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SVS Ultra Evolution Pinnacle Floorstanding Loudspeaker Review

by June 01, 2024
Ultra Evolution Speaker

Ultra Evolution Speaker

  • Product Name: Ultra Evolution Speaker
  • Manufacturer: SVS
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStarhalf-star
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarStarhalf-star
  • Review Date: June 01, 2024 00:00
  • MSRP: $ 5,000/pair
SVS Ultra Evolution Speakers - First Listen, INCREDIBLE!

Design: 3-Way Vented Tower

Tweeter: 1” Diamond-Coated Aluminum dome

Midrange: 2 x 5.25” Composite Glass-Fibre Cone

Bass drivers: 4 x 8” Composite Glass-Fibre Cone

Recommended Power: 20-300 Watts

Frequency Response: 24Hz-40kHz (±3dB)

Sensitivity: 88dB (2.83v/1M)

Crossover Frequency: 140Hz, 1800Hz

Nominal Impedance: 6 Ohms

Dimensions: 50.2” (H) x 11.81” (W) x 18.14”

Weight: 96.7 lbs (43.9kg)

Finish Options: Piano Gloss Black, Piano Gloss White, or Real Black Oak Veneer


  • Warm, inviting sound
  • Wide dynamic range
  • Alignment of drivers allows closer proximity listening
  • Low-frequency extension below 30Hz
  • Interesting industrial design


  • Voiced for warmth rather than accuracy
  • Should be driven with a robust amplifier


SVS Evolution Pinnacle Speaker Introduction

When SVS unveiled their new Ultra Evolution loudspeaker series to the world at the 2024 CES in January, many in the audio industry were surprised at just how radically SVS changed their top-tier speaker series. Typically, when a major loudspeaker manufacturer refreshes a speaker line, they keep the core design and simply make component changes such as improving aspects of the drivers and crossover circuit or expanding the finish options. For the Ultra Evolution speakers, SVS has completely reconfigured the enclosures and driver layout. The Ultra Evolution speakers are not just the previous Ultra speakers with some improvements; they are new designs from the ground up. Today, we will take a look at how this new design pans out in practice with the flagship of the series, the Ultra Evolution Pinnacle, in-house for review.

The Ultra Evolution Pinnacle is a much more expensive and heavier-duty loudspeaker design than anything SVS has brought to market to date, so it is their most ambitious loudspeaker yet. This 96 lbs. Behemoth will set you back $2.5k each and features four 8” bass drivers, two 5.25 midrange drivers, and a diamond-coated tweeter. Its specs suggest some real firepower as well as high precision. There has been an awful lot of hype around these speakers ever since their announcement, so the question we will ask in today’s review is: does it deliver? Let’s now dig in to find out…

Packing and Appearance

Pinnacle boxes   Pinnacle packing2

The Ultra Evolution Pinnacles arrived in two thick cardboard boxes. Unpacking instructions are printed on the outer flap of the box, and it would be a good idea to follow them for these speakers. Inside the boxes, the speakers were packed in large styrofoam blocks bound together with a nylon strap. The strap holds everything together so that the packed speaker can easily slide out of the box and be unpacked in place. The speakers were wrapped in plastic bags over cotton sleeves for protection against moisture as well as scuffs and scratches. Normally I rail against the use of styrofoam as a packing material for heavy speakers, but SVS has used higher-quality styrofoam and not the flaky stuff that falls apart easily. It should be enough to protect the speakers on their journey through the usual parcel services. I also like how easy SVS has made it for the speakers to be unpacked and placed out of the box. Thoughtful packing was needed here since these speakers are so large, and, thankfully, that is what we get.

Pinnacle pair grilles    Pinnacle pair16

Once unpacked, the Ultra Evolution Pinnacle towers stand as a pair of gleaming, angular obelisks. They have a slightly hunched posture due to the cabinet bend at the tweeter. The cabinet shape is a distinctive stylistic choice and will certainly make SVS’s speakers stand out from the crowd in its market segment. I received the gloss black finish, but the Ultra Evolution speakers can also be had in gloss white and a black oak veneer. A very gradual chamfer at the front edges of the cabinet gives the Ultra Evolution Pinnacle speakers an almost aerodynamic touch. There are a lot of drivers on display: two midranges, two 8” bass drivers, and a dome tweeter. The beefy surrounds and matte dustcaps of the woofers have a muscular look, and these speakers do look like they pack a lot of firepower. What accentuates this brawny look is that, at seated height, these large speakers look like they are looming over you with their hunched-over posture. Another interesting design cue is the protective cover of the tweeter has an interesting irregular webbing pattern, but it is only noticeable when examined closely.

With a 50” height, the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles are big speakers, so anyone who orders them and hopes that other household occupants won’t notice the new additions to the living room is in for a rude awakening. The grilles do a bit to make the speakers more innocuous by hiding the drivers, but they can not mask the sheer size of the speakers. The good news is that they are fairly stylish without being gaudy or splashy, and I do think they pulled off a unique aesthetic yet still look nice. Loudspeaker buyers who need something more modestly sized are in luck; SVS also has the Ultra Evolution Titans and Ultra Evolutions Towers which are smaller floor-standing speakers then the Pinnacles but share most of the same design.

Design Analysis

There is a lot to discuss design-wise about the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles. On the surface, it is what could be called a WMTMW design where WMTMW stands for Woofer-Midrange-Tweeter-Midrange-Woofer. The mirroring of the drivers around the tweeter was popularized by famed loudspeaker designer Joe D’appolito although this speaker does not strictly follow D’Appolito’s formula. The advantage of this type of driver layout is that it can focus sound output more narrowly on the vertical axis between the midrange drivers. The midrange drivers will cancel out off-axis output above a certain frequency, and that leads to less floor and ceiling acoustic reflections. The lobe of the loudspeaker’s overall dispersion is centered more tightly around the tweeter. For this reason, it is important to listen at or near the tweeter height on this and similar loudspeakers. If you listen at too high or too low of a vector with respect to the tweeter, you could be missing a good chunk of the very important midrange frequency band.

Pinnacle tweeter2      Pinnacle tweeter motor

Getting into individual components, let’s start at the top of the frequency band as we normally do and talk about the tweeters. SVS uses an aluminum dome with a vapor-deposited diamond coating. Vapor-deposited diamond dome tweeters have been around for a while and were most famously used in Bowers & Wilkins 800 series speakers. Those speakers have a considerably higher cost than SVS’s Ultra Evolution series, and it is surprising to see them used here. Vapor-deposited diamond should not be confused with a straight-up diamond dome tweeter, and such tweeters exist (one example: the SEAS T29D001 which alone typically retails for considerably more than the cost of the entire Ultra Evolution Pinnacle speaker set). The deposited layer of diamond on the aluminum dome of the Ultra Evolution speakers should increase its Young’s Modulus (Young’s Modulus is the property of how easily a material can scratch or deform and is essentially how its stiffness is calculated). In theory, this would help the tweeter maintain its linearity out to higher frequencies than if it were simple aluminum.

The tweeter dome is covered by a protective cover that SVS calls the ‘organic cell-lattice diffuser.’ It seems to serve the same function as a phase lens on typical dome tweeters in that it blocks soundwaves emanating from the front of the dome to interfere with waves emanating from the edges of the dome. This interference could cause comb-filtering in very high frequencies without the phase lens. The tweeter motor uses a good-sized ferrite magnet measuring in at 9/16” thick with a 2 3/4” diameter, and this should help its thermal handling beyond the small neodymium of typical dome tweeters. It also uses a small bucking magnet, possibly to increase sensitivity by giving pushback to stray magnetic fields.

Pinnacle midrange driver      Pinnacle midrange driver4

Moving down to the midrange drivers, SVS uses two 5.25” woofers with composite glass-fiber cones. This cone composition has become quite popular in recent years thanks to its combination of high stiffness and low weight. Two 5.25” midrange cones should give the Pinnacle plenty of midrange dynamics and would have the equivalent surface area to a cone of just over 7” diameter. It should also increase the sensitivity as well, so the tweeter does not have to be padded down as much for a linear response.The motor magnet is 9/16” thick with a 3 ⅛” diameter and is mounted to a cast-aluminum basket. The former is made from Kapton, and the backplate is slightly bumped out to give the former a bit more excursion room. Venting is done in the basket frame under the spider.

Pinnacle bass cone   Pinnacle Bass driver

Pinnacle rear3The 8” bass drivers also use composite glass-fiber cones, and there are four of them: two on the front and two on the rear. The rear drivers are mounted in an opposing configuration with respect to the front drivers, and this should go a long way toward canceling out rocking motions caused by their moving assemblies. The bass drivers will have far more moving mass than the midranges or tweeter, so that should make the Pinnacle enclosure quite inert. The bass drivers also use a cast aluminum basket, and venting is done in the frame under the spider and also through the pole piece. The motor uses a 1” thick magnet with a 4 ¼” diameter. It has an aluminum voice coil with a highly bumped-out back plate to enable large excursions. Four 8” cones add up to a lot of surface area and are equal to a 16” cone, so the Ultra Evolution Pinnacle should be capable of some serious low-frequency output if supplied with enough amplification. 

The Ultra Evolution Pinnacle uses crossover frequencies of 1.8kHz between the tweeter and midranges and 140Hz between midranges and bass drivers. The electric filters use 2nd order slopes but that combines with the natural acoustic rolloffs of the drivers to give the speakers steeper filter slopes at crossover frequencies. The crossover frequencies are unusually low, and the Pinnacle allocates a lot of bandwidth to the tweeter. The midranges and bass drivers are only given about two and a half octaves of bandwidth.  A lot of the performance success of this speaker will depend on the tweeter, so it will need to be a good one, which in this case, it is. A low crossover frequency is beneficial with an MTM design as it does decrease the bandwidth of the midrange’s cancellation lobes, so the Pinnacles should have a wider vertical angle of full sound than a conventionally higher crossover frequency.

With a 140Hz crossover frequency, the bass driver filter will necessarily have large inductor values and can see some significant insertion losses. The bass drivers would be given precious little bandwidth if this speaker were high-pass filtered from a subwoofer with the usual 80Hz subwoofer crossover. There would also be a lot of phase rotation within a single octave. For this reason, I don’t recommend high-pass filtering this speaker if used with subwoofers. Calibration should be performed with the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles set to full range even with subwoofers in use. However, with eight 8” bass woofers in play, I doubt that many people will feel the need for subwoofers when using a pair of these speakers.

The Pinnacle has two pairs of five-way binding posts and can be bi-amped if desired. Normally I would say that bi-amping is a ridiculous feature on home audio speakers, but with four 8” bass drivers, these would be an exception. They can handle a lot more power than typical AVRs could produce. If you happen to have a couple of extra amps lying around that have the same power output, by all means, bi-amp the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles. However, I would still encourage powering them with a single beefy amp if you have a choice.

The enclosure uses 1” thick front and back baffles with ¾” side panels and bracing. The midrange drivers and tweeter have a separate sealed compartment from the rest of the enclosure, so acoustic radiation from the bass drivers does not interfere with the cones of the midranges. There are layers of acoustic batting in all compartments of the speaker. There are two rear-mounted ports measuring 3” in diameter by 8 ⅝” in length and have heavy flaring on both sides. There is also a windowpane brace segmenting the enclosure between the lower port and lower bass driver section, and that adds up to three braces with the panels separating the midrange/tweeter compartment.

Pinnacle rubber feet      Pinnacle spiked feet

Regarding feet, users have a choice of spiked feed or rubber cones. I do appreciate the choice that SVS gives us here. Spiked feet will give somewhat better footing on carpeted surfaces, but my preference would still be for rubber feet. There is much less chance of toe-impaling with rubber feet. Spiked feet on such a heavy speaker should be handled carefully, and I would avoid their installation if the user has children around. The feet attach directly to the bottom of the speaker. While the stability of the speaker seems good, I would have liked to have seen outriggers used on a 50” tall speaker. Outriggers can give the speakers a wider stance and greater stability.

SVS’s marketing leans hard into the acoustic advantages of the cabinet’s shape with the bend on the tweeter and has exclamations about time alignment based on the tweeter’s position. The idea is that the points of acoustic emission, which are usually assumed to be the voice coil, are all lined up so that the wavefront of the speaker is more synchronous versus a typical loudspeaker where the voice coils have different depths relative to the front baffle of the speaker. I'm not convinced that the benefits of this design would lead to a noticeable improvement in sound quality, but Gene is a big proponent of time-aligned speakers, provided they don't compromise other areas of performance. On a technical level, there might be a slight but demonstrable improvement between the midranges and tweeter, if the microphone was placed in a precise position in an anechoic chamber. At the very least, it doesn’t hurt anything, and it does give the speakers a unique and interesting look.

One of the problems with SVS’s claims is that the rear-firing bass drivers take the entire bass section of the speaker out of the conversation for time alignment since they do not share the same voice coil depth as the tweeter, midranges, or front-firing bass drivers. Furthermore, the difference in depth between the tweeter and midranges would amount to much less than a single millisecond, a very small increment of time, and that is assuming the listener is listening with ears right on tweeter height at a far enough distance. And that all ignores the chaos that happens to acoustic phase in a normal domestic room. If SVS were to consider optimizing time alignment further, perhaps they could explore raising the mid/tweeter crossover frequency to a level higher than 1.8kHz. With a crossover frequency set at 1.8kHz, there might be a noticeable phase shift, approximately 180 degrees, right within the heart of the frequency range for human speech. The good news is that it won’t be a big problem if the crossover circuit is well-executed. The bad news is that it contradicts the rationale for the cabinet shape.  

Manufacturer’s response to our time-alignment comments: 

Time alignment is effective in the direct (un-reflected) field of the speaker.  SVS does not claim to time-align or phase-align the reverberant field of the room, which will naturally vary with the room dimensions, loudspeaker placement and any acoustic treatments in the room.

 In the direct field, above around 100Hz, the SPL output from the front woofers is notably higher than the rear woofers.  Further, by virtue of the psychoacoustic ‘precedence effect’, it is this direct, early, high-level wavefront from the front-firing woofers which dominates the listener’s perceptions of bass imaging, localization and timing.  The rear woofers do not detract from the time-alignment, and they contribute increased SPL, mechanical force-cancelling, and a spatially well-distributed bass array, achieving both ultra-low cabinet vibration and smoother in-room bass response.

 The baffle offset in the Ultra Evolution Pinnacle creates a 13-degree phase-shift at 1800 Hz (between tweeter and midrange), which is not only measurable, but also subjectively significant.  The phase shift (in degrees) at the woofer/mid-range crossover point is obviously less, but time alignment is not just about the crossover phase-relationship – it is also about synchronizing arrival time - introducing a constant delay to better align the pass-band impulse response of the woofers, mid-range drivers and the tweeter.

 The driver array acoustically centers the tweeter, mid-range drivers and woofers in a common point in space, creating a coherent and faithful acoustic image.  We specifically designed our new diamond-coated tweeter for higher power handling and enhanced motor/suspension excursion to allow for a deeper 1800 Hz crossover frequency, which is hugely beneficial in achieving excellent dispersion characteristics, reduced directionality, and a seamless transition to the midrange drivers.  Overall these design elements deliver the many benefits of a triaxial design, without any of its drawbacks.

SBIR Advantages of SVS Bass Alignment

Curiously, while SVS touts the enclosure shape benefits for time-alignment which I believe are of little benefit in practice, they don’t mention a major advantage of the bass driver’s placement for dealing with ‘SBIR’ effects such as ground bounce cancellation which would have a significant benefit in practice. SBIR stands for ‘Speaker Boundary Interference Response,’ and it is cancellation effects when the direct sound of the speaker collides with the reflected sound from nearby surfaces, and the timing difference between those two paths causes phase conflicts that create peaks and nulls in the low-frequency response. It occurs most in lower frequencies, so the placement of the bass drivers has a big impact in this regard, especially from the floor reflection of the bass drivers which is often termed ‘ground-bounce cancellation.’

As we mentioned in our preview article of the Ultra Evolution speakers, in the older Ultra towers, SVS solved that problem by placing the bass drivers close to ground level, so the sound could not reflect off of the floor since it started from that point. With the Ultra Evolution series, the higher elevation of the bass drivers will lead to ground-bounce cancellation, but the many different locations of the bass drivers should do a lot to average out the phase conflict caused by delay. The rear-mounted bass drivers should also help smooth out cancellations from rear-wall reflections as well, due to the relative distance difference from the front-mounted bass drivers. For this reason, I would expect the low-frequency response of the Ultra Evolution Pinnacle speakers to be relatively smooth versus typical floor-standing speakers.

Zooming out, we have a large floor-standing speaker with lots of clever design cues and a ton of displacement capability. This should add up to high fidelity and wide dynamic range, but now it’s time to see that for ourselves by sitting down to hear what they can do…

Listening Sessions

In my 24’ by 13’ (approximately) listening room, I set up the speakers with a few feet of stand-off distances between the back wall and sidewall and equal distance between the speakers and the listening position. I angled the speakers to face the listening position. The listening distance from the speakers was about 9 feet. No room correction equalization was used. Processing was done by a Marantz 7705 and the amplification was done by a Monoprice Monolith 5x200 amplifier. No subwoofers were used.

Music Listening

One album I listened to with the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles was “Mozart, You Drive Me Crazy,” a selection of performances from the operatic works of Mozart. The album was a project initiated by its lead singer Golda Schultz. Schultz is a renowned South African soprano who has headlined many high-profile operas the world over. The pieces in this album are intended to illustrate how demanding Mozart can be on performers in how they straddle the relationship between flawed humanity and flawless divinity, especially regarding the female characters in his operas. She is abetted by the Kammerakadamie Potsdam orchestra led by Antonello Manacorda. These exquisitely performed and recorded tracks were produced by the Alpha Classics label, and I streamed them in 96kHz/24kpbs resolution from Qobuz.

This album turned out to be great for exhibiting a soundstage, and in this respect, the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles shined. Schultz often took center stage, and it was always clear where the other singers were with respect to her, whether off to her side or behind her. At points, the recording’s soundstage could be very busy with many performers such as on track 12, “Alla Bella Despinetta,” but the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles always kept everything lucid and unconfused. Imaging was sharp, and Schultz’s positioning was crystal clear as were the other singers and instrumentalists. Schultz’s range was pretty stunning as was her fine control over her voice, and it was easy to hear why she is such a highly regarded opera singer. The tonality for the voices and instruments was good, and I didn’t notice anything over-emphasized or recessed. The Ultra Evolution Pinnacles provided a detailed examination of Schultz’s exquisite singing and made this album a joy to hear. Music lovers everywhere should give “Mozart, You Drive Me Crazy” a spin, and maybe they will be as lucky as I was to have such capable speakers on hand when they do.

Mozart crazy  New Blue Sun

With the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles in-house, I finally came around to listening to an album that I had an interest in ever since its release: “New Blue Sun” by Andre 3000. Outkast, the hip-hop duo of which Andre 3000 was one half, had always had a left-field and idiosyncratic spirit, but “New Blue Sun,” Andre’s first solo album and first release in 17 years, is really far out compared to any mainstream releases. This album has been called ‘experimental flute music’ and lies somewhere between freeform woodwind jazz and new-age soundscapes; this is not the direction you would have expected such a high-profile rap artist to move toward. I had heard clips of it previously and was intrigued, but I just hadn’t set aside time to listen through its nearly 90-minute runtime.

the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles deep soundstage created an uncanny sense of immersion in my room.

The first track laid down a theme with a keyboard and carefully layered other instruments around it as it progressed, using studio phase tricks to swirl the sounds around the listener. Such processing is typically more for the benefit of headphone listeners, but the effects still came through with the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles. It was easy to hear that Andre’s flute was recorded in the near-field, so it imaged large for the most part, but each track developed an entirely different soundstage, so it could have a different position from track to track. The album as a whole was very psychedelic, and it was apparent that much of it was composed or at least highly influenced by altered states of consciousness. The Ultra Evolution Pinnacle’s imaging abilities articulated this trippy aspect nicely. Sounds panned across the stage and floated far and near, and their movements were easy to track on these speakers. Track 4, “BuyPoloDisorder’s Daughter Wears a 3000 Shirt® Embroidered,” is an especially mind-bending trip with its multitude of vintage synths oscillating in and out of the soundstage. The sonic world created by this album relies heavily on stereo imaging, so it really should be listened to on a decent set of headphones or a properly set up pair of potent speakers, and the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles are certainly a good choice in that respect.   

I was late to the party in discovering Drab Majesty, and it was only last year when I finally heard their sublime 2017 album “The Demonstration.” I decided to use the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles to further dig into their discography by listening to their 2019 release “Modern Mirror.” Drab Majesty combines an 80’s new wave aesthetic with the reverb-drenched doom of goth music, and they pull it off due to the absolute top-notch songwriting. The sound is populated by lots of analog synths and acoustic guitars with lead singer Deb Demure’s commanding voice riding on top of the dense instrumentals. This is pop music with a very particular flavor but one that I was instantly hooked on. I couldn’t wait to hear more.

The first track, “A Dialogue,” uses multiple layers of Demure’s voice singing a single phrase over and over, and the mix spreads his voice over a wide breadth of the soundstage. On the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles, the soundstage spanned well past the speaker’s own positions in my room, and the effect created an uncanny sense of immersion. This continued on subsequent tracks, and I would attribute it to the sidewall reflections from the wide dispersion that speakers like this tend to have. The music was given a strong foundation of bass, and the bass synths and drum machine’s kick drum had plenty of thump. One quality I noted was a lack of sibilance, since, in some ways, this recording attempts to emulate an ‘80s’ sound which can be a bit upper midrange heavy. That tends to make 80s music to be rather sibilant on speakers with elevated upper midranges (it is especially bad with speakers that don’t properly filter out midrange cone bending modes). The Ultra Evolution Pinnacles didn’t have this effect, thankfully, and Demure’s voice as well as the snares and upper pitches of the acoustic guitar all sounded even and smooth. “Modern Mirror” proved to be a superb follow-up to “The Demonstration,” and the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles allowed me to sink into the album’s rich atmosphere.

Modern Mirror     Syntheism

The bass was utterly subwoofer-like on the SVS Evolution Pinnacle speakers.

To see what the Ultra Evolution Pinnacle pair’s eight bass drivers could do when pressed hard, I threw on “Syntheism” by EPROM. EPROM has turned into a major force in electronic bass music, and “Syntheism” is his first album in 10 years. Its release in the summer of 2023 was a big deal for connoisseurs of the bleeding edge of electronic music. It’s difficult to categorize what EPROM does in the subgenres of electronic bass music, and he seems to pull inspiration from anywhere, especially old-school breakbeat and dub music, although this music isn’t particularly danceable. This music is bass-heavy, and it will let you know the low-frequency limits of your sound system if driven at a high level. Would I be able to find the limits of the Ultra Evolution Pinnacle speakers, or would they find mine?

From the first drop onward, it was apparent that the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles were not lacking in low-frequency dynamic range. In fact, it was on this album that I realized that the bass levels of these speakers were actually on the hotter side, at least in my room. In-room measurements later revealed a bit of a bump from 50Hz to 90Hz with these speakers. I cranked the volume high for brief spurts but didn’t detect anything resembling distortion. The speakers could easily get louder than my own pain thresholds. The bass was utterly subwoofer-like. Bass drums and bass lines had muscle that just isn’t normally found in sound systems without subwoofers. The speakers could have a positively tactile sensation and could cross over from the merely audible to the physical. I had to wonder if they couldn’t take more power than I had to give. My amplifier is capable of 300 watts at 4 ohms, and the speakers are specified to handle up to 300 watts, but I would have guessed that those four 8” bass drivers per speaker could probably drink up more than that, so I surmised that power handling spec was more for preserving the tweeter than anything else (however, I won’t take responsibility for anyone who decides to test my theory and ends up destroying their speakers).  These speakers turned out to be the right ones for this album. Those who like electronic bass music have a great choice in the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles if they are looking for something that really does not need assistance from a subwoofer - just make sure to feed the speakers with enough power.

Movie Watching

Dialogue intelligibility was distinct and the Pinnacles gave the soundtrack a needed verve.

As far as film content goes, an imposing loudspeaker like the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles demands something with a boisterous sound mix, and toward this end, I picked “Guns Akimbo,” a 2019 actioner starring Daniel Radcliffe. Radcliffe stars as a self-righteous internet troll who is forced to turn his online passive-aggressiveness into real-world aggressive-aggressiveness when a violent underground organization bolts guns to his hands and forces him to fight for a sadistic internet audience. I hadn’t seen it yet, but with the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles in-house, I thought the time was right. Big tower speakers like these should make for a great system for a major action movie, and I wanted to experience what they could offer on this type of content.

“Guns Akimbo” was a rowdy movie with a high body count and an energetic music score. It is definitely a film to watch with some capable loudspeakers, and luckily I had some on hand in the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles. The many gunshots were given a palpable punch, and there was so much of it that I couldn’t help but feel some relief after it was over. That isn’t to say it wasn’t a fun ride while it was going; indeed, it was a rollercoaster of a movie, especially with the creative and lively camera work. Dialogue intelligibility through the speakers was always distinct, a good thing so that the listener could easily follow the vast amounts of profanity. The music was mostly pop with tracks from the likes of Cypress Hill as well as high-energy remixes of 80s and 90s hits. The music suited the movie, and the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles gave the soundtrack a needed verve. The sound mix also found a way to make our hero’s internet surfing have an interesting subjective sonic atmosphere, as though that was the heroic soundtrack going through his head as he argued on social media. The speakers helped to make these segments an immersive dive into an internet comment warrior’s head. “Guns Akimbo” was a lot of fun, and was made all the more so with such a potent sound system.

Guns Akimbo     Cobweb

the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles had the dynamic range to make for some truly startling moments.

A movie that looked like it could have an interesting sound mix was the 2023 horror outing “Cobweb.” This movie concerns a troubled young boy who hears inexplicable tapping sounds through the walls of his bedroom, and it seems to be linked to something that his parents are hiding. Many horror films rely on sound cues for much of their scares, and “Cobweb,” with a plot that centered around sound localization, looked to be a prime example of that. “Cobweb” had been on my radar for a while, but I hadn’t yet taken the opportunity to watch it until now. I figured its plot would give it some good scenes in which to exploit stereo imaging and show off what a loudspeaker pair can do for the soundstage of a horror movie.

“Cobweb” turned out to be a well-crafted fright fest, and the sound mix was properly utilized for producing scares. As with many other effective horror movies, sound was very often used to set up a scare for a wicked payoff, and the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles were great at reproducing the subtle sound cues as well as the blaring ones. Many common sounds are masterfully used to increase tension, such as an overloaded washing machine, a ticking alarm clock, a shed door banging in the wind, and simple footsteps up a staircase. These elements were articulately relayed whether mixed at high or low levels. Speech intelligibility was never a problem which is good since key pieces of dialogue were delivered through a whisper. As tension builds and explodes into calamity, the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles had the dynamic range to make for some truly startling moments. The music score by Drum & Lace used traditional instruments underlined with electronic atmospherics, and its gothic eeriness was beautifully rendered by the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles. “Cobweb” turned out to be a pleasant surprise, and anyone who is interested in a movie like this ought to see it with as good loudspeakers as I had the fortune to watch it with.

SVS Ultra Evolution Pinnacle Loudspeaker Measurements

Pinnacle outdoor testing2

The SVS Ultra Evolution Pinnacles were measured in free-air at a height of 4 feet at a 2-meter distance from the microphone, with the microphone raised to an 8’ elevation that was level with and aimed at the tweeter center. The measurements were gated at 8 milliseconds. In this time window, some resolution is lost below 400 Hz, and accuracy is completely lost below 200 Hz. Measurements have been smoothed at a 1/24 octave resolution.

SVS Ultra Evolution Pinnacle Speaker Measurement & Review Discussion


Ultra Evo 2D waterfall response

Ultra Evo 3D waterfall response

The above graphs depict the Ultra Evolution Pinnacle’s direct-axis and horizontal dispersion out to a 90-degree angle in five-degree increments. Information on how to interpret these graphs can be read in this article: Understanding Loudspeaker Review Measurements Part II. The measured results are generally quite good. There is a slight flaw in the form of a dip followed by a peak in the crossover frequency between the tweeter and midranges, but if the angled graph is examined closely, this dip/peak mostly only occurs at off-axis frequencies. It only starts to become pronounced at the 20-degree angle and outward. At and near the on-axis angle, it is scarcely there. If I had to guess the cause, I would say that it is a result of how the tweeter is interacting with the front baffle of the cabinet. The tweeter’s behavior above 3kHz is very good at all angles. The midrange also seems to be well-behaved, although it looks to be voiced a decibel or two more than the tweeter. That might lend a warm sound signature to the overall presentation in comparison to a totally neutral loudspeaker. Outside of the off-axis dip/peak at the tweeter/midrange crossover, the response correlation going from on-axis to off-axis is good. The bottom line of these graphs is that the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles will give the most balanced presentation when toed in to face the listener directly.

Ultra Evo Polar Map 

The above polar map shows the same information in the preceding graphs but depicts it in a way that can offer new insight regarding these speakers’ behavior. Instead of using individual raised lines to illustrate amplitude, polar maps use color to portray amplitude, and this allows the use of a purely angle/frequency axis perspective. The advantage of these graphs is they can let us see broader trends of the speaker’s dispersion behavior more easily. More information about interpreting this graph can be read in this article: Understanding Loudspeaker Measurements Part II.

The above graph gives us a better look at how far off-axis we can be listening before the acoustic energy produced by the speaker is way down. The Ultra Evolution Pinnacle keeps a wide dispersion all the way up to the highest frequencies of human hearing. Most loudspeakers that have a dome tweeter mounted on a flat baffle start to heavily ‘beam’ in high treble; in other words, they rapidly constrict their off-axis radiation and become very directional as the frequencies rise. The Ultra Evolution Pinnacle does constrict its dispersion somewhat above 10kHz, but not nearly what we normally would expect. Anyone sitting within a 45-degree angle will be met with a full sound, including high treble. This graph also gives us a slightly better look at the directivity mismatch between the tweeter and midrange; a waveguide might have been able to ameliorate that, but I don’t think it's severe enough to cause any significant problems. I didn’t notice any tonal imbalances in my listening, although I had the speakers facing me directly which is where the most linear response is.  

Pinnacle vertical responses 

The above graph is a sampling of some of the vertical angle responses at and around the on-axis angle. These are all angles at or above the tweeter axis since few people are likely to listen to the Ultra Evolution Pinnacle at a height lower than the tweeter. The on-axis response presents us with a nicely flat response, save for some elevation of the midrange woofer. The response stays fairly neutral until we get up to the 15-degree angle where the midrange woofers begin to nullify each other’s response through phase conflict. This is expected behavior of this type of design, and the good news is that few people would be listening at such a high angle. Most listeners will be at or below the 10-degree angle unless they are seated very close to the speaker. Some MTM designs can inflict off-axis phase cancellations at much closer angles, and thankfully SVS has kept that problem at bay for any reasonable listening angle. The bottom line of this graph is that as long as the listener isn’t seated at an unusually high angle with respect to the Ultra Evolution Pinnacle, they will be met with a full and balanced sound. 

Pinnacle Low Frequency Response 

The above graph shows the Ultra Evolution Pinnacle’s low-frequency response captured using groundplane measurements (where the speaker and microphone are on the ground at a 2-meter distance in a wide-open area). We can see that this speaker maintains a strong response down to 30Hz, and in-room that will be even lower. I would guess that most users will have a strong in-room response down to the mid-20s. As I have mentioned earlier: the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles do not need the assistance of a subwoofer. In this graph, we can also see a bump in the response centered at around 75Hz, and this is indeed an audible artifact of the speaker. It isn’t enough to constitute a major coloration of the sound, but it is certainly present as a bit of extra oomph in bass instruments. It is not enough to be intrusive on most recordings, and I think that many listeners will like slightly elevated bass. This extra bass bump combined with the slight elevation of midrange energy will definitely pull the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles back from having an aggressive sound, and they should sound somewhat laidback compared to total neutrality. In other words, this should be a pretty easy speaker to listen to, and those who want a crisper and more forward sound will want to equalize it to raise the treble a bit.

The 75Hz bass bump would probably be lost for those who run auto-EQ calibration programs such as Audyssey or Dirac Live in favor of the program’s target curve, so I think many users will get a more tamed bass response whether they want it or not. Of course, they can always add it back in with tone controls.

evo pinnacle IMP 

The above graph shows the electrical behavior of the Ultra Evolution Pinnacle. The impedance is fairly normal except it does take a brief dip below 3 ohms at around 85Hz. That can be a tough load for cheaper amps, and I wouldn’t try to power this thing with an entry-level AVR (not that anyone paying $5k/pair for speakers will run them with an entry-level AVR). SVS specifies this speaker to be 6 ohms nominal, but with that 85Hz minima, this really should be considered a 4 ohm speaker. I measured the Ultra Evolution Pinnacle’s sensitivity to be 88.9dB at 2.83v for 1 meter which is a tad better than SVS’s spec of 88dB. That is not an unusual sensitivity for this type of loudspeaker, although I am a bit surprised it isn’t higher given how large it is. Still, 88.9dB sensitivity isn’t bad, and this speaker doesn’t need tons of wattage to get loud.


Pinnacle pair7Before bringing this review to a close, I will briefly go over the strengths and weaknesses of the product under review, and, since I am the kind of guy who always wants the bad news first, I will start with the weaknesses. The SVS Ultra Evolution Pinnacle is a strong competitor for this class, but it isn’t perfect. However, one weakness I would cite will actually be a strength to a great many buyers; it has a spectral tilt toward lower frequencies. This puts it on the ‘warmer’ side of neutral, so it isn’t the most accurate loudspeaker around, although this isn’t to say it is highly inaccurate. This isn’t so much a weakness as it is a notification since I think this attribute will bother few buyers. This lower-frequency weighted voicing is present, but it isn’t severe, so the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles are not boomy bass machines but rather have a bit more bass than a totally neutral sound signature. Many people EQ their systems to boost the bass, so I think that a lot of buyers will actually enjoy this sound signature. And also, as we mentioned before, those who use auto-EQ systems such as Audyssey will likely have the bass tamed by the correction routine. So the extra bass might be a pro or con or neither depending on personal tastes and how the speaker will be used. When speaking with Gene, he conveyed how enamored he was with the bass response and dynamics of these speakers. He considered them to be one of the best demo experiences at the 2024 Florida Audio Expo.

Any other weakness of the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles would be nitpicks, in my opinion. As we saw in the off-axis frequency responses, there is some weirdness around the crossover region at angles past 15 degrees on the horizontal axis. I don’t think this will have a major impact on the sound, but I would have these speakers angled to face the listener for the best sound. I do think these speakers should have had an outrigger system since they are quite tall, but they seem to have fairly solid footing as it is since the cabinet itself has a relatively large footprint, so I can’t complain too much about that. I think that their 6-ohm nominal impedance specification is a stretch, and they should be considered a 4-ohm speaker since they have a 2.5-ohm dip at a heavily used frequency. It’s not a big deal, but it could be a bit much to blast on a budget amplifier for a prolonged period of time (although I doubt that those who buy these $5k/pair speakers will be running them on budget amps).

SVS Evolution Brings the Good Stuff

With those minor criticisms out of the way, let’s discuss the Ultra Evolution Pinnacle’s strengths which are many. I think its overall sound signature is nice, and a little bit of extra bass can be pleasing on a lot of content. On acoustic music, it gave a bit more weight to kettle drums and double bass. In electronic music, it gave a bit more muscle to bass lines and kick drums. As was said before, this voicing puts the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles on the warmer side, and so they should be non-fatiguing and easy-going loudspeakers to listen for prolonged periods.

Pinnacle rear2Another strength is its dynamic range; these speakers can get loud, as you would imagine from the driver armaments. With a sub-30Hz in-room response, they really will not need the extra help of a subwoofer. The addition of subs could help to bring the in-room response to infrasonic regions or help smooth out the in-room response, but I doubt anyone will be adding subs for more headroom. And, like I mentioned before, this speaker should be run full-range even with subwoofers in use. The small bandwidth given to the bass drivers could make it messy to high-pass filter them to a sub. With enough amplification supplied, the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles can punch hard. They have enough firepower for a large room, but they could work well in a small room too due to how the drivers are arranged. While I may not fully agree with SVS's time-alignment explanation for the bend in the depth of the enclosure, I do appreciate the mirrored nesting of the drivers around the tweeter. This design choice seems to facilitate a closer integration of the sound of the drivers, which should result in a pleasant listening experience even at close proximity.

Something else I like about the SVS Ultra Evolution Pinnacle speakers is the industrial design. This will also be a matter of personal taste, but I do think these speakers look cool and can become the focal point in a room that will draw people in, especially the audiophile type. I'm certain some people will take issue with their size, but if you desire the same output and extension they offer, achieving that from a smaller enclosure (SVS also offers two smaller towers in this series) would prove challenging. The build quality is respectable; these speakers are well-built but not overbuilt. The enclosure has a good amount of bracing that should make it inert but not so much that it becomes a pain to move around. Mention should be made of their packing; SVS has some of the smartest packing practices around, and it helps make these behemoth speakers easy to deal with. That may not seem like a big deal, but when you have to deal with large and heavy goods such as these speakers, you really notice when the packing is a pain to deal with.

If the Ultra Evolution Pinnacle speakers sound like they might be a good fit for you, buyers in the lower 48 United States can try them out in a 45-day trial period with free return shipping if they do not wish to keep them for any reason. This is a very generous policy from SVS, especially given how expensive these speakers would be to ship, but I believe they can afford it because so many buyers like their products that they get few returns. I am confident that will be the case with the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles. I enjoyed my time with these impressive speakers, and I am sure that the vast majority of people who spend some time with them will feel that way as well. 

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
Build QualityStarStarStarStar
Treble ExtensionStarStarStarStarStar
Treble SmoothnessStarStarStarStarStar
Midrange AccuracyStarStarStarStar
Bass ExtensionStarStarStarStarStar
Bass AccuracyStarStarStarStar
Dynamic RangeStarStarStarStarStar
Fit and FinishStarStarStarStarStar
About the author:
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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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