If you ask most mainstream consumers to name a high-end audio brand, their first response is often Bose, which was the first company to introduce the concept of small satellite speakers that deliver better sound at an accessible price. If, on the other hand, you ask most high-end audio consumers about value, they might very well name SVS, which has built its business on delivering high value in high-end audio. The company began selling reference-quality subwoofers under $2,000 at a time when similar offerings from high-end competitors cost ten times that price.
A few years ago, SVS decided to expand into the speaker realm, and the Ultra line, with its tower speaker priced under $2,000 per pair, was a smash hit among consumers and critics alike. Recently, SVS decided to find out how much performance it could cram into a speaker line that's half the price of the Ultra line...and so the Prime speaker line was born. At CES earlier this year, the company debuted the tiny Prime Satellite speakers, priced at $135 each. Upon hearing the demo, I knew these were speakers I just had to review, so I requested the complete Prime Satellite 5.1 package, which includes the SB-1000 subwoofer for $999.99.
The Prime Satellite weighs 6.5 pounds and features a one-inch tweeter and 4.5-inch midrange/woofer. The cabinet size is less than nine inches tall, five inches wide, and six inches deep. In spite of its small stature, the Prime Satellites offer a rated frequency response down to a respectable 69 Hz, which should make it pretty easy to pair with any reasonable subwoofer. The binding posts are a simple, versatile design, easily accommodating all of my Wireworld cables with banana-plug terminations. Unscrewing the cap exposes an opening to allow either bare wire or spades.
In the package, the Prime satellites are paired with the SB-1000 300-watt subwoofer, which features a 12-inch front-firing driver. The cabinet size is at or less than 14 inches on any given dimension and weighs in at 27 pounds. Just big enough for good quality bass, but small enough to fit unobtrusively into any room's décor. Although this is the company's entry-level subwoofer, pricewise, it is loaded with features. Volume control, phase control, and a low-pass filter give you options when such functions are not available in a receiver/source, or you otherwise want more flexibility with bass management. Line-level RCA inputs and outputs, as well as speaker-level inputs, give you plenty of options to connect to a variety of devices.
I still had the Yamaha Aventage RX-A3040 receiver on hand and used it to drive the satellites for this review. The Oppo BDP-105 served as my source for music and movies.
Click over to Page Two for Performance, The Downside, Comparison & Competition, and Conclusion...