SVS Prime Pinnacle Tower Speaker Review

S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Ratings
5,269 35 17
#1
When SVS released their Prime speaker series, Audioholics reviewed the big dog of that set, the Prime Tower, and we quite liked what SVS had produced at the top of that speaker series. It was a not-insubstantial speaker as a three-way tower with two 6.5” woofers, a 4.5” mid-range, and a 1” dome tweeter. For most people, a design like that would pack more punch than they would ever normally use. Yet here, four years later, SVS has launched an even more powerful line-topping speaker for the Prime series, in the aptly-named Prime Pinnacle tower. Along with being more powerful than the Prime Tower, it is also quite a bit more expensive. What compelled SVS to produce an even more potent tower speaker to lead the Prime series? That is the question we will attempt to answer today in our review.

READ: SVS Prime Pinnacle Tower Speaker Review
 
D

Danzilla31

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,231 6
#2
Good review Shady! So they sounded pretty well eh? Oh well I'm in love with my JBL's now so
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,965 3
#3
This makes me almost want to try them! Too bad I don’t have an extra 2k lying around and a lady that would understand! :p

:cool:

Great write up!
 
D

Danzilla31

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,231 6
#4
This makes me almost want to try them! Too bad I don’t have an extra 2k lying around and a lady that would understand! :p

:cool:

Great write up!
I know right? I'd giv am a whirl but the prime towers in my new bedroom are way overkill as it is lol I didn't like them in my old setup but I love them in the smaller room

We need a volunteer!!!! :D A brave soul who will purchase these things and let is share in there experiences!!! :rolleyes:
 
Kvn_Walker

Kvn_Walker

Senior Audioholic
Ratings
422
#5
Nice review... are the Ultras possibly on the chopping block considering the similar price points?
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,965 3
#6
Nice review... are the Ultras possibly on the chopping block considering the similar price points?
It would surprise me if they were... personally I'd hope for a refresh that might address some of the issues of placement concerns. (To me, those side-firing woofs want probably over 3' space from the nearest wall, and at least 2' from the front wall. Maybe a 15'w room... so pushing 21-27'long for good positioning? :) )

I'm more curious how the Pinnacles and Ultras components stack up. Do the Pinnacles include the more premium parts that the Ultras are supposed to?
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Ratings
5,269 35 17
#7
It would surprise me if they were... personally I'd hope for a refresh that might address some of the issues of placement concerns. (To me, those side-firing woofs want probably over 3' space from the nearest wall, and at least 2' from the front wall. Maybe a 15'w room... so pushing 21-27'long for good positioning? :) )

I'm more curious how the Pinnacles and Ultras components stack up. Do the Pinnacles include the more premium parts that the Ultras are supposed to?
I don't think that the Pinnacles are using better parts than the Ultras. My guess is that the Ultra drivers are higher performing. I think that the Pinnacles have a more complex cabinet construction.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,965 3
#8
I don't think that the Pinnacles are using better parts than the Ultras. My guess is that the Ultra drivers are higher performing. I think that the Pinnacles have a more complex cabinet construction.
That cabinet is a work of art, says this high-school draftsman and architect! ;) And aspiring hobby speaker designer. :p Three port tunings?!!?!!
I wouldn't think they are using better components than the Ultras, rather I wonder if they upgraded any of the XO components over the Primes. If I understood correctly, the Mid driver is upgraded, correct?
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Ratings
5,269 35 17
#9
That cabinet is a work of art, says this high-school draftsman and architect! ;) And aspiring hobby speaker designer. :p Three port tunings?!!?!!
I wouldn't think they are using better components than the Ultras, rather I wonder if they upgraded any of the XO components over the Primes. If I understood correctly, the Mid driver is upgraded, correct?
The midrange driver is upgraded over the regular prime driver by using a glass fiber cone like the Ultras instead of a polypropylene cone like the other Primes. The motor is the same as used in the other Primes though.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
7,820 16 25
#10
Well, you certainly liked these speakers. How ever the question has to be asked. "Could these speakers be better for the money?"

Which leads me to ask the questions. How much influence do marketers have over design choice? The next is how do companies spend their research and development dollars?

So lets look at the concept. Marketers, we must have a three way. The public think its better. Well is it? Next we need three bass drivers that looks more cool than two. Next lets have lots of ports.
Lets take the last two requests first. First off the three chambers and ports. There really is only one optimal tuning for a given woofer. So one is correct and the others have a degree of miss alignment. So we assume one woofer is loaded optimally. The bottom enclosure as it is larger in the picture must be the extended bass alignment.
This has a lower F3 at the expense of raised Q. The other would be the high output alignment. The tell tale evidence of that is the ripple around 70 Hz, as that is the calling card of these alignments.

The three drivers has increased power handing, but lowered impedance which for the HT crowd will embarrass some receivers, especially more recent models.
So one has to ask the question, would we be better off with two drivers with more robust motor system and suspension. I would give that a probably yes.

Now we get to the choice of a three way design. A 300 Hz crossover on the lower end is pushing your luck. However what is a bigger problem is the complication of a three way worth it when it has to be crossed right in the speech discrimination band at 2.1 KHz. At the same time the crossover spread is not quite 3 octaves. In your measurements you can see some degree of band pass gain remaining as you would expect given the 12 db slopes.

So my contention the downsides and expense of a three way design here has not been justified. It is perfectly possible to build 6.5 inch drivers with bandwidths that allow crossover in the 2.5 to 4 KHz range. Here we have a mid driver that crosses at 2.1 KHz.

So my contention is that money could have been saved with two bass drivers and no mid. The saved money could have been put into better drivers and less better quality components in a simpler crossover. I think that would have made a speaker you would have liked better.

Now lets get to the laid back character, and the falling HF response. I agree a much more forgivable fault than a rising response, but a fault none the less. Now this fault probably seems strange to those who have wrestled with these problems. However it is not strange at all. I suspect that the midrange cone is breaking up badly out of band. This has meant the tweeter has had to be overly attenuated to prevent a worse problem, a rise in output centered around 3 KHz. I suspect given their drivers they made the optimal listening balance.

So again it makes the case for putting money into better quality drivers.

So what of three ways. There really is not much point unless the mid driver is pretty powerful and has a wide pass band. There is a lot of power in the midband. Unless the midband driver has a bandwidth to allow crossover at least form somewhere in the 400 to 500 Hz range on the bottom end and at least 3.5 Hz then you are better off with a two way design. In my experience for most available drivers two mids and not one are really required for decent power band in that width.

So yes, we have a speaker you like, but I have the strong hunch that you would have liked a well executed simpler design with better components better.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Ratings
5,269 35 17
#11
Well, you certainly liked these speakers. How ever the question has to be asked. "Could these speakers be better for the money?"

Which leads me to ask the questions. How much influence do marketers have over design choice? The next is how do companies spend their research and development dollars?

So lets look at the concept. Marketers, we must have a three way. The public think its better. Well is it? Next we need three bass drivers that looks more cool than two. Next lets have lots of ports.
Lets take the last two requests first. First off the three chambers and ports. There really is only one optimal tuning for a given woofer. So one is correct and the others have a degree of miss alignment. So we assume one woofer is loaded optimally. The bottom enclosure as it is larger in the picture must be the extended bass alignment.
This has a lower F3 at the expense of raised Q. The other would be the high output alignment. The tell tale evidence of that is the ripple around 70 Hz, as that is the calling card of these alignments.

The three drivers has increased power handing, but lowered impedance which for the HT crowd will embarrass some receivers, especially more recent models.
So one has to ask the question, would we be better off with two drivers with more robust motor system and suspension. I would give that a probably yes.

Now we get to the choice of a three way design. A 300 Hz crossover on the lower end is pushing your luck. However what is a bigger problem is the complication of a three way worth it when it has to be crossed right in the speech discrimination band at 2.1 KHz. At the same time the crossover spread is not quite 3 octaves. In your measurements you can see some degree of band pass gain remaining as you would expect given the 12 db slopes.

So my contention the downsides and expense of a three way design here has not been justified. It is perfectly possible to build 6.5 inch drivers with bandwidths that allow crossover in the 2.5 to 4 KHz range. Here we have a mid driver that crosses at 2.1 KHz.

So my contention is that money could have been saved with two bass drivers and no mid. The saved money could have been put into better drivers and less better quality components in a simpler crossover. I think that would have made a speaker you would have liked better.

Now lets get to the laid back character, and the falling HF response. I agree a much more forgivable fault than a rising response, but a fault none the less. Now this fault probably seems strange to those who have wrestled with these problems. However it is not strange at all. I suspect that the midrange cone is breaking up badly out of band. This has meant the tweeter has had to be overly attenuated to prevent a worse problem, a rise in output centered around 3 KHz. I suspect given their drivers they made the optimal listening balance.

So again it makes the case for putting money into better quality drivers.

So what of three ways. There really is not much point unless the mid driver is pretty powerful and has a wide pass band. There is a lot of power in the midband. Unless the midband driver has a bandwidth to allow crossover at least form somewhere in the 400 to 500 Hz range on the bottom end and at least 3.5 Hz then you are better off with a two way design. In my experience for most available drivers two mids and not one are really required for decent power band in that width.

So yes, we have a speaker you like, but I have the strong hunch that you would have liked a well executed simpler design with better components better.
It's a fine speaker, although, of course, not perfect. I think that directivity matching was partially a concern in the crossover points. I don't know how much that breakup or bandwidth ability was a limiting factor. I think a lot of the reason for the speaker's existence is SVS liked the idea of multiple ported enclosures within the same speaker. In that respect this speaker is something of an experiment. I don't think there is an 'optimal tuning' for the bass drivers, there is only a desired response. Some people would say that the ideal Qts is 0.7, but I know that you prefer a lower Q response. In some circumstances I could see higher Qts being desirable too, like say for a very deeply tuned subwoofer.
 
Shazb0t

Shazb0t

Audiophyte
#12
Are you going to release a spinorama measurement for the Prime Pinnacle? I was hoping to see one in the review when I saw it was by James Larson.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Ratings
5,269 35 17
#13
Are you going to release a spinorama measurement for the Prime Pinnacle? I was hoping to see one in the review when I saw it was by James Larson.
I don't do spin-o-rama for tower speakers. I would have to turn them on their side and rotate them on the tweeter axis at a 7 foot height in order to accomplish that, which, needless to say, is not really a possibility. Either that or buy a system like this:
Dynaudio-Jupiter_N_261903_1.jpg

...so, spin-o-rama is not on the cards for tower speakers, sorry. Unless someone wants to crowdfund a multi- million dollar anechoic chamber with a radial microphone array for me to play with like the pic above, than maybe I would be game for spin-o-rama on towers!
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Ratings
4,876 25 9
#14
I don't do spin-o-rama for tower speakers. I would have to turn them on their side and rotate them on the tweeter axis at a 7 foot height in order to accomplish that, which, needless to say, is not really a possibility. Either that or buy a system like this:
View attachment 30068
...so, spin-o-rama is not on the cards for tower speakers, sorry. Unless someone wants to crowdfund a multi- million dollar anechoic chamber with a radial microphone array for me to play with like the pic above, than maybe I would be game for spin-o-rama on towers!

LOL Darn it James you're just not providing enough measurement details in your reviews these days. I suppose we should publish measurements like S&V magazine instead....oh wait ;)
 
D

Danzilla31

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,231 6
#15
I don't do spin-o-rama for tower speakers. I would have to turn them on their side and rotate them on the tweeter axis at a 7 foot height in order to accomplish that, which, needless to say, is not really a possibility. Either that or buy a system like this:
View attachment 30068
...so, spin-o-rama is not on the cards for tower speakers, sorry. Unless someone wants to crowdfund a multi- million dollar anechoic chamber with a radial microphone array for me to play with like the pic above, than maybe I would be game for spin-o-rama on towers!
Ok guys fundraiser go!!!! ;)
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
3,031 11 17
#16
It would surprise me if they were... personally I'd hope for a refresh that might address some of the issues of placement concerns. (To me, those side-firing woofs want probably over 3' space from the nearest wall, and at least 2' from the front wall. Maybe a 15'w room... so pushing 21-27'long for good positioning? :) )

I'm more curious how the Pinnacles and Ultras components stack up. Do the Pinnacles include the more premium parts that the Ultras are supposed to?
Ultra towers are a little more forgiving than that. Mine are 15" from the back wall and 21" from a side wall on the left. It is a large room tho, close to the dimensions you gave there.

20170823_092045-1305x734.jpg
20170823_091950-1305x734.jpg
20170716_114228-1305x734.jpg

That last one is taken from where I sit. I'd really like to hear the Pinnacles and see how they compare. I know I love my Ultras!
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,965 3
#18
Not having Biwire capabilities is a negative..
I respectfully disagree.
I've talked with enough professional speaker designers that think Bi-Wire and Passive Bi-Amp is worthless... that they only include them in the build for purposes of perceived value to the general public and for supporting their customers in potential resale value. I think its a bold and worthy move by SVS.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
3,031 11 17
#19
I respectfully disagree.
I've talked with enough professional speaker designers that think Bi-Wire and Bi-Amp is worthless... that they only include them in the build for purposes of perceived value to the general public and for supporting their customers in potential resale value. I think its a bold and worthy move by SVS.
Yup. I've run mine in biwire (2 amp channels per speaker) with no audible difference I could detect whatsoever. In fact my amp would give a light pop when powering up in that configuration so I put the jumpers back on and have been doing that ever since.

True bi amping is something altogether different involving active crossovers and things I don't know enough about to explain properly, lol.
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,229 1 1
#20
Ultra towers are a little more forgiving than that. Mine are 15" from the back wall and 21" from a side wall on the left. It is a large room tho, close to the dimensions you gave there.

View attachment 30133 View attachment 30135 View attachment 30137
That last one is taken from where I sit. I'd really like to hear the Pinnacles and see how they compare. I know I love my Ultras!
I noticed in the long thread that you had 3 of the ultra bookshelves originally. How was that paired with the HSU subs compared to the towers with one bookshelf?
 

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