SVS PB-1000 Subwoofer Review
By Chris Heinonen on
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.
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.
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.
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.
High output and low distortion for a low price, great performance with movies
Can’t feel it in your chest, better choices for music, no EQ
For $500 delivered, the PB-1000 is a no-brainer of a subwoofer