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SVS PB-2000 Pro Subwoofer Conclusion

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2k pro outdoor testing.jpg

The SVS PB-2000 Pro was tested using ground plane measurements with the microphone at a 2-meter distance in an open setting with well over 100 feet from the nearest large structure. The sub was tested with the woofer facing the microphone. The temperature was recorded at 79 degrees with 60% humidity. The subwoofer’s gain was set to maximum, phase was set to 0, and the low-pass filters were left off.

2k pro frequency response.jpg

The above graph shows the measured responses for the PB-2000 Pro for both its sealed operating mode and ported operating mode. As is usual for SVS, we see a nice flat response, although it does have a slight tilt toward the low-end. One nice feature is the response stretches out past 200 Hz in both operating modes and past 300 Hz for the sealed mode. This gives users a lot of flexibility in crossover choices. The advantage of this is not just that it could meet the low-end of loudspeakers with low-end roll-offs in high frequencies, but in setups with multiple subs, higher crossover frequencies can be used to increase overall system dynamic range without incurring localization and also smooth out mid-bass room modes out to higher frequencies. We can see that the ported mode response begins to roll off at around 20 Hz and the sealed response rolls off at 30 Hz. Users should not allow that to give them the impression that ported mode only has slightly more deep bass output than sealed mode, which is not the case at all. The sealed operating mode will begin to compress deep bass output at much lower drive levels than the ported mode. This subwoofer fulfills its potential in ported mode and that is the mode it should normally be run in barring some odd circumstance.

2K Pro CEA-2010 table.jpg

CEA 2010 Results for SVS PB-2000 Pro Subwoofer

The above CEA-2010 measurements are short-term bursts that show the subwoofer’s clean peak SPL before heavy distortion sets in. Our measurements have been referenced to 2-meter RMS, which is 9 dB down from the standard requirement for the measurements to be shown at 1-meter peak. However most publicly available CEA-2010 measurements are shown at 2-meter RMS, so we followed that convention. The burst tests for the PB-2000 Pro are tremendous results for a ported 12” subwoofer. SVS reports that this is close to what they measured except at 20 Hz where they measured 1.6 dB more than what I was able to get. This measurement set is a major increase in performance versus the outgoing 2000 series, especially at 31.5 Hz and above, where there looks to be about a 3dB increase on average. That is a 50% increase in amplitude. The 2000 Pro series shows itself to be a lot more than just a facelift and a smartphone app for improvements over the regular 2000 series. This is a very welcome improvement because the mid-bass frequency range is where many competing subwoofers had a performance advantage over the regular SVS 2000 series. In the PB-2000 Pro, SVS has managed to close the gap against many of its competitors in mid-bass output.

2k pro long term compression sweeps.jpg

The performance here is overall very good and explains why this sub could hit so hard in my listening sessions.

Testing for long-term output compression was done by first conducting a 20-second sweep tone where 50 Hz hit 90 dB with the subwoofer 2 meters from the microphone. We then conduct further 20-second sweeps by raising the gain by 5 dB until no more output could be wrung out of the subwoofer. These tests show us the long-term continuous headroom that the subwoofer is capable of. Here again, we see big improvements over the 2000 series for the most part. Whereas the PC-2000 was barely able to pierce 110 dB at any point, the PB-2000 Pro is able to maintain long-term output over 110 dB from the upper 20s to 100 Hz. This is about the same increase in headroom that we see in the burst test measurements over the regular 2000 series. There is some port compression that reduces respective low-end output at high levels versus nominal levels, but that occurs with almost all ported subwoofers. Other than port compression, there is not a major change in response shape. The performance here is overall very good and explains why this sub could hit so hard in my listening sessions.

2k pro THD.jpg

The 2000 Pro series shows itself to be a lot more than just a facelift and a smartphone app for improvements over the regular 2000 series.

The above graphs show the corresponding total harmonic distortion to the long-term output graphs. Essentially, they depict how linear the subwoofer remains for the corresponding drive level seen in the long-term sweeps. The quantity being measured is how much of the subwoofer’s output is distortion and is shown here as a percentage. The performance exhibited here is very good, with the PB-2000 Pro keeping total distortion not much more than 5% down to around 20 Hz even at the highest drive level which is as loud as I could push the sub. Basically, the PB-2000 pro stays as clean as a whistle down to 20 Hz. At nominal drive levels, distortion is not too bad below 20 Hz, but it does increase rapidly as drive levels rise. The good news about that is there is not much output at all down there since the sub’s own output drops off rapidly below 20 Hz, so it isn’t like you would hear lots of ugly distortion if you did playback content with strong infrasonic bass. On the whole, this is excellent behavior for a ported sub. 

2k pro 2nd order distortion.jpg 2k pro 3rd order distortion.jpg

We can see from these graphs that the PB-2000 Pro driver is a very well balanced design that has been heavily optimized.

The above graphs depict measurements of the constituent harmonics from the long-term output sweeps and are what the total harmonic distortion measurements are composed of for the 2nd and 3rd harmonics. These individual harmonics can give us a clue as to what might be the cause of some quirk or non-linearity. We are only showing the 2nd and 3rd here because they more or less reflect the higher even-order and odd-order behaviors, although higher-order harmonics tend to be much further down as a percentage of distortion compared to the second and third.

One interesting thing we can see in the differences between these distortions is that much of the distortion that occurs above port tuning seems to be due to induction, since the 2nd harmonic increases in quantity at a fairly even rate with the driver’s oscillation. That 2nd harmonic distortion quantity holds out pretty evenly to high frequencies indicating that it is not a function of excursion and so would not seem to be a matter of motor nonlinearities or suspension nonlinearities. Nonetheless, it is kept to very low levels and would not be audible. The 3rd harmonic is barely existent where there is not a whole lot of excursion occurring. The highest excursions will be occurring a bit above port tuning, and here we can see a little bit of odd-order distortion cropping its head, but it is a very low amount considering that is happening at the highest drive level. Again, it would be inaudible. We can see from these graphs that the PB-2000 Pro driver is a very well balanced design that has been heavily optimized. 

2k pro Group Delay.jpg

Group delay is the measurement of how much time it takes for individual frequency bands of an input signal to be produced by the speaker. It can indicate that some frequency components are developing slower than others or are taking longer to decay. It is generally thought that 1.5 sound cycles are needed for group delay to be audible at bass frequencies, although there is an argument that group delay should remain under 20 ms to be completely unnoticeable, but that is likely meant for mid and upper bass frequencies. In these time-domain measurements, the PB-2000 Pro puts up a very good showing that doesn’t exceed 20ms until under 40 Hz and doesn’t exceed one cycle until around the low 30s. In those deep bass frequencies, the higher amounts of group delay seen here will not be very consequential. The PB-2000 Pro manages to hold group delay to very low levels in the frequency regions where it matters. This is a sharp sounding subwoofer and these measurements explain why.

2k pro room gain compensation responses.jpg

The above graph shows the effects that the ‘Room Gain Compensation’ control has on the response of the PB-2000 Pro. Smaller rooms can dramatically boost deep bass frequencies to the point where the bass sounds bloated. This is due to an acoustic phenomenon known as ‘pressure vessel gain’ but is more commonly referred to as ‘room gain’. Reducing the deep bass output can help achieve a more natural sound in these situations, and SVS has made it easy to do that with this control. Low frequencies can be reduced by 12 dB or 6 dB per octave slope at either 25, 31, or 40 Hz. 

Conclusion

2k pro hero3.jpgBefore bringing this review to a close, I will quickly go over the strengths and weaknesses of the product under review, and, as always, I’ll begin with the weaknesses since I am the kind of person who wants the bad news first. The problem here is that the PB-2000 Pro gives me very little to complain about. It benefits from years as an evolving design from the PB12-NSD to the PB-2000 and now the PB-2000 Pro, and all those years of refinements have added up to a very well-balanced and well-rounded subwoofer. If I have to complain about anything, it is that I wish it had additional finishes aside from the black ash veneer. The existing veneer doesn’t look bad considering the price point, but it is the type of finish that I see on many other lower-cost speakers. I do kind of wish SVS had used more imagination in finish options, but that would have hiked up the price, of course. One other nit that I could pick is that I wish there was a way to access all of the features available on the app on the sub itself. If for some reason the user can not access the app, they can only have control over the bare essentials of phase, volume, and low-pass frequency in the sub’s operation. Again, however, a fancier interface would have hiked up the sub’s price, and at $900, it isn’t something that most people can buy on a whim. It is getting perilously close to a thousand dollars which have to be a psychological tipping point in the cost-consciousness of many middle-class consumers. 

2k pro logo.jpg  Large Bassaholic

While I don’t really have any serious complaints about the PB-2000 Pro, I do have some serious compliments, so let’s go over its highlights. First of all, the performance is a big leap over the previous 2000 generation which wasn’t at all bad to begin with. Where the mid-bass output of the previous 2000 subs was fine but not spectacular, the 2000 Pro very much takes it up a level and sees on average a 50% performance increase in mid-bass frequency ranges while keeping the same deep extension and clean low-frequency performance that SVS is known for.

2k pro front3.jpgThe PB-2000 Pro earns our ‘Bassaholics Room’ rating of ‘Large’ meaning that it should be able to handle a room of up to 5,000 cubic feet in size. All of this performance comes in an enclosure that has a reasonable size and weight, so it isn’t a big hassle to move around when you are trying to find the best location for it. The PB-2000 Pro also ups the ante by bringing in SVS’s subwoofer control app which allows extreme fine-tuning of any of the subwoofer’s parameters in addition to giving it a three-band parametric equalizer which could be very useful to combat the room’s destructive acoustics by eliminating room mode peaks in the response.

At the beginning of this review, we asked whether the 2000 Pro was worth the higher price difference over the older 2000 series subs, and the answer has to be a resounding yes, just for the performance improvements alone. For most of the subwoofer frequency band we see approximately a 50% increase in output, but we only see a 12.5% increase in pricing. Factor in the addition of the app control and nicer-looking industrial design over the previous 2000 series, and there are upgrades in nearly every respect for a minor pricing increase. You still get SVS’s five-year warranty and their exceptional customer support that they are known so well for. We can list the PB-2000 Pro as another winner in SVS’s portfolio of solidly engineered products. Those who want to try the PB-2000 Pro for themselves can do so at no risk since SVS offers a 45-day in-home trial with free return shipping if the user is not satisfied with the product for any reason. 

 

The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
MetricRating
Bass ExtensionStarStarStarStar
Bass AccuracyStarStarStarStarStar
Build QualityStarStarStarStarStar
Ergonomics & UsabilityStarStarStarStar
FeaturesStarStarStarStar
Dynamic RangeStarStarStarStar
Fit and FinishStarStarStarStar
PerformanceStarStarStarStarStar
ValueStarStarStarStarStar
Attached Files
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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Recent Forum Posts:

MThomsen posts on October 08, 2020 14:21
shadyJ, post: 1424118, member: 20472
The measurements for that graph were done using REW. The graphs are unsmoothed. Those tests are done with the subwoofer gain at maximum.

I wouldn't be so concerned about trying to duplicate the setup for that testing if I were you. The most valuable part of that testing was acoustic the conditions it was performed in and the testing methodology. That is only good for capturing the anechoic response of the sub. Those aren't the methods that you want to use to capture the response of the subs in your room at your listening positions. All you really need to do is try to get the flattest response that you can from 20Hz to 100Hz at your listening positions.

Remember just to use EQ to take down peaks and use positioning to shore up nulls. Don't use EQ to bring up anything but very mild dips in the response.

Thanks a lot. Im a newb to this and appreciate your directions. You say unsmoothed? If you saw my unsmoothed graph, you would probadbly ask me to just find a nother room for my setup :-) , it looks terrible white noise style , but sounds with autority and quite punchy all the way from 20 to 100hz where i roll off. However i want a more flat response so i guess ill start over, back to basics. Again, thanks for your quick reply and tips on the build in EQ.
shadyJ posts on October 08, 2020 14:03
MThomsen, post: 1424109, member: 93030
Thank you for a very nice review. I have 2x PB-200 pro myself and am currently trying to fiddle with placement and eq to get a flat response, using REW for measurements.
I would like to use your graph, the one showing Frequency response for both ported and sealed mode as a reference for my own measurements. Could you perhaps inform, if you are using REW and what kind of smoothing you have used, at what gain, ect. so I can replicate in my setup?

Regards/Michel
The measurements for that graph were done using REW. The graphs are unsmoothed. Those tests are done with the subwoofer gain at maximum.

I wouldn't be so concerned about trying to duplicate the setup for that testing if I were you. The most valuable part of that testing was acoustic the conditions it was performed in and the testing methodology. That is only good for capturing the anechoic response of the sub. Those aren't the methods that you want to use to capture the response of the subs in your room at your listening positions. All you really need to do is try to get the flattest response that you can from 20Hz to 100Hz at your listening positions.

Remember just to use EQ to take down peaks and use positioning to shore up nulls. Don't use EQ to bring up anything but very mild dips in the response.
MThomsen posts on October 08, 2020 13:37
Thank you for a very nice review. I have 2x PB-200 pro myself and am currently trying to fiddle with placement and eq to get a flat response, using REW for measurements.
I would like to use your graph, the one showing Frequency response for both ported and sealed mode as a reference for my own measurements. Could you perhaps inform, if you are using REW and what kind of smoothing you have used, at what gain, ect. so I can replicate in my setup?

Regards/Michel
shadyJ posts on October 03, 2020 13:36
killdozzer, post: 1422867, member: 68331
Let's take a step back. You seem to be holding your guard very high and I don't know why.

First of all, to defuse the conversation, I hold you in very high regards and think you do one hell of a job here. Your thoughts, ideas and advice I enjoyed reading and try to use and put to practice whenever I can.

That's one more reason why I ask YOU of all people, what do you think about the specs that KEF published with their sub. Those specs are bordering with impossible and I thought that precisely for that reason, they might raise your curiosity.

I'm sorry, I must have written it very poorly, I didn't want to say you are the one who made those “bald statements” as I choose to call them.
OK, I see now. I just didn't quite understand what you were saying. I thought you were saying I was making those statements about KEF's subwoofer. As for KEF's sub, it may well do +/-3dB down to 11Hz, but at what output level? That spec doesn't mean much. The type of design they are using requires heavy cones to produce deep bass, and that means low sensitivity, especially in mid-bass frequencies. No matter what, that KEF sub isn't going to be able to get very loud.

Traditionally those mini-subs used passive radiators to generate deep bass, like Sunfire, Polk, and Deftech's mini-subs. The problem with that was that the passive radiators had to be so heavy that it would wobble the subwoofer around. Also, they were never very reliable. Passive radiators that undergo high excursions tend to wear out. By going dual opposed with two active drivers, the KEF solves the wobbling problem that passive radiators bring. but taking two small cones and stuffing them in a small cabinet isn't great for deep bass output. So what they can do is weigh the moving assembly down for a lower resonant frequency which greatly diminishes mid-bass sensitivity but improves deeper bass sensitivity. Or they can just EQ for that kind of response, but if those aren't really long-throw 9"s, they will run out of excursion real fast in deep bass. Hell, they are probably going to run out of excursion in deep bass eve if they were extreme long-throw drivers. For every octave lower a subwoofer driver plays for the same output level, its excursion must quadruple. Unless it is strictly limited by the DSP, it will run into gross distortion very quickly in deep bass.

This is all just speculation since I don't know much about the sub. But it looks to me like audio jewelry rather than a real subwoofer.
mazersteven posts on October 03, 2020 12:38
killdozzer, post: 1422867, member: 68331
what do you think about the specs that KEF published with their sub.
Maybe his confusion was that this is an SVS review thread not a KEF thread. Maybe a separate thread should have been started on this topic or maybe a private message asking. Maybe that's where the confusion is
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