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Picture courtesy of SVS



SVS SB16-Ultra

By Jim Wilson (theJman)​



Do I even need to write a Conclusion section for this review? After reading through my evaluation is there anyone who doesn't already know what I'm going to say? If it's not painfully obvious at this point let me spell it out; I love the SB16-Ultra. SVS has outdone themselves. This is a 'move the bar' type of product for them. It does everything exceptionally well, never revealing a single legitimate weakness. This subwoofer expertly blends precision and power into one cohesive package, remaining composed at all times. Some may consider it pretentious of SVS to bestow a product with the label 'Ultra'. I lived with the SB16 for over 2 months, and because of that would respond to the naysayers with an old adage; "it ain't bragging if it's true".


For the full review Click Here
 

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Jim, I know you don't compare subs directly and I previously read that you purchased the JTR S1 review unit, and that you mentioned in another thread you don't want to purchase two great subs as you don't get to listen to one sub enough as it is, with your review schedule, so buying the SB16 is not a option. But if you had it to do all over again knowing what you know now, which one would you purchase and why? I was also looking at the S1 and the SB16 and I know which one I purchased and why, but it was a tough call - and I never saw you use the words "I love" a subwoofer before :)
 

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Great review, and it sounds like a fantastic sub. I probably won't own one due to the cost and the fact that I want to have multiples for consistent frequency response, but if I had the coin to get four of these I would seriously consider it.

Now, here comes the inevitable question: How does it compare to the Rythmik E15? :)
 

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Jim, I know you don't compare subs directly and I previously read that you purchased the JTR S1 review unit, and that you mentioned in another thread you don't want to purchase two great subs as you don't get to listen to one sub enough as it is, with your review schedule, so buying the SB16 is not a option. But if you had it to do all over again knowing what you know now, which one would you purchase and why? I was also looking at the S1 and the SB16 and I know which one I purchased and why, but it was a tough call - and I never saw you use the words "I love" a subwoofer before :)
Great question, and one I've been asked by more than one person already. :T I expected it though because there is some definite overlap in their target market.

Due to the length of time I had the MFW Turbo hooked up, and now the SB16, I haven't heard my S1 in months (literally). My next review will be on the brand new HSU CCB-8 speakers, so it's time to resurrect the S1. However, before I send back the SB16 I may do a private JTR-vs-SVS comparison to satisfy my own curiosity. ;) It's likely I'll be one of the only people in a position to do that, so I might as well take advantage of my good fortune.

No matter the outcome, SVS is to be commended for what they created with the 16 Series. I never read anyone else's review on something I have before doing my own eval as I don't want to be influenced, even a little bit, by another opinion. After I published my article I started searching for reviews to see what others had to say, and I have yet to read anything that wasn't absolutely glowing. It seems the opinions are unanimous, and from personal experience I can certainly understand why.
 

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Now, here comes the inevitable question: How does it compare to the Rythmik E15? :)
Another question I figured someone would ask. :D I have fond memories of the E15HP I once owned, and its new owner is still loving it to this day.

For detail I would give the nod to the Rythmik; that's their stock-in-trade, and they get that right better than just about anyone else. Presence, which I suspect most people are actually looking for, favors the SVS. I'm listening to the SB16 play music in the background while I type this - probably not a shock to anyone - and even at a low volume its contribution is evident. I would also say the SVS has greater output, even though the Rythmik was definitely no slouch in that area.
 

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Jim -

Killer write-up! This sub sounds like it's a spectacular piece of engineering.

Wow.

Question: How do you think a pair of these would blend with my dual Power Sound Audio XS30s (sealed subs, each with two 15-inch drivers)? My dedicated room is roughly the size of yours, but I've had a hankering to pick up two more subs simply for the evenness of response across my seating area...
 

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You want subs that total four 15" drivers and two 16" in a room the size of mine? You have gone down the rabbit hole for sure my friend... :p

Total output probably favors the XS30, but perhaps not by as much as it might seem - the SB16 has tremendous capability. If those PSA's are the original, and not the SE version, then detail and precision would favor the SVS. This thing sounds really good. Are the new subs going to be nearfield? If so, what about a pair of SB13's instead? They won't be required to work as hard as the XS30's further away, and the sound signature would probably be a closer match to the early PSA's (I owned an SB13 myself, and reviewed the PSA XS15 and XS15se, so I have some history with a lot of the model's we're talking about).
 

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You want subs that total four 15" drivers and two 16" in a room the size of mine? You have gone down the rabbit hole for sure my friend... :p



Total output probably favors the XS30, but perhaps not by as much as it might seem - the SB16 has tremendous capability. If those PSA's are the original, and not the SE version, then detail and precision would favor the SVS. This thing sounds really good. Are the new subs going to be nearfield? If so, what about a pair of SB13's instead? They won't be required to work as hard as the XS30's further away, and the sound signature would probably be a closer match to the early PSA's (I owned an SB13 myself, and reviewed the PSA XS15 and XS15se, so I have some history with a lot of the model's we're talking about).


It does sound a bit crazy... right? I love bass!

The subs I have are the original xs30 model. I've never heard them even come close to breaking a sweat... but, I'm really curious to put two (1/4 wall placement) in the front and two (1/4 wall placement, near field) in the rear in order to really smooth out the response. I have my duals eq-ed pretty well for the MLP now.... but I want more. Better, smoother response.

I know that would lead to a ridiculous amount of headroom, but it would take awesome to such a new level.
 

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So last year, after asking for a lot of advice on subs(I was intending to go with one or two 12" PSA or SVS subs) I went down a rabbit hole myself and ended up going DIY with two 18" Dayton Ultimax sealed subs and a Behringer iNuke 6000DSP(yes, I installed quieter fans). I spent about $1300 on everything.

Last Friday, I was fortunate enough to demo the SB16-Ultra at the local offices of an online A/V publication. The thing is beautiful, solid, and it's a beast. But through the whole thing, I couldn't help but think, "My setup sounds as tight, and has a fair amount more output than this". That's not a knock on the SVS; it's just that the value proposition on DIY is everything people say it is.
 

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For me this is a dream sub . For the moment i have two 15" Daytons DIY subs and someday i would like to have two of this SVS Sb16 subs.
 

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Last Friday, I was fortunate enough to demo the SB16-Ultra at the local offices of an online A/V publication. The thing is beautiful, solid, and it's a beast. But through the whole thing, I couldn't help but think, "My setup sounds as tight, and has a fair amount more output than this". That's not a knock on the SVS; it's just that the value proposition on DIY is everything people say it is.
Not surprising you feel that way. Saying otherwise would be like expecting you to tell us your kids are not as intelligent as someone else's. :wink2:

Realistically, all that matters is you're happy with what you have. When done correctly DIY provides great value. But not everyone can do it correctly - or even wants to try it - but for those who can their imagination is pretty much the only limit (well, that and budget of course).
 
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