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SVS SBS-01 5.0
2 Reviews
rating  4.5 of 5
MSRP  599.00
Description: SBS-01 5.0 Surround Sound System<br> MSRP $599<br> Removable grill with chrome pin retainers <br> SVS ClearSilk™ 1” tweeter and NBS™ 5.25" woofer <br> Smooth and seamless braced cabinet <br> Multiple installation modes <br> Audiophile-grade crossover <br> Linear frequency response<br>


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Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Bobsprit a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: April 30, 2007

Bottom Line:   
For Your Consideration
Many months after selling my main system, which ran Carver ribbons, Revel M20's, B&W CDM, Rotel, Outlaw, B&K and Bryston amps and more, I finally came to realize that it was time to build up a new system, properly integrated for my 10 foot wide front projection home theatre, but with the ability to reproduce music in two channels as well.

What Are They?
SVS is a company based in Ohio that caters to the mid and hi fi market via direct sales only. There is no place to audition the subs or speakers, but a bit of research online will render a portrait of acclaim for all of their subwoofers, which has been their market focus from the start. SVS subwoofers have been the secret weapon of many audiophiles searching for those elusive low notes in music and home theatre. Their large tube subs are obscenely musical and powerful. SVS also provides a 45 day listen and be happy guarantee. If you don't like what you hear, box them up and send 'em back. You'll only lose out on the reasonable shipping charges. I doubt they get many returns!
My previous experience with SVS subwoofers had been outstanding, so I was more than a little curious about these smallish and aesthetically pure looking boxes. I ordered a system of 5 (the center is called the SCS-01 and it sports an extra woofer) to mate with a SVS 16-46 PCI subwoofer.

My speakers arrived quickly and undamaged, in VERY well packed boxes. I eagerly removed the units, which measure 12" x 7" x 9.5" (The center measures 7" x 20" x 8.5"). Weight is 11 and 19 lbs for the speakers and center. The speakers feel exceedingly solid and inert which is a good thing. The look is clean, modern and remind sme a bit of the old Canton speakers, which had the same no-nonsense look. There is nothing whatsoever frilly or trendy in their design. To my eye, which prefers components that blend and fade into the sound, they are elegant.

Initial Tests
I was anxious to see what these would be like, so I quickly placed a pair on my sand filled Chicago Speaker Stands and connected them to a middle of the road Onkyo receiver in the 65 watt range. These are not the most sensitive speakers and I had to push the volume fairly high. I let the speakers play for about an hour and then gave a good listen, using Lyle Lovett's "I Love Everybody" as my reference CD. The sound was all there, but there was a "hootish" quality to some vocals and I had the feeling that something was missing, especially in the upper midrange. I quickly swapped out the Onkyo for a Denon AVR-1907 receiver and everything changed! The midrange filled in and the soundstage gained depth and detail. This was more like it. I switched over to some soundtrack material from Magnolia and Trouble In Mind and found a wealth of subtle detail and solid tonal accuracy, easily the equal of far more expensive systems. In fact, a Definitive Technology system costing much more could never play music this well. A friend's Mirage based system (also costing twice the price) was probably equal in quality, but suffers from reflection issues due to it's unique tweeter placement.
In the end, using Denon amplification I found the SB-01 speakers to be a bit dark in their presentation, but highly listenable. I couldn't wait to set things up for home theatre.

Home Theatre Tests
Once again I used the mains on the stands and slid the center into my homebuilt ceiling mounted shelf. I placed the rears on stands. Once again I used the Denon for power. Subwoofer was the SVS 16-46 PCI (reviewed elsewhere on Epinions) Speaker wire was good monster cable, but not the pricey stuff I would eventually employ in my final installation. This was just a fast test to see if I could live with these. I used Spiderman 1 and cued up to some of the better action scenes. Please keep in mind that these 5 speakers together with subwoofer cost half of what my previous speakers cost.
As the sound pressures increased, so did my pulse rate. The SVS system was open, detailed, smooth and LOUD. On orchestral passages I could still hear that musicality that impressed me on two channel material and yet these things were also cranking out explosions and screams with equal aplomb. I would expect this from speakers costing 500-600 per pair, but not 225.00. Then again, with no dealer network and direct only sales, SVS is really selling you a higher end speaker for less. These are better in many respects to the Paradigm Titans and PSB Alphas that have much deserved respect, but are outstripped by the SB-01's on home theatre material.
Dialogue focus is a key element for me in a good home theatre setup and it's more than proper tonality and clarity. It's also about subtle changes in voice position as characters move on screen. The SB-01's handled this very well. While the center channel lacked the ultimate analytical accuracy of my B&W CDM (which cost 600 dollars alone), it was not far behind and was less harsh...or perhaps more forgiving might be a better description.
I switched to Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and found the system so well integrated that I forgot what I was doing and started to watch the movie! I can give no higher praise.

More Listening Tests
I tried mating the SB-01 pair to an Outlaw 1070 (used as a pre-amp) and a Rotel 1080 amp. I find the 1070 a bit overrated and too bright with many speakers, but there was no doubt that the combo gave even more depth and detail. With the sub off the SB-01 set reached surprising low notes on pipe organ music and did not fight for frequency below their range. Back to the 500 dollar Denon and I came to like the combo better, even if bass was a fit flabby and the stage was shallower. A combo that does not fatigue the ear is king.
I would like to point out that these speakers drink a bit deeply from the wattage well. I suggest a amp with at least 85 watts of TRUE power. They will sound good with lesser amps, but truly benefit from a Denon, Pioneer Elite and so on. I don't think they should be mated to a low end Sony, Onkyo or Yamaha receiver, which typically do not produce their claimed wattage into all channels driven. No doubt a higher end Onkyo would do better of course.
Before I ordered these I read some conflicting reviews which confirm my experience with them. In short; you can't get away with using a low end receiver with these. They are a bit hard to drive and many receivers will fall short since most are less than honest about their true power output. I note that the rave reviews for the SB-01's were often from folks with better amp quality to drive them with. With that in mind, you might get better sound from a more efficient pair of Paradigm Atoms if you are using a low end receiver. Sometimes better speakers demand better electronics to drive them with. It's also important to keep this in perspective. I've been listening to expensive speakers for years and the sonic nuances I speak of are actually quite subtle. But for demanding audiophiles tiny differences are what it's all about.

Summation
I have no doubt that I came no where near exploiting the limits of the SVS speakers. Clearly, better amplification and careful placement (which I'm working on now) will bring them to an even higher level of musical refinement. Consider that you can buy the five channel system for 599.00 (7 channel is 799.00) and add a SVS sub in the 600-800 range. So for 1200-1500 dollars you can end up with a perfectly matched home theatre system that simply beats the pants off of ANYTHING else in that range. The trick will be in trusting this and many other reviews to the point that you can order the system sight-unheard.
I suggest that you do.

SVS will soon come to market with a true high end speaker designed to compete with far more expensive systems. It may sound like a risky idea. Audiophiles are used to visiting salons and audition speakers before they buy. But do consider how flawed a process this truly is. The room a speaker will be placed in is a key factor in performance. The best way to judge a speaker is between your own walls and connected to your electronics. SVS is has built a stellar foundation on this principal and I'll be saving my pennies for a pair of those new SVS speakers indeed!

SVS speakers and subs are sold only via their website at SVsound.com

Capt RB

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2006

Price Paid:    $599.00

Purchased At:   SVS



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Capt. Robert B a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: April 30, 2007

Bottom Line:   


For Your Consideration
Many months after selling my main system, which ran Carver ribbons, Revel M20's, B&W CDM, Rotel, Outlaw, B&K and Bryston amps and more, I finally came to realize that it was time to build up a new system, properly integrated for my 10 foot wide front projection home theatre, but with the ability to reproduce music in two channels as well.

SVS is a company based in Ohio that caters to the mid and hi fi market via direct sales only. There is no place to audition the subs or speakers, but a bit of research online will render a portrait of acclaim for all of their subwoofers, which has been their market focus from the start. SVS subwoofers have been the secret weapon of many audiophiles searching for those elusive low notes in music and home theatre. Their large tube subs are obscenely musical and powerful. SVS also provides a 45 day listen and be happy guarantee. If you don't like what you hear, box them up and send 'em back. You'll only lose out on the reasonable shipping charges. I doubt they get many returns!
My previous experience with SVS subwoofers had been outstanding, so I was more than a little curious about these smallish and aesthetically pure looking boxes. I ordered a system of 5 (the center is called the SCS-01 and it sports an extra woofer) to mate with a SVS 16-46 PCI subwoofer.

My speakers arrived quickly and undamaged, in VERY well packed boxes. I eagerly removed the units, which measure 12" x 7" x 9.5" (The center measures 7" x 20" x 8.5"). Weight is 11 and 19 lbs for the speakers and center. The speakers feel exceedingly solid and inert which is a good thing. The look is clean, modern and remind sme a bit of the old Canton speakers, which had the same no-nonsense look. There is nothing whatsoever frilly or trendy in their design. To my eye, which prefers components that blend and fade into the sound, they are elegant.

Initial Tests
I was anxious to see what these would be like, so I quickly placed a pair on my sand filled Chicago Speaker Stands and connected them to a middle of the road Onkyo receiver in the 65 watt range. These are not the most sensitive speakers and I had to push the volume fairly high. I let the speakers play for about an hour and then gave a good listen, using Lyle Lovett's "I Love Everybody" as my reference CD. The sound was all there, but there was a "hootish" quality to some vocals and I had the feeling that something was missing, especially in the upper midrange. I quickly swapped out the Onkyo for a Denon AVR-1907 receiver and everything changed! The midrange filled in and the soundstage gained depth and detail. This was more like it. I switched over to some soundtrack material from Magnolia and Trouble In Mind and found a wealth of subtle detail and solid tonal accuracy, easily the equal of far more expensive systems. In fact, a Definitive Technology system costing much more could never play music this well. A friend's Mirage based system (also costing twice the price) was probably equal in quality, but suffers from reflection issues due to it's unique tweeter placement.
In the end, using Denon amplification I found the SB-01 speakers to be a bit dark in their presentation, but highly listenable. I couldn't wait to set things up for home theatre.

Home Theatre Tests
Once again I used the mains on the stands and slid the center into my homebuilt ceiling mounted shelf. I placed the rears on stands. Once again I used the Denon for power. Subwoofer was the SVS 16-46 PCI (reviewed elsewhere on Epinions) Speaker wire was good monster cable, but not the pricey stuff I would eventually employ in my final installation. This was just a fast test to see if I could live with these. I used Spiderman 1 and cued up to some of the better action scenes. Please keep in mind that these 5 speakers together with subwoofer cost half of what my previous speakers cost.
As the sound pressures increased, so did my pulse rate. The SVS system was open, detailed, smooth and LOUD. On orchestral passages I could still hear that musicality that impressed me on two channel material and yet these things were also cranking out explosions and screams with equal aplomb. I would expect this from speakers costing 500-600 per pair, but not 225.00. Then again, with no dealer network and direct only sales, SVS is really selling you a higher end speaker for less. These are better in many respects to the Paradigm Titans and PSB Alphas that have much deserved respect, but are outstripped by the SB-01's on home theatre material.
Dialogue focus is a key element for me in a good home theatre setup and it's more than proper tonality and clarity. It's also about subtle changes in voice position as characters move on screen. The SB-01's handled this very well. While the center channel lacked the ultimate analytical accuracy of my B&W CDM (which cost 600 dollars alone), it was not far behind and was less harsh...or perhaps more forgiving might be a better description.
I switched to Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and found the system so well integrated that I forgot what I was doing and started to watch the movie! I can give no higher praise.

More Listening Tests
I tried mating the SB-01 pair to an Outlaw 1070 (used as a pre-amp) and a Rotel 1080 amp. I find the 1070 a bit overrated and too bright with many speakers, but there was no doubt that the combo gave even more depth and detail. With the sub off the SB-01 set reached surprising low notes on pipe organ music and did not fight for frequency below their range. Back to the 500 dollar Denon and I came to like the combo better, even if bass was a fit flabby and the stage was shallower. A combo that does not fatigue the ear is king.
I would like to point out that these speakers drink a bit deeply from the wattage well. I suggest a amp with at least 85 watts of TRUE power. They will sound good with lesser amps, but truly benefit from a Denon, Pioneer Elite and so on. I don't think they should be mated to a low end Sony, Onkyo or Yamaha receiver, which typically do not produce their claimed wattage into all channels driven. No doubt a higher end Onkyo would do better of course.
Before I ordered these I read some conflicting reviews which confirm my experience with them. In short; you can't get away with using a low end receiver with these. They are a bit hard to drive and many receivers will fall short since most are less than honest about their true power output. I note that the rave reviews for the SB-01's were often from folks with better amp quality to drive them with. With that in mind, you might get better sound from a more efficient pair of Paradigm Atoms if you are using a low end receiver. Sometimes better speakers demand better electronics to drive them with. It's also important to keep this in perspective. I've been listening to expensive speakers for years and the sonic nuances I speak of are actually quite subtle. But for demanding audiophiles tiny differences are what it's all about.

Summation
I have no doubt that I came no where near exploiting the limits of the SVS speakers. Clearly, better amplification and careful placement (which I'm working on now) will bring them to an even higher level of musical refinement. Consider that you can buy the five channel system for 599.00 (7 channel is 799.00) and add a SVS sub in the 600-800 range. So for 1200-1500 dollars you can end up with a perfectly matched home theatre system that simply beats the pants off of ANYTHING else in that range. The trick will be in trusting this and many other reviews to the point that you can order the system sight-unheard.
I suggest that you do.

SVS will soon come to market with a true high end speaker designed to compete with far more expensive systems. It may sound like a risky idea. Audiophiles are used to visiting salons and audition speakers before they buy. But do consider how flawed a process this truly is. The room a speaker will be placed in is a key factor in performance. The best way to judge a speaker is between your own walls and connected to your electronics. SVS is has built a stellar foundation on this principal and I'll be saving my pennies for a pair of those new SVS speakers indeed!

SVS speakers and subs are sold only via their website at SVsound.com

Capt RB


Expand full review >>

Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2006

Price Paid:    $599.00

Purchased At:   SVS




Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

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