Scott Schumer is an executive in the fields of consumer electronics, commercial audio, video, and IoT who has a passion for custom AV installation, smart home, affordable AV equipment, and high-performance headphones.
He formerly served as sales, marketing and product development at Sennheiser / Neumann USA; Harman; Loud Technologies; and Blue Microphones; and is currently managing North American sales for Peavey Commercial Audio.
SVS may have solidified a name for itself with its Prime and Ultra speakers, wireless audio products, and accessories, but these lines could disappear tomorrow and the brand's reputation wouldn't suffer a bit thanks to its world-class subwoofers. And while its gargantuan bass-making machines may get the most attention, it's at the lower end of the lineup where I sit up and start to pay attention. SVS recently sent me their SB-2000 for a roundup of sub-$1,000 subwoofers, but while we are amassing a proper market breadth of such offerings, we decided to also evaluate the SB-2000 on its own merits (you may recall that we reviewed its ported companion, the PB-2000, some years ago).
Subwoofer lines from SVS currently include the 1000, 2000, new 3000, 4000, and 16-Ultra Series. To over-simplify a bit, as you climb the ladder, you add a few nice features and certainly more low-frequency depth, but also the ability to pressurize larger spaces with more bass energy.
There are, of course, other ways to add more bass energy to your room without moving to a larger cabinet. SVS advocates the use of multiple subs in a room for a variety of reasons. In most cases, a listening room will benefit from two smaller subs versus one large sub, due to the fact that each sub will have different peaks and dips caused by the geometry of the room and its placement therein. In short, installing multiple subs will give you more even bass coverage over a larger number of seating positions.
SVS makes available both sealed and ported versions of all its subwoofer lines. Their ported offerings deliver lower bass than their sealed equivalents, though of course, there are many other sonic considerations between these two types of enclosures.
The SB-2000 has a 12-inch front-firing woofer with a 500 watt RMS amplifier in a sealed 14.6 by 14.2 by 15.4-inch enclosure available in premium black ash ($699) or piano gloss black ($799) weighing 34.8 pounds. Power modes include Auto-On / On via a toggle switch and 3-12V trigger (3.5mm TRS mini-jack) input to link with other equipment. Audio connections are stereo line-level RCA left and right/LFE inputs, along with left and right RCA outputs. There's also the optional SoundPath Wireless Audio Adapter ($119.99). On the back you will find continuously variable volume / gain control, continuously variable (0 to 180 degree) phase control, and a continuously variable 50 to 160 Hz 12 dB/octave low pass filter with disable/LFE setting (if
you are using the LFE output from your surround sound processor, the filters will be set via those controls). There is also a fixed 80 Hz 12 dB / octave high pass filter on the line level outputs.
The ported PB-2000 also has a 12 inch front-firing driver but in a ported enclosure that reaches deeper down to 17 Hz versus 19 Hz in the sealed version and extends a bit higher to 260 Hz versus 220 Hz for the SB-2000. The four-inch front port takes up a bit of space and so the enclosure is larger at 20.9 inches by 17.3 inches by 23.2 inches and weighs in at 65.6 pounds--almost double the weight no doubt due to the size difference and the increased internal bracing. The PB-2000 is only available in black ash.
So, why does SVS make both sealed and ported versions and which should you choose? I'm sure I will get lots of comments on this, but in my opinion if you are creating a surround sound system predominantly for gaming, movies, and TV watching, you might prefer the punchier punch and thumpier thump of a ported enclosure, but if you prioritize music over explosions and bullets and such, one might prefer the slightly "tighter" sounding sealed version. This is not to say a ported enclosure can't faithfully reproduce music and a sealed box can't provide an impactful surround sound theater experience--just that these are the main sonic differences between the two and in the specific case of the PB-2000 and SB-2000, there is the size and weight difference noted above as well. For the two room sizes I auditioned these in, I slightly preferred the SB-2000, and while I didn't have two of them to try, I have every reason to believe spreading out the coverage with two SB-2000 would be absolutely amazing. In case you were wondering, my main home theater is 30 feet by 26 feet with 14-foot ceilings, and my secondary room is 14 feet by 12 feet, with 12-foot ceilings.
The SB-2000 provided plenty of power while cleanly extending the lower registers smoothly and accurately. Handling "Locomotive Breath" off the seminal Aqualung album by Jethro Tull as well as Mahler's Sixth requires another level of sonic craftsmanship and the SB-2000 performs exceedingly well--in fact, for this price and at this size I really could not find a better subwoofer. It's fast, it's clean, and it's powerful.
I have a mental sonic imprint of what I look for in a sub, which includes impactful, solid, deep yet distortion-free bottom end with no lumpiness, and this affordable sub delivers in spades. When my listening sessions were complete, I wanted to go back for more. To find a no-compromise favorite at these prices is nothing short of astonishing.
But if the SVS SB-2000 fits your budget, look no further. In its price range, it's in a class of its own as far as sealed subwoofers go.
When putting together together my computer speaker setup I found my choice lacked solid, punchy bass. I spent a few months doing my research, and while I was really sold on a Hsu, I didn't come with the connectivity options I needed. Instead I purchased the subject of this review and I've very happy with it. It's quite musical, reasonably sized and priced. I know I'd recommend it to anyone.
The reviewer said in its price range, it's in a class of its own as far as sealed subwoofers go. The ULS-15 is $749 and the SB-2000 is $699 or $799 so I think it's a fair comparison.
SVS doesn’t look to have a sealed 15” sub and HSU Research doesn’t make a sealed 12” sub so not a fair comparison in performance. Both are a great value and I would maybe opt for the ULS-15 if I didn’t care about the WAF, aesthetics in my listening room or if I was only buying one sub. The HSU would almost certainly be better 35 or so hz and below if that is really important or you plan on using it for movies also. Two of the HSU’s are currently $1,499 which seems like insane value...if I only wasn’t married lol. But the SVS Bill of Rights is pretty cool also - check it out on their website if you haven’t (https://www.svsound.com/pages/bill-of-rights).
Is this subwoofer better than the Hsu Research ULS -15? I believe they are in the same price class. The Hsu got bigger woofer(15 in. to 12 in. for the SB2000) and power(600 watts to 500 watts for the SB2000).
Good to know, thank you! Would definitely go through SVS in that case.
One point to note, SVS's upgrade policy only applies to purchases made on their website, not via their resellers.
This review was perfect timing as I am looking for dual sealed subs that are high performing but won't break the bank. The SVS SB-2000's will be perfect for my desired music 2.2 setup and I like that my local Best Buy/Magnolia store carries SVS subs. One wish though would be that for the default or lower cost finish, a matte or satin black (similar to what is available from SVS' competitors like HSU Research, Power Sound Audio and Rythmik) was used instead of the Black Ash. The Black Ash looks dated to me and while I'd love the look of Piano Black to match my Martin Logan Motion 40's, keeping the piano black finish dust and fingerprint free takes a bit more effort and costs more. Maybe the Black Ash looks better in person than in the pictures but I can't help that when I see it, I think of old budget speakers.
I own one of these subs and I'd agree that it is a very good at reproducing bass in musical recordings. Below 40 hz, it rolls off rapidly so it is not able to reproduce bottom octave sounds like earthquakes or car crashes in movies with the same authority as its ported brethren, the PB 2000. Prospective buyers probably need to think about which is more important (musical accuracy or bottom octave wallop) when making a buying decision. SVS, to their credit, has a very good return policy if you decide any of their subs is not the answer for you.