SVS PB-2000 Review
By Chris Heinonen on
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.
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.
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.
SVS PB-2000 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 PB-2000 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.
High output with low distortion, able to fill a large room with thundering, tight bass.
Large, front panel light, no speaker level inputs
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.