SVS SB12-Plus & PB12-NSD review - Lyd & Bilde (English version) - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 6 Old 03-27-07, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
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SVS SB12-Plus & PB12-NSD review - Lyd & Bilde (English version)

Dear members,

We (L-Sound, an exclusive SVS dealer in Europe) have made some translations of Norwegian SVS reviews into English. There are probably some bad English/grammar, but please don't judge us!

Reviewed by Audun Hage, Lyd & Bilde ("Sound & Vision").

Our first encounter with SVS was when we reviewed their budget model, the PB10 that literally blew us off our feet with its impressive deep bass for a ridiculous low amount of money. SVS have become the brand to beat when it comes to price/performance, but so for none have been able to step up to the challenge. So, what is the reason for the American company's superiority? A lot of the reason behind SVS’ success is found in the fact that they have moved in the complete opposite direction of their competitors. While most brands today focuses on making their subs more compact and pleasing to Joe Sixpack, SVS have remained faithful to the principle of bigger is better. This discipline is all about moving as much air as possible, and when trying to achieve that there is nothing more suited then a big driver in a large enclosure. Without any need for electronic compensation those subs can play louder, deeper and with more ease then their smaller rivals. This has made SVS the obvious choice for the enthusiasts, but less obvious for those who have to take lack of space, interior design and not least; the opinion of their better half into consideration. We reckon that SVS have felt the pressure from their customers to build a sub that has good performance without occupying several square feet of living room floor.

Laurel & Hardy
This brings us to this months two new challengers. We did not receive just one, but two new subwoofers from the importer, L-sound. The first one, the PB12-NSD is as the name indicates the bigger brother of its sibling, the popular PB10. This time around it comes equipped with a 12” driver, and a larger enclosure. SVS have also included a built in crossover, something that many wanted from the PB10. You are now no longer at the mercy of needing a receiver with a built in crossover to remove the highest frequencies. Other than that there is nothing revolutionary about the PB12, except that it is now available in other colours than just black. The importer had promised us one in a gorgeous silver, but when the test object showed up it came sporting a trendy white finish. Not that this makes its big enclosure any smaller, by no means. We are glad that we ordered both subs, because unless you see them side by side it is very hard to imagine the difference in size. While the PB12 is one of the largest subs to ever grace our test room, the SB12 is actually one of the smallest. It occupies only ¼ of the floor space of its big brother, and it is also available in exclusive finishes like real wood and piano gloss. All in all the SB12 has the markings of being more refined, equipped with XLR connections (nice if you have long cable runs), and room compensating equalizer controls. The specifications also reveal that the SB12+ has a more refined driver, and a more powerful amplifier than the PB12-NSD. This seems logical since both the amp and the driver will have to work far harder in the compact, sealed enclosure. The SB has an artificial boost in the lowest frequencies, such a boost is an unavoidable necessity if you are to get deep bass from a small enclosure

Built in room compensation
It has become popular to include room correction in subwoofers. Velodynes expensive Digital Drive series have this feature, and you can also buy separate boxes that will help you tailor the frequency response to your rooms acoustic signature. The small SVS has a trick up its sleeve with a room compensation filter. You can choose between 3 different preset parameters that will adjust the frequency response according to the size of you room. Not as advanced as a fully fledged room correction, but a nice feature none the less since we are trying to achieve a response that is as flat as possible without to much room interaction. It is also worth mentioning that you can buy two SB12-Plus’ and a Velodyne SMS-1 room correction unit for less then what Velodyne is asking for its DD12 subwoofer, something to think about for the budget conscious enthusiast?

The Big One
Having help is an absolute plus when the PB12 is being unpacked. Its weight and size is not as extreme as the monster top of the line model, the PB12 Plus/2, but anyhow larger than what is considered big with subwoofers today. Its enclosure is 45 x 52 x 62 cm (W x H x D), so you can definitely forget about hiding it away. Neither sonically is there any doubt that there is something massive in motion. The PB12 grabs all four walls of our testing room, and fills it with bass that can be both felt and heard. It takes about two seconds to realize that this sub has an authority and a might that few can match. At the same time the reproduction of bass seems light and at ease, the sub has no problem reproducing fast drum strikes or rapid plucking on bass strings. Still, movies are what SVS subs feast on, and action movies with lots of deep bass information in particular. I often use the shotgun blast from Kill Bill Vol. 2 to scare unaware guests in my home theatre, but with the PB12 I ended up almost scaring myself. The 12 inch driver delivers a physical impact that eclipses just about everything else that we have experienced. The exploding Porsche in Matador starring Pierce Brosnan have proven to be a challenge for many subwoofers, but the SVS handles it without any problems whatsoever. This is a good thing because there is nothing less sexy than a subwoofer making unwanted noises in the midst of the action.

A compact powder keg
The experiences with SVS’ new bang for the buck model matched our expectations entirely. We were more excited about what the minute model; SB12-Plus, could pull off under similar test conditions. To sum it up in one sentence, we did not experience a large loss when we switched over to the miniscule model. The SPL in the extremely deepest bass can not be compared with what the PB12 delivers, but it is impressive just how much force the small sub can deliver. With Justin Timberlake’s “Futuresexy/Lovesounds” in the CD players drawer the SB12-Plus delivers distinct and forceful punches that truly can be felt in your spine. Subjectively the punch from the bass felt no less dynamic than that from the PB12, but the PB12 is at a whole other level when it comes to flexing walls and rattling furniture. Even when the driver in the SB12 is working overtime, the PB12 still has lots of power to spare. This is a very good example of the benefits of using a large, ported enclosure. Still the SB12 is one of the toughest and most agile small subs that we have ever tested. The SB12 makes it hard for established competitors as the Audio Pro Ace-Bass 2 that can not compete with the American made subs force and brute deep bass. Is it any good with movies? Absolutely! The SB12 has enough power to satisfy everyone except the pickiest bass fanatics, and personally I would have no problem with settling for a pair of these to use in my living room. But the day that my dedicated home cinema room is finished I see no reason for choosing the SB12 over one of SVS’ more uncivilized models. The PB12 is clearly the better bang for the buck model when it comes to deep bass and the ability to pressurize the room, and this without giving up anything when it comes to the reproduction of music.

In good company
During the test period the subs got to play alongside plenty of expensive equipment, and both proved worthy of the honor. Among the equipment the SVS subs got to play with was pair of WLM speakers costing 40.000NKR, those speakers has a very transparent midrange and a detailed treble, but sadly they are a bit lacking when it comes to bottom end. Using a subwoofer of SVS’s quality it is very easy to add a new dimension. In fact, this was an exciting match, the loudspeakers frequency response starts to roll off quite early, and the subwoofers are easily integrated into the sound stage without drawing any attention to themselves. For a pure music setup there are many good arguments for choosing the small SB12. The PB12’s advantages are for the most part to be found in the extreme deep end of the bass spectrum, and this area is not always as important when it comes to music. Thanks to the subwoofers compact size it is also much easier to find a spot for, something that can be an advantage when searching for the perfect reproduction of bass in your living room.

Small or big, both subs have a formidable performance, and can without a shadow of doubt be said to be among the best in their price range. At the same time the two models fills two vastly different needs. For the home cinema enthusiast with a dedicated room (and dimmed lightning) there is little doubt that the PB12-NSD is the way to go. With its superior deep bass performance, and massive power all the way to the deep end it has a clear physical advantage on its sibling, the PB10 that more than justifies the difference in price. On the other hand, if the sub is supposed to be used in a regular room, the SB12 is a compact alternative without to many compromises. Maybe you even can sneak in two? It is for sure that from now on there is no excuse for not having genuine SVS bass in your living room.

Click here for the full and original review!

Best regards,

Last edited by L-Sound - Jan; 03-27-07 at 01:20 PM.
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post #2 of 6 Old 10-22-07, 10:06 PM
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Re: SVS SB12-Plus & PB12-NSD review - Lyd & Bilde (English version)

great sub
value for money
post #3 of 6 Old 12-16-07, 01:11 PM
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Re: SVS SB12-Plus & PB12-NSD review - Lyd & Bilde (English version)

I think the best thing about the SB12 is how well it integrates into anybody's system.

PEQ (kill that one room mode that makes your bass sound bloated)

Room compensation switch (which I recommend leave OFF for maximum extension unless you put this sub in a bathroom)

Small size for lots of choice of placement

For these reasons, it will probably sound better in any real world situation than more powerful subs that don't have these features.
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post #4 of 6 Old 12-16-07, 01:29 PM
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Re: SVS SB12-Plus & PB12-NSD review - Lyd & Bilde (English version)

It is important to remember that even if this sub is a great sub, it does not match any of the big subs from SVS when it comes to SPL. If you want high SPL (who doesn't want that???) then there is no way you can get away with one relatively small sub like this one.
If you have space then go for a 13" or the 12" Plus/2. Or even better: a pair of those !

Klipsch (THX2) | Crown | SVS | SlimDevices | Sony | Pioneer | Yamaha
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post #5 of 6 Old 12-16-07, 01:41 PM
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Re: SVS SB12-Plus & PB12-NSD review - Lyd & Bilde (English version)

jerome wrote: View Post
It is important to remember that even if this sub is a great sub, it does not match any of the big subs from SVS when it comes to SPL. If you want high SPL (who doesn't want that???) then there is no way you can get away with one relatively small sub like this one.
If you have space then go for a 13" or the 12" Plus/2. Or even better: a pair of those !
No disagreement there, even SVS says so themselves. But the SB12 can be just as satisfying even in a smaller or medium sized room for even really demanding HT use. And it just looks so small and cute!
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post #6 of 6 Old 07-02-09, 05:55 PM
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Re: SVS SB12-Plus & PB12-NSD review - Lyd & Bilde (English version)

I received my SB12 Plus just over an hour ago. Can't plug it in yet because I had it shipped to work to allow for proper receiving. Hopefully it will be as good as or better than my existing AV123 MFW15. It surely has a much smaller footprint - a much needed solution for my limited space.

I have to say the piano black is gorgeous.
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bilde , english , lyd , pb12nsd , review , sb12plus , svs , version

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