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SVS SB-1000 Ultra Compact Powered Subwoofer - Review

Don't Let The Small Size Fool You

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


SVS Sb-1000 Ultra Compact Powered Subwoofer
The SVS SB-1000 is a subwoofer that is not much larger than its 12-inch driver. However, inside its small cabinet is an amplifier that can output more than enough clean low frequency audio output power for a small or medium size room. In addition, the SB-1000 provides adjustable volume, phase, and crossover controls, as well as several connection options that can work with just about any home theater receiver. For more details, read the rest of my review. Also, after reading the review, get a closer look in my supplementary Photo Profile.

Product Overview

Here are the features and specifications for the SVS SB-1000:

1. Design: Sealed Enclosure (Acoustic Suspension), built-in amplifier, 12-inch diameter front firing driver.

2. Amplifier Type: Class-D (Sledge STA-300D)

3. Power Output: 300 Watts RMS (720 watts peak).

4. Frequency Response: 24-260 Hz +/- 3 dB (measured at a 2-meter distance from reflective structures).

5. Crossover: Adjustable from 50 to 160 Hz.

6. Connection Options: RCA LFE or L/R audio cable connection (both in and out), High Level speaker connections (input only).

7. ROHS compliant.

8. Power Consumption: .5 watts standby mode, up to 300 watts in operating mode.

9. Dimensions (Includes feet and grill): (HxWxD) 13.6-inces x 13-inches x 14-inches

10. Weight: 27 pounds

11. Available Finish: Black

Additional Components Used to Conduct Review

SVS SB-1000 Subwoofer - Controls

Photo of the controls on the SVS SB-1000 300 Watt DSP Controlled 12-inch Ultra Compact Sealed Subwoofer.

Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
Home Theater Receivers: Onkyo TX-SR705, Harman Kardon AVR147.

Blu-ray Disc Player (Blu-ray and Streaming Content): OPPO BDP-103.

DVD Player: OPPO DV-980H

TV: Vizio E420i LED/LCD 1080p Smart TV (on review loan).

Loudspeaker/Subwoofer System 1 (5.1 channels): 2 Klipsch F-2's, 2 Klipsch B-3s, Klipsch C-2 Center , Klipsch Synergy Sub10.

Loudspeaker/Subwoofer System 2 (5.1 channels): EMP Tek E5Ci center channel speaker, four E5Bi compact bookshelf speakers for left and right main and surrounds, and an ES10i 100 watt powered subwoofer.

NOTE: On speaker systems used in this review, both the original subwoofer and SB-1000 were used for comparison. Settings were adjusted accordingly.

Audio/Video connections made with Accell Cables High Speed HDMI Cables provided by for this review by Atlona, and NextGen. 16 Gauge Speaker Wire used.

Software Used Used to Conduct Review

Blu-ray Discs: Battleship, Ben Hur, Cowboys and Aliens, The Hunger Games, Jaws, Jurassic Park Trilogy, Megamind, Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, The Dark Knight Rises.

Standard DVDs: The Cave, House of the Flying Daggers, Kill Bill - Vol 1/2, Kingdom of Heaven (Director's Cut), Lord of Rings Trilogy, Master and Commander, Outlander, U571, and V For Vendetta.

CDs: Al Stewart - A Beach Full of Shells, Beatles - LOVE, Blue Man Group - The Complex, Joshua Bell - Bernstein - West Side Story Suite, Eric Kunzel - 1812 Overture, HEART - Dreamboat Annie, Nora Jones - Come Away With Me, Sade - Soldier of Love.

DVD-Audio Discs: Queen - Night At The Opera/The Game, Eagles - Hotel California, and Medeski, Martin, and Wood - Uninvisible, Sheila Nicholls - Wake.

SACDs: Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon, Steely Dan - Gaucho, The Who - Tommy.

Set-up and Installation

For this review, I alternately connected the SB-1000 to both the Onkyo SR-TX705 and Harman Kardon AVR-147 subwoofer pre-out to the LFE input on the Subwoofer. Additional connection options between a home theater receiver and the SB1000 are provided (See Supplementary Photo).

As far as physical placement goes, I used both a corner and side wall location, both of which were effective.

SVS suggests a corner placement as the first (and preferred) option, or along one of side walls as a second option. If you opt for a side wall placement, my suggestion is to use the "crawling for bass" technique to find the best bass response. It is also important to note that you should not place the subwoofer flush to the wall - bring it out a few inches.

After you have determined how much, and the quality, of the bass output, you need to match SB-1000 to the rest of your speakers so that the crossover frequency and volume level is balanced.

The quickest way to do this, and also suggested by SVS, is to use your home theater receiver's onboard automatic speaker setup system (such as Audyssey, MCACC, YPAO, etc...). These setup systems provide the home theater receiver a way to set the subwoofer level and equalization in relation to your other speakers.

It is also usually possible to manually tweak the results obtained via any of the automatic speaker setup options. However, if your home theater receiver does not provide and automatic speaker setup system, or you prefer to set the crossover frequency and output level of the subwoofer manually, the SB-1000 does have its own crossover and volume controls for this task. You can do this either by ear, or better yet, have a sound meter handy for more precise adjustment.

Audio Performance

SVS SB-1000 Subwoofer - Connections

Photo of the connections on the SVS SB-1000 300 Watt DSP Controlled 12-inch Ultra Compact Sealed Subwoofer.

Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
The SVS SB-1000 was a very good match for the rest of the speakers used in both comparison systems. I found that the SB-1000 provided very good tight bass for its small size. Using a variety of Blu-ray discs and DVDs with prominent LFE soudtracks (such as Battleship, Jurassic Park, Master and Commander, and U571) the subwoofer showed no fatigue, but was not as earth shattering at the extreme low frequencies than the Klipsch Sub10, but was less boomy than the EMP Tek ES10i subwoofer.

On music-based material, the SB-1000 reproduced good overall bass response, doing especially well with music tracks featuring acoustic bass detail, but did exhibit drop off in volume output in the reproduction of the bottom end of the sliding bass riff on Heart's Magic Man and was not as impactful on Sade's Soldier of Love as the Klipsch and EMP Tek ES10i.

On the other hand, SB-1000 provided good bass texture without being overly boomy in the mid-bass frequencies and mixed well with the rest of the speakers in both setups.

Final Take

Overall, the SB-1000 provided a clean, but not overly exaggerated, bass response that was effective, and the subwoofer had excellent recovery time between dynamic bass peaks.

Using the subwoofer frequency sweep tests provided on the Digital Video Essentials HD Basics and THX Calibrator test discs, the output level of the SB-1000 was strong to about 40Hz, with some audible decrease between 40Hz and 30Hz, then dropping off steadily.

That being said, the compact 12-inch sub delivered a more than adequate low frequency output for both movies and music that would be well-suited for a modest home theater system in a small or medium-size room.

Another thing to note is that the SB-1000 is surprising light for a 12-inch subwoofer containing a 300-watt amplifier, weighing in at only about 27lbs. Combine that with its easy-to-hide compact size, this subwoofer can make a great addition to your system without being an eyesore in your room.

If you are looking for a subwoofer that provides a good balance of power output, low frequency response, installation convenience, and price ($499 suggested), definitely give the SB-1000 consideration. For a closer look at, and further explanation of, the features of the SVS SB-1000 Ultra Compact Subwoofer, also check out my Photo Profile.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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