SVS PB-1000

SVS PB-1000 Subwoofer Review


A quiet, peaceful dinner in the middle of Zero Dark Thirty is suddenly interrupted by a surprise car bomb. Tables and chairs fly around the room as shrapnel fills the air. Characters are dazed and confused as chaos surrounds everyone. The scene on-screen certainly surprised you, but did it jar you awake and out of your seat? Without a subwoofer to shake your room as that bomb explodes, you remained a passive observer, watching safely from the couch. You need a subwoofer to pull you into that hotel dining room and make you feel that concussive blast.

Manufacturer: SVS
Model: PB-1000
Drivers: 10" Driver
Amplifier: 300 watts RMS (700 watts peak)
Inputs: LFE, Stereo RCA, Speaker Level
Sub Type: Ported
EQ: No
Dimensions: 18.4" x 15" x 18.4"
Weight: 46 lbs.
Review Date: June 11, 2013
Price: $499.99
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SVS has been one of the true success stories of the Internet direct revolution.  Selling their subs online from their headquarters in Ohio, SVS has garnered critical acclaim over the years while putting out a product that completely skews the value rating of other subwoofers.  They have recently expanded out to full speaker systems as well, but the subwoofer remains their core product.  Trying to cement their value reputation, they introduced a pair of $499 subwoofers: A 10” ported model, the SVS PB-1000, and the 12” sealed SB-1000. Finding myself in need of a subwoofer, I went ahead and ordered the SVS PB-1000 for myself.

The SVS PB-1000 is a standard ported-box design. Utilizing a 10” woofer and a front port, SVS measures the PB-1000 as being capable of playing down to 19 Hz. The amplifier on the rear is a 300-watt model that is capable of 700-watt peaks. The SVS PB-1000 can be integrated into a home theater or a stereo system easily thanks to the speaker level, line level, and LFE inputs on the amplifier.

The rest of the amp is very standard, with controls for volume, phase, and crossover frequency. There is no EQ on the SVS amplifier, so you’ll have to rely on your receiver for that. Despite only having a 10” woofer, the SVS PB-1000 isn’t a small box and will look pretty sizable in a living room. The 46 lb. weight is heavy enough to reassure you that quality parts and construction are here, but light enough to easily heft around a room. For my testing, I hooked it up to an Anthem MRX 500 receiver and used Anthem Room Correction to EQ the sub, so it would perform at its optimum.

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And with that Po unleashes the Wuxi Finger Hold upon the evil Tai Lung in Kung Fu Panda. A massive wave of sound rattles the walls of my room and the countryside on-screen. The SVS PB-1000 leaves nothing to the imagination about the impact of that secret power. Even the walls of the AV rack rattle along with the room. Every punch, thud, and building that was destroyed registers, transforming background entertainment into engrossing action.

Tron: Legacy may only be a fair movie, but with the Daft Punk soundtrack and killer sound mix, it is an amazing demo. The light cycle battle delivers a veritable massage on my couch from the SVS PB-1000. The room shakes as I realize they might have gone too far with the bass. One thing I am certain of it that I was happy no one else was home at the time to wake up. I kept checking out the windows, expecting neighbors to investigate the massive bass rumblings that were going on.

What the SVS PB-1000 can’t do is punch you in the chest. The room will shake, the floor will vibrate, and loose items may fall off the shelves. You’ll know when a shotgun blast goes off and a car crashes, and you’ll be sucked in. But you won’t get that physical beating that 15” and 18” woofers can deliver. SVS can work some wonders with a 10” driver and a single port, but the laws of physics can only be bent, not broken.

With two-channel music the SVS PB-1000 delivers as well. Random Access Memories from Daft Punk has the bottom octaves fill in and the music brought to life. So much of this album was missing before the SVS PB-1000 was added, and the PB-1000 sat in its corner providing the necessary depths to their newest beats. Let it Be from The Beatles has the same benefit, moving Harrison’s guitar and Ringo’s drums from supporting piece to full-fledged pieces of the mix. Never overpowering the rest of the music, just filling in the holds that traditional speakers leave out.

Only when pressed with heavy metal tracks like “One” off …And Justice For All from Metallica does the SVS PB-1000 begin to falter. Moving towards reference levels brings out some noticeable port noise. It just isn’t quick enough to keep up with the insane drumming of Lars Ulrich and the shredding guitars. The sealed 12” model from SVS, the SVS SB-1000, is probably a better match if you’re in a music-heavy system. It won’t register as low as the SVS PB-1000, and won’t carry as much weight, but the sealed design won’t suffer from port noise and will keep up with those guitars and drums better.

To see how the PB-1000 really does, I took it outside with RoomEQ Wizard, a calibrated microphone, and did some measuring. From 2m away, the PB-1000 does a very good job keeping up until I move past 100dB. At 105dB we see the PB-1000 start to run out of steam. 100dB from 2m away is still a great number for a $500 subwoofer, and the response curve is very flat, with a small roll-off after 25 Hz.

Up to 95 dB the THD+N stays low until 22 Hz. At 100 dB the THD+N rises considerably, and at 105 dB we’ve reached the limits of the PB-1000. The waterfall shows that it takes a bit of time for the sub to die down, which leads to that muddled sound I got with Metallica. As subwoofers go, for $500 it’s going to be hard for another sub to beat the PB-1000.

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In the end, I’m quite happy with my purchase of the SVS PB-1000. For movies, it is a fantastic subwoofer. The ability to hit low and deep brings a film to life. The bass is loud enough to rattle the sides of my AV rack which now need to be secured. With music it will do a good job unless you’re a truly heavy-duty rock star, in which case SVS has other models for you.

SVS offers a 45-day return guarantee on their subwoofers. If you get it into your house and decide you need the extra bass of a model like the PB-13 Ultra, don’t worry as you also have a year to upgrade from SVS and lose nothing. For $500, it’s hard to go wrong with the PB-1000. It performs great, tests well, and does it all for a great price. Hell, it’s so cheap you can get two and really crank it. Highly recommended.

Review Summary
Product: SVS PB-1000
Pros: High output and low distortion for a low price, great performance with movies
Cons: Can’t feel it in your chest, better choices for music, no EQ
Summary: For $500 delivered, the PB-1000 is a no-brainer of a subwoofer
Value: 4.5/5
Performance: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

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  • Raul Soriano


    i have the same sub and i place the volume just midway. I find it very soft. Should i cranked the volume say three quarters or full?


    • Chris Heinonen

      In my room, I have the volume cranked close to 3 o’clock on the dial. It really depends on the room size and placement. The ideal way to determine is using a sound pressure level (SPL) meter and test tones in your receiver. The subwoofer should be equal to the other channels for a proper balance.

      If it is so soft I’d turn it up a bit at a time and listen to the same track or movie scene until you find a setting with the ideal balance for you.

  • Dan

    Hi Chris,

    I’m considering two SB’S-1000’s to smooth the response in an 1,800 cu/ft room. With two PB-1000’s do you think I’ll still encounter significant distortion in the 25-20hz range based on your experience and measurements? It is 100% home theater. And I play it somewhat loud but not at reference levels.


    • Chris Heinonen

      I think if you are only concerned with home theater use, the two PB-1000 will provide you with higher output levels than the SB-1000 would be capable of. I haven’t used the SB-1000, but the low-end rating for it is 5 Hz higher than the PB-1000, and that doesn’t account for the fact that the PB-1000 will play at louder levels than the SB-1000 as well.

      For music, where there is less likely to be sub-30Hz material, the dual SB-1000s might provide a better experience. With films, there is a lot of sub-30Hz material in the .1 channel now, and so the PB-1000 would be better suited to the job I think.

  • Dan

    Whoops, I meant to write PB, instead of SB– definitely looking dual ported for HT.

    • Chris Heinonen

      In that case it depends more on your room and how many people watch movies. Adding another sub will flatten out the response for the whole room, but will only add a few extra dB of output, and still won’t give you that “hit-in-the-chest” feeling. If you usually watch with lots of people over a larger area, then two subs will provide the best response for that.

      If you more often watch solo, then I’d look at a single, larger sub. People I know that have used the HSU VTF-15H have really loved it, and it provides that low down bass that the SVS just can’t. It is twice the price, but I’ve yet to talk to someone disappointed in it. That $1,000 price range is one where SVS doesn’t really have something that competes directly with the HSU right now.

  • Carlos Fernandez

    3 o´clock. Do you have the volume at 75%? My room has 13 m2 and I put my 200W RMS subwoofer at 60%. Although it depends of the movie (Tron Legacy 55% for example, Godzilla 50%). It looks like you put the bass very loud.

    May be for that you think that in Tron Legacy, they have gone too far with the bass :)

    Before I had a sub with 400W and I only could put it at 25/30% of volume.

    • My room is 68m^2 so I have a lot more space to fill with any subwoofer. Again, it’s different for everyone and the only way to do it right is with an SPL meter to find the appropriate level to match the rest of the system. You shouldn’t have to change between movies either, some soundtracks just run the bass a bit hotter than others.

      • Carlos Fernandez

        ok, that changes the things. Your room is very big.

        Before I never changed the volume. But each engineer put the “LFE” in each movie with different volume. If I wanna be happy with the bass in the race of “The Phantom Menace”, i need 60%. But that volume in movies as Godzilla, is a crazy in my room:)

        I have polk dsw550 (30hz -3db) and I´m happy, but in the future I´ll buy PB1000. 19 hz is a tentation for home-theater. Thanks for you review.

      • David Zimmerman

        Did you mean cubic or square meters? If square, as you wrote, your room is very large (over 6000 cubic feet). As such it not suited for a pb1000 and you would definitely not feel it in your chest. Your reviewing environment is sqewed to favour large and/or multiple subs.

        Now if you meant cubic feet then your room is small.

  • Most serious reviews comment on the appropriateness of this ported 10 for music/movies. While the tuning frequency is low enough to mitigate phase rotation and group delay, reviewers still find it sounds less appealing for demanding music. Do you know if it’s possible to plug the PB1000 into a 10″ version of the SB1000? I know there’s DSP in there to flatten low-frequency response. Wondered if you or someone has tested this alteration.