SVS, a well known consumer-direct speaker and subwoofer manufacturer, has recently introduced yet another subwoofer line: The 3000 series. Under review here is the sealed model in that range, appropriately named the SB-3000 ($999). SVS was kind enough to provide a pair of SB-3000s for a dual subwoofer installation.
According to SVS, the goal of the 3000 series is to push the limits of performance-to-price ratio by creating a more affordable reference quality subwoofer. I love capitalism in action, especially when manufacturers jockey for a leadership position by innovating and evolving. If done correctly both consumers and innovators are the winners: reference performance for a lower price--assuming the manufacturer delivers. Another observation is that the 3000 series represents SVS's most affordable app-controlled subwoofer. We'll dig into the particulars of this in a bit.
The heavily braced Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) cabinet of the SB-3000 measures 15.2 inches wide, 17.8 inches deep, and 15.6 inches high, which is surprisingly petite for a subwoofer with this much power and output. At 54.5 pounds, it's also easily manageable--certainly a lot more so than the 102.3-pound SB-4000, the next step up the sealed ladder in SVS's overall lineup. Additionally, because the SB-3000 is a single-driver front-firing sealed-box design, it's a lot more versatile in terms of placement than would be a down-firing sub in its class, or one with multiple passive radiators.
Finished in your choice of Premium Ash Black or Piano Gloss Black for a little extra coin, the SB-3000 has a typical subwoofer appearance, assuming you ignore the grill: a perforated heavy gauged sheet metal façade that has a gentle curve and finished with what appears to be a heavy-duty ultra-flat black coating. Unlike the acoustic fabric covers I am used to seeing, these grills will never tear. They attach to the cabinet with four heavy-duty dampening pressure fittings that absorb vibration and appear challenging to break within their cavities, which so frequently happens in my experience.
At the heart of the SVS SB-3000 is a compelling 800-watt RMS amplifier that is capable of 2500-watt peak output, per the manufacturer. The sub also employs a high-resolution Analogue Devices digital signal processor (DSP). While most functions are adjustable from the SB-3000's back panel, referred to as the Intelligent Control Interface (ICI), more adjustments are available from the SVS control application. Functions such as three parametric EQ presets and room gain can be modified from the control application, and functions like volume, low pass filter frequency, and phase also benefit from higher resolution via the app.
A 13-inch aluminum, in-house designed, high-excursion woofer is yet another significant aspect of the SB-3000 design. The woofer features a flat edge wound, split wind voice coil that increases magnetics at full extension, while reducing weight to size ratio, driver efficiency increases.
Two toroidal ferrite magnets create a beefy magnetic force to take advantage of the driver's high excursion, and a completely redesigned cast aluminum basket promises to new standards in the way of stiffness and strength.
All that rubber meets the road in a sub that delivers an impressive 18Hz low-frequency extension (-3dB), not to mention the controlled, focused performance for which SVS is known.
The Hook Up
I recently installed a Focal architectural speaker system in my living room, and for the duration of this review, the pair of SVS SB-3000s slid in place of a pair of Focal Sub 1000 F subwoofers. To keep the wife somewhat satisfied, I had to keep the space from looking like a stereo store showroom, and therefore the installation had to be discrete, hence the in-wall speakers. In particular, the subwoofers had to be out of plain sight. At the time of the original installation, two Focal subs were small enough to fit in the right and left corners in the back of the room with the couch in between. The SB-3000s became direct replacements of the existing units.
In this configuration, the subwoofers' 13-inch drivers are oriented facing forward, radiating directly into the room toward the front wall, 14 feet away. The scenario is perfect for a sealed box subwoofer, as it eliminates any concern of port blockage.
This space was previously wired for a single subwoofer, but I was able to daisy chain the additional subwoofer, located on the right, off the RCA line level output on the left subwoofer.
Worth mentioning: if your room lacks wiring for a subwoofer, SVS has you covered with their SoundPath Wireless Audio Adapter, sold separately. This kit allows your processor or receiver to transmit the subwoofer output wirelessly to the SoundPath receiver, which connects to the input side of the subwoofer. There is a USB connector on the amplifier plate of the subwoofer that provides a convenient way to power the wireless receiver.
The seven ear-level in-wall Focal speakers are powered by a Krell Theater-7 amplifier, while the four height channels are powered by an NAD M27 multi-channel amplifier. An Anthem AVM 60 controlled the system.
SVS's Bluetooth control application proved to be a godsend. since the subwoofers' cozy corner installation would not allow easy access to the back panel. Once the application was downloaded and opened on my iPhone, it located both units without any fuss. Their serial numbers appeared within the application, and from there it was easy to discern which subwoofer was on my right or left as it pertained to the control app by raising the volume. I was able to rename the sterile default names with creative names like "right sub" and "left sub," making it easier to toggle between each unit and make any desired changes.
While I appreciate that SVS provides PEQ presets for the SB-3000, all room correction was handled by the AVM 60's Anthem Room Correction software.
Click over to Page Two for Performance, Measurements, The Downside, Comparison & Competition, and Conclusion...