SVS PB12-NSD Subwoofer Review

A

admin

Audioholics Robot
Staff member
Ratings
1,633
#1
SVS has long been known for high performance subwoofers and the PB12-NSD while the most cost effective vented subwoofer in the current line up, still musters up a hefty amount of room filling bass. (Also offered is the PC12-NSD cylinder version which is said to have nearly identical performance.) Tipping the scales at 66lbs the heart of the PB12-NSD is a quality 12" long throw, aluminum cone driver vented through a 4" diameter flared port, all housed in a large, well braced, black vinyl wrapped enclosure, which happens to be the only finish option available. The brains of the operation come from a 400 watt version of SVS's Sledge amplifier platform. This combination available shipped to your home for $769, provides extension with authority to 20Hz and perhaps a bit lower in some rooms. Build, performance and parts quality for this price range were all found to be exceptional. While the PB12-NSD is short on finish options and may not have some of the extra bells and whistles offered by other subwoofers on the market, what it does do very well is the task of producing accurate and powerful bass with depth and finese that most other subs in this price range cannot match, as evidenced by the PB12-NSD achieving the Audioholics Large Room rating. At the end of the day that is what a subwoofer is supposed to do and the PB12-NSD does not disappoint.


Discuss "SVS PB12-NSD Subwoofer Review " here. Read the article.
 
Adam

Adam

Audioholic Jedi
Ratings
12,205 49
#2
Great review - thanks! I'm glad that AH and SVS are friendly again.

Any chance of reviewing one of their cylinders, as well? While they are reported to be very similar, I'd love to see an apples-to-apples comparison from AH.
 
G

gotchaforce

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
20
#3
Its amazing that no other website has picked up a guy like ricci before... these tests are invaluable for internet direct subs and showing which sub is worth their salt.
 
cel4145

cel4145

Audioholic
Ratings
84 2
#4
Very good review, so I'm not complaining. The review has "fit and finish" listed twice in the report card at the end. Should one of those have been "features" like with some of the other reviews?
 
F

FirstReflection

AV Rant Co-Host
Ratings
893
#7
Another great review of another great SVS sub!

It's obvious SVS has gone for linearity with their current lineup, even of it means they can't boast higher output levels at only a few or a small range of frequencies ;)

It's interesting that if you look at the 20Hz output, each step up in model basically adds around 3-3.5dB more output. The NSD at around 103, the Plus at around 106-107 and the Ultra at a hair over 110. Might not seem like much, but it's literally a doubling of power. It's just interesting to note that you can basically move up in the model lineup or get a pair of subs that are one model down. And the prices sort of track with that too. Makes perfect sense, really ;)
 
Marshall_Guthrie

Marshall_Guthrie

Audioholics Videographer Extraordinaire
Ratings
172
#8
Its amazing that no other website has picked up a guy like ricci before... these tests are invaluable for internet direct subs and showing which sub is worth their salt.
Josh did great work at a couple forums before coming to audioholics. I'm glad he's chosen to make audioholics his permanent home.
 
Marshall_Guthrie

Marshall_Guthrie

Audioholics Videographer Extraordinaire
Ratings
172
#9
Great review. I was an early owner of this sub and your observations match my own. I didn't have the guts to take mine apart though for fear of bending something up :)

One suggestion: you may want to note the model number on the Tabbed Measurement Data as "PB12-NSD (2011)" or similar as SVS has been updating their models every couple years without much in the way of model number changes. People logging in to view your data may confuse it with the previous model.

Keep up the stellar work.
 
H

homwerk

Audioholic Intern
#10
Great review. I was an early owner of this sub and your observations match my own. I didn't have the guts to take mine apart though for fear of bending something up :)

One suggestion: you may want to note the model number on the Tabbed Measurement Data as "PB12-NSD (2011)" or similar as SVS has been updating their models every couple years without much in the way of model number changes. People logging in to view your data may confuse it with the previous model.

Keep up the stellar work.
this is a great idea. I had to double check when I was comparing this data to some of the other subs that were reviewed.
 
D

DS-21

Full Audioholic
Ratings
186
#11
A big amp, big vented box, and Peerless XXLS12 adds up to a good sub. Who woulda thought! :)

Actually, someone did, a while ago.

That was the sub that won the old Keith Yates Way Down Deep comparison.

Four of these SVS subs will likely be quite close to that, based on drivers used and amplifier power. Maybe even a smidge better, unless the Gennie amps have higher peak power.

And be about the same gross volume in the room.

So the big difference is that the Gennie is about 10 grand (and, being a single unit, harder to schlepp around) while four of these subs are less than a third as much. (And no less attractive, really.)

Nice job, SVS!
 
pbc

pbc

Audioholic
Ratings
80
#12
Awesome review as usual Josh. Interesting, looks like a 2 to 3db difference between SVS's numbers at 25/31/40 vs Ricci's, while the rest of the range is within 1 - 2 db?


Below is our CEA-2010 data set for the SVS PB12-NSD. This is 2 meters ground plane outdoors.

The data is dB Peak as reported by the software. For 1M add 6 dB. For dB RMS subtract 3 dB.

Excellent bandwidth uniformity is a primary SVS design goal. Note the max output of the subwoofer only varies 5 dB between 20 Hz and 80 Hz, indicating extemely good output uniformity.

We'll be getting a PB12-NSD over to AH and Josh for test/review soon. If you have any questions, fire away. Thx.

Freq/dB Peak/% THD/Comments

10/NA/NA/Insufficient SNR
12.5/89.1/15.2/Limited by 3rd Order Harmonic
16/99.0/19.0/Limited by 3rd Order Harmonic
20/107.5/10.4/Amp Limited
25/110.3/12.1/Amp Limited
31.5/111.4/6.3/Amp Limited
40/111.9/6.9/Amp Limited
50/112.0/3.6/Amp Limited
63/112.3/3.5/Amp Limited
80/112.8/3.4/Amp Limited
 
Ricci

Ricci

Bassaholic
Ratings
117
#13
Yes I noticed this and it was mentioned to Ed. I tried a couple different gain settings on the subwoofer as well and it didn't make a notable difference. Ed mentioned that SVS had made some changes to the DSP settings in the PB12-NSD since their internal test data had last been collected on this model so that might explain it. Then you have the usual disclaimers about different day, sub, equipment, calibration, atmospheric conditions, etc. I'm confident that the data from the review is accurate for that particular unit. Ed didn't seem particularily concerned with it either. 1 or 2 dB is still a rather small delta.
 
Marshall_Guthrie

Marshall_Guthrie

Audioholics Videographer Extraordinaire
Ratings
172
#14
If I'm looking at the same chart you are, it appears that Josh's numbers also represent lower distortion. Maybe SVS tweaked the EQ to reduce distortion at the expense of output?
 
Ricci

Ricci

Bassaholic
Ratings
117
#15
If I'm looking at the same chart you are, it appears that Josh's numbers also represent lower distortion. Maybe SVS tweaked the EQ to reduce distortion at the expense of output?
That was sort of what I was thinking as well.

SVS seems to thoroughly vet their subs before they ever get out into the wild but you can only do so much. Some end users just seem to have a knack for dropping signals into them or otherwise taking subs to places where the manufacturer never quite got them to. ;):D. At which point SVS might receive some feedback and decide to make a tweak or two to add just a little more protection. ( This is all complete and utter speculation on my part by the way.)
 
A

alexend

Audiophyte
#16
Nice review Josh, I was waiting for a review of that sub from audioholics.

I'm also hopping that you would review the PB12-NSD little brother, the SB12-NSD. Is that a probability for the near future?

Thanks
 
K

KalaniP

Audiophyte
#18
Thanks for the great review! I love to see more praise heaped on my sub of choice. :)

Now we just need a true head-to-head against the competition to truly place it! I'd be especially curious to see it pit directly against the Outlaw LFM-1 EX, which, once shipped, prices out pretty darned close.

And now, back to saving my pennies for a second PB12-NSD...
 
Ricci

Ricci

Bassaholic
Ratings
117
#19
The LFM-1-EX has already been reviewed and put through the same objective measurement process.


Also I would not be surprised if the SB12-NSD ended up with a review in the next couple of months.
 
Marshall_Guthrie

Marshall_Guthrie

Audioholics Videographer Extraordinaire
Ratings
172
#20
Yes, the outlaw hit higher max SPL at the expense of accuracy. I had considered the outlaw, considering the aesthetics and especially when priced on sale, but I chose the SVS because of SVS's reputation and care for their customers, and because the quality of my dBs was more important that the quantity :)

Now, that's not to say that I didn't leave a corner free for a 2nd PB-12, I just need to get the projection done first.
 

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