SVS PC-2000 PRO : SVS is a name that you do not need to introduce to the seasoned surround enthusiast. A line of award-winning subwoofers have fully established its position as a premium earthquake generator builder. In this review we also look at a subwoofer, but a very special one. This PC-2000 Pro has a small footprint, but it is by no means a mini performer.
Most subwoofers on the market are square boxes, with one or two woofers facing out and with an open or closed enclosure. Every now and then you will also find one with a driver that faces the floor. However, the PC-2000 Pro is quite different. It presents itself as a large, anonymous cylinder just over 86 cm high. That seems like a lot, but because the footprint is 42 cm in diameter, the visual impact is not too bad. Apart from the acoustic benefits of this shape, the PC-2000 Pro is all about that (relatively) unobtrusive profile. You can put this SVS in places where a classic sub might not fit, also because you can use it in an open or closed mode. This makes the PC-2000 Pro perhaps an attractive option for music lovers who want to take the step to 2.1.
SVS’s promise is that the special shape will not affect performance. The PC-2000 Pro, which retails for $ 1,099, contains a 12-inch long-throw woofer that promises to dive down to 16 Hz and has 550 watts of power (1,500 watts peak). That all sounds really promising, but does the subwoofer deliver? Does it have the LFE performance needed to make a movie night thunderous, and at the same time the subtlety to accompany a set of good stereo speakers when you want to listen to music?
The PC-2000 Pro is part of the new 2000 Pro series from SVS. As is often the case with the American brand, this family consists of three scions: a version with open housing (PB-2000 Pro), a closed model (SB-2000 Pro) and then this sub with barrel shape. The idea is that if you are looking for certain performance at a certain price point, there is always a model that suits your setup. The performance level of the 2000 Pro family earned SVS another EISA Award for best subwoofer this summer .
SVS is much more than a subwoofer builder but it is with this category that the company established its image. Very well known are the excellent top models, such as the ultimate (and also gigantic) SB-4000 and the SB-3000, but we also looked at a smaller budget model, the SB-1000. The 2000 Pro series is clearly in a higher category and has features of those larger SVS subs. We consider the DSP control via an app to be an important plus. But just as important is that the 2000 Pro subwoofers still have a ‘normal’ format. They are subwoofers that deliver good performance but are not the subwoofer equivalent of an American pick-up.
The PC-2000 Pro arrives in a fairly large box with ‘two man job’ in it. Since previous tests of SVS subwoofers turned out to carry quite a few kilograms, we were already mentally prepared for a weightlifting session. Strangely enough, and despite the warnings, this time it was really not too bad. You have to be careful when you take the device out of the box, but otherwise it was easy to move. It does help if you have longer arms.
What is immediately striking is how anonymous the PC-2000 Pro is. It is really a cylinder, almost completely wrapped in a dark speaker fabric. Our test model had a glossy black finish. Very nice and it gives some class to this device, but of course it also catches some dust. Even in a home cinema that is only partially darkened, the device will completely blend into the background, we suspect.
We find the provided legs positive. It may seem like a detail, but with a subwoofer, good acoustic decoupling is crucial on some surfaces. The two-piece SoundPath feet transfer less vibrations to the floor, which reduces the chance of noise and complaints from neighbors. In our test room we have a wooden plank floor, and those feet are really a good idea there. They’re important for another reason too: The PC-2000 Pro’s design requires it to float an inch off the ground, as it has a 12-inch woofer that points downward and makes a really big movement.
As an experiment, we placed the SVS on a long-pile mat that we have in the test room to dampen the room. The difference was immediately noticeable – much more muted, much drier – which of course makes perfect sense. We also found how inert the housing remained impressive, even with the racing scene of ‘Ready Player One’, which we often use as a benchmark for Atmos performance. In that hectic fragment there are heavy bass effects, for example when King Kong appears on the stage, but even at a very high volume level we could not really feel disturbing vibrations on the PC-2000 Pro cabinet.
Open or closed
Despite its round shape, the PC-2000 Pro has a back. Here you will find the necessary connections in the form of a stereo cinch. You use the right one if you only want to reproduce the LFE channel in a surround mix, both if you want to connect the subwoofer to a stereo amplifier without a dedicated sub-out. Since two subwoofers are not overkill at all – a broad grinning emoticon fits here – but a smart move in stereo reproduction, there is also a cinch pair as output. For example, you can daisy-chain PC-2000 Pro with a second sub.
Via an ingenious button system supplemented with a series of LEDs, you can also set things such as volume, phase and crossover point. That is pretty easy, but you can also do all of this via an app. That works a lot better – and you get a lot of options.
At the back we also find a bass port, connected to a long bass reflex tube that runs internally thanks to a kink almost to the top of the subwoofer. Out of the box, the PC-2000 Pro is an open sub, but you can also close the port completely. In the app you choose ‘sealed’. That costs you a little bit at the bottom of the bass reproduction, but can make the reproduction tighter. It partly depends on the room characteristics and where you place the device. Close to a corner we would try with the gate closed, maybe that contains more.
SVS PC-2000 PRO: Great app control
Extensive DSP control via an app is SVS’s secret weapon in our opinion. It is available on many of their subwoofers, including the PC-2000 Pro. Where some rivals bet on a total solution via a room measurement, SVS prefers to give you extensive control via this app and leave any room correction to your AV receiver or smart amplifier.
The SVS app gives you many options but remains easy to use. On our Huawei P30 Pro, the app itself detected the subwoofer (via Bluetooth LE) and the connection was established in a few seconds. That connection also remains active so that you do not always have to wait for your smartphone to communicate with your subwoofer. Another detail, but if you are busy setting up your listening room and listening critically, it is nice if you can quickly adjust something and not have to wait a few seconds every time. A human is an impatient animal, right?
The main screen of the SVS app takes you straight to the essentials: the volume control. You can also load a preset, a custom movie, music playback profile or the default SVS preset. It is also possible to set your own preset.
If you dive a little deeper into the SVS app, you can set everything you can think of. Things like the low-pass filter point and phase are fairly standard, but the parametric equalizer and room gain compensation in particular are handy things with which a fine tuner is a lot. Incidentally, RGC is very useful in a smaller room in our experience. Of course, the added value of these two functions is slightly more limited if you work with a room correction system, but when you adjust a subwoofer to a stereo system, you don’t always have that. Smart stereo amplifiers such as the NAD M3 3 or Arcam SA-30 have something like Dirac on board, but the majority of ‘pure’ amplifiers do not.
We have had the PC-2000 Pro for a long time visiting, which allowed us to try it out in a number of setups. The longest we have used the SVS with our fixed surround setup consisting of a Denon AVR-X6300H and a 5.1.4 set based on DALI Rubicon and Alteco. The front channels are provided by two Rubicon LCRs, wall speakers that are ‘hi-fi’ but are best supported by a subwoofer. According to the THX standards, it is best to choose a crossover point at 80 Hz, but with these speakers it is smarter to aim a little higher. That is quickly set via the receiver (including room measurement via Audessey), but it is nice to set it a little higher on the receiver and then fine-tune it while listening via the SVS app.
The scene from ‘Ready Player One’ is an excellent indicator of the performance of a subwoofer. There is so much going on in terms of sound effects in a few minutes of film, it’s actually incredible. There are heavy effects with a lot of impact, such as cars and trains crashing or a T-Rex attacking the racers, but also many subtle things, such as the squeak of train brakes and gold pieces that are collected by gamers while ringing. The Audessey measurement has ensured a good integration, so that the PC-2000 Pro is fierce but not overwhelming. You also immediately hear the difference when you switch between the presets ‘film’ and ‘music’, it is not subtle and it is effective. In movie mode, the ultra-low gets a little more body and is also more smeared, which is fine with an action movie like this one. You can also push the PC-2000 Pro very far;
Is it as good as the more classic 2000 Pro models? Hard to say as we haven’t heard one next to the other, but we’ve always been impressed by the closed SVS subs that come out as powerful as they are tight. Our feelings also say that the PC-2000 Pro is slightly more subtle, which is a plus with some films (and music). On ‘1917’, Sam Mendes’ WWI masterpiece apparently shot in one giant take, the SVS provides just enough support for the ominous soundtrack as the two main characters crawl through no man’s land. It is of course partly in the integration, but at the same time this cylindrical subwoofer also shows the added value of a slightly more expensive sub. Should we also say: somehow we got the impression that the PC-2000 Pro fills the room with layer more evenly. Maybe that’s because of the downward firing woofer, but as we walked around the room, the bass experience remained consistent.
We also listened to music through the Denon in 2.1, with an Oppo UDP-203 as a Roon Ready source. To ‘Gold Junkies’ by Melanie De Biasio, for example, with its nervous bass drum that delivers the SVS perfectly and tightly in music mode. On the track before, ‘Your Freedom is the End of Me’, we found that the subwoofer could still be located in the room despite a sufficiently low crossover point – in the end it turned out that this was due to the placement, with the bass port aimed at a cabinet and thus resonance. Just to say: you also have to park this flexible subwoofer in a correct place in the room. Apart from that small placement problem, we did find that the PC-2000 Pro really offers added value when listening to music.
In addition, we hung the PC-2000 Pro on a Devialet Expert 220 Pro with a set of KEF R3s. These are upright speakers that themselves produce quite a bit of low, but cannot serve the ultimate in bass detail. Supplemented with the SVS cylinder, this was absolutely the case, and with Max Richters’ beautiful ‘On the Day of Daylight’ we immediately realized why a subwoofer can really make sense in a stereo setup. The strings are the star players in this sad work, but you get the full impact if you also get those ultra-low tones. With this setup we have looked a bit longer for the ideal place to place the sub. In our opinion, the ideal point was close to and behind the speakers in the front, but then you actually have to have a little more space than we have available in our test room.
Due to its shape and concept, the PC-2000 Pro is not suitable for everyone, but perhaps for more situations than meets the eye. It offers more flexibility than a classic subwoofer in terms of placement, especially if you mute the bass port. At the same time, it offers all the plus points that you would expect from an SVS subwoofer, such as the extremely useful DSP control and the pure bass performance.
The PC-2000 Pro may look unconventional, but it is certainly not inferior to the more classic PB-2000 Pro and SB-2000 Pro in its way. The long-throw woofer also offers the subtlety and detail to make this subwoofer also relevant for music lovers who listen in stereo. Generating earth shocks in films is not a problem, but it can also be subtle.
PLUS POINTS of SVS PC-2000 PRO
- Very useful DSP settings via user-friendly app
- Vibration-free cabinet and good ground insulation via SoundPath feet
- Subtle enough to enrich stereo experience
- Flexible in terms of placement
- Solid bass player
MINUSES of SVS PC-2000 PRO
- Shape and size do not fit in every room