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SVS Prime Pinnacle Tower Speaker Review

by July 06, 2019
SVS Prime Pinnacle Loudspeakers

SVS Prime Pinnacle Loudspeakers

  • Product Name: Prime Pinnacle Tower Speaker
  • Manufacturer: SVS
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStarhalf-star
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarStarhalf-star
  • Review Date: July 06, 2019 12:00
  • MSRP: $ 800/each - Premium Black Ash Finish, $900/each - Piano Gloss Black Finish
  • Rated bandwidth: 29 Hz-25 kHz (±3 dB)
  • Sensitivity: 88 dB (2.83V @ 1 meter full-space, 300-3kHz)
  • Nominal impedance: 8 ohms
  • Recommended amplifier power: 20-300 watts
  • 5-way binding posts
  • Triple 2” wide-flared rear-firing ports
  • Cloth grille with pin/cup retention system
  • 1” Aluminum Dome Tweeter
  • 5.25” Midrange Driver
  • Triple 6.5” Woofers
  • 3-way crossover with premium-grade capacitors, air-core inductors, and heavy-trace printed circuit boards
  • Tweeter-to-Midrange crossover: 2.1kHz (12 dB/octave slopes)
  • Midrange-to-Woofer crossover frequency: 300Hz (12 dB/octave slopes)
  • Cabinet Dimensions: 40.5" (H) X 8" (W) X 13.4" (D)
  • Overall Dimensions: 41.1" (H) X 8" (W) X 13.9" (D) (includes grille, feet and binding posts)
  • Weight Unboxed: 57.1 lbs (25.9 kg)


  • Smooth, articulate sound with terrific imaging
  • Excellent bass performance
  • Attractive industrial design and finish
  • Above-average sensitivity
  • Powerful dynamic range
  • Good build quality


  • Sound may be a bit laid back for those who prefer hotter treble
  • Not an 8-ohm speaker as advertised


When SVS released their Prime sPrime Pinnacle pair close3.jpgpeaker series, Audioholics reviewed the big dog of that set, the Prime Tower, and we quite liked what SVS had produced at the top of that speaker series. It was a not-insubstantial speaker as a three-way tower with two 6.5” woofers, a 4.5” mid-range, and a 1” dome tweeter. For most people, a design like that would pack more punch than they would ever normally use. Yet here, four years later, SVS has launched an even more powerful line-topping speaker for the Prime series, in the aptly-named Prime Pinnacle tower. Along with being more powerful than the Prime Tower, it is also quite a bit more expensive. What compelled SVS to produce an even more potent tower speaker to lead the Prime series? That is the question we will attempt to answer today in our review. SVS sent us a pair of Pinnacle speakers, and now we will see what the Pinnacle brings to the table as the new head of their Prime speaker series. More acoustic firepower is always welcome, but is there any other advantage that the Prime Pinnacle has to justify its existence? Let’s dig in…

Unpacking and Appearance

The Prime Pinnacle speakers arrived at my home in a sturdy box with styrofoam pieces protecting the top, bottom, and middle. In my experience, styrofoam isn’t a great packing material, but SVS has encased the end pieces in cardboard that can hold them together if they do break. That should help, but the use of polyethylene foam would offer better protection against harsh shipping. The speakers were wrapped in a soft cotton bag that protects it from scuffs and scratches, and an outer plastic bag that protects it from moisture.

Prime Pinnacle box.jpg     Prime Pinnacle packing.jpg

Once out of their packing, the Prime Pinnacle speakers are revealed to be attractive in an understated way. I received the Prime Pinnacles in the gloss black finish, which, in my opinion, looks much nicer and more high-end than the black ash finish. For a modest $200/pair upcharge for the gloss black, it is a no-brainer. The gloss black looks far more luxurious and is well worth the extra cost. The only reason I can think of not to get gloss black is if the speaker is going to be placed near a projection screen where the light reflections from the shiny finish can degrade image quality.

.Prime Pinnacle pair grille.jpg   Prime Pinnacle pair4.jpg

With the grilles on, the Prime Pinnacles have an austere handsomeness that looks quite formal. The grilles hide their features and give them a stoic, almost solemn appearance. Their appearance with grille reminds me of a cenotaph or obelisk in that, aside from the small ‘SVS’ badge at the bottom of the grille, they bear a monolithic quality. I much prefer them without the grilles. With all of their drivers exposed, they look more like a sound system that is ready for action. The midrange, tweeter, and three woofers are practically begging to make some noise. The inverted dustcaps, smooth polypropylene woofer cones, and silky glass-fiber midrange cone nicely compliment the clean, lustrous cabinetry. There is a slight beveling that increases with the height of the cabinet that adds a distinctive stylish touch. These speakers look nice without being flashy or showy. It is a restrained sense of style that seems like something BMW might make if they made speakers.

Design Overview

The Prime Pinnacle speakers are a fairly heavy-duty three-way floor-standing speaker. At first glance, the Prime Pinnacle speakers look like a beefier larger version of the Prime Towers, but there is a lot more to them than that. Sure, they are significantly more powerful than the Prime Towers, but the differences are as much qualitative as they are quantitative. To start with, Prime Pinnacles use a different midrange cone than the Prime Towers. The Prime Pinnacle midrange cone is made from glass fiber much like the midrange cones found in the higher-end SVS Ultra towers, whereas the Prime Towers use a polypropylene midrange cone. Glass-fiber is a lighter, stiffer material that enables the midrange to behave better over a wider range of frequencies. Its larger cone diameter should allow it a wider dynamic range as well.

Prime Pinnacle midrange cone.jpg  Prime Pinnacle tweeter dome3.jpg

The tweeter uses a 1” aluminum dome and a chunky iron ferrite magnet instead of the usual neodymium magnets for the motor. It has a metal lattice over the dome to protect it from being poked or pushed in. SVS has intelligently placed the tweeter above the bass drivers but below the midrange so that it is set at a height closer to the ear level of typical listening positions. I have had many three-way floor-standing speakers come around lately that have placed the tweeter at the top of the driver stack which elevates it relatively high compared to the normal ear-level listening height, so SVS’s choice of tweeter placement is welcome here. The tweeter and bass drivers are the same as used in the rest of the Prime series. The bass drivers use a polypropylene cone and a cast-ABS fiberglass basket with a hefty ¾” thick x 4” diameter magnet. The midrange also uses a cast-ABS fiberglass basket and a good-sized magnet. The midrange and bass drivers use shorting rings which should extend their frequency ranges while lowering 2nd-order harmonic distortion.

What has to be the most distinctipinnacle port diagram re.jpgve design trait about the Prime Pinnacle is the way it places the bass drivers into their own individual compartments. Many higher-end speakers isolate the driver classes into their own separate compartment so that the backwave pressure created by the rear side of the cone does not impact the cones of other drivers. The Prime Pinnacle does this too, by placing the midrange driver into its own sealed compartment. But what the Prime Pinnacle does that is unique is giving each bass driver its own ported compartment. Furthermore, each compartment has a different port tuning frequency. That means that there are three different ports with their own enclosure space, and each of them is being loaded slightly differently. That kind of layout allows a great deal of freedom for the designer to shape the bass response to any kind of curve that they could want.

In addition to the advantages in low-frequency performance, the compartmentalization of the bass drivers and midrange driver also serves as a very rigid bracing system. The cabinet construction of the Prime Pinnacle as a whole is very good. Construction is MDF with an inch thick front baffle and ¾” thick side-walls and internal walls. Much of the interior surfaces are covered with an acoustic stuffing. The chamfered edges of the front baffle should help reduce diffraction as well as adding a touch of style. The grille frames are on the thick side, so these speakers are likely to perform best without the grilles. The feet are some rubbery cone-shaped things that look as if they are intended to damp cabinet vibrations from being transmitted to the floor. Outriggers or a plinth might have offered more stability, but the Prime Pinnacle seems to have a good footing, and its hidden feet is more in keeping with its austere styling. Speaker wire is connected to five-way binding posts within a terminal cup, and there is no option for bi-amping or bi-wiring, which is a good thing in my opinion. 

Prime Pinnacle drivers enclosure.jpg

The crossover circuit rests on two different printed circuit boards, with the low-pasPrime Pinnacle pair7.jpgs filter for the bass drivers assembled on a board that is mounted in the middle bass driver chamber, and the filters for the midrange and tweeter on a board mounted in the upper chamber. The Prime Pinnacle crossover circuit is pretty serious with a very stout capacitor and two large iron-core inductors on the lower board, and a gob of similarly beefy capacitors, resistors, and inductors in the upper board. They add up to a 12dB/octave slopes on both the bass driver to midrange crossover and midrange to tweeter crossover at 300 Hz and 2.1 kHz respectively.

So what do all of these components and design decisions give you? With three 6.5” bass drivers each with their own tuned compartment, one attribute that I would expect the Prime Pinnacle to have is a highly-controlled and very powerful bass response. A 5.25” glass-fiber midrange driver should also give it a fair amount of dynamic range in this vitally-important range. I think this design has potential if it is executed well, so let’s see how it fares in listening tests and measurement tests...

Listening Sessions

In my 24’ by 13’ (approximately) listening room, I set up the speakers with stand-off distances between the back wall and sidewall, and equal distance between speakers and listening position. I used various toe-in angles during listening and settled with the speakers facing directly at the listening position. Listening distance from the speakers was about 9 feet. Amplification and processing were handled by a Pioneer Elite SC-55. No room correction equalization was used. No subwoofers were used.

Music Listening

...the Prime Pinnacles did a fantastic job of recreating the soundstage of this complex piece of music.

I find that conventional acoustic recordings with a human voice as the lead instrument is always a great start in ascertaining the tonal balance of a sound system. The more effects processing that is layered on a recording, the less certain the listener can be of what the music is supposed to sound like. That isn’t a bad thing, except when the artist and recording engineer is striving for the most natural sound possible. Toward this end, I looked for a largely acoustic recording, and I listened to Melody Gardot’s ‘The Absence.’ ‘The Absence’ is jazz singer Gardot’s travelogue through Latin America, Carribean islands, and the Middle East. It infuses her gentle urbane sensibility with world influences, most particularly bossa nova rhythms.

Being a Melody Gardot album, the produThe Absence.jpgction quality is top notch, and ‘The Absence’ did win a Grammy for the best-engineered album. The Prime Pinnacle speakers conveyed a wide yet precise soundstage with Gardot’s voice occupying a well-defined center space while being flanked by instruments at various positions to the left and right. Melody uses an ethnically diverse array of instruments along with a traditional orchestral backing, yet with all of these different instruments, there is no confusion or ambiguity in the imaging of all of these sound sources. Credit has to be given the recording for this as much as the speaker system, but the Prime Pinnacles did a fantastic job of recreating the soundstage of this complex piece of music. The tonal balance sounded very good and true to the instruments and voices involved. One thing I noted right away was that the bass was very full, with superb extension. Subwoofers would not be able to add anything to the sound of the Prime Pinnacles in an album like this. There was no discernible bloat or delay in the bass either; it was very nicely synchronized with the music. Maybe there is something to SVS’s crazy individually-compartmentalized bass driver enclosure design after all.

...the Prime Pinnacle’s ability to image a full orchestra was exceptional.

For an exclusively instrumental demonstration, I once again turned to the ‘In a Classical Mood’ album collection and this time to a compilation album from that set entitled ‘Tender Moments.’ Although the theme may be a tad saccharine, the production quality of the various pieces in this album is generally excellent and the choice of pieces is similarly first-rate. The various recordings on this album were taken from other albums and feature compositions by Schubert, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and Rachmaninov amongst other world-class composers. The performers are groups such as the London Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, and BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra, and as such, they all give impeccable performances. On the Prime Pinnacles, it was easy enough to distinguish the different venues and recording techniques of the individual tracks. Imaging was again quite good, even for discerning instrument placement in concert halls where the mic had been pulled back. Some of the tracks were from operas, and on these the imaging was outstanding, with very well-defined singer placements. Again, I did not sense any tonal balance issues, and, in fact, some of the pieces were piano solos in which that instrument sounded superb, particularly Chopin’s Fantaisie-impromptu as played by Allan Schiller. The soundstage could be quite wide and could be very enveloping depending on the track, and the Prime Pinnacle’s ability to image a full orchestra was exceptional. The bass extension of the Prime Pinnacles was more than sufficient for orchestral music, so no sub is needed if your concern is this music type. All in all, the Prime Pinnacle’s ability to recreate orchestral music was terrific, and I am sure most lovers of classical and orchestral would be quite happy with these speakers.

I decided to throw on a studio album with a ElGreco.jpgmore artificial acoustical scene because that is far more reflective of popular recordings so it is what will be played on these speakers more often than not by most users. For this, I selected Vangelis’ ‘El Greco,’ a 1998 album created largely out of electronic instruments but mixed and processed in a manner that it sounds like it was made with acoustic instruments and recorded in an enormous concert hall. The title and subject of the album are in reference to the Greek master renaissance painter and sculptor Dominikos Theotokopoulos who lived most of his life in western Europe and was widely known as ‘El Greco.’ The music is a series of movements inspired by El Greco’s work and can range from gentle and soft to bombastic and dramatic. The sound of the music is sweeping and cinematic as is usual with Vangelis. It is mostly instrumental but there are some operatic vocals that pop up in some tracks.

The SVS speakers proved to be adept with all aspects of the sound of this album. From quiet passages to rousing crescendos, the Prime Pinnacles gave a detailed reproduction of the recording and tracked the dynamic bursts without fault. The reverb-drenched strings seemed to encircle the listening position to create a nearly surround sound effect. Piano, plucked strings, and vocals all had a strong center image. The Prime Pinnacles brought out a strong atmosphere from this lush recording and did nothing to interfere or diminish the music that I could hear. I was compelled to turn the volume up, not to bring out any particular aspect, but because the sound was so epic that it begged for a high playback level, and the speakers were certainly not holding it back. I quite enjoyed revisiting ‘El Greco’ on the Prime Pinnacles, and I doubt that anyone would complain about the performance of these speakers on this music.  

Taking a hard turn for something much more abraPublic Energy No1.jpgsive, I decided on an album that could give me an idea of the Prime Pinnacle’s dynamic range, i.e., how hard can they rock? A terrific album in this respect is Speedy J’s ‘Public Energy No.1,’ a 1997 electronic music release that works well for testing dynamic range due to abrupt changes from quiet to loud passages. It’s hard to pin down the genre of ‘Public Energy No.1’ as a whole since it mixes soft ambient pieces and strange soundscapes with ferocious breakbeats and pounding basslines. It is music that can go from zero to sixty in a split second and just as quickly winds back down. It is an eclectic album, to be sure, but loads of fun for those of us who like something a bit experimental. With the system cranked loud, I launched ‘Public Energy No.1’ on the Prime Pinnacle speakers to see how hard they can hit. I was lulled into letting my guard down by the first track, which was a serene ambient opener, but then track two gave me a scare when the kick drums hit and sent me diving for the volume control. The rest of the album was similarly jarring, and the speakers were instrumental in producing that effect: one moment peaceful and the next moment a startling flurry of percussion. The Prime Pinnacles had no trouble with elevated volume levels. I didn’t sense any distortion or compression, even at thunderous loudness levels. Of course, the bass was quite powerful, and I normally wouldn’t dare to have played this album without a sub. But, prior experience had shown me that the Prime Pinnacles were very capable in low frequencies, so I gave them full bass duties. While a powerful sub would certainly be more capable in deep bass than the three 6.5” woofers of the Prime Pinnacles, they did not have any trouble belting out the 40Hz+ low-frequency sounds that comprised the bass in ‘Public Energy No.1.’ I had the speakers positioned rather far out in the room, and had I placed them closer to any of the walls, the bass would have been even more powerful. It is no mystery that SVS’s engineers would be so proficient in creating such a capable bass section since they are so well known for their subwoofers, but the question is why create speakers that are so capable in bass when their bread and butter is subwoofers? These speakers get along just fine without subs. I wouldn’t try to run heavy-duty infrasonic bass on them, but their bass ability is more than adequate for most content.

Movie Watching

One movie that I watched with the Prime Pinni-am-mother-poster.jpgacle speakers was the recent science fiction Netflix release ‘I Am Mother.’ I set the source to two-channel mode so the towers were handling everything without any assistance from subwoofers or center channel speaker. I wanted to know how the Prime Pinnacle speakers handled the full duty of sound reproduction in a modern movie, so it was given the full suite of dialogue, music, and effects sounds. ‘I Am Mother’ is an unusual movie set in a futuristic bunker after humanity has been wiped out by some indeterminate event. In order to repopulate mankind, a robot raises a girl to be a caretaker of future generations that are cryogenically stored as embryos. However, the robot’s plans are jeopardized after a supposedly extinct human gets into the compound. Dialogue is most prominent in this sound mix, but it does have a plethora of peculiar effects sounds as well as a cool-as-ice electronic music score from Dan Luscombe.

With the Prime Pinnacles, I did not miss the extra channels of sound at all. Surround speakers might have added a touch more immersion, but the width of the Prime Pinnacle’s soundstage proved to be quite enveloping on its own. The Prime Pinnacle’s center imaging was good enough that the center speaker was unneeded, at least from a central listening position. A subwoofer might have added deeper bass, but I wasn’t able to tell that anything was missing since the Prime Pinnacle’s bass output was already so adept. For those looking to use two speakers for movie viewing with a simpler two-channel system, I can say that the Prime Pinnacle can fill that order nicely. ‘I Am Mother’ proved to be a nifty science fiction movie, and the Prime Pinnacle speakers made the viewing experience into an enjoyable listening experience as well.   

I was told that ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ had a sound mix that I had to hear, so I gaThor Ragnarok.jpgve it a spin on the Prime Pinnacle speakers to see if the movie lived up to its praise and to also see what these speakers could do on a more rambunctious movie. I haven’t kept up with the many Marvel movies, but supposedly ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is one of the better outings, so I gave this one a chance whereas I have passed on most of the others. ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ does have a wild sound mix on account of its mostly cosmic setting. The sleek retro-synth wave score is mixed in with orchestral elements and is bookended by Led Zeppelin’s ‘Immigrant Song,’ and the sound effects reflect the action scenes’ mixture of fistfights with futuristic weaponry. Of course, any movie featuring the Hulk will be heavy with bass on the action scenes, and here again, I ran the Prime Pinnacles full range without assistance from subwoofers to really give the speakers a workout. Even with the volume cranked, the Prime Pinnacles reproduced ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ with imperturbability. The bass was authoritative, and it needed to be to keep up with the mids and treble. A lesser tower speaker might have seen some compression in bass at such a high volume level, but I never sensed that the low-frequencies were not able to keep up with the rest of the range. The Prime Pinnacles managed to keep all of the various aural events clear and distinct even during a complex action scene. The sound never became confused or muddled, and dialogue was clear and succinct always. I always caught the one-liners, even if I didn’t think they were all funny. Some bombed jokes aside, I enjoyed ‘Thor: Ragnarok,’ and the Prime Pinnacle speakers turned out to be an excellent platform to reproduce this epic soundtrack.

SVS Prime Pinnacle Tower Speaker Measurements


Prime Pinnacle outdoor testing.jpg 

The SVS Prime Pinnacle speakers were measured in free-air at a height of 4 feet at a 2-meter distance from the microphone, with the microphone raised to a 7’ 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 1/12 octave resolution.

Prime Pinnacle 3D waterfall.jpg 

Prime Pinnacle 2D waterfall.jpg

The above graphs depict the Prime Pinnacle’s direct-axis and horizontal dispersion out to a 95-degree angle in five-degree increments. Information on how to interpret these graphs can be read in the article: Understanding Loundspeaker Review Measurements Part II.  While the response isn’t picture perfect neutral, there is a lot to like here. The response within the depicted range does stay within a +/-3dB window, however, there is some coloration here, but that coloration should be on the benign side. We can see from these graphs that the Prime Pinnacles are not bright speakers and that they are on the warm side of loudspeaker voicing, or, to put it another way, the treble is a bit recessed. Personally speaking, I much prefer a laid-back voicing over bright, as bright voicing can be fatiguing to listen to over long stretches. In my listening, I did not get a sense that the treble was particularly recessed, but I did feel that the sound was overall smooth. These speakers were very easy to listen to, and these graphs explain why. These graphs also tell us that the Prime Pinnacles are best listened to with the speakers facing the listening position directly. Outside of a 30-degree angle, this speaker would likely sound dark, with high treble frequencies being well below lower frequency ranges in output.

Outside of the somewhat recessed treble, the Prime Pinnacles are fairly neutral. There are some slight bumps in the midrange frequencies, but their low-Q bandwidth may give the speaker a little bit more character compared to a totally neutral speaker. However, the response as shown here stays pretty close in level from 200 Hz to 5000 Hz, which is where most of the important content is.

Prime Pinnacle polar map.jpg

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 that they can let us see broader trends of the speaker’s dispersion behavior more easily. More information about interpreting this graph can also be read in our article, Understanding Loundspeaker Review Measurements Part II.

In this polar map, we can see that this is a relatively wide dispersion speaker with good coverage out to 70-degrees off-axis and that directivity is fairly well controlled until about 7 to 8 kHz. Above that point, we see directivity collapse a bit. Anyone wanting to hear a full sound with upper treble frequencies from the Prime Pinnacles will want to be seated within a 30-degree angle on-axis. We can see there is not a perfect directivity match going from the midrange to the tweeter, but it isn’t bad either.

Prime Pinnacle low-frequency response.jpg

...Prime Pinnacles’ bass sounded powerful and balanced.

The above graph shows the SVS Prime 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 see here what we have seen with many tower speakers in this class: a gentle slope coming down from a lower midbass region. The reason for this low-frequency response shape is to mitigate room gain that can give the bass a major boost in normal domestic acoustics. If the bass response were ruler flat down to deep bass, typical speaker placement within normal rooms can end up creating a big spike in low frequencies which can lead it to sound bloated and boomy. Most loudspeaker manufacturers give their floor-standing speakers a shallow sloping response in roughly the same frequency range. Even though the low-frequency response may taper off at around 60 Hz or so, don’t think that this speaker will sound light in bass, because that is far from the truth. My experience was that the Prime Pinnacles’ bass sounded powerful and balanced. SVS may have decided on this low-frequency response shape in response to the SVS Ultra tower’s bass response, which SVS has admitted made it more challenging to place in-room for a balanced bass sound. I don’t know the Ultra Tower’s bass response, but it sounds to me like it had a flat response down to low frequencies. SVS claims that the Prime Pinnacles are much easier to place in-room for a balanced bass sound, and I’m guessing this response shape is the key to why they make that claim. 

Prime Pinnacle Impedance.jpg 

The above graphs show the electrical behavior of the Prime Pinnacle Towers. SVS specifies the impedance load of the Prime Pinnacles to be 8 ohms nominal. I wouldn’t characterize this response as 8-ohm nominal. It’s not a really tough load but there is a 4-ohm minima at 4 kHz and the mid and upper bass regions hover around 5-ohms. What is more, there are some steep phase angles at the low impedance points. If SVS had claimed 6-ohms nominal, I wouldn’t argue, but this electrical load is not benign enough to be considered 8-ohms. Many amplifiers should be able to run these speakers without a problem, but I wouldn’t run the Prime Pinnacles on entry-level AVRs. SVS claims that the Prime Pinnacles are 88dB sensitive for 1 meter at 2.83v from 300Hz to 3kHz, but I measured a 90.2dB sensitivity for that same range for 2.83v at 1 meter. It's uncommon to see conservative sensitivity ratings in loudspeakers so kudos to SVS here. That is a good sensitivity for a speaker of this design, so while they may not have the softest electrical load, the good news is that they don’t need a lot of current to get loud, which will help to alleviate the tougher impedance/phase regions on less-stout amplifiers.


The Prime Pinnacles werPrime Pinnacle pair closeB.jpge my first extensive experience with a full-range loudspeaker from SVS. I had lots of experience with their subwoofers, and I knew them to be well-engineered products, so I had high expectations for the Prime Pinnacles, and they did not disappoint. Normally, I quickly go over some of the drawbacks and advantages of the product under review before wrapping things up, but the Prime Pinnacles don’t really have any real weaknesses to speak of. For those who like a bright sound, I would say these don’t really have that, and they might want to look elsewhere, but even then, the simple application of a shelf filter at around 6 kHz could put the upper treble on a more even keel with the rest of the frequency range. While I personally prefer an even response across the audible bandwidth, I had no problems with SVS’s voicing with the Prime Pinnacles, and their tonal balance with fine with my ears. One nit I could pick would be SVS’s specification of the Prime pinnacles as 8-ohm speakers when they are not, but that isn’t a problem with the speakers so much as SVS’s incorrect spec sheet.

Now let’s go over some of the high points of the SVS Prime Pinnacles. First and foremost is their smooth, engaging sound. These speakers are easy to listen to and despite the recessed upper treble, I didn’t find the sound to lack detail. A sPrime Pinnacle outdoor2.jpgpeaker with more upper treble might have had a bit more ‘air’ or ambiance in comparison, but I didn’t feel that was missing at all in the Prime Pinnacles. They are easy and non-fatiguing to listen to for long stretches and provide a full, pleasant sound all around with no undue emphasis or de-emphasis on any particular frequency band. The bass response is very good; it is powerful without being excessive and has enough low-frequency extension that subwoofers are certainly not a requirement to get a full sound from these speakers. The dynamic range of the Prime Pinnacles is quite good as a whole, but that is no surprise from a three-way tower speaker with three 6.5” bass drivers, a 5.25” midrange, and a 1” aluminum dome tweeter. This driver array also gives the speaker a decent sensitivity so that the amp’s wattage goes that much further. 

Outside of the terrific sound, the Prime Pinnacles look very nice, especially in the gloss black finish. The gloss black finish puts the cost at $1,800/pair, but they do look every penny of that pricing, if not more and in my opinion that finish is well worth the modest surcharge. One thing I like about them is that SVS has eschewed a bi-amplification option that is almost a standard feature in floor-standing speakers at this price point even though a bi-amplification option is not usually a good idea in passive home audio loudspeakers. I would be remiss not to mention SVS’s excellent customer support and generous return policy, where the buyer can return the speakers for a full refund to SVS within 45 days if they do not want to keep them for any reason (this is only applicable if the speakers are purchased from SVS itself and not a retailer). So, potential owners have nothing to lose but aPrime Pinnacle pair hero4.jpg little bit of time if they want to give these speakers a trial.

I am hoping that these speakers get attention from more than just home theater aficionados. SVS seems to get more attention from the home theater crowd on account of their massive ported subwoofers, but I think the Prime Pinnacle speakers are a terrific choice for two-channel listening. In fact, I think they are a better two-channel speaker than home theater speaker, not that they in any way come up short in home theater use. I say that they are better for two-channel music because the vast majority of music will not exceed this speaker’s bass capability, but home theater buffs are probably going to be adding a subwoofer along with a high-pass filter which negates the low-frequency ability of the Prime Pinnacles. Some home theater buffs might want a bit more sizzle in the high frequencies anyway. I think SVS should just demo these speakers as a two-channel system next time they bring them to a trade show or any other kind of demo. The Prime Pinnacles make for a great stereo system and can nicely illustrate how well a good two-channel system can keep up with a surround sound system. While SVS might not have intended it, they have made a great argument for two-channel simplicity with the Prime Pinnacles. 

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 ExtensionStarStarStarStar
Treble SmoothnessStarStarStarStar
Midrange AccuracyStarStarStarStar
Bass ExtensionStarStarStarStarStar
Bass AccuracyStarStarStarStarStar
Dynamic RangeStarStarStarStar
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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