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SVS Prime Pinnacle Tower Speaker Measurements

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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.

Conclusion

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
MetricRating
Build QualityStarStarStarStar
AppearanceStarStarStarStar
Treble ExtensionStarStarStarStar
Treble SmoothnessStarStarStarStar
Midrange AccuracyStarStarStarStar
Bass ExtensionStarStarStarStarStar
Bass AccuracyStarStarStarStarStar
ImagingStarStarStarStar
Dynamic RangeStarStarStarStar
Fit and FinishStarStarStarStarStar
PerformanceStarStarStarStarhalf-star
ValueStarStarStarStarhalf-star
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:

Bentley posts on January 04, 2022 06:12
shadyJ, post: 1529084, member: 20472
If those specs are right, these receivers are about as powerful as each other. There is no significant difference. If you want even noticeable difference at all, you need to get an outboard amplifier that at least doubles the stated power specs of the AVRs that you are considering.
ok thanks
shadyJ posts on January 01, 2022 07:12
Bentley, post: 1529072, member: 97692
I also wanted to know what is the ideal wattage to give these pinnacles please can someone explain?

Because I was about to order four of them and run them each on 8 ohms 110 watts using a Yamaha RX-A4A.

Would it be better to use a Denon AVC-X4700H ?

Or is there a better option altogether for a 5.1 setup of SVS Prime Pinnacles?


The Yamaha looks like this:



AV Receiver
Yamaha RX-A4A


Amplifier Section
Channel


Rated Output Power (1kHz, 1ch driven)
135 W (8 ohms, 0.9% THD)


Rated Output Power (20Hz-20kHz, 2ch driven)
110 W (8 ohms, 0.06% THD)


Maximum Effective Output Power (1kHz, 1ch driven)
165 W (8 ohms, 10% THD)





The second option was the Denon below:

Denon AVC-X4700H



(8 ohm, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.08% 2ch Drive)
125 W


(6 ohm, 1 kHz, 0.7% 2ch Drive)
165 W


(6 ohm, 1 kHz, 1% 1ch Drive)
200 W




Which is the best options for the four Pinnacle Towers?

Or is there a better option like a Marantz or something or do I need more/less total amp watts ?

Kind regards from Gregory
If those specs are right, these receivers are about as powerful as each other. There is no significant difference. If you want even noticeable difference at all, you need to get an outboard amplifier that at least doubles the stated power specs of the AVRs that you are considering.
Bentley posts on January 01, 2022 02:25
I also wanted to know what is the ideal wattage to give these pinnacles please can someone explain?

Because I was about to order four of them and run them each on 8 ohms 110 watts using a Yamaha RX-A4A.

Would it be better to use a Denon AVC-X4700H ?

Or is there a better option altogether for a 5.1 setup of SVS Prime Pinnacles?


The Yamaha looks like this:



Amplifier Section
Channel


AV Receiver
Yamaha RX-A4A


Rated Output Power (1kHz, 1ch driven)
135 W (8 ohms, 0.9% THD)


Rated Output Power (20Hz-20kHz, 2ch driven)
110 W (8 ohms, 0.06% THD)


Maximum Effective Output Power (1kHz, 1ch driven)
165 W (8 ohms, 10% THD)





The second option was the Denon below:

Denon AVC-X4700H



(8 ohm, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.08% 2ch Drive)
125 W


(6 ohm, 1 kHz, 0.7% 2ch Drive)
165 W


(6 ohm, 1 kHz, 1% 1ch Drive)
200 W




Which is the best options for the four Pinnacle Towers?

Or is there a better option like a Marantz or something or do I need more/less total amp watts ?

Kind regards from Gregory
afterlife2 posts on May 15, 2020 14:48
TVdBnUBEEng
3db posts on May 09, 2020 10:06
TLS Guy, post: 1389405, member: 29650
The problem is no the wattage, but the tolerance of the receiver to low impedance and very difficult phase angles.

This is the problem.



It is those areas of low impedance from 80 Hz to 500 Hz that are a problem and those areas at 80 and 3 KHz where the phase angles turn sharply negative. These dips result on build up of heat on the output transistors and risk failure.

Unfortunately most modern receivers do not spec a 4 ohm rating, and their power amps are not really robust.

The higher end Yamaha receivers do give a 4 ohm spec and probably are the only ones you should consider. Other than that then you need a receiver with preouts or a pre/pro and use external power amplification.

As rule speakers with more then one bass driver and especially if they are three ways, will present a challenging load to the modern crop of receivers, unless you are really prepared to moderate volume levels. Pretty much anything will drive anything if you keep the volume level low enough.
I've seen a lot phase angle plots reading Soundstage review and I dont recall seeing a phase plot with a phase angle this severe. I have to check this against PSB Imagine 2XT (not sure of exact model number) which has a similar configuration. This is a difficult load to drive.

Here is the link to their measurements. (Im on my tablet and cannot figure out how to paste just the image from the clipboard.) It dips down to 60 degrees as well but decreases faster than the Pinnacles. I wonder if this severe phase angle is a result of a 3 way design.

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1316:nrc-measurements-psb-imagine-x2t-loudspeakers&catid=77:loudspeaker-measurements&Itemid=153
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