ignore. For those with the desire to have one of the best performing subs for the money it surely was one to beat. For myself though it was really nothing but a fantasy. Being in college my funds were limited and my room not very accommodating to the sheer mass of it. Forward a few years and I had the means to afford such a beast but I got married and was thwarted by the complete lack of WAF (wife acceptance factor) it presented. I settled on a Velodyne traditional box with a huge 15" driver (CT150) as my way of compromising.

    Forward a few years, a change in lifestyle (I'll let you figure that one out), and I was again without a sub. I've actually been without a sub for a few years now but have always kept the SVS brand in mind based on the impressions I experienced years earlier plus friends and forum posters that have sung it's praises year in and year out. As I have been in an apartment though I've needed to balance what I want (sheer unadulterated power with good accuracy) against what I restrictions I have set against me (surrounded by neighbors, thinner walls, etc.). It was of sheer coincidence then that a few months ago I came across their Facebook page and saw the chance to demo a new sub that seemed to offer everything I was looking for. It had a decent sized driver, a quality amp, and was the right size. I thought "why not" and filled out the form then promptly forgot about it until I was notified that I had been chosen to demo the new PB-1000. Lucky day thanks to SVS and Audioholics!

    Shipment / Initial Impressions

    For those unfamiliar with this sub, here's a basic run-down:


    • 10" driver with a single port (damping plug available and was shipped with mine)
    • 300 watts RMS (720w peak)
    • 19-270hz +/- 3db
    • 18.4"h x 15"w x 17.4"d
    • Weight: 46lbs
    • $499 shipped

    The box arrived to my apartment double packed with their traditional outer packaging with a non-adorned inner box. It was packed with styrofoam top and bottom ends and was wrapped in a standard plastic fitting bag. Nothing too out of the ordinary here. Still, glad to see they packed it well as I've seen more expensive speakers packed in less. It wasn't too difficult at all to unpack. Flip the inner box over, slide the sub out, and away you go. All accessories were packed in bags and there was a quick start guide for simple setup. A full manual is available on their site should you wish. I'd prefer companies still give full manuals with products but I understand the need to cut a penny here and there and It's not really that big a deal. Besides, the quick start guide is fairly informative and unless you're somewhat green you'll probably know what to do with the sub anyway after some messing around with it.

    From the moment I unpacked it I was impressed with the build quality. It's traditional black ash but with rounded corners which results in a fairly pleasing look to the cabinet. The driver is covered by a cloth grill that allows the "active" light to shine through. It's a pretty stiff design and definitely doesn't feel cheap. The logo is on the bottom and the wrap is of decent quality and I doubt it will fray from the edges unless you aren't careful with it. My only issue though is that it's a bit too firm and prying it off the front of the cabinet took some effort. If you never take it off it's not a big deal but I was a bit disappointed magnets weren't used. It's surely for cost and that's ultimately OK as in the end you'll probably either just leave the grill on or off. Still you should probably take some care because I could see the plugs from the cover breaking off should you pry too hard.

    There's a blue/red LED towards the top left of the front that indicates whether or not the sub is active or not. It glows red when it's off and blue when it's on. With the cover off the blue color can be a bit distracting if you keep the sub up front and grill off. With the grill on though it's muted a bit and not bothersome. Around the back the usual assortment of knobs and dials and RCA-style inputs are available. They're all clearly marked and placed in a common sense layout. There's a knob for volume, phase (adjustable from 0-180 degrees) and a low pass filter should you decide to use the internal crossover. Below that is a two-way toggle for auto/standby or On. Leaving it on doesn't really draw that much more power than auto but for those that can't stand wasting juice the option is there. There's also a trigger input (3v-12v AC/DC) which is a bit interesting for a sub in this price range and is a welcomed feature should you have a remote trigger option on your receiver. As I had one available I decided to use it. It works as advertised too. Switch your receiver or pre/pro on and the light turns blue to let you know it's on. It's pretty fool proof. Moving down there are the standard R/L in/out for use with separate amps. The "R" RCA input is labeled LFE if you use the LFE out on your receiver/preamp. This is what I used as well. Lastly below that are high level speaker inputs should you have an older system without an LFE option (think: older Bose style passive setups). It's interesting to see this continue to be offered as I know practically no one that will ever use it but hey it's there. The power switch and detachable power cable are on the bottom left. It uses a standard two pronged "notched" design. Not surprising as this isn't a super powerful amp but I like the idea of a detachable cord in case you want to use a higher quality cord from a third party. SVS like most companies will always recommend you use the cord that came with the unit though (warranty issues could come into play) but if you don't care go it's an option. As this is a test sub I stayed with what came in the box.

    Performance Impressions

    I'll give a brief run-down of my system so you can see what I was working with:


    • Denon AVR-3310CI in 5.1 configuration
    • Panasonic DMP-BD85K BD player
    • Klipsch Reference front end (RF35 fronts, RC35 center)
    • Klipsch Icon W rears (2 x WB-14)
    • Monster Power HTPS7000 power center
    • Monster M series speaker cable and various interconnects
    • Samsung PN-50C550 50" plasma

    The sub was tried in a "corner loaded" configuration as that was really the only place in my living room I could fit it. As I primarily watch BD movies this was the main source of reference material although I have an Xbox 360 that I play games on. I'll start first with movie impressions. For testing I used the following movies:


    1. Cloverfield
    2. Thor
    3. Contact

    After running manual calibration and then Audyssey I felt using a standard THX reference crossover (80hz) provided the best blend with my speakers. After it was set and the level on my receiver turned hot 3db I was able to set the sub volume to a comfortable level a few notches in-between halfway and three fourths to max. I then proceeded to try out Cloverfield first. As I remember this one from the theater and with my older sub I felt it would be a good way to see just how fast and deep the sub could go when pushed. I tried the tank scene near the beginning with they first run into the Cloverfield monster. It started off well enough with the faint rumble of the soldiers and vehicles. It was fast, definitely noticeable, but once they turned the corner and ran into the monster, WOW! Talk about a kick to the gut! Man, I honestly didn't expect a 10" sub to be able to hit this hard and loud. The walls shook and his footsteps were delivered with enough force to make you think he was in the room. Amazing. It wasn't muddy at all, there wasn't any boominess (even being corner loaded) and going between the footsteps and the tank shooting you could distinctly make out each without them fading together. All the while the exploding munitions and machine guns each had their own distinct level of force that was easily noticeable an appreciated. It didn't quite have the just punch you in the face brute force of my older Velodyne but then again the smaller driver made for quicker transients and for a smaller room the differences aren't that pronounced should you keep them at relative volume levels.

    Next up was Thor. This was an interesting movie as to me it isn't quite as effective a demo as Cloverfield. The early battle between Thor and the ice giants proved to be pleasing though as the low end rumble of the the footsteps and chase of the creature was definitely noticeable. It's a more subtle movie in terms of just out and out explosions. It did have it's moments though and the final battle between Thor and the Sentry provided plenty of boom. Again, not as pronounced as other movies but the ability for the 10" driver to handle everything from low low end to upper bass proved impressive. It's definitely something I was missing with my old sub as that one was low end heavy.

    Finally I tried out Contact. It seems an odd choice at first but there are a few scenes that I felt would be a good choice. First up was the final launch scene before Ellie goes into the worm hole. There was a definite constant rumble from the beginning of the scene until she finally departs and while not quite "boom" it provided enough pressure to be uncomfortable which I think was their intent. You knew the power of the machine and with each sweeping pass of the oscillating structure the sub would demonstrate it's ability to hit hard and hit fast. Much appreciated. Next was the wormhole sequence itself. Again, not a pure bombastic scene but with each stop at the way and rattle of the machine itself you could "feel" what it would be like to be inside. Having decent surround action helps of course but the ever persistent low end wobble effect caused me to get lost in the moment. It brings a feeling of power to the scene and like the earlier action really lent itself to the accuracy smaller drivers are known for. No boominess here, just nice clean, fast mid to low bass. If you haven't heard this scene with a sub like this one I recommend you do. It's a pretty impressive experience.

    For games I played Forza Horizon as I'm addicted to the game and can't put it down. As it turned out that was a good thing as the different car notes provided an excellent way to test the abilities of the sub. American muscle sounded every bit it's namesake as the low end warble that really put the muscle in American muscle (sorry, corny I know lol). Deep rumbles from cars like the Charger made for a distinctive impression that left me wanting the car in real life. It's my red-bloodedness I guess. :p Each crash, slam, and paint trading was made all the more effective with the force provided by the sub. You could almost feel your bones snap hitting the wall at 160mph! All in all I was pleased and while I didn't really get to try out many games what I heard was more than enough to know it will be a decent performer with any game you want. Accuracy ability to hit at mid bass is a plus since most games prioritize that anyway. There's very few games I've ever played that you would notice anything lower than mid-40s or 30s. In the end it did what I wanted it to do and I was pleased.

    Although I didn't mention it above I did listen to some music when time permitted. I tried some standard rap and EDM (electronic dance music) in addition to some jazz and classical. Rap performed as expected with plenty of thump in the low end. Accuracy wasn't important here as I've noticed most rap ignores it anyway for ultimate thump. In that case it worked wonders. It didn't hit as hard as my old 15" and in that regard if you're into rap or EDM or anything that emphasizes hard hitting mid bass you could get away with this sub but you might prefer something bigger. For jazz and classical though it worked much better. Faster response time, better transients, smoother roll off in the lower end, yeah I could definitely see myself enjoying this sub for every day listening. It's never fatiguing, always accurate, and provides enough low end to capture the complete range of instruments. Very nice.

    Final Impressions

    When I was first given the option to demo this sub for a chance to win one and to ultimately see what SVS is capable of at this price point I was very intrigued. I was in need of a sub and was really at odds on what to do. It almost seemed like divine intervention that I was asked to share my thoughts on their new sub. I'm really glad I did though because this was proof enough to me that you can indeed be thrifty with your purchase and still receive a quality product. The build quality alone is enough to impress me but throw in the feature set, the performance, and the all around friendliness of the company and I think they've found a new fan. I cannot recommend this enough. For those who the sub will be a good fit for (small to average sized rooms, apt. dwellers, those who want good power at a decent price) this is more sub than you should be able to get for twice the price. Consider me converted! Thanks to Ed Mullen and the fine folks and SVS for their hospitality and thanks to Audioholics for allowing me to share with you guys my impressions of what I consider probably the best buy for a sub I've ever seen.

    Picture Gallery

    As you can see, the black ash finish is very nice
    [​IMG]

    A closer look at the driver, the led, and the port
    [​IMG]

    Imposing...
    [​IMG]

    That grill has kung fu grip
    [​IMG]

    Rear Panel
    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
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  2. pcweber111 Audiophyte

    pcweber111
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    I'm sure I forgot something in the review so please ask away should you want. Thanks!

    Phil
  3. vicolindo Audiophyte

    vicolindo
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    Great review! you got my vote
  4. Redhookrr Audiophyte

    Redhookrr
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    Good Review. Can you give your room dimensions. Thanks.
  5. pcweber111 Audiophyte

    pcweber111
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    The room was 14 x 17, so not small but not really that large. The room does have vaulted ceilings though so that proved a bit tricky but calibration worked out any kinks. I didn't use any bass traps or and treatments of any kind really because most people probably won't and I'd like to hear how it sounded in a standard smallish living room.
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  6. l0gikal1 Audiophyte

    l0gikal1
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    Nice work man, you nailed it. Very informative and straight to the point.
  7. afterlife2 Audioholic Ninja

    afterlife2
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    Congrats!:D
  8. pcweber111 Audiophyte

    pcweber111
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    Hey thanks! :D It was an interesting experience and fun to see what you get for the money. I think the only issue for some people might be the size of the box but really even then it's not that large. My old sub from a few years back was quite a bit larger and heavier. Really it's a pretty nice total package and I'm kind of glad they don't do brick and mortar retailers as I'm sure they would have to charge more for it or reduce the quality and/or feature set to meet the same price point. Overall this was a very good experience and I'm grateful. I think I might buy one now to have dual subs. :)
  9. dracullus Audioholic Intern

    dracullus
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    Congrats Phil! :) Enjoy the sub. A dual-sub setup would be awesome, I was thinking about doing the same thing!
  10. j_garcia Audioholic Jedi

    j_garcia
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    IMO, the size really isn't that bad. My 1st gen PB-10 was larger than that one and it looks like they shrunk it a bit and still squeezed a bit more performance out of it.

    Nice review. Congrats!

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