SVS Prime Wireless Speakers, Soundbase and SB-3000 combined hardware review

What if you could marry real audiophile class speakers, even ones you already had, to a wirelessly controlled access point? Now you can. Recommended! 4.5 Stars

The System
SVS Prime Wireless Overview Page

So let’s say you’re a fan of high quality audio, and have been frustrated with your options of getting the most out of any of the billion different walled gardens of sound out there: Apple Music, Amazon Prime, Google etc. Or maybe you’ve got your own collection of music stored on one of those systems or just simply on your phone. All of those vendors have mass market speaker systems for getting your sound to something with a little more heft behind it, from things like HomePods and Google Home Max all the way up to integration with your existing 5.1 systems by building apps into the receiver.

What they haven’t really done a good job so far is getting top quality, really pumped up systems with serious bass, in a simple package. Maybe all you wanna do is plop down on a couch and have your music at the touch of a button without fiddling with a million remotes. You wanna touch two buttons on your phone and have your room fill with your tracks, playlists, or random music. Or maybe it’s your office or bedroom. Somewhere you want serious sound but don’t have the space or budge for 5.1 and higher. Here’s where the SVS Prime Wireless system comes in.

The entry point to the system is the Prime Wireless Speakers. These look a lot like the Prime Series I reviewed a few years ago, and have very similar specs to the Satellite Speaker of that package, which I used as rears.
SVS Prime 5.1 Review

I liked the Prime 5.1 setup so much I paid to keep it. =) It’s in my bedroom right now. And It rocks every bit as much as it did during that review. If you don’t have 5.1 with a big ass sub in your bedroom, I highly recommend it. As Ferris says, it’s soooo choice.

There’s also the Prime Wireless SoundBase. Let’s say you want to connect a really killer set of speakers you already have lying around onto the internet, say maybe those SVS Prime Bookshelves I reviewed. The base lets you do just that. And you can add a sub too.

Fortunately SVS has a whole line of subwoofers from big to small, and they were nice enough to let me try the new App-enabled SB-3000 for this test.

Prime Wireless Speakers
SVS Prime Wireless Speaker Page

So for $499 you get a set of WiFi and Bluetooth connected speakers that exist on their own. All you need is wall power. Plug the Active Speaker in to wall power, connect the passive speaker via the (too damn short!!!) cable to the active speaker, sync via Wifi or BT and go. Using whatever your favorite app is on your phone or tablet. If the cable is indeed too short for your room you can buy a second active speaker and sync it as a pair I’m told, tho I did not try this myself.

Frequency Response: 52Hz-25kHz (±3 dB)

Active Speaker Cabinet Dimensions:
260mm (H) X 155mm (W) X 183.22mm (D)
10.24″ (H) X 6.10″ (W) X 7.21″ (D)

Passive Speaker Cabinet Dimensions:
260mm (H) X 155mm (W) X 160.4mm (D)
10.24″ (H) X 6.10″ (W) X 7″ (D)

Weight:
Active Speaker Weight Unboxed: 4.33kg / 9.55lbs
Passive Speaker Weight Unboxed: 3.96kg / 8.73lbs

Driver Specs:
1” Aluminum Dome Tweeter:
FEA-optimized diffuser for airy and unveiled presentation
Aluminum dome for exceptional transient response

4.5″ Midrange Driver:
Polypropylene cone for excellent stiffness/mass ratio and pistonic behavior
Aluminum shorting ring to reduce gap inductance, lower distortion, and enhance high frequency response
Cast ABS-fiberglass composite basket ensures precision component alignment and excellent thermal transfer
Vented voice coil former minimizes air compression artifacts

Amplifier Specs:
Dual Class-D Power Amps for Discrete Driver Bi-amplification
200 watt (50 watt x 4) RMS Power
Digital controlled tweeter-to-woofer crossover: 2kHz (12dB/octave slope)

Finish Options: Piano Gloss Black
2.36” wide-flared rear-firing port
Protective cloth grille with pin/cup retention system
Elastomer stick-on bumper feet (adds 3mm to height)

Input/Output Specs:
Left/Right RCA Input Impedance: 20K
3.5mm Aux Input Impedance: 20K
Optical Input: S/PDIF receiver works at a wide range of sampling frequencies between 18 kHz and 96 kHz
Subwoofer Output: 2V Auto Detecting Low Pass Filter: An active Low Pass Filter at 80Hz is engaged when subwoofer detected

Warranty:
Unconditional 2-Year Warranty

I’m an Apple ecosystem user for most of my music, I literally have 20k tracks I’ve collected over the last 30 years and loaded into my own library and synced first by Music Match and now simply in Apple Music. So I get all of the streaming benefits of the massive Apple Music Library there too. I hit the Prime Wireless Bluetooth button the back of the speakers, found it as a BT connection on both my iPhone and iPad, and I could control the speakers just like any other output.

I also have a smaller library on both Google Play and Amazon Prime and have dabbled with Pandora and Spotify. To get to those you can use the DTS PlayFi app, which consolidates all of those into a single repository. Not too big a fan of the UI there, but where applicable those systems can support higher bitrates than Apple provides. Bonus if you are into that. Personally iTunes sounds great to me, YMMV. The use of what DTS calls Presets is particularly weird to me. The Prime Wireless Speaker supports these in hardware, so you can swap between them like a radio preset, but I just found it weird.
PlayFi Presets

So for less than a pair of HomePods you could add the Prime Wireless and not be tied to the Apple Ecosystem and get much slicker looking speakers to boot. The classic piano black glossy finish with slick chamferred edges looks a lot more exciting than the blah grey ball that the HomePod presents. Oh, and you can also add external inputs via optical and RCA inputs too. No chance of doing that on a HomePod. Where the HomePod surprisingly comes up better tho is in the bass realm. The Prime Wireless pair has a set of 4.5″ woofers but with bass rated to only 52 hz you can tell SVS realllllly wants you to pair these speakers with (preferably theirs, but anyone’s will do) subwoofer. One capable of hitting those sub 20hz big rumbles.

Oh yeah, in addition to all the inputs available (Did we mention Ethernet and USB?), Prime Wireless is also Alexa powered. Siri only here, so I did not play with that, but it sounds like fun!

Prime Wireless Soundbase
SVS Prime Wireless SoundBase Page

So after playing with the Prime Wireless Speakers for a few days, I brought my SVS Prime Bookshelf speakers down from the bedroom into my speaker test lab, aka my living room, and sat them next to the Prime Wireless Pair. I then cut some moderately priced stereo cables, attached banana plugs to all 4 ends, and connected them to the Prime SoundBase. The base is a full fledged stereo amplifier that has identical app control as that built in to the Prime Wireless, but even more oomph (in both bass response and wattage) and inputs/outputs.

Cabinet Dimensions:
76.20mm (H) X 231.07mm (W) X 197.80mm (D)
3″ (H) X 9.10″ (W) X 7.88″ (D)

Overall Dimensions: (includes feet, knobs, rear in/out jacks, speaker terminals):
82mm (H) X 231.07mm (W) X 223.80mm (D)
3.23″ (H) X 9.10″ (W) X 8.81″ (D)

Weight Unboxed:
2.22kg / 4.89lbs

Acoustic Specs:
Rated Bandwidth: 10Hz-20kHz (±1 dB)
SN Ratio: 90dB @1V input, 2 x 150W output
Power Amp: 300 watts RMS (150 watts x 2 into 4ohm)

Input/Output Specs:
Left/Right RCA Input: Input Impedance: 20K
3.5mm Aux Input: Input Impedance: 20K
Toslink Optical Input: Input Impedance: 75Ω
Subwoofer output: 2V MAX
Left/Right RCA Output: 2V MAX
Front 3.5mm headphone output: [email protected]Ωmax

Warranty:
Unconditional 2-Year Warranty

Surprisingly the audio performance of the Prime Wireless and Prime Bookshelves was pretty comparable at normal listening levels. The Bookshelf’s beefier woofers kicked a bit more bass when called for, but even then I found myself wanting to hear the system with a dedicated sub.

SB-3000 Subwoofer
SVS SB-3000 Subwoofer Page

Fortunately I found that in box #3. Cats looooove subs!

Because the SB-3000 has multiple active inputs for bass data I connected the Prime Wireless to the left input and the Prime SoundBase with Prime Bookshelves into the right. I also connected the sub to the SVS app where I was able to set volume and other tweaks remotely. Once volume was adjusted for ‘normal’ both the Prime Wireless and SoundBase auto detected the sub, and set appropriate crossover. This allowed for raising the volume on either setup up and down via Bluetooth as well, with no additional tweaking necessary. Nice, welcome to the future!


Dimensions (w/ grille): 15.6” (397mm) H X 15.2” (385mm) W X 17.8” (451mm) D
Dimensions (without grille): 15.6” (397mm) H X 15.2” (385mm) W X 15.7” (399mm) D
Weight (unboxed): 54.5 lbs. (24.7 kg)
Driver: All New Proprietary 13” high-excursion SVS 3000 Series Subwoofer Driver.
Amp: Massively powerful Sledge 800-watt continuous Class D design with 2,500+ watts of Peak Power.

The nice thing is that if I had not had the SB-3000 handy I could have attached an older sub I have gathering mothballs as well and not had to spend anything further to really get the SoundBase’s full capabilities. I think for those of us who have a closet full of audio gear we don’t use as much any more this could be a game changing gadget. Want to have full stereo with sub powered music in a new room? Just add a SoundBase and attach whatever you’ve got left over these days. That’s probably not something the general public would deal with but I bet a TON of HTF members could find a use for it! I’d be interested to see how the auto-crossover works with non SVS subs, if at all tho.

The Listening Experience
As noted above, I loved the convenience of the Prime Wireless Speaker and the SoundBase alike, but without having a dedicated sub I found that I couldn’t get into the music as much as I’d like. That all changed with the addition of the SB-3000. Then it became the full package. First up was a new track I added to my bass repertoire, you may remember “Oh yeah” by Yello from Ferris Bueller’s day off. This other track of theirs has massive left to right pans and thunderous taiko style drums in it, with crazy screams and car sounds interspersed.

The Race by Yello on SB-3000

Now we’re talking. You might not be able to hear or see just what the sub was doing to my room, but one look at the crazy amount of push and pull that 13″ cone and you can probably feel the punch to your gut.

For musicality I found having a dedicated 2.1 really held up, given that I don’t spend a ton of time just listening to music in my main theater. There’s nothing like having a comfy couch to lie down on while listening to music either. And both systems ate up everything I threw at them. From the raucous staccato beats of Beastie Boys “Whatcha Want” to the soulful presence of Dire Straits “So Far Away” to the facemelting drops of Dubstep tracks like Blackburner’s remix of “Feels like Teen Spirit”. Wide stage presence and pans were especially fun with these sets. Blasting across the room and hearing sounds fluidly move back and forth always makes me smile.

I did max out volume on both systems in my living room, and they maintained composure even when pushed. I don’t recommend doing this for extended periods, as they were both capable of playing far louder than I was comfortable listening. But doing so proves just how much power the system has and just how much air the SB-3000 moves. Literally shaking rafters in rooms which are not designed for punishing sound playback.

Want the track lists I tested with?
Break Bass Bass Test, from mild to wild

Big Play My main ‘shuffle up and listen to anything” playlist

Can’t remember the name Goofy songs of all flavors

Wrapping up, we’ve got to talk about price. A single HomePod is now $350 or so and doesn’t bring you stereo sound. Given this, it seems that if you can bring a set of gently used speakers and sub to a SoundBase setup, that $500 might be a terrific second life for gear you already know you love but just haven’t used as much lately. At $599 for the Prime Wireless plus $1k for the SB-3000 you’ve got carve out a decent chunk of change to dedicate to music listening, tho of course you could also tie the sub into a home theater as well. And while I have not (yet) tested it in that role the SVS heritage is a damn good indicator that it will perform at the highest level there too. I can’t imagine using either setup without a dedicated sub, but it’s fair to mention that SVS has less expensive subs in their lineup too. Maybe you don’t need a monster 13″ sub and the $499 SB-1000 will fit your needs just as nicely for the space you have set aside.

Still, if you can afford the entry prices all three are well worth their asking price. I’m not aware of any other competitive products that can match the sheer number of input and output options, clean and powerful sound dynamics, flexibility of setup on wired Ethernet, WiFi or Bluetooth, or even on the handsome, classic, design language that SVS employs. Maybe they can match one of those categories but nothing matches in all of them. That puts all three products into the ‘Recommended’ category.

Published by

Sam Posten

editor,member

12 Comments

  1. Hey all, just a note that I'm working with Dave Upton to add some real world data gathering via UMIK and Room Equalization Wizard to this review. I'm a total noob with that and this is not a dedicated music listening space, so more to follow on that!

  2. Hey all, just a note that I'm working with Dave Upton to add some real world data gathering via UMIK and Room Equalization Wizard to this review. I'm a total noob with that and this is not a dedicated music listening space, so more to follow on that!

  3. I totally don't understand these products, or who the notional buyer is.

    My view of the world:

    • Normal person buys wireless speaker to put discretely in corner of house, on a side table, or on kitchen island. They use it to play music in the background for personal use, and also for parties.
    • Music-tech enthusiast buys multi-speaker set of Sonos or HomePod or whatever and has speakers sprinkled around the house. No way they're close enough to be wired. They play from smartphone and/or AVR.
    • Audiophile stereo enthusiast has a high-quality 2.x (preferably with full range tower speakers) connected to an AVR. They don't need "wireless" speakers because they have a dedicated listening space, with their 2.x speakers placed and positioned just so with their high-quality amps and pre-pro wired in between them.

    So what the heck is going on with this SVS entry into wireless speakers?!?

    • "Wireless" stereo speakers that have to be connected together with a wire? Doesn't the whole "having to be wired together" literally defeat the point of being wireless?
    • What is the sound base? It's a "wireless" amplifier that has to be wired to speakers? At $499? Huh? Why not save $20 and buy the Denon AVR-S740H? It's "wireless" in the same way, in that it also has to be plugged into the wall and wired to speakers, and has all the wireless formats and can run off all the wireless streaming sources*.
    • What is wireless about the SB-3000? There's nothing in SVS's product page or product video about its wireless capability. You describe it as being wired to the soundbase or wired to the "wireless" speakers. Again…Huh?!?
    Spoiler: *

    These products make no sense to me at all.

    What am I missing?

  4. DaveF

    I totally don't understand these products, or who the notional buyer is.

    • "Wireless" stereo speakers that have to be connected together with a wire? Doesn't the whole "having to be wired together" literally defeat the point of being wireless?

    Yes, they come together as an Active / Wireless pair, wired together. Or you can buy two Active speakers and set them up wirelessly

    What is wireless about the SB-3000? There's nothing in SVS's product page or product video about its wireless capability. You describe it as being wired to the soundbase or wired to the "wireless" speakers. Again…Huh?!?

    You need an RCA cable to the Wireless Speaker or SoundBase for sub output. The device can be MANAGED wirelessly.

    What am I missing?

    Again my belief is there is a need for higher than HomePod quality 2.1 systems that don't need the full AVR setup. You disagree, that's cool.

  5. Sam Posten

    Yes, they come together as an Active / Wireless pair, wired together. Or you can buy two Active speakers and set them up wirelessly

    You need an RCA cable to the Wireless Speaker or SoundBase for sub output. The device can be MANAGED wirelessly.

    Again my belief is there is a need for higher than HomePod quality 2.1 systems that don't need the full AVR setup. You disagree, that's cool.

    I guess this review would have made sense to me if they'd sent their actual wireless setup, rather than this weirdo wired-ish system. It's doubly confounding because the SVS is a classical 2.x system. Two stereo speakers that need to be positioned and spaced and toed in to create a stereo sweet spot, for a listener to sit still and let an album wash over them. The HomePod and Echo and such are whole-room speakers and designed for arbitrary placement; also, they have digital women living inside who answer questions and do helpful things.

    I'm drawing a blank on who the customer is for a $1500 wired-less 2.1 system that only plays streaming audio. :huh:

    I also don't understand the difference between the sound base and a "full AVR setup". Both require a central box to be wired to speakers and connected to input sources. One is less expensive and can do everything. The other is an SVS "wireless" device.

    Good luck to SVS. I'm a big fan and ten year owner of the awesome MTS system with a canonical cylinder sub. But their foray into wireless looks just wrongheaded.

  6. I’m also confused as to how these products are wireless. I can take a $20 Echo dot and plug it into any powered monitors and have the same thing. Actually I can take any bluetooth enabled speakers (not just monitors) like a sound bar or JBL and have the same set up.

    I was so hopeful that this was going to be an actual wireless speaker and not just internet connectivity. Soon maybe…

  7. I just got the SB-3000 and I’m looking forward to seeing what it can do. It’s replacing an Atlantic Technology 642e that’s on the fritz. I’m using it in a 5.1 configuration, however.

    I bought the sub during the SVS Labor Day promotion. It arrived while I’m out of town at a film festival so I haven’t been able to enjoy setting it up yet. I may see what it will take to get the 642e working again and do something with it.

  8. BTW, I recently upgraded the sub in my living room to an SB-2000 from a BIC F-12. At first I just put it in the same location as the BIC, but ended up fine tuning the location and now I'm quite happy with it.

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