svs pb 3000 vs sb4000

svs pb 3000 vs sb4000


svs pb 3000 vs sb4000

SVS Pb 3000 vs Sb4000


SVS PB-3000

Price: $1,599.00 approx

We say: Some might prefer the tighter edge of a sealed sub, but this largescale home cinema-centric woofer counters with a step-up in scale and weight. Big and bold.

Overall: 5/5


Drivers: 1 x 13in high-excursion woofer
Enclosure: Twin front-ported
Frequency Response (Claimed): 16Hz-260Hz (+/-3dB)
Onboard Power (Claimed): 800W RMS (2,500W peak) Sledge Class D amp
Remote Control: No. Bluetooth app instead
Dimensions (Without Grille): 557(h) x 465(w) x 596(d)mm
Weight: 37.3kg

Features: Low-level stereo phono input; LFE phono input; low-level stereo phono output; 12V trigger; SVS Bluetooth app with three-band parametric EQ; crossover and phase control; Movie, Music, and Custom presets; steel mesh grille; Intelligent Control Interface; Analog Devices Audio 56-bit DSP.

SVS SB4000

Price: $1,899.00 approx

We say: We might want it to be a bit rowdier at times but the SB4000 is a peerless bass generator and hugely accomplished. Plenty of setup/tweaking flexibility too.

Performance: 4.5/5
Design: 5/5
Features: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5


Drive units: 1 x 13.5in forward-firing composite cone woofer  Enclosure: Sealed cabinet  Frequency response (claimed): 19Hz-310Hz (+/-3dB)  On board power (claimed): 1,200W (4,000W peak) from Sledge amplifier  Remote control: Yes  Dimensions: 453(w) x 465(h) x 471.3(d)mm  Weight: 46.4kg

Features: Stereo line-level input; stereo line-level output; LFE input; stereo XLR input; stereo XLR output; 12V trigger; variable phase control; Analog Devices DSP; front-panel display; compatible with SVS Bluetooth app (with parametric EQ, room gain compensation, etc)

SVS PB 3000

svs pb 3000 vs sb4000

SVS has a settled strategy when it comes to its subwoofer stable: it sells both ported and sealed variants, to give consumers a choice. The smaller sealed models are for those wanting to install a sub in a typical living environment (or, as SVS puts it, 'mixed media' entertainment systems), while the larger ported offerings are for dedicated movie rooms.

And, perhaps for those who like to be terrified by bass. In a ported sub, the self-damping nature of a sealed design is removed, giving the driver more excursion potential – required to maintain output level as frequencies drop lower. Combined with the sub's natural (but carefully calculated) system tuning frequency, the result is a more consistent output. Meaning when your movie sound engineer gets happy with the LFE track, you're going to hear/feel it.

The PB-3000 tested here claims a 16Hz reach, and aims for flat response to around 20Hz. By comparison, the smaller, sealed SB-3000 [see HCC #298], while ultimately rated at 18Hz, will begin to roll off much higher (and more gradually). In smaller listening environments, room gain will compensate for some of this; but in a larger space, SVS's ported design should be more suitable.

And it would have to be a larger space as the PB-3000 is a bit of a beast. Measuring 55cm high, 46.5cm wide, and 59cm deep, it's by no means subtle. Just to make blending it into your movie den even trickier, it's only available in a black ash finish – the funkier piano gloss black option of the SB-3000 is missing.

Weighing 37.3kg, you might want a buddy to help you unpack it, but once in place, it's not too hard to shift around, with SVS's screw-in rubber feet creating space to get your fingers underneath.

svs pb 3000 vs sb4000

The front face showcases the sub's 13in driver and twin 3.5in ports. You'll also spot four holes to affix the sub's rather ungainly steel mesh grille. I expect magnetic fixings aren't used for fear of the grille simply being blown off.

That 13in a cone is identical to the one used in the SB-3000, only in that model it pretty much fills the entire baffle. Here it looks almost small. Toiling away behind the scenes to give the driver its get-up-and-go are an edge-wound voice coil, dual 'massive' toroidal magnets, and an FEA-optimised cast aluminum basket. Plus, of course, an amplifier – in this case an 800W Sledge Class D amp (rated at 2,500W peak output) and associated DSP.

Around the back, you'll find a stereo/LFE phono input and stereo phono output, 12V trigger port, and connection for SVS's SoundPath wireless adapter. There's also an Intelligent Control Interface (ICI), which gives access to a low-pass filter, volume, and phase settings, signified by some flashy LED lights.

Old-fashioned dials would arguably be better if the sub wasn't also compatible with SVS's Bluetooth control app, which is quick to get up and running and makes tweaking simple. The app also introduces a three-band parametric EQ tool for frequency fine-tuning, plus Movie, Music and Custom presets.

Specs-wise, the PB-3000 should have enough about it to make a serious impression. And that's exactly what it does.

Taking Hold
The general idea is that sealed subwoofers exercise better control and precision, while ported models are more gung-ho and, perhaps, unruly. That never seemed quite the case with the PB-3000. Even compared to its sealed stablemate (during my audition I was able to switch between the two), I was startled by its ability to take hold of a bassline or LF effect and grip it tightly. At the same time, its greater power at the very low-end made film mixes seem... bigger. A bit like the subwoofer itself.

The 'first to the quay' race sequence from Ready Player One (4K Blu-ray) required the PB-3000 to do a lot of heavy lifting, some of it is subtle, some of it not. Even smaller details, such as the Delorean being assembled, benefited from the scale of the sub's output. It was adept at finding soundtrack elements and imbuing them with perceptible but delicate weight.

The chaotic, multi-vehicle rampage that ensues was a riot of bassy blasts and tones across the low-frequency range; the light cycle engine showcased a smoother sound than the throaty roar of the monster truck, which slammed into competitor cars with delicious, punchy thunks. Wrecking balls cracked into the asphalt, with a little bounce to the effect.

As Parzival slides his car under a truck, the bass in the sound mix gives way to calm so the audience is focused on the tinkle of the coins he's pausing to collect. Here the PB-3000 wasn't quite able to stop on a dime if you'll pardon the pun. The SB-3000 handled this brief soundtrack nuance better.

But then came King Kong, throwing his weight around, and the PB-3000 sounded utterly huge. The ape's fists pounded the race track and his growls flattened my face, and I whooped in delight.

svs pb 3000 vs sb4000

Perhaps the best way to describe the difference this ported subwoofer brings over the SB-3000 is that it adds an extra layer to the low-end, a bonus slice of bass that's always tangible, if not always the most obvious element of the mix. And it's a trait that's replicated across a wide range of materials.

In Blade Runner 2049 (4K Blu-ray), Hans Zimmer's score menaced and throbbed, and it felt as if low frequencies were pervading every part of the room. With Baby Driver (4K Blu-ray), the PB-3000 had less to do, but I could still sense its presence in almost every scene.svs pb 3000 vs sb4000

Keen again to test its stopping power, I switched to music and the 3D – The Catalogue Blu-ray by Kraftwerk (and its delightful Atmos mixes). The repetitive half-beat kick drums during Trans Europe Express were a bit overbearing, a touch flabby when you'd expect them to be skin tight (even with the sub's Music Preset in play). Here the app came in handy, as a quick level adjustment resulted in a better balance between sub and speakers.

It also sounded more in control with the tighter rhythms of Kraftwerk's Techno Pop.

Made For Movies
Perhaps you wouldn't invest in the PB-3000 if your playlist involves a lot of music material. First and foremost, this is a bass maker for movies, designed to really do justice to sub-30Hz LFE effects. It's about delivering a performance that majors on size, depth, and purity of output.

The PB-3000 does this with consummate ease, and the difference it brings to movie mixes, compared to the SB-3000, is more apparent than the £300 price gap between them. It's worrying large, and the styling is far from the catwalk, but buyers are unlikely to care.

SVS SB 4000

svs pb 3000 vs sb4000

The market for heroically powerful subwoofers seems to have legs at the moment, and new arrivals are turning up all the time. So if you've been a long-standing producer of big, potent subwoofers like American brand SVS, it's time to up your game a little.

This explains the brand's new 4000 Series, a replacement for its long-running '13' models. As before, it's available in sealed, ported and cylinder forms, and the SB-4000 tested here – the sealed version – is once again the smallest member of the family. Not that it's actually 'small' by any stretch of the imagination.

One thing that remains unchanged from the preceding model is the driver size. This is still 13.5in, with a twin-magnet assembly that weighs nearly 20 kilograms on its own. It uses an edge-wound voice coil to better apply power 
to its stiff, lightweight composite cone, with a heavy-duty injection-molded gasket, and long-throw surround, aiming to keep it healthy and maximize excursion.

svs pb 3000 vs sb4000

As with previous SVS subs, power comes courtesy of a Sledge amplifier (1,200W) – a combination of a Class D amplifier with a discrete output stage in a manner more reminiscent of a traditional Class A/B design.

Where the SB-4000 is significantly different than its predecessor with its control interface, which is more closely related to the SB16-Ultra and PB16-Ultra models released last year. So gone is the selection of knobs and dials on the rear panel, replaced by a menu-driven control system that sets crossover, phase (which can be set in one-degree increments for proper control freakery), and DSP settings. To further help with this, the leading edge of the subwoofer's front panel now includes a display to give you feedback on the setting engaged at the time, and remote control is also supplied – although it’s rather small and potentially easily lost.

The user experience is then boosted by a Bluetooth-based control app (iOS, Android) that allows you to tinker with the settings of the SB-4000 from your listening position rather than peering over the back of it. I found the iOS version of the app to be more stable, and it connected instantly. The Android iteration, however, proved a little less willing to get going.

The sub itself is very recognizably an SVS. The chassis is MDF, and some parts of it are two inches thick. This means that the SB-4000 weighs 46kg unboxed – thankfully a huge amount of effort has gone into the packaging, allowing you to unpack it without herniating yourself.

Build quality is superb, and the sub looks rather fetching, even if the metal grille is a little on the industrial side.

The price of our black-gloss sample (£1,800) is £50 more than a less natty black ash option. A sealed design means placement is easy enough, although this isn't a bass bin that vanishes into most rooms.

svs pb 3000 vs sb4000
Cruising for a bruising
The standard acid test of the subwoofer, those sensational opening notes of Edge of Tomorrow (Blu-ray), is delivered by the SB-4000 as genuinely subsonic, and its room-loading capabilities prove outstanding. Moving onto the initial beach landing sequence, the experience is every bit as visceral as you might expect from a 13.5in, 1,200W woofer, with bass effects being delivered with the same effortlessly clean and deep force that was present from the movie's beginning.

What becomes apparent quickly is that the SB-4000 is not simply in the business of rattling internal organs. The power available is harnessed in such a way as to be almost delicate at times. The shootout sequence with the undercover cops in the getaway-driver caper Baby Driver (Blu-ray) never loses the musicality built into the scene, while still serving up gunfire that you can feel as well as hear. SVS's driver starts and stops with impressive speed for something as large as it is.

Pretty much regardless of what you choose to play on it, the SB-4000 is almost impossible to unsettle. The extremely potent rumble of the kill droid rolling around in The Incredibles (Blu-ray) is absolutely superb. The sound here is more about being felt rather than heard, but there are the fine details of its movement to pick out.

Even used with comparatively tiny satellite speakers and a high crossover, bass integration is excellent, although I did find I got better results using a line-level input from my Yamaha AVR (bypassing its onboard processing), than via the LFE feed. My only real criticism of the way the SB-4000 behaves is a slightly odd one. This is a superbly controlled subwoofer, aided by some clever DSP, but there are times when I’d love to be able to make it a little more boisterous. Compared to the GoldenEar SuperSub XXL, which can be persuaded into great hulking slabs of unnecessary low-end if you ask it nicely, the SVS 
stays absolutely controlled. I’d almost like there to be a ‘Ludicrous’ setting in the SVS Bluetooth app (to join the Music and Movie presets), which I could select when I wanted to behave like a five-year-old. svs pb 3000 vs sb4000

Essential audition
Criticizing a piece of peerless engineering for being a bit too well-engineered is somewhat irrational, though. What the SB4000 delivers is almost the textbook definition of great home cinema bass; deep, clean and fast, and easily integrated with your chosen speaker system. It isn’t cheap and requires a fair amount of space, and you might expect an app-controllable device at this price to come with an automated room calibration routine, but the SB-4000 remains a truly excellent subwoofer. If you're shopping around this price point, it needs to be on your shortlist.

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