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SVS 3000 Series Powered Subwoofers Review

by December 19, 2019
SVS 3000 Series Subwoofers

SVS 3000 Series Subwoofers

  • Product Name: SB-3000, PB-3000
  • Manufacturer: SVS
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStarStar
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarStarStar
  • Review Date: December 19, 2019 02:00
  • MSRP: $ 1,000 - SB-3000 Premium Black Ash, $1,100 - Piano Gloss Black, $1,400 - PB-3000
  • Buy Now
  • 800 watt RMS amplifier
  • Front-firing 13” aluminum cone
  • 50MHz Analog Devices Audio DSP with double precision 56bit filtering
  • Subwoofer Control and Bass Management Smartphone App for Apple and Android Devices
  • Black Ash finish, with optional Piano Gloss Black for SB-3000
  • PB-3000 Dimensions: (w/ grille): 21.9” H X 18.3” W X 26” D,  (without grille): 21.9” H X 18.3” W X 23.5” D
  • SB-3000 Dimensions: (w/ grille): 15.6” H X 15.2” W X 17.8” D, (without grille): 15.6” H X 15.2” W X 15.7” D
  • PB-3000 Weight (unboxed): 82.2 lbs. (37.3 kg), Shipped Weight: 97 lbs. (44 kg)
  • SB-3000 Weight (unboxed): 54.5 lbs. (24.7 kg), Shipped Weight: 63.6lbs (28.9kg)
  • Dual 3.5-inch ports (PB-3000)
  • Protective non-resonant steel mesh grille
  • RCA stereo input/output with ultra-wide input voltage for consumer and professional audio applications
  • Auto/On and 3-30V AC/DC trigger
  • Input impedance 16kohm (unbalanced RCA)

Pros

  • Surprising dynamic range
  • Flat response from 20 Hz to 200 Hz
  • Bulletproof protection from overdriving damage
  • Gloss Black SB-3000 looks very nice
  • Subs are not super-heavy
  • SVS app gives user a lot of control

Cons

  • PB-3000 could use more finish options

 

SVS 3000 Series Subwoofers Introduction

Last fall, SVS released the 3000 series subwoofers which was said to bridge the performance and price gap between their 2000 and 4000 subwoofer lines. This role had formerly been filled by the ‘12-Plus’ line before they were discontinued. SVS’s naming system of using numerations of one thousand helped simplify redesigned models of previous names, so the redesign of the ‘13-Ultra’ series became the 4000 series, and the ‘12-NSD’ series became the 2000 series. Those were redesigns that kept the same basic construction, so much of the cabinet design and driver design remained the same, which is not a bad thing since they had been proven to work very well. The 3000 series, on the other hand, is quite different and does not bear resemblance to the ‘12-Plus’ series that it takes over in SVS’s price/performance ladder. It is a totally different design that uses an entirely different driver, cabinet, and amplifier. A couple of aspects remain the same, such as the use of variable port tuning and the 800 watt RMS power rating of the amp, but it really is an entirely different subwoofer.

3000 pair promotional.jpgThe 3000 subs do keep the same price point as the 12-Plus models. One trade-off that SVS has decided to make is to use higher-performing parts at the expense of the higher-end finish and build of the ‘12-Plus’ subs. The PB12-Plus had a much heavier and thicker cabinet which could also have a gloss black finish. The PB-3000 has foregone these amenities in pursuit of higher performance; a car analogy might be that the PB-3000 is less of a luxury car and more of a sports car. The sealed SB-3000 can still be had in gloss black, but doubtlessly, it is a lot less expensive to have such a nice finish on a small sub as opposed to a large ported sub.

In for review today, we have the PB-3000 and SB-3000 subwoofers. Having dealt with both the 2000 and 4000 series subs, we will look at how well the 3000s bridge the gap between those two lines. The price range that these subs occupy, $1,000 to $1,400, is fiercely competitive in the subwoofer market, so SVS was probably right to bring out a whole new design rather than redo the 12-Plus line. Given the competition, they would not have entered products in this price range lightly,

Unpacking and Appearance

3000 boxes.jpg 3000 packing.jpg

The 3000 subs arrived in heavy-duty cardboard boxes. There are instructions on the outside that guide the unpacking process, and if these instructions are followed, it does make the unpacking process much easier and simpler. Both subs were packed with heavy-duty polyethylene foam blocks sandwiching the top and bottom. This does protect them against shock and hard knocks, and, in fact, the box for the SB-3000 that I received showed evidence of having endured some kind of significant impact yet the sub was in perfect condition. The subs were also wrapped in a plastic bag to protect from moisture, and a soft cotton bag underneath that to protect them from scuffs during unpacking. As usual, SVS’s packing is top-notch, which is not surprising from a company with so much experience having shipped many thousands of subwoofers all over the world. 

3000 grilles.jpg  3000 pair.jpg

SVS PB-3000 and SB-3000 Subwoofers

The appearances of the PB-3000 and SB-3000 are two very different stories. Even though they use the same driver, the PB-3000 is large and muscular looking, while the SB-3000 is much more elegant and refined. While this is mostly due to the fact that the PB-3000 is over twice as large as the PB3000 2.jpgSB-3000,  another major contributing factor to this effect is that the SB-3000 came in a Piano Gloss Black finish whereas the PB-3000 comes in a Black Ash finish. The PB-3000 only comes in Black Ash. The SB-3000 can be had in Black Ash but can be had in Piano Gloss Black for a $100 surcharge. SVS’s gloss black finish is a deep high-gloss that is quite nice and not plasticy, so it is well worth the premium cost in my opinion. 

I have always liked the look of SVS’s woofers, and they keep a consistent style throughout their product lines. They always have a soft black texture with the SVS logo printed on the dustcap. I don’t normally like it when any kind of graphic is printed on cones, but SVS gets a pass here since it has always been somewhat understated and tasteful. One new stylistic touch that is not as welcome is the SVS logo is impressed in the gasket piece around the surround at the top and bottom. With ‘SVS’ printed on the dustcap in large font, we do not need the additional reminders that this is an SVS product. I think less is more in terms of logo placement.

The ports on the front of the PB-3000 do add to the brawny look especially with the grille on. SVS’s grilles have always been far more about function than form and that remains true for the 3000 subs. SB3000 c.jpgThe grilles certainly can be useful, but these subs look better without them, especially the SB-3000. The SB-3000 almost achieves a certain clean perfection. I say almost, because it doesn’t quite achieve perfection on account of the grille guides on the front baffle which do mar an otherwise smooth design. Nonetheless, it is one of the nicest-looking subwoofers I have dealt with to date. It is a gleaming beauty that would not look out of place in luxury spaces (sans grille). My advice to SVS - move to a magnetic grille for the SB-3000. Yes, small magnets would not support as robust grille as the existing one, but think about how much more graceful it would be without the grille guides!

I would sum up these subs’ appearances by using an automotive comparison: the PB-3000 resembles a beefy SUV whereas the SB-3000 resembles a luxury sedan. This seems a fitting analogy not just in aesthetics but also of performance.

Design Overview

At Audioholics, we often 3000 pair10.jpgsee the question from audio novices of what the difference is between a ported sub and a sealed sub, aside from the obvious size difference. The answer is simple: ported subs tend to have a lot more deep bass output than sealed subs. For those who don’t know, ported subwoofers use the back motion of the rear side of the woofer into the cabinet to resonate the air mass within the port. The air mass inside the port vibrates at precise frequencies from an effect called ‘Helmholtz Resonance.’ This is the same acoustic principle at work when you blow over the top of a bottle or jug and a distinct note is produced. The volume of air inside the cabinet and volume of air inside the ports are critical ingredients to this and govern the sound produced by the port, much like the volume of air inside of a jug and the shape of the opening determines the sound when blown upon. In a sealed subwoofer, the pressure waves created by the motion of the rear side of the cone are simply lost, and, in terms of sound produced per watt, a sealed subwoofer is far less efficient in deep bass ranges.

This difference in deep bass capability will certainly carry between the SB-3000 and PB-3000. The catch is that ported subs need to be substantially larger than sealed to take full advantage of this principle when using the same driver and amplifier. Going back to our analogy of the SB-3000 as a sedan and the PB-3000 as a truck, it is more than just an aesthetic comparison because the PB-3000 can displace a lot more air which means much higher sound pressure levels at low frequencies, so, like the vehicle differences, it has a lot more ‘hauling capacity.‘ One thing to keep in mind is that the output advantages that a ported sub has over a sealed sub are mostly limited to deep bass. Above port resonant frequencies, which is a relatively narrow frequency band, ported subwoofers do not have as much output advantage. We will be able to take a close look at the performance differences in the ‘Measurements and Analysis’ section of this review.

3000 driver.jpg

SVS 3000 Series Bass Driver

Getting into design specifics of these subs, let’s talk about the driver since they both use the same one, a 13” diameter, high-excursion driver. There is a lot of neat stuff going on with this driver, but one of the most interesting aspects of it is how the voice coil is wound around the former. SVS uses a split-wind voice coil meaning that, instead of the coil being wound in a uniform layering around the former, the coil winding has thicker density outside of its rest position within the ‘gap,’ which is the place where the permanent magnet’s force is focused. If executed properly, this can help maintain more linearity across higher excursions. In a normal uniformly wound coil, the rest position is the point of greatest magnetic strength, and the further that the coil moves away from its rest position, the less magnetic power is exerted upon the moving mass of the driver, so the magnetic strength is always changing depending on the position of the coil. That means that the driver is always losing linear motion control over the cone as excursion increases. A split-winding compensates for that by moving more coil away from the center and toward the edges of the winding, so the magnetic force stays the same so long as there is coil in the gap. The result will be that the cone’s motion is more tightly controlled over a greater range of excursion, and the sub retains accuracy in deeper frequencies and louder levels.

I am told by Ed Mullen, SVS’s Director of Technology that:

“proper execution of a split-wind coil is incredibly difficult and requires complex simulations and very precise machining and manufacturing tolerances.  But when done properly, the benefits are a much flatter force/displacement curve and excellent motor strength at/near the excursion limits of the driver, resulting in excellent overall driver linearity.”

One potential trade-off of 3000 driver motor.jpgthis winding topology is that since there is less winding density around the rest position, there will be less magnetic force available for low excursion frequencies, and that means the driver will lose sensitivity as frequencies increase. So this type of winding should be very good for deep bass but may sacrifice upper bass performance toward that end. However, one aspect of having less coil in the rest position that could help compensate for the reduced sensitivity at higher frequencies is that there will not be as much inductance occurring around the rest position as there will be around areas of greater coil density. Inductance can have the effect of reducing higher frequency output. Something else that helps to retain balance is that the driver suspension has the most amount of compliance at the rest position. The farther the driver moves in one direction, the lower the compliance (meaning more resistance from the spider and suspension), thereby requiring greater motor force to overcome.

When we take the driver out, we see that it uses a very robust-looking cast aluminum basket and two 7” diameter ferrite magnets, each with a roughly 5/8” thickness. That should make for a very powerful magnetic field, and SVS claims that the motor section of the driver alone weighs almost 18 lbs. Inside the motor, we can see a 2” diameter voice coil. Measuring the driver’s diameter, it comes out to a 13 ⅞” diameter from the frame’s edge. Most manufacturers use distance from frame edge as diameter, and almost all of them would have rounded up to say this is a 14” driver, but SVS has rounded down for some reason. But by most manufacturer’s standards, this would be considered a 14” driver. The 3000s use aluminum cones, and they are a good choice not only good because they are stiff and light but also serve as a heatsink for cooling when the voice coil gets hot, and that can improve thermal compression behavior. This is helped by a thermally conductive polyimide impregnated fiberglass former so that heat is quickly leached off of the voice coil. There is also an aluminum shorting ring in the motor which will help to reduce inductance and lower distortion.

3000 amp panel.jpg  3000 amp.jpg

SVS Class D Sledge Amplifier

The amplifier uses the same platform as was used in the 4000 and 16-Ultra series but scaled down a bit in power and features. It is rated for 800 watts of continuous power (although we think SVS’s claim of 4,000 watts peak power is a bit hyperbolic). It is the same class-D design with discrete 25-amp MOSFETs and DSP engine running on a 50 MHz Analog Devices Audio DSP chip with 56bit filtering. As with the 4000s and 16-Ultras, the 3000s can be operated by a smartphone app that can control a wide range of functions to an extremely fine degree of adjustability. With SVS’s Subwoofer Control App, the user can control the volume down to a single dB of precision, low-pass filter behavior from 30 Hz to 200 Hz down to individual hertz frequency precision and also with a choice of slopes of 6, 12, 18, and 24 dB/ octave, phase control from 0° to 180° selectable down to individual degrees (or you can just flip the polarity from positive to negative), room gain compensation response curve selectable from 25 Hz, 31 Hz, or 40 Hz with a choice of a 12 or 6 dB/ octave slope (this is very handy for taming low-end boominess for those who get a lot of room gain), and port tuning configurations. One neat thing that is especially easy to use with the SVS app is a 3-band parametric equalizer with which the user can adjust the bass response to their taste. It can also help tame peaks in the response that are produced by room acoustics.

The 3000 subs do not have the front-panel display of the 4000s or 16-Ultras, but they do have a very clean and economic control layout on the amp plate that SVS calls the ‘Intelligent Control Interface’ (ICI). There is a meter that can be switched to indicate volume, phase, and low-pass filter settings, although that seems to be the extent of the onboard controls. For deeper control of settings, users will need the smartphone app.

sb3000 schematic.jpg 

The cabinet is very stout although not as heavy-duty as the 4000 series and 16-Ultra series cabinets, and that is a good thing in my book. Those enclosures were overbuilt, and that ended up adding a whole lot of extra weight just for effect and not really for any performance gains. The 3000 subs are much more sensibly constructed. The PB-3000 is still a bit heavy at 82 lbs, but it is much easier to move around as opposed to the back-breaking 153 lbs. PB-4000. The PB-3000 is a robust construction using a 1 ½” thick MDF front baffle and ¾” thick side panels and bracing. There is a window brace in the center that helps to support the driver motor and another brace further back that supports the ports. There is an ample amount of stuffing lining the cabinet walls. The ports are quite large with a 19” length and 3 ½” diameter. They are flared at both ends. The SB-3000 has an internal window brace as well. As always, the SVS grilles are very heavy-duty, and SVS consistently provides the most protective subwoofer grilles in the industry. It is a big steel grille that could really protect the driver from a hard kick or some hand-thrown projectile. They don’t look pretty (in my opinion) but they are truly effective at driver protection. The feet are some wide rubber cones that can be used on hard surfaces without worrying about scratching the floor. They may leave a mark if dragged across carpeting though, so make sure that they get some clearance if moving the sub across carpeted flooring. 

The PB-PB3000 interior.jpg3000 supports two different operating modes: ‘Sealed’ (where the ports are sealed) and ‘Standard’ (ports are left open). Using the sub in ‘Sealed’ mode will grant the user a more gradual low-end roll-off at the expense of overall deep bass headroom. The sealed operating mode nullifies port output completely, and that can come in handy in certain circumstances where room gain boosts deep bass output so much that it can sound boomy or overwhelming. SVS does not seem to have included support for an ‘extended’ mode on the PB-3000 like they have on their 4000 and 16-Ultra subwoofers where one port is plugged for deeper extension. I would guess the reason for that is that the driver is capable of so much displacement that a single port would get quickly overwhelmed, so SVS decided that a mode with that kind of compromise is better left unused on the PB-3000.

The overall design of these subs points to similar engineering practices that we have consistently seen from SVS: a well-built, well-balanced system that should be able to dig into deep bass frequencies cleanly and powerfully. However, one welcome departure from the upper-tier models from SVS that I have dealt with is that the cabinets are not massively overbuilt. The SB-3000 is actually easy to pick up and move, and almost any healthy adult should be able to manage its 54 lbs. weight and petite size. As we mentioned before, the PB-3000 is also far more physically manageable than the higher-end SVS subs. It should still be a two-man job to lift and carry it, but it can be ‘walked’ around on flooring pretty easily by a single person. The advantage of those massive cabinets is that are able to damp rocking motion from the force of the moving driver. Also, the weight and solid feel of those cabinets do impart an impression of a higher-end item. However, all of that extra weight does not assist in performance in any way. As I said before, it is simply there for ‘effect.’ This makes the 3000 subs more practical, in my view. The 3000 subs are not a big chore just to move around. If you needed to pack them up for whatever reason, they are much easier to deal with. Moving around or repacking the 4000 and 16-Ultra subs is a serious logistical task that needs some planning before undertaking, but I don’t find this to be true of the 3000s.

Listening Sessions

The best placement for a single sub in my room gives me a relatively flat response for an un-EQ’d single subwoofer, with a window of +/- 4 dB from 25 Hz to 100 Hz with no broad dips in important ranges. This location trades low-end room gain for a relatively flat response, a worthwhile trade for my tastes. The receiver used was a Pioneer Elite SC-55 and the crossover was used mostly at 80 Hz. As always, I will note here that since room acoustics have a huge effect on low frequencies, the way these subwoofers sound in my room at my listening position is not necessarily going to be the way they sound anywhere else for anyone else, so readers would do well to keep that in mind, and not just for this subwoofer in this review, but for any subwoofer in any review.

Music Listening

A traditional musical instrument which can Mendelssohn Organ Works.jpgtake advantage of a subwoofer like no other is the pipe organ, and an album that I found that leverages the pipe organ’s deep bass abilities was a re-issue of a recording from 1986 album entitled ‘Mendelssohn: Organ Works’ performed by the accomplished organist Peter Hurford, who passed away earlier this year at age 88. The album was recorded on the monumental Rieger Organ in the landmark Ratzeburg Cathedral (constructed in 1220 A.D.) in West Germany. Taking one look at this organ, one has to wonder if any subwoofer could do justice to such a colossal instrument. This album is not afraid of deeper bass notes, even though few loudspeakers manufactured in 1986 would have been able to give it the kind of potent playback that is required to feel the full force of this music. Listening for a subwoofer in this kind of material is tricky because if the system is properly calibrated and the sub is well-engineered, it’s difficult to tell where the sub ends and the speakers begin. It is only apparent when you hear bass sounds that you know the speakers couldn’t possibly be producing. While pipe organ music is known for its use of deep bass, many pipe organ recordings don’t really dig that deep, although ‘Mendelssohn: Organ Works’ certainly does, but not in every track. Still, when those deep notes hit, it can be soul-shaking when heard in a capable system.

At full throttle, these SVS subs are absolutely jarring.

I alternated between the SB-3000 and PB-3000 when listening to this album to hear if any difference could be discerned. It was easy enough to switch between them thanks to the SVS app. I started with the SB-3000 and found that it was very much up to the task of recreating the sound of the Rieger Organ in the Ratzeburg Cathedral, so much so, in fact, that I wondered what advantages that the PB-3000 could even bring. I was surprised how authoritative the SB-3000 could be given its relatively small size. It’s one of the smallest subs I have had in for review yet it still managed to shake my sofa (helped in part by its near-field placement, no doubt). The sub blended in well with the rest of the system so I could only really be sure of its sound specifically when those low notes resounded with gut-churning power. For the most part, the sub did what it was supposed to by providing seamless support for the rest of the sound. Switching between the SB-3000 and PB-3000, they seemed to be on an equal footing except in instances where the organ really plumbed the depths such as track 8, the Chorale for Organ Sonata No.6. In that track, the PB-3000 was able to deliver the lowest notes with disconcerting power. The notes were so low you could distinguish individual pressure wave cycles. The SB-3000 just didn’t have that kind of low-end grunt, but for 90% of this album, it could keep up with the PB-3000. I think that organ music aficionados would be very happy with either sub, but the PB-3000 could capture the deepest notes with more force, although that is expected given the design differences. However, for those who do not have room for a large sub, the SB-3000 did an outstanding job for its size.

There aren’t all that Pin Drop.jpgmany acoustic instruments that take advantage of deep bass frequencies, and one reason for that is because, in order to produce large pressure waves, it really helps to have a large acoustic converter, or in other words, big instruments are needed to produce deep bass. One such instrument is the double bass, also called the upright bass, and a contemporary master of this instrument is Adam Ben Ezra. Ben Ezra’s most recent album was 2017’s ‘Pin Drop’ and I thought it might make for a good exhibition for a subwoofers abilities with an acoustic instrument. Ben Ezra’s double bass performance is the center of this recording, but other instruments crop up as well such as clarinet and piano, all played by Ben Ezra. ‘Pin Drop’ is very much a fusion of styles with double bass play at the forefront. Adam’s tremendously dextrous playing techniques with the double bass are not just limited to using the strings since he extensively uses the body of the double bass as a source of percussion.

‘Pin Drop’ sounded terrific on the 3000 series subs. I didn’t notice any serious differences between the subs switching back and forth during listening, so I would guess that the PB-3000’s deeper extension is not an advantage on material like this. The double bass can dig deep but not 20 Hz deep. The transient response of the subwoofers was excellent, and they were able to track the sharp attacks and releases of the Double Bass beautifully. The deep bass of the double bass also blended nicely with its overtones from the main speakers so that the instrument sounded like a single sound source. Calibration has a lot to do with that, but a good sub is also needed in order to reproduce the signal in a linear, predictable manner. Either of the 3000 series subs is a terrific choice for this kind of acoustic music and is more than capable of giving it a realistic low-frequency foundation. 

On what might be the very opposite eIllumination.jpgnd of the musical spectrum, I turned to an almost purely ambient album entitled ‘Illumination’ by veteran electronic music composer Robert Rich. ‘Illumination’ was produced as music for an art installation by Micheal Samoroff in 2007. This music is largely a soundscape with little in the way of melody or a normal rhythm. It is a sonic atmosphere and at many points uses deep bass as a way of intensifying the sound or evoking a large space. There are a variety of drones, rumblings, and distant thundering sounds to keep a subwoofer engaged throughout the album’s running time. ‘Illumination’ might make for great companion music to the reading of a science fiction novel or a planetarium exhibition. Since the sound of ‘Illumination’ can often act as a whole rather than a collection of noises, it is important that the subwoofer not make its aural presence a distinctive one; it must blend in with the rest of the sound. Much of the low-frequency sound here is subtle rather than booming, so the sub needs to be well-integrated and also well-controlled in order not to become a distraction. A subwoofer with a peakish response, for example, would be ruinous for the intended effect of this music.

Happily, I can report that both of the 3000 subs were able to reproduce the low frequencies of ‘Illumination’ with aplomb. In coordination with the rest of the audio system, they recreated the sound of the album as a convincing mystical space in my home theater room. The low-frequency sound was given definition instead of becoming a boomy, rumbling smear. The bass was powerful when it needed to be and subtle when it wasn’t, and the 3000 subs never broke the illusion of a seamless whole. Switching between the PB-3000 and SB-3000, I couldn’t really tell any difference between them, so I would guess that this music doesn’t dig deep enough for the lower extension of the PB-3000 to come into play. Both subs were stellar performers on ‘Illumination,’ and I think either is a terrific choice for those interested in good execution the subtler bass content.   

both SVS 3000 Series subs were stellar performers...

Taking another hard right turn to something entirely different, I threw on an album to see what kind of dynamic range the 3000 subs offered on wilder and more rambunctious music. The genre: Drum’N’Bass, the artists: Black Sun Empire, the album: ‘The Wrong Room.’ Regular readers of my subwoofer reviews will probably note by now my propensity for using Drum’N’Bass music for pushing subs to their limit. It isn’t just because I am fond of the genre but because not many other music types are as taxing of subwoofers as Drum’N’Bass, especially the rowdier side of the genre. The name of the genre pretty much explains why it is so heavy in low frequencies: near constant synth bass and very high tempo breakbeat percussion. ‘The Wrong Room’ by Drum’N’Bass genre titans Black Sun Empire is the right choice for heating up the coils on any sound system for those seeking permanent hearing damage. It is ferocious music that doesn’t ever really let up, although it does change tempos and styles at certain points.

I cranked the volume and The Wrong Room.jpgbraced myself for an hour and seven minutes of a brutal aural beatdown, and the 3000 subs did not disappoint. Again, I was surprised at the SB-3000’s serious punch for its petite size. I did feel the PB-3000 had a bit more muscle overall when I pushed them hard, but the SB-3000 wasn’t far behind in headroom, even though it’s less than half the size of the PB-3000. At full throttle, these subs are absolutely jarring. They can hit hard, but again, partly as a consequence of the placement I had them in, which is closer than they would end up in most user’s setups. Nonetheless, they did nothing to indicate misbehavior or trouble handling these high levels. I noticed no distortion, and the subs scaled up in volume to higher levels than I, or almost anyone, would probably end up using them at in normal listening before running out of headroom. The kick drums were felt like a sharp punch to the sternum, and the bass lines were given a gutteral growl that vibrated my lower digestive tract. I have dealt with subs that could deliver more power for this kind of music in the past such as SVS’s 16-Ultra series, but these have as much output as I can use for my own tastes, and my preferences for bass quantity likely exceed what most people would want from this type of content.   

Movie Watching

I have long been a fan oblade runner 2049.jpgf the movie ‘Blade Runner’ and had purchased a Blu-ray of the sequel some time ago, but I just didn’t get around to watching it. I had long heard of discussion of ‘Blade Runner 2049’s’ bass-heavy sound mix, and I figured what better time to view this movie than with such powerful subs in hand. Indeed, ‘Blade Runner 2049’ turned out to be a bass fest, so much so that I checked the levels on my system to make sure the subs weren’t running hot. Much of the bass sound was coming from the music score, which is not surprising given Hans Zimmer’s involvement. Zimmer is quite fond of bass frequencies. Effects sounds plunged the subs into infrasonic output at times where I could hear things vibrating from pressure waves that were in frequencies below my ability to hear. This was much more the case with the PB-3000 than the SB-3000. I rewatched certain scenes at a later point to compare the PB-3000 to the SB-3000, and while the SB-3000 could reproduce the music with authority, it couldn’t match the weight that the PB-3000 brought during effects-heavy scenes, at least for loud level listening. At more modest listening levels, the SB-3000 would be able to keep up with the PB-3000, but a movie like ‘Blade Runner 2049’ demands to be played loud. Of course, it is not unexpected that the SB-3000 doesn’t quite have the low-end output of the PB-3000, but for a smaller sub, again it surpassed my expectations. It’s hard to believe that something so small can make such a big sound. ‘Blade Runner 2049’ benefits from the extreme deep bass prowess of the PB-3000, but it is still a full and enjoyable experience with the SB-3000 for those who do not have the room for its larger ported brother.

I had not yet seen the newest Godzilla movie either, ‘Godzilla: King godzilla king of the monsters.jpgof Monsters,’ and its recent release on Blu-ray was good timing with the SVS 3000 series subs in house. It should be obvious how a big-budget Hollywood production about huge monsters battling and causing widespread destruction would be a great opportunity for a subwoofer to show off its chops. And indeed it was! There was so much bass-heavy destruction that the sub barely had any down-time whatsoever during this movie. I used the PB-3000 for initial viewing of this film and later went back to rewatch some passages with the SB-3000. The PB-3000 was able to keep up with the loud levels that I had set for the movie. It rumbled my sofa frequently and produced bass that could just as easily be felt as heard. I don’t see any need for those tactile transducers that can be attached to the seat when sheer SPLs can recreate the same effect and do a more convincing job of it too. ‘Godzilla: King of Monsters’ is a heavy workout for any subwoofer, and I felt the PB-3000 was more than up to the challenge at any point in the movie. I didn’t get a sense that it was compressing or distorting at any point, no matter how fierce the LFE track could get. Movies like “Godzilla” are why large ported subs exist. While the SB-3000 could charge the LFE track adequately enough that viewers could certainly enjoy the movie, the PB-3000 is another experience. It added another layer to the realism of the onscreen havoc that the SB-3000 doesn’t quite capture. But getting a big sound requires a big enclosure, hence the need for subs as large as the PB-3000. In my opinion, the immersiveness added from the authoritative output at near-subsonic frequencies is much greater than the scads of surround channels that surround formats are coming up with nowadays. The sound of a 5.1 system with deep bass performance on the level of the PB-3000 is going to be a lot more realistic and convincing than a 13-channel system with middling bass performance. This type of movie begs for capable subs, and the 3000 series subs from SVS are very capable.

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About the author:

James Larson is Audioholics' primary loudspeaker and subwoofer reviewer on account of his deep knowledge of loudspeaker functioning and performance and also his overall enthusiasm toward moving the state of audio science forward.

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