SBS-01: A review from foreign parts. - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 1 Old 09-17-06, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Cambridge, UK
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SBS-01: A review from foreign parts.

Kent Home Cinema threw an open day on Saturday for the members of in the UK. The SB-12 was the reason, although the SBS-01s were ever present as were the PB-10 and PB-12/plus. We don't get the Ultras (yet).

This is a direct copy of my post from the above forum and I thought I'd copy it here. Please bear in mind the European market is different to the US market due to room sizes. The SB-12 is a result of European demand and the market is awash with small satellite speakers due to their high WAF in small rooms.

Please bare this in mind when reading this and note that this is also why this review starts off answering a question that hasn't been asked. It has, just not here!.......

I thought them to be exceptional value for the money and in my opinion, they would still be exceptional value with wood veneer and a price hike.

That tweeter is a peach. It's not up there with the Esotars and Revelators of this world, but given that one of those by it's self would cost as much as an entire SBS-01, that is in no way damning with faint praise.

I made sure scene 2 from The House Of Flying Daggers got a run out, as much to test the SBS-01s as the SB-12/PLUS. THOFD has a razor sharp, hugely dynamic DTS soundtrack, that doesn't suffer from overblown bass effects nor a preponderance of synthesised sounds that make all systems sound good. A true reference IMHO.

There are several sounds, (the massed bean drop, the shattering glass bowl, the sword from the scabbard and any number of sword fights) that can tip an already edgy speaker over the edge into harshness, especially when driven hard and yesterday, speakers were being driven hard. Furthermore, it's a soundtrack with realistic sounds that demand a realistic presentation to sound effective. To my mind it's the real world sounds that separate the men from the boys. Trying to judge speakers/subs with War Of The Worlds, is like trying to judge projectors with Finding Nemo. You know what a real drum sounds like, just like you know a realistic skin tone. WOTW and Nemo have neither.

The SBS-01 suffered from none of these potential problems to any great degree. At high volumes, dynamics lept out uncompressed, speech remained intelligable and sibilance never reared it's head to any great degree. Remember, this was a hard surfaced room with nowt but the mass of Forumites squishy bodies to damp reflections, so it would have been easy to excuse any tendancies toward brightness.

I also spent a good half hour with them in the smaller PB-10 room and ran some Blue Man Group, Pink Floyd and a selection of Hayes' bassy 'pop tunes' through them and feel the doubts about their musical ability, to be largely unfounded. Snappy attack, wide and deep sound stage and bounce along with good timing and they're not too bad on the cabinet colouration front.

This is all with respect to their price, for movies at least the M&K S-150s down stairs were in a different class. But they were certainly the equal of my Kefs and in the case of the center speaker, altogether superior. The treble quality drawing my attention in particular and the fact that it is a true center design, correctly sized for it's duties.

The downsides? They're small, they're not small enough and the MTS-01s are just around the corner.

Small? - Loud music started to show their ultimate volume limitations as the small driver was achieving quite large driver exscursions and with music at least this heralded the sound starting to shut in slightly and loose it's coherance a touch. Vocals started to sound a bit 'cupped hand'. A little restraint with the volume control is all that's required and I did not notice this trait to the same degree with movies. It may be because music relies on the L&R to step up their contribution a bit relative to the center which normally carries the mother load.

Not small enough? - You're going to struggle to get the the sub/sat crowd to jump up to something this size. The performace advantages they hold are clear, but they're bigger than Quad L-ites, and without the finish options. They just don't have the WAF of the true sattelites against which they are priced. They fall between two stools, which leads me to....

.... MTS-01s? SVS's first attempt at a speaker causes me some excitement at their next. Most people will have to stand mount the front pair and budgeting for stands makes you ask if some of the small form factor floorstanders offer better value. They certainly look better than stand mounts in a domestic setting. The prospect of extra drivers for improved high volume level performance, the addition of real wood finishes (and SVS are VERY good at these) and the looks of a tower speaker, leave me dribbling with excitement like an old cat.

All in all, the story is similar to that of the SB-12. Astonishing VFM, but if you can afford and accomodate larger, then you probably will. If you can't, then here are two products that reduce the compromise this used to mean and that can only be good.


Last edited by russ.will; 09-17-06 at 05:04 PM. Reason: Shocking spelling!!
russ.will is offline  


foreign , parts , review , sbs01

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