PB-2000_ISO Featured

SVS PB-2000 Review

Last year I bought and reviewed the SVS Sound PB-1000 subwoofer, a 10” woofer in a ported box that performs extremely well for a price of $500. It has done an admirable job filling those lower octaves in my home theater for almost a year now. At the 2014 CES, SVS was there to introduce two new subwoofers with 12” drivers: The PB-2000 and the SB-2000. Since I own the PB-1000, I wanted to see how it would stack up to the PB-2000.

In my 2,000+ cubic foot home theater room, the two match-up well for music, with there being distinct but overall subtle differences. With movies, there is no contest as the PB-2000 blows away the PB-1000 on low-frequency effects. For my money, the PB-2000 delivers performance that is hard to beat and will satisfy all but the most demanding bass heads.


Specs
Manufacturer: SVS
Model: PB-2000
Drivers: 1x 12"
Amplifier: 500 watts RMS, 1100 watts peak
Inputs: LFE, RCA Line Level
Sub Type: Ported
EQ: No
Dimensions: 20.9"x17.3"x25.4"
Weight: 65.6 lbs.
Review Date: February 25, 2014
Price: $799
Company Website

Buy From Amazon

Why Amazon Links?

The PB-2000 has a similar design to the PB-1000 with a few obvious differences. The woofer has increased to 12” from 10”, so the cabinet volume is also larger. The PB-2000 comes in a seriously large box that keeps its contents secure. The front grill moves from the PB-1000’s speaker cloth to a perforated metal one. The look is certainly impressive, but the curve creates an opening at the top that toddlers find irresistible.

The amplifier has seen an increase in power as well. RMS power has increased from 300 watts to 500 watts and peak output from 700 watts to 1100 watts. The rest of the subwoofer controls are the same except for the lack of speaker-level inputs that the PB-1000 has. Very few people actually use speaker level inputs today, so for most people I don’t think this will matter.

What really matters with a subwoofer is performance. To be able to really compare the PB-2000 to the PB-1000, I connected an RCA switcher between my preamp and the subs and level matched them both at my seat for 50 Hz. I used no EQ for any speakers, including the subs, so as not to influence the results.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Music: Distinct, Subtle Differences

The most immediate aspect I observed with the PB-2000 is how little I really noticed it because it brought no attention to itself. All the bass is tied into the rest of the soundstage even with the PB-2000 being in a separate location. A common worry with ported subwoofers is that you’ll get a chuffing sound from the port, but that was nowhere to be seen. Instead, the PB-2000 just provided a boost to those lower octaves when necessary.

On “Lost Cause” from Beck, the soundstage has increased depth with the added low-frequency extension. Everything seems to come alive a bit more when the PB-2000 plays, and falls just slightly flatter on the PB-1000. It isn’t a large difference, but a subtle one you could pick up on. What had far more impact was “Drive” from REM’s Automatic for the People. The bass notes just dig deeper with the PB-2000 and have more depth and texture to them, so you can feel the physical impact more than with the PB-1000. The bass notes from the PB-1000 sound a bit muddled in comparison while the PB-2000 is more crisp and tight. The extra bit of work the PB-1000 has to do to hit these same notes shows up as I switch between the two.

Played through the PB-1000, I can feel the opening bass notes from Talking Heads “Psycho Killer” in my body. When I listen to the same opening through the PB-2000, I get more impact and can feel it rattling the slippers on my feet. Everything hits with more force through the PB-2000 but it doesn’t get sloppy. The larger amplifier, driver, and port let it hit these loud bass notes easier, with less distortion, than the PB-1000 can.

Movies: Not Subtle

All my conclusions about how the differences between the PB-1000 and PB-2000 are subtle with music are thrown out the window when it comes to movies. There is nothing subtle about what the PB-2000 offers with true LFE tracks! The opening fireworks that accompany the Disney logo energized the room, while much of their impact was lost when I went back to the PB-1000.

When Clu descends into the light cycle arena in Tron: Legacy, any subwoofer gets a massive workout. The PB-1000 does a very good job of filling the room with the pulsing bass line and the  explosions of the fireworks overhead. Switching to the PB-2000 not only fills the room with more energy, my home theater seats actually vibrate. The PB-2000 moves enough air that it causes my pants to flap in the wind when it sitting 4’ away from them.

When the engines growl during Rush, they really roar with the PB-2000. The feeling of being inside a race car is enhanced when that engine is just as loud as it might be in real life; the room rattles, but I still don’t hear any port noise or other flaws. From the subway crash in Skyfall to giant robot battles in Pacific Rim, everything I own sounds exceptional with a better subwoofer. I really love my PB-1000, but when it comes to movies it just can’t compete with what the PB-2000 can do.

Measurements

Measurements are made using the CEA-2010 method. After some consultation with Brent Butterworth, who achieved different results, it seems there might have been a limitation on my source equipment that would cause lower max output than is possible. I’ve made a remedy for next time, but was unable to measure the PB-2000 again before returning it. So my data is here, but I don’t have complete faith in it. For full details on testing using CEA-2010, please read the write-up from Brent Butterworth on his website.

SVS CEA-2010 Data

Conclusions

Usually I write a section on what the product does wrong. The main issue with the PB-2000 is that it doesn’t distinguish itself from the PB-1000 enough on music. With movies, however, the PB-2000 clearly distinguished itself from its smaller sibling. I would still like a way to shut-off the power light that is on the front, or at least move it to the rear panel.

SVS has always made their name with performance and value, and the PB-2000 does nothing to change that. If you watch movies, I’d certainly take it over the PB-1000 because of how much deeper it can go. With music, the difference is far more subtle, and when you factor in price the upgrade may not be worth it. The PB-2000 a subwoofer anyone will be happy to have, and one I might not return to the company.

Review Summary
Product: SVS PB-2000
Reviewer:
Pros: High output with low distortion, able to fill a large room with thundering, tight bass.
Cons: Large, front panel light, no speaker level inputs
Summary: A clear step-up from the SVS PB-1000 with movies, the SVS PB-2000 is a powerful, dynamic subwoofer that will satisfy all but the biggest bass-heads.
Value: 5/5
Performance: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

Buy From Amazon

Why Amazon Links?

  • king hyp

    hi. thanks for the great review :) did you test it with percy jackson lightning thief 1st 2mins when a giant stomps the ground. i hear the pb1000 pumps a lot of port noise down 20hz on this movie & similar like parts of war of the worlds, under world awakening werewolf foot stomps. only on those freq range of heavy foot stomps did the pb1000 struggle but overall it is a great sub for the price. i hope the pb2000 doesn’t have this similar limitation to handle because i want to upgrade soon :)

    • I don’t own either of those titles unfortunately. I will see if I can find anything else with a 20 Hz deep note to test, but I should have CEA-2010 test data up soon which will show 20 Hz performance.

      • hussain

        still waiting

  • Since I’ve never had the SB13U in house, I really can’t say how it sounds. Your room is larger than mine as well so extra power would be useful. Brent Butterworth did a nice article this week where sub designers, including SVS, talk about Ported vs. Sealed subs that is worth a read: http://www.soundandvision.com/content/subwoofers-guts-and-glory

    It looks like your room falls in the area where they would go with ported or sealed, and the PB13-Ultra might almost be the best of the choices since it includes port plugs to convert to a sealed sub. But it also costs more of course.

  • ariel

    How well does this sub perform in a room around 4800-5300cf?

    • My room was under half that size, so I can’t say. You’d probably want to either run two, or step up to something like the Power Sound dual 15″ or another larger sub. The PB-2000 is very good, but that’s a really big room.

      • viipottaja

        Repeating in an effort to catch you attention to a comment in an old thread.. sorry! :) Oh darn it.. there is SVS PB-1000 for $160 on craigslist near my house,
        but now I yearn (like George in Seinfeld) for a PB-2000.. Movie room in a
        converted 1 room garage so I guess about 2000cf. Any comments, Chris?

        ps. I gather you have Finnish family roots? :)

  • viipottaja

    Oh darn it.. there is SVS PB-1000 for $160 on craigslist near my house, but now I yearn (like George in Seinfeld) for a PB-2000.. Movie room in a converted 1 room garage so I guess about 2000cf. Any comments, Chris?

    ps. I gather you have Finnish family roots? :)

  • Gordon

    Hi Ben, I known your comment was posted long ago but I am currently thinking about buying two svs pb-1000s and I’ve got similar size room as you commented. I’ve seen some reviews of pb-1000 saying they don’t have much punch, so with two of them did it give you any punch in the chest experiences?

  • Mike Kaupert

    Hi, I know it’s been a while for this thread, but I was looking at getting either 2 pb-1000 or 1 pb-2000 for a 3000 cubic feet room. I was wondering which you would recommend? I listen 50/50 to music/movies, and both are just as important to me and just want to make sure theirs enough quality/power behind the option I choose. What do you think?

    • Dual PB-1000 is going to provide more even bass response in the room, while the PB-2000 will provide better bass response below 30-35Hz or so. If you’re going to sit at one location in the room typically, the PB-2000 can be optimized for that location, and you can always add a second down the road if needed. It’s likely the path I’d take.