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SVS Prime Loudspeaker Series and PC-2000 Subwoofer Preview

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The SVS Prime Tower, Bookshelf, and Satellite. Look familiar?

The SVS Prime Tower, Bookshelf, and Satellite. Look familiar?

Summary

  • Product Name: Prime Tower, Prime Bookshelf, Prime Center, Prime Satellite, and PC-2000
  • Manufacturer: SVS
  • Review Date: October 10, 2014 08:00
  • MSRP: $269.99-$1,199/pair (Prime Series), $799.99-$849.99/each (PC-2000)
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
  • Buy Now

Prime Tower

  • 1” aluminum dome tweeter
  • 4.5” midrange driver
  • Dual 6.5” woofers
  • Black Ash and  Piano Gloss Black finish options
  • 5-way binding posts
  • Dual 1.7” wide-flared rear-firing ports
  • Cloth grille with pin/cup retention system
  • Elastomer screw-in feet  - adjustable for level
  • Spiked metal screw-in feet  included - adjustable for level
  • Cabinet Dimensions: 36” (H) X 8” (W)  X 10.8” (D) (includes grille, feet  and  binding posts)
  • Weight Unboxed: 40.1 pounds


Prime Bookshelf

  • 1” aluminum dome tweeter »» 6.5” woofer
  • Black Ash and Piano Gloss Black finish options
  • 5-way binding posts
  • 1.7” wide-flared rear-firing port
  • Cloth grille with pin/cup retention system
  • Elastomer stick-on bumper feet (adds 3mm to height)
  • Cabinet Dimensions: 13.2” (H) X 8” (W) X 9.4” (D) (includes grille, binding posts and bumper feet)
  • Weight Unboxed: 15.5 pounds


Prime Center

  • 1” aluminum dome tweeter
  • 3.5” midrange driver
  • Dual 5.25” woofers
  • Black Ash and  Piano Gloss Black finish options
  • 5-way binding posts
  • Dual 1” wide-flared rear-firing por ts
  • Cloth grille with pin/cup retention system
  • Elastomer stick-on bumper feet  (adds 3mm  to height)
  • Cabinet Dimensions: 7.6” (H) X 8” (W)  X 8.3” (D) (includes grille, binding posts and  bumper feet)
  • Weight Unboxed: 20.2 pounds


Prime Satellite

  • 1” aluminum dome tweeter
  • 4.5” woofer
  • Black Ash and  Piano Gloss Black finish options
  • 5-way binding posts
  • 1” wide-flared rear-firing port
  • Cloth grille with pin/cup retention system
  • Elastomer stick-on bumper feet  (adds 3mm  to height)
  • Key way bracket for easy and convenient wall mounting (includes extra  bumper pads for wall stand-off ).
  • Cabinet Dimensions: 8.75” (H) X 4.9” (W)  X 5.53” (D). (includes grille, bracket, binding posts and bumper feet)
  • Weight Unboxed: 6.5 pounds


PC-2000

  • New, down-firing SVS 12” 2000-series driver
  • New Sledge STA-500D DSP amplifier, 500 watts  RMS (1100 watts  peak  dynamic)
  • Interchangeable top cap in Premium Black Ash and Piano Gloss Black
  • Rear-firing 4” high-flow port with large radius inner and  outer flanges
  • High-grade black fabric exterior cover
  • Extremely rigid and strong cylinder enclosure
  • 17-270 Hz +/- 3 dB
  • Dims: 34” (H), 16-5/8” (OD)
  • Weight: 50 pounds

Executive Overview

If you’ve been keeping tabs on SVS’ Facebook page, you’ll know they’ve been hinting at a big reveal for the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. Now that the show is in full swing, the curtain has been lifted for all to see. The big announcement for the show is SVS’ new Prime loudspeaker series. The lineup consists of four models: a satellite speaker, a bookshelf speaker, a center channel, and a set of towers to round things out. Prices for the new line range from $269.99 to $1,199.99/pair, positioning the Primes at roughly half the cost of the Ultra line. SVS also had a “smaller” announcement at RMAF: the release of the PC-2000, a ported cylinder subwoofer with performance identical to the boxy PB-2000.

The Primes

The first thing you’ll notice about the new Prime series is that they look very…familiar. One glance at the pictures and you can tell a lot of the design cues were pulled from the Ultra series loudspeakers. The 1” aluminum dome tweeter looks suspiciously similar to the model used in the Ultra model, and features a substantial amount of trickle down technology from its older brother including an FEA-optimized diffuser for improved dispersion. Of course, the similarities extend beyond the surface, with the Primes also utilizing SVS’ SoundMatch premium grade crossovers. So are we getting Ultra speakers for half off? Not quite.

The Primes do feature new midrange drivers and woofers, which boast polypropylene diaphragms, cast ABS-fiberglass-carbon composite baskets, a vented voice coil former for improved power handling, and an aluminum shorting ring to help reduce distortion. In other words, the Primes are working with some pretty nice drivers in their own right. So just what are these Primes we speak of?

Prime Tower:
A 3.5-way floorstanding speaker featuring a 1” aluminum dome tweeter, 4.5” polypropylene midrange unit, and dual 6.5” woofers in a dual ported cabinet. Price is $999.99/pair in Black Ash, and $1,199.99/pair in Piano Black.

Prime Tower

The SVS Prime Tower

Prime Bookshelf: A 2-way monitor featuring a 1” aluminum dome tweeter and 6.5” mid/woofer in a ported cabinet. Price is $499.99/pair in Black Ash, and $599.99/pair in Piano Black.

Prime Bookshelf

The SVS Prime Bookshelf

Prime Center: A 3-way center channel speaker featuring a 1” aluminum dome tweeter, 3.5” polypropylene midrange unit, and dual 5.25” woofers in a dual ported cabinet. Price is $349.99 apiece in Black Ash, and $449.99 in Piano Black.

Prime Center

The SVS Prime Center

Prime Satellite: A compact 2-way speaker featuring a 1” aluminum dome tweeter and 4.5” mid/woofer in a ported cabinet. Price is $269.99/pair in Black Ash, and $349.99/pair in Piano Black.

Prime Satellite

The SVS Prime Satellite

Unfortunately, SVS hasn’t released all of the specifications of the new lineup (frequency response, sensitivity, impedance, crossover points, etc.), which limits how much analysis we can perform. At a glance, we note that the satellite is an interesting addition, as it appears to replace the traditional bipole/dipole surround speaker seen in the Ultra lineup. The small size (8.75”H x 4.9”W x 5.53”D) certainly gives the Prime Satellite a variety of placement options, and the folks at SVS state that it is more than capable of being used in the L/C/R slots for a high end compact system.

And A New Water Heater

The announcement of the PC-2000 isn’t quite as exciting to us as the release of the Prime series. The reason is pretty simple: the PC-2000 is merely the cylinder form factor of the PB-2000, utilizing the same 12” woofer and 500W RMS amplifier in a large vented cabinet. Nonetheless, the PC-2000 does have some notable differences as compared with SVS’s previous cylinder designs. To start, while the old PC12-NSD had its port placed on the cylinder’s top plate, the PC-2000 utilizes a rear firing port, allowing the top plate to be a single solid piece finished in black oak ($799.99) or piano black ($849.99). The PC-2000 also nixes the baseplate, instead replaced by four SoundPath Isolation Feet that are designed to decouple the subwoofer from the floor, theoretically reducing unwanted rattles, buzzing, etc. We’re also hoping that this reduces the tendency of the subwoofer to “walk” on hard floors (i.e. tile, hardwood, etc.), which was one issue we found with the PC12-NSD.

PC-2000

The SVS PC-2000

Of course even with these stylistic changes, there’s no denying that the cylinder subwoofers have all the aesthetic appeal of a water heater in your listening room. On the upside, the SVS cylinders are relatively lightweight and consequently are much easier to move around. We’ve also found that the black fabric finish does a good job of disappearing in a darkened room. Then there’s the matter of floor space. With an outer diameter of 16-5/8”, the PC-2000 can fit in some tight spots where the PB-2000 simply won’t. Are those benefits worth the “unique” look? That’s for you to decide.

Summary

On the face of it, SVS seems to be offering the majority of the performance from their Ultra speakers for half the cost with the new Prime series. The kicker is that aesthetics doesn’t appear to take a nosedive as usually happens when a manufacturer decides to offer a “value” series. Needless to say, we’d like to get these speakers in for evaluation posthaste. We can’t claim to be quite as excited about the PC-2000 subwoofer given that it’s identical in all but form factor to the PB-2000. However, we are curious to see whether the new SoundPath Isolation Feet work as advertised, and to see if they can keep the PC-2000 in one spot on tile / hardwood surfaces.

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About the author:

Steve Munz is a “different” addition to Audioholics’ stable of contributors in that he is neither an engineer like Gene, nor has he worked in the industry like Cliff. In fact, Steve’s day job is network administration and accounting.

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Recent Forum Posts:

Muzykant posts on December 03, 2014 07:44
So, connected to my new second generation XPA-5 these sound great. The midrange performance greatly improved and the trebles became tighter. Bass is strong, but a subwoofer is needed for a full range sound. Playing isolated sine waves reveals that these speakers will reproduce bass down to mid 20 Hz range (barely audible at 20 Hz), but at too quiet a level to be usable in normal music reproduction. These speakers like thick wire. After I switched to 12 gauge wires the towers became warmer without losing detail in the trebles.
Muzykant posts on November 25, 2014 18:40
Diesel57, post: 1060793, member: 66690
Hi Muzykant, hey would like to hear your review on the svs prime, I have denon 1912 and thinking about getting apair of the svs primes for a 3.1 setup and in the reviews they stated that they don't really need a sub with them. I listen to a variety of music jazz being my first choice and never any classic, let me know your take on those…Thanks!!!

Hello, I need some more time with them. I would like to wait until I receive my Emotiva UMC-200/XPA-5 combo this Friday. My ancient Pioneer receiver they are connected to right now has not been sounding its best lately.

These towers will have enough bass for jazz recordings, but for rock and electronica you will want a sub. They sound full down to about 35Hz in my room, but below that start to roll off.
Diesel57 posts on November 25, 2014 07:56
Muzykant, post: 1060408, member: 68282
I received a pair of Prime Towers a few days ago. Still breaking them in.

Initial impressions were mixed. First thing I noticed was the huge amount of details these bring out, definitely more than my Def Tech Studio Monitors. This is a good thing for me because I sometimes learn music from recordings, and these don't hide anything. But while detail was incredible, the sound was not well balanced. They had a lot of bass (more than I expected) and the highs were incredibly loud bordering on uncomfortable, but the mids were just too quiet. It made the voices sound thin and flat.

Well, I was able to break them in for about 15 hours so far, and it was enough to transform them. Now trebles sound smoother and less piercing, but more importantly, recordings now have pleasant midrange. Vocals sound naturally warm without being exaggerated. Just perfect. The balance between the drivers became very smooth, without noticeably favoring any particular range. I know this shift in sound is not my imagination or ears being accustomed to the new sound. I was breaking these in playing mono tracks out of phase with speakers facing each other in close proximity in the other room. I hardly heard anything this entire time.

By the way, my 18 years old Pioneer stereo receiver with 100 watts per channel makes these rock hard, beyond comfort zone. My Emotiva 200 watts per channel amp takes them to the next level. There is definitely no lack of sensitivity.
Hi Muzykant, hey would like to hear your review on the svs prime, I have denon 1912 and thinking about getting apair of the svs primes for a 3.1 setup and in the reviews they stated that they don't really need a sub with them. I listen to a variety of music jazz being my first choice and never any classic, let me know your take on those…Thanks!!!
Muzykant posts on November 22, 2014 09:27
I received a pair of Prime Towers a few days ago. Still breaking them in.

Initial impressions were mixed. First thing I noticed was the huge amount of details these bring out, definitely more than my Def Tech Studio Monitors. This is a good thing for me because I sometimes learn music from recordings, and these don't hide anything. But while detail was incredible, the sound was not well balanced. They had a lot of bass (more than I expected) and the highs were incredibly loud bordering on uncomfortable, but the mids were just too quiet. It made the voices sound thin and flat.

Well, I was able to break them in for about 15 hours so far, and it was enough to transform them. Now trebles sound smoother and less piercing, but more importantly, recordings now have pleasant midrange. Vocals sound naturally warm without being exaggerated. Just perfect. The balance between the drivers became very smooth, without noticeably favoring any particular range. I know this shift in sound is not my imagination or ears being accustomed to the new sound. I was breaking these in playing mono tracks out of phase with speakers facing each other in close proximity in the other room. I hardly heard anything this entire time.

By the way, my 18 years old Pioneer stereo receiver with 100 watts per channel makes these rock hard, beyond comfort zone. My Emotiva 200 watts per channel amp takes them to the next level. There is definitely no lack of sensitivity.
mike c posts on October 14, 2014 20:07
GranteedEV, post: 1055779
Agreed. One thing people should note is that because the acoustic source becomes equidistant to boundaries when corner loaded, the cylinder has some room mode advantages compared to a box

could you break this down in layman's terms? it flew over my head, and i'm curious about the cylinder/down firing effect you are talking about.

-0-

while the new cylinder certainly looks a lot nicer than the old version, i was kinda hoping they would do away with the cloth altogether.
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