SVS PB-3000 Subwoofer Review
By Chris Heinonen on
The SVS 3000-series subwoofers replace the longtime 13-Ultra series in their lineup. Packing a 13-inch driver, updated amplifier with 800 watts RMS and 2,500+ watt peaks, and app control offering easy setup and a 3-band EQ you can control from your iOS or Android device. This time I decided to change up and review the PB-3000 model instead of a sealed model. With two 3.5” ports up front, the SVS PB-3000 offers the capability to dig deeper into the low bass for movies, but also includes a pair of foam port plugs if you want to drive it with no ports open.
PB-3000 Installation and Setup
The PB-3000 is smaller than the last couple of ported subs we’ve reviewed from SVS but it is by no means small. I recommend having a strong friend over to help if possible, though I managed to do it solo thanks to a furniture dolly I keep around for these reviews. The SVS subs come very well packed in foam that won’t break down after a single shipment so you can easily move them in the future if you keep the box around. After flipping it out of the box I was able to place it against my left wall, tucked right under a shelf of records. My usual sub doesn’t fit here, so the PB-3000 scored some points here by opening up a lot more space in my room.
Unlike their higher-end subs, the only finish for the PB-3000 is a black ash vinyl wrap, but it looks just fine in person. It also doesn’t offer up any reflections in the dark or need as much maintenance to keep clean when compared to a piano black sub so it works fine in my dedicated room. The rear port has RCA inputs for both stereo and LFE but lacks speaker level inputs in case you need those. A rear USB port provides power for the optional wireless transmitter in case you want to avoid cables running along the floor (review forthcoming).
The SVS PB-3000 has an integrated 3-band EQ but there isn’t an automated calibration function. To set this up I used the Quick Measure feature in Anthem Room Correction from my MRX 1120 to check the response for both sealed and ported modes. In the graphs below you can see the before and after measurements from the PB-3000 subwoofer in my room. I focused on the range up to 100Hz because I was certain I’d use a crossover past there, and most likely at 80Hz unless I was reviewing a smaller set of bookshelf speakers.
Using ARC or RoomEQ Wizard it is easy to use the SVS app to configure the 3-band parametric EQ. Using those apps you get live feedback while you make the adjustments, so it’s quite easy to see how they are impacting the response in real time. It only took me around 10-15 minutes to get it dialed in for ported and sealed, though unfortunately, you can’t save two sets of settings. Room EQ Wizard can even calculate the correct filters for you to use if you want to do that.
In the sealed mode, the end response was much flatter than in ported mode and the drop-off below 20Hz was not nearly as steep. I assume that SVS is prioritizing overall output for the ported mode with the tuning while the sealed mode can play flatter but not to the same output levels. Once I dialed the sub in with the integrated EQ, I ran ARC again on my system and found that -15 was the appropriate volume level for my room. The SVS obviously has plenty of headroom to spare in a space that measures just around 1,300 cubic feet. With the PB-3000 in position and ready to play, it was time for some music and movies.
SVS PB-3000 Listening Tests
Loading up my Subwoofer Testing playlist in Spotify, I skip ahead to Paul Simon’s “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes”. Flipping between ARC profiles with and without a subwoofer, the difference is night and day. WIth the PB-3000 the drums have an impact that you can feel while without the PB-3000 you hear them but they sound small and anemic. The songs bass line is almost entirely absent without the subwoofer present and the soundstage is smaller. The bass is tight and controlled despite running with both ports open and my usual love of sealed subs starts to vanish a bit.
“Wish You Were Here” might open with a single guitar but the song quickly adds plenty of bass. Again the difference with the PB-3000 is night and day. The speakers open up and the lower octaves appear as if they were missing, letting the song fill the entire room instead of being trapped between the two speakers. The song is great without the SVS there as Pink Floyd is never bad (and the SACD is essential to own), but it takes on a completely different experience once you add in the PB-3000.
Moving through the rest of the test tracks the PB-3000 continues to show no issues. “Angel” from Massive Attack fills the room with thunderous bass while the drums in the second half of Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight” have all the surprise and impact you can want. I previously reviewed the SVS SB-16 with a 16” sealed driver that costs over 50% more than the PB-3000. Mentally comparing the two I notice that the PB-3000 isn’t quite as tight and focused, but it isn’t a night and day difference. For almost the entirety of my music listening, the performance of the PB-3000 left nothing to desire.
If I only cared about music I’d probably stick to a sealed subwoofer, but I also watch a lot of movies and use this theater for reviews. Having a subwoofer that can dig deep to bring out the impact of soundtracks is essential. Opening with Edge of Tomorrow, the opening 30 seconds tells you a lot about a subwoofer. As the tones dip lower and lower, the PB-3000 starts to rattle the walls of my theater while not rattling itself. The deeper tones that the SB-16 couldn’t do quite as well came across here with more impact and volume.
The light cycle battle in Tron: Legacy is punctuated by a Daft Punk soundtrack that nearly blows out my eardrums when delivered by the PB-3000. It’s even louder and more active than the previous Edge of Tomorrow clip causing the room to shake and rattle like mad. MI: Rogue Nation has become a subwoofer test clip since Stephen and I used it for the f112v2 review. The PB-3000 can’t produce the depth or clarity of that $7,500 pair of JL Audio subs, but for 20% of the price, the PB-3000 comes close to 80% of the performance. The motorcycle/car chase remains incredibly exciting to watch and packs plenty of impact and depth. When a BMW drives over cobblestones you have a low rumble that fills the room, making it feel like you’re in the car.
SVS PB-3000 Conclusions
Watching movies or listening to music, the PB-3000 has no issues producing bass that has tons of impact but is also tight and accurate when called for. I usually run a sealed subwoofer which does fantastic with music but has often left me wanting on movies. Going to listen to the ported subs that Stephen would usually review made me want something with that impact, which can wake the neighbors up at night but I didn’t want to give up my music performance.
The PB-3000 does a wonderful job of being a subwoofer that can handle both movies and music well. With the optional wireless transmitter, I can place it in the ideal spot in my room with no messy cables or anything else to deal with as well. Combining great performance, an amp with app control that lets you apply EQ filters, and a nice price the PB-3000 gets an easy recommendation. For a room my size I don’t feel like I need a larger sub to fill the space than what the PB-3000 offers. Those with a theater that’s twice the size, like Stephens, might want to step up to the PB-4000 or even the PB-16 Ultra to get the same level of performance. The PB-3000 might even stick around in my system permanently since it saves me so much space and doesn’t make me feel like I’m losing out on performance at all.
Fantastic performance with movies and music, PEQ works well to correct for major room issues, can move between sealed and ported modes.
Still no automatic EQ, only available in a black ash finish and not piano black or other colors.
The SVS PB-3000 is a fantastic performing subwoofer that does a wonderful job with movies and music. It fills out the lower octaves in music without drawing extra attention to itself, and you can feel it in your chest as it rattles the walls when watching movies.