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SVS SB-4000 Subwoofer Review (1 Viewer)

John Dirk

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Introduction:
I’ve been a Home Theater nut for over 20 years but didn’t build my first dedicated room until around 2006. Even back then, when I went looking for a subwoofer it didn’t take me long to narrow my choices down to only one, and that was the SVS PB12 Plus/2. Arriving at my home on a pallet and weighing in at 165 pounds, I knew I had just purchased something special and the years proved I was correct. Fast forward to present day and, while my PB12 Plus/2 has served me well for nearly 15 years, times and tastes do change. With that in mind I embarked on a very difficult search for a worthy replacement.

Over the years my tastes had begun to veer more towards 2 channel music so chief among my “must-haves” for my replacement sub would be articulation or what is known in the industry as transient response. After about a month of intensive research, I arrived right back at home, selecting the SVS SB4000 as my replacement, however this time around I decided to go with a dual setup to hopefully tame some nulls I had discovered in my room.

SB4000 Stock.JPG


My Setup: (7.2.4)
My room consists of the following components on the audio side.

Speakers:
Fronts = Legacy Audio Focus SE
Center = Legacy Audio Silverscreen HD
Surround = Axiom Audio QS8’s
Surround Rear = SVS Prime Bookshelves
Atmos = RSL C34’E’s

Power:
Fronts = D-Sonic M3a-1200S
Center = Acurus A200x3
Remaining Speakers = Outlaw Model 7140
Processor = Marantz AV7702mkii

Here is the SB4000 Next to my PB12 Plus/2 for size comparison
PB12 Plus and SB4000 Front.JPG

Product Overview:

SVS subwoofer nomenclature is SB, PB or PC which mean sealed box, ported box or ported cylinder, respectively. Accordingly, the SB4000 is a sealed design. This means there are no ports on the sub. The commonly accepted axiom here is that sealed subs will be more articulate than their ported counterparts but generally at the expense of lower end SPL’s. In other words, a sealed sub might not go as deep as a ported one of similar size, at least not at high enough volumes to be useful. Conversely, while a ported sub may be capable of deeper low end extension, it will not be as articulate or controlled as its sealed counterpart. For these reasons, sealed subs have generally been considered best for audiophiles and music lovers while ported models have been considered better suited for theater duty. As with most such assertions, the truth is not so straightforward and my initial experience with the SB4000 made this quite apparent. It should also be noted that ported subs need to be larger and heavier than sealed subs of similar specs. For comparison, the SB4000’s ported stable mate, [the PB4000] is a full 5 inches taller and weighs about 50 pounds more.

Exact dimensions for the SB4000 [taken directly from the SVS site] are as follows.

Cabinet Dimensions (without grille): 18.3” (465mm) H X 17.8” (453mm) W X 18.6” (471.3mm) D
Cabinet Dimensions (with grille): 18.3” (465mm) H X 17.8” (453mm) W X 20.9” (530mm) D
Shipped Dimensions: 23.5” (598mm) H X 23.5” (598mm) W X 28” (712mm) D
Weight (unboxed): 102.3 lbs. (46.4 kg)
Shipped Weight: 117.8lbs (53.45kg)


SB4000 Rear Panel.JPG
Amplifier Specs and Connectivity: (See SVS site for full specs)
13.5 inch high excursion driver
Power – 1200 Watts RMS, 4000 Watts Peak – Class D
Connectivity – R & L balanced and unbalanced inputs and outputs – 3V-12V AC/DC trigger input
Control - App and front panel

Features and Controls:
I will only provide a summary of the features and control options here but you can visit the SVS product page for complete information. The SB4000 is powered by a 1200 Watt RMS (4000 Watt Peak) Sledge amplifier. As you move up the ladder, the 4000 series is the first of the SVS lineup to get an LED display and control buttons built right into the front of the unit. This handy addition is a direct descendant of their flagship 16 series. If you do need to get up to make adjustments, this makes it much easier than having to reach behind the unit, which is typical of many other designs. As convenient as the control panel is, it is actually the secondary option. The preferred control method for most will be through the excellent SVS app which is available at no charge on both Android and IOS platforms and offers complete control over the subs feature set via Bluetooth connectivity. I spent some time with the app during initial setup and found it performed flawlessly, although I do wish it offered auto rotation since I use an Android tablet in landscape orientation to control my entire system.

Objective Observations:
After initial unboxing, I placed the SB4000's in the front stage of my room next to my Left and Right speakers. Like many, placement options in my room are limited and the SB4000’s lend themselves well to this as they are not nearly as large as their ported big brother. I connected the subs to my AV7702mkii using XLR cables and powered them up. Once the physical connections were complete I disabled Audyssey and ran some initial sweeps using Room EQ Wizard [REW] and a MiniDSP UMIK-1. For these initial sweeps I switched off my Focus SE’s to let the SB4000’s, shall we say, speak for themselves. My measurements were taken with the subs set for 75dB using a C-Weighted Radio Shack SPL meter. While certainly not as smooth as the quasi-anechoic curve SVS publishes for the SB4000, I was still pleasantly surprised. Gone was the steep drop off at about 80Hz I had noticed with the PB12 Plus/2 and, also gone was the null previously present at about 70Hz. Since I do not have a quasi-anechoic environment available to me and my room has not been acoustically treated other than velvet covering on the walls to [hopefully] reduce reflections, I found no reason not to believe the room to be the cause of any variations between my measurements and the published ones.

Dual SB4000 March 30 2021.jpg


Listening (Subjective) Observations:
I generally listen to 2 channel music without the aid of a subwoofer as my Focus SE’s are quite capable down to around 25Hz and my PB12 Plus/2, while great for film content, just couldn’t keep up with the Legacy’s where music was concerned. Over the past several days I have spent hours throwing virtually every genre of music I could find at these subs and I was very pleasantly surprised to find they totally disappeared into the overall sound experience. From the deep, synthesized bass common with my favorite genres, Rap and Hip Hop, to the more demanding and precise kick drums of some my Electronic and Rock selections, I was not able to localize the subs in most cases as they kept up with the tracks to the point of being invisible. I was also surprised to hear strong and powerful bass, even at very low overall volumes. In summary, let’s just say I’m no longer listening to music without subwoofers engaged. The SB4000 even has a handy preset to make switching between music and film modes a snap.





Movies:
Live Die Repeat.JPG
I have a few “go to” films for auditioning subs. I started with the opening bass of Live, Die, Repeat - Edge Of Tomorrow. If you’re not familiar with this film, before it even begins there are about 10 seconds of awesome LFE content sufficient to give any subwoofer a good workout. I didn’t expect this scene to be as compelling as with my PB12 Plus/2 but I was wrong. The SB4000 [in dual configuration] easily exceeded the depth and SPL’s of the PB12 Plus/2 and I heard things rattling in my room I wasn’t even aware of before. I could have dialed it up a LOT more but was worried about my homes structure.




Oblivion.JPG
Another Tom Cruise vehicle, Oblivion, has also been on my “go to” list for a while now. Not only does this one have some incredible bass, it is also a very entertaining film in general. The drone strikes and effects are something to behold. Again, the SB4000’s didn’t break a sweat rendering these scenes with more power and authority than I had ever heard and again, my only limiting factor was concern for things falling off the surrounding walls.


Aquaman.JPG
To round out my experience with the SB4000's I popped in the UHD version of Aquaman. While the actual film is not a favorite of mine, there is some astounding bass on tap. The SB4000’s delivered again and I didn’t feel as if anything was missing in the low end. There was also an added element of general sound pressure and presence that is hard to describe yet was missing with the PB12 Plus/2. I suspect this was due to the SB4000’s much improved response in the upper LFE frequency range and the dual configuration.



Conclusion:
I have been a customer of SVS for many years and have owned several of their products but I considered more than a few other subwoofers before deciding on the SB4000’s for my room. There are some worthy competitors out there and each have their strong points but I did not find another single option I felt offered an overall more compelling package. When you factor in rock solid design and feature set along with the excellent SVS control app and their world-class warranty and support package, the SVS line is simply hard to beat. Starting at $1499.00 each for Black Ash and $100.00 more for Piano Gloss (save $200.00 if you go dual) I believe the SB4000 will satisfy even the most ardent audiophiles. SVS is also the only company I know of that offers a free 45 day in-home evaluation and even pays return shipping in the rare case you aren’t totally satisfied!



Highly recommended.
 
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JohnRice

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Well done John. Flat in-room response to 10hz is impressive. What is the volume of your room?
 

DaveF

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Can the LED display be turned off? If the sub is up front, near the screen, always-on LEDs would make these a hard pass.
 

John Dirk

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Can the LED display be turned off? If the sub is up front, near the screen, always-on LEDs would make these a hard pass.
Absolutely. It's all easily controlled with the app and, if you do prefer the display off, the app still provides 2-way feedback when you make adjustments. I also neglected to mention they come with a simple remote for those who would prefer that over using the app or front panel.
 

JohnRice

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Thanks John! My room is 1832 Cubic ft.
OK, mine is about 3,270 CF and somewhat open, which is why I'm leaning toward the SB-16 Ultra instead. Your room is more or less closed, isn't it? I'm guessing some walls in yours are foundation. Two walls and the floor are in mine. If I ever do the major upgrade I dream of, the room would grow and three walls would be foundation.
 

John Dirk

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OK, mine is about 3,270 CF and somewhat open, which is why I'm leaning toward the SB-16 Ultra instead. Your room is more or less closed, isn't it? I'm guessing some walls in yours are foundation. Two walls and the floor are in mine. If I ever do the major upgrade I dream of, the room would grow and three walls would be foundation.
Are you considering a single 16 Ultra or duals? If it's the former then that might be the way to go but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend dual SB4000's, even for a room as large as yours. I haven't had time to do a deep dive into fine tuning mine yet but Audyssey set them to minus 12, the lowest possible setting, and they still produced significant output.

I would suggest talking to SVS. In my experience, they never try to oversell their customers. When I described my room they actually recommended dual SB3000's. I went with the 4000's because of that thing we call gross overkill.
 

Dave Upton

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John,

Glad you made the move to dual subs. I think most folks who do this would never go back. Enjoy rediscovering your content collection :)
 

DavidJ

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Nice review, John. I’m not surprised by your results and how much you like it. I love the SB3000. Like you I wanted to tighten up the bottom end a bit for music, but I don’t feel like I’ve lost anything for movies.
 

JohnRice

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Are you considering a single 16 Ultra or duals? If it's the former then that might be the way to go but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend dual SB4000's, even for a room as large as yours. I haven't had time to do a deep dive into fine tuning mine yet but Audyssey set them to minus 12, the lowest possible setting, and they still produced significant output.

I would suggest talking to SVS. In my experience, they never try to oversell their customers. When I described my room they actually recommended dual SB3000's. I went with the 4000's because of that thing we call gross overkill.
I was thinking duals. Dave has been hitting me so much about the benefit of dual subs...

BTW, it sounds like you need to reduce the gain on the subs and run Audyssey again.
 

JohnRice

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Can the LED display be turned off? If the sub is up front, near the screen, always-on LEDs would make these a hard pass.
I don't have any compatible subs (yet) but I did download the app and it has a simulated mode, which allows you to look through all the controls without a sub. One setting is for the display and includes standard things like brightness, but also a delay setting that appears to let you tell it how long to wait after making adjustments before the display turns off entirely.
 

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