Published On: April 15, 2004

SVS PC-Ultra Subwoofer Reviewed

Published On: April 15, 2004

SVS PC-Ultra Subwoofer Reviewed

The PC-Ultra is 16 inches in diameter and is 39 inches high which increases floor space efficiency. When watching films, bass was "consistently deep (though never boomy) with very little overhang and practically zero discernible distortion...The bottom end was extremely tight and detailed"

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You don't hear much about SVS unless you surf online forums. SVS print ads are rarely seen and you'll never find their subs on display at your local A/V outlet. Like Dell and Outlaw Audio, SVS employs a factory-direct business model. This means there's no middle man and no bloated price markups inherent in retail sales. The downside is that you can't demo before you buy. (That's why you have DVD ETC.) On the upside, SVS offers a 45-day money back guarantee (minus shipping) on every sub they sell.

Additional Resources
Read more subwoofer reviews from the likes of Velodyne, SVS, Revel, Paradigm, B&W, MartinLogan and many others.
Learn more about SVS and SVS Subwoofers on this page...

One perk of being a reviewer is that I always have several toys on loan for evaluation which I shamelessly show off to any friend who happens by. More often than not, I have to point out the gear by saying, "This is using a great new DVD player from..." or "We're listening to this using an awesome new amp from..." However, when I set up my new PC-Ultra from SVS, reactions were immediate and unsolicited. "What the heck is "THAT?!" That, my friends, is one incredible subwoofer.

Unique Features - The PC-Ultra is the latest in a long line of unmistakable, cylindrical subwoofers from SVS. With a 16-inch diameter and towering 39 inches high, the PC-Ultra cylindrical sub makes a lot of sense, particularly in floor space efficiency. Most subs don't sound nearly this good and take up a lot more space. The cylinder is wrapped in a high-quality fabric that could easily accompany a much more expensive sub. Sitting atop the cylinder is a removable mesh grille cap covering three 3-inch high-flow ports.

Don't worry about this tower of sound tipping over. The PC-Ultra has a low center of gravity thanks to its downward-firing design. Just above the integrated base plate lies a 12-inch TV-12 "ultra" woofer, made for SVS by TC-Sounds. Crafted using a cast aluminum frame with a Kevlar and aluminum cone, the TV-12 uses a hefty 97-ounce Strontium ferrite magnet. The woofer's placement keeps it well-protected and the driver's weight creates a perfect anchor.

Equally important as the driver is what it's being driven with. Consequently, SVS has paired their TV-12 with a 525-watt BASH amplifier. This highly-efficient amp features a variable crossover (with bypass), a parametric equalizer, high and low-level inputs, a (defeatable) auto-on switch and a four-position subsonic filter for improved port tuning.

Installation/Setup/Ease of Use - The PC-Ultra comes in at a husky 68 pounds, but thankfully it's all muscle. Once I figured out how to get this beast out of the box, setup took no time at all. I must commend SVS on the care that obviously went into preparing this sub for shipment. A single sub interconnect from BetterCables.com served me well. Since I'd be using the crossover on my Atlantic
Technology P-2000, I disabled the PC-Ultra's crossover and the Auto-On feature, because I don't trust them to react quickly enough during periods of sudden bass. (Paranoia, perhaps, but at least I don't think the government is after me and I'm not worried about UFOs.)

Read more on Page 2

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After a quick white noise test using my SPL meter and Digital Video Essentials, I set the PC-Ultra's gain/level at about 1/3 total volume, and allowed plenty of room to tweak the sub level from my Atlantic P2000 if necessary. The crossovers on my Canton Ergo speaker ensemble were all set at 80Hz. The PC-Ultra has an infinitely-variable Phase dial, handy for creating a better blend with main speakers. For my room and sub location (rear corner), I had Phase close to 180 degree. I didn't use the port blockers, not wanting to limit the sub's upper bass response; plus the "stock" sub configuration is the most common setup for potential buyers.

Competition and Comparison
Please compare the SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer against other products by reading our reviews for the 
Atlantic Technology 10 CSB corner subwoofer and the Canton AS50 powered subwoofer.  You can find more information on many more products by visiting our Subwoofer section.

Final Take - For starters, I did a "Buzz and Rattle Test" using the Digital Video Essentials DVD. I detected audible volume at about 20Hz. Once diagnostics were complete, I listened to several film tracks for evaluating bass, including Star Wars: Episode I, U-571 and Blade. Bass from the PC-Ultra was consistently deep (though never boomy) with very little overhang and practically zero discernible distortion. The bombardment of depth charges during U-571 was downright jarring. The bottom end was extremely tight and detailed.

When I try to impress my father, the most I'm likely to pry from him is a resounding "Not bad." During a recent visit with the PC-Ultra connected, we watched the opening battle sequence from Master and Commander. When the last of the debris had fallen and we released our grips on the couch, all he could say was, "That was a visceral experience." Well said, Dad.

SVS PC-Ultra Subwoofer
525-watt BASH ® amplifier
12-inch downward-firing woofer
Adjustable crossover
Variable phase (0 to 180 degree)
Freq Resp: 20Hz-100Hz (+1- 3dB)
Weight: 68 lbs.
MSRP: $1,149

Additional Resources
• Read more subwoofer reviews from the likes of Velodyne, SVS, Revel, Paradigm, B&W, MartinLogan and many others.
• Learn more about SVS and SVS Subwoofers on this page...

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