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SV Sound PB-12NSD Subwoofer Preview




  • Product Name: PB-12NSD
  • Manufacturer: SV Sound
  • Review Date: October 31, 2006 08:25
  • MSRP: $769 (free shipping)
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
  • Buy Now

Executive Overview

Lately we've been evaluating a bunch of SV Sound (aka. SVS) subwoofers.  We have done so for a variety of reasons:

  • they are soundly engineered based on the real laws of physics.
  • they utilize quality parts, enclosures and amplifiers, taking no obvious cheapening short cuts many of their competitors often do which either hinders performance or longevity.
  • they test per CEA 2010 standard, so initially it was a way for us to re-verify our test rig was properly calibrated.
  • they offer some of the best single driver subwoofers on the market at their respective price points with REAL 20Hz extension and the measurements prove it.

Enter the new PB-12NSD, SVS's most affordable ported subwoofer.  This subwoofer features a custom designed  aluminum cone 12" driver, 4" flared port and a 400 watt amplifier.

SVS uses a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) optimized motor with dual shorting rings and pole extenders which they claim brings all these improvements to the table compared to this models predecessor:

  • More linear force/displacement curve
  • Lower inductance and distortion
  • Shorter "ring time"
  • Improved sensitivity
  • A wider and more linear frequency bandwidth 


 SVS PB-12NSD Driver

More details on their driver include:

  • 2” diameter, high-power voice coil with high-temp GSV former
  • Nomex linear roll long-throw spider
  • Low-creep rubber long-throw surround
  • Spider-integrated tinsel leads
  • Aluminum cone and composite dust cap with SVS logo
  • Powder-coated cast aluminum basket
  • FEA-optimized motor structure
  • Dual shorting rings and pole extenders to reduce gap induction and distortion
  • Dual high-grade ferrite magnets
  • Pole piece vent for greater cooling, low noise, and reduced air compression

In addition to a very impressive robustly designed driver, the PB-12NSD is powered by a meaty Sledge 400 watt amplifier.  This is a continuous power rating, not some fictitious peak power rating typically found on a BASH amplifier.  The cabinet is well braced and sports a full 1" thick front baffle.  Just tap on any SVS cabinet and you will heard a thud not a hollow box like some of their competition.  There are real reasons why SVS subwoofers weigh a ton; sturdy well braced cabinets and big motor structured woofers.

SVS adds a touch of class to the PB-12NSD with a radius contoured perforated metal grille, flared port to reduce port noise and removable threaded synthetic rubber feat to keep the sub planted on the floor without damaging hard surfaces.

In our reviews of the SVS PB12-Plus DSP and PB13-Ultra, our CEA 2010 measurements matched SVS's within 1dB for the subwoofers entire bandwidth.  While we plan on doing a formal review of the new PB-12NSD incorporating a full barrage of measurements per our new Subwoofer Measurement Protocol, we thought it would be fun to compare SVS's CEA 2010 data for the new PB-12NSD with what we measured from the SVS PB12-Plus DSP and the  Outlaw LFM-1EX subwoofers. All measurements are scaled to 2 meter RMS.

Frequency (Hz)

SVS PB-12 Plus DSP


Outlaw LFM1-EX

20 Hz

107 dB

104.5 dB

 101 dB

25 Hz

109.5 dB

107.3 dB

 107.3 dB

32 Hz

111.5 dB

108.4 dB

 110.7 dB

40 Hz

114.3 dB

108.8 dB

 112.3 dB

50 Hz

115.3 dB

109.0 dB

 113.7 dB

63 Hz

115.3 dB

109.3 dB


2 meter RMS CEA 2010 Passing Data (Max Output Mode – all ports open)

Editorial Note About CEA-2010 Measurements

The SVS PB-12 Plus DSP  subwoofer was originally tested by Paul Apollonio.  The Outlaw LFM-1EX subwoofer was tested by Josh Ricci while the SVS PB-12NSD was tested by Ed Mullen of SVS.  Some performance variance between different testers and test rigs is expected and should be understood when trying to directly compare results of different subwoofers tested by different reviewers using different test rigs.

The SVS PB-12NSD handedly outperforms the bigger but similarly priced (when factoring in shipping)  Outlaw LFM-1EX subwoofer with a 3.5dB advantage at 20Hz-25Hz.  The more robust motor structure and lower tuning of the SVS sub really shows here.  However, because of the bigger box and more efficient driver, the Outlaw LFM-1EX has about a +4dB advantage above 40Hz.  All of the subs in this mini comparison offer quite impressive performance  Make no mistake these are real subwoofers at a shoestring prices any way you dice it.  Very few Brick & Mortar brands can compete at even double the price of each respected subwoofer compared here.

Bassaholic Large RoomThe SVS PB12-Plus DSP reigns supreme over the other two subs in this comparison and it should given its significantly higher price.  Interestingly though one could make the case to purchase two PB-12NSD subwoofers for only a modest cost increase over a single PB12-Plus DSP which will close the SPL output gap some while also providing the benefit of smoother more integrated bass response across a wider listening area.  

Based on the collection of parts and published measured performance, the SVS PB-12NSD appears to be one of the best values today in affordable subwoofers.  It exhibits excellent bandwidth linearity and plenty of headroom to shake up your listening space.  In fact, based on the output numbers shown here, the PB-12NSD earns our "Large Room" Bassaholic rating which few subs at this price point can claim.

We look forward to conducting a formal review of what we feel will be the subwoofer to beat in the under $1k price category.

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About the author:

Gene manages this organization, establishes relations with manufacturers and keeps Audioholics a well oiled machine. His goal is to educate about home theater and develop more standards in the industry to eliminate consumer confusion clouded by industry snake oil.

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Recent Forum Posts:

Morgan Audio posts on June 29, 2016 01:40
gtpsuper24, post: 845076, member: 56965
I guess that my opinion doesn't count over there unless its a glowing review. I hardly ever post over there either, it usually just small talk. Anyone that posts that has a problem with their Axiom speakers usually gets the “well its not Axioms fault they make perfect speakers so you must have done something wrong” response.

If you stop and think about it Axiom always says that they are busy researching and engineering, I think on what???? You never release any thing its the same stuff since the early/mid 2000s.

Take a time line of Axioms V1 line and compare what they have done compared to other brands.

SVS: 2 new speaker lines plus refreshes, inwalls, constant improving their PB and PC lines adding sealed subwoofers.
eD: 4 new speaker lines plus a slight refresh, subs subs subs.
Emotiva: 3 speaker lines, refreshes on their amps, new sealed subs plus refreshes.

What has Axiom done? The VP180 center, silver dust caps and mag grills. No wonder the Axiomites never have anything to talk about.
Their speakers are great and the subs don't suck but way over priced for their performance. They price on name.
mdanderson posts on February 12, 2012 21:05
Thanks for the info on this outstanding svs sub. I was wondering if you will be doing a review of the SVS SB13plus anytime soon. I was curious as to whether it would be certified as medium or large. I have a 2700cf room and I was hoping the SB13 would be adequate for that size. Thank you.
homwerk posts on December 07, 2011 15:17
gtpsuper24, post: 846302
Would this new NSD driver work as an upgrade to those who have the older PCi series like my 25-31PCi? I noticed before the site update that the new PB12 NSD had a picture of the newer driver but the PC 12NSD looked like the previous driver. Is this one used in the PC line too?

I am also curious if the PC12 and the PB12 share the same new driver. So far, the PC series of subs meets the WAF slightly better than most for me.
gtpsuper24 posts on December 06, 2011 20:29
Would this new NSD driver work as an upgrade to those who have the older PCi series like my 25-31PCi? I noticed before the site update that the new PB12 NSD had a picture of the newer driver but the PC 12NSD looked like the previous driver. Is this one used in the PC line too?
mike c posts on December 05, 2011 16:25
^and as long as the end user gets a better performing sub … does it matter?
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