SVS SB16-Ultra Sealed Subwoofer Review

gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Late last year, SVS released their new flagship subwoofers, the ported PB16-Ultra and the sealed SB16-Ultra, both of which sport a 16" driver and beefy 1,500 watt amplifier. We were impressed with the PB16-Ultra in our review of that subwoofer, and were anxious to give its sealed counterpart a run around our test track. For the past couple of months, that is exactly what we have been doing, and now we have brought you our full report on the SB16-Ultra.

Read on to see what the top dog of SVS's sealed subs can do and what Bassaholic Rating it earned.



Read: SVS SB16-Ultra Sealed Subwoofer Review
 
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dmusoke

Audioholic Intern
Gene:

The group phase delay curves are reversed. Blue lines should be 1 cycle. Red line is 1.5 cycles not vice-versa as you have them now.

In any case, this SB16s phase response is not as linear as the SB13, which always stayed well under 1 cycle from 10Hz on upwards. The SB16 breaks above the 1.5cycles at lower frequencies.

Thanks,
David

PS
When do you plan to bench test the Oppo 205 4K player?
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Good catch David. Graph has been fixed.

I plan on starting my testing of the 203/205 next week but family medical issues have my schedule backed up a bit lately.
 
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dmusoke

Audioholic Intern
Gene:

Would it be safe to say that you (i.e audioholics) were not as wowed by the SB16 as much as you were with the SB13? I base this statement after careful readings of both reviews and the lesser value rating given to the SB16 compared with the SB13. It's fine, ofcourse if you considered the SB16 of lesser value to the customer than the SB13 was.

Thanks,
David
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
These reviews were written by two different reviewers who might not share the same language or sense of value scale. I would say the SB16 is easily worth the additional $400, and given the higher dB/$ ratio and all the extra features not on the SB13-Ultra. I think the SB16 is a better bargain.
 
hk2000

hk2000

Junior Audioholic
I'm looking at the measurements here and on the HSU's ULS15, and don't see why, aside from aesthetics, one would choose this Sub for almost 3 times the price of the ULS15.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
The SB16 isn't just about performance. Yes, if you want raw SPL, there are other subs that can get louder. The SB16 has good performance, extensive features, great looks, and all the customer service amenities that come with SVS. Regarding performance, the SB16's wheelhouse is the range of 16 Hz and 30 Hz. No other 15" is going to touch it there.
 
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detlev24

Audiophyte
[...] On the performance front, its greatest advantage is in deep bass, specifically from 16 Hz to 30 Hz. I doubt there is any sealed subwoofer using a cone diameter of less than 18” that can match it in this area. [...]
Well, there are sealed subwoofers who can match it in this area; even with smaller than 15" cone diameter. You will find quite a few models in the professional audio sector + known for home theatre as well, have a look at Rythmik Audio* [e.g., F12/-G/-SE, F15HP, E15HP]. You will not get the fancy DSP (however, some people use miniDSP or similar and thus do not need it) but have a choice amongst different inputs; and compared to the SVS SB16-Ultra, you would probably need one of their dual drivers sealed subwoofers for comparable - if needed - maximum SPL. In terms of accuracy and frequency response, it is hard to find something better in their price range and from SVS, the SB16-Ultra is probably the only model that can compete!

Klick on the upper 'F15HP' to see one of their measurements. :) How is the frequency response measured?

This is not intended to be an advertisement, but should show that there is a choice. Moreover, since many years I choose especially between SVS and Rythmik Audio - depending on the setup I need the subwoofer(s) for. *one more contender: Paradigm Prestige Series subwoofers.

Kind regards


PS: Probably the only way for SVS to reduce weight significantly without further price increase would be to limit maximum SPL, so less 'damping by mass' is required to counter audible distortion.
 
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Rolljdc

Audiophyte
"The SB16 isn't just about performance. Yes, if you want raw SPL, there are other subs that can get louder. The SB16 has good performance, extensive features, great looks, and all the customer service amenities that come with SVS. Regarding performance, the SB16's wheelhouse is the range of 16 Hz and 30 Hz. No other 15" is going to touch it there."
I just got done setting up and listening with my SB16 Ultra. What the review said about the deep bass performance and extension, well should'nt that warrant a 5 star rating for the extension? Just scratching my head about that.
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
"The SB16 isn't just about performance. Yes, if you want raw SPL, there are other subs that can get louder. The SB16 has good performance, extensive features, great looks, and all the customer service amenities that come with SVS. Regarding performance, the SB16's wheelhouse is the range of 16 Hz and 30 Hz. No other 15" is going to touch it there."
I just got done setting up and listening with my SB16 Ultra. What the review said about the deep bass performance and extension, well should'nt that warrant a 5 star rating for the extension? Just scratching my head about that.
It does very good in deep bass for a since sealed subwoofer of its size. If you can accommodate a ported sub, like a PB13-Ultra, you can get a lot more deep bass output for the same price. The extension rating in this case ignores the distinction between ported and sealed subs, because the truth is a lot of people do not understand the difference between ported and sealed subs. Those who are after deep bass around the same price point can do better if they can handle larger enclosures.
 
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Rolljdc

Audiophyte
I know the difference in ported and sealed box subwoofers as I have a combination of both (Rythmik D15SE, Rythmik LVR12, 2 Golden Ear Forcefield 4's, and the aforementioned SVS SB16 Ultra. I know that ported or one with passive radiators extends deeper and has more output than sealed, and sealed is a thighter and speedier but less output and less deeper extension. As you can see, I have a combination of strengths and weaknesses in my system. The question is since the SB16 have substantial output in the 16-30hz, why would you rate it 4 star? Also the sound is probably the best I have heard in my past ownership of subs, and it ranks below the PB16? Just sayin (my opinion).....
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
It is generally not a good idea to mix ported and sealed subs, if all those subs are in one system.
 
R

RXP

Audioholic Intern
It does very good in deep bass for a since sealed subwoofer of its size. If you can accommodate a ported sub, like a PB13-Ultra, you can get a lot more deep bass output for the same price. The extension rating in this case ignores the distinction between ported and sealed subs, because the truth is a lot of people do not understand the difference between ported and sealed subs. Those who are after deep bass around the same price point can do better if they can handle larger enclosures.
I based my purchasing decision on this logic when I went for an SVS PB13 in my main theatre. Then I wanted a sub for my office I was shocked at the performance of the SB2000 I ordered for a smaller room (4mx2.5mx2.6m )

In the US the rooms tend to be bigger, but in the UK they're smaller. I made a PVG calculator that's available here. Just input the yellow cell. Any errors you notice let me know. The slower roll off of a sealed sub works really well in smaller rooms. Of course, the rigidity of walls and the materials of your house mean you may get significantly less.

Knowing now what I know - I'd have preferred to get a couple of sealed PB13's. I'd get deeper extension in my room at reference levels and save some space. They're also much easier to move around and ship if you decide to sell. Of course if I had a much larger room, ported is the way to go. Hopefully the Pressure Vessel Calc makes that clear to potential purchasers
 
Pete Cardenas

Pete Cardenas

Audiophyte
Gene:

Would it be safe to say that you (i.e audioholics) were not as wowed by the SB16 as much as you were with the SB13? I base this statement after careful readings of both reviews and the lesser value rating given to the SB16 compared with the SB13. It's fine, ofcourse if you considered the SB16 of lesser value to the customer than the SB13 was.

Thanks,
David
Gene, can you please elaborate here? I'm planning on buying two of two SB-16 Ultra, so I'm curios about dsmoke observations on your rating of the subs. THX!
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
Gene, can you please elaborate here? I'm planning on buying two of two SB-16 Ultra, so I'm curios about dsmoke observations on your rating of the subs. THX!
The chief advantage of the SB16-Ultra is the deep bass for the enclosure size. I don't think it can produce a whole lot more mid-bass than the SB13, but it has very good deep bass output for a sealed sub. The key phrase here is "for a sealed sub" so if you can accommodate a ported sub, you would be getting superior deep bass than even the SB16 can output.
 
Epsonfan

Epsonfan

Audioholic
Too Fing heavy to carry to the basement HT. Some guy was selling a used one on FB but he can't move it from his apt . He wanted cash & he wanted me to come to his Apt with cash in my pocket to carry the heavy ass sub 14 flights of stairs.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Overlord
Too Fing heavy to carry to the basement HT. Some guy was selling a used one on FB but he can't move it from his apt . He wanted cash & he wanted me to come to his Apt with cash in my pocket to carry the heavy ass sub 14 flights of stairs.
That sounds like a setup if ever I heard one!
Tell him you'll move it, but you'll charge $100 per flight of stairs! :p
 
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Bill Shenefelt

Audiophyte
I have a pair of SB SVS 16 (sealed enclosure) subs. They are great but for a lack of slam or punch or whatever you would call it. I just ordered an PB SVS 16 ultra (ported) to see if the ported one in partially sealed mode or fully ported might be able to run in the same room and add punch. Any ideas?
 
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