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We are going to review the SVS’s prime satellite home theatre speaker system, let’s get into it. Now this speaker package from SVS centres around five identical two way satellite speakers made into a single 12 inch subwoofer. And I like systems like this, especially systems that use five identical speakers in a surround sound configuration because it ensures the most coherence and uniformity in your surround sound experience, much like a commercial cinema.
However a lot of these systems can hinge on the performance of the subwoofer and in this instance SVS has included the SB-1000, which is kind of a known quantity which we will talk about more later in this review, and another nice thing about systems like this is that a lot of people are likely in the market either for a soundbar or something that is a simple turnkey in a five dot one speaker package and so this is a legitimate contender against a lot of higher end sound bars in luring people away from an all in one solution to a little bit more of a dedicated home theatre setup on a relatively affordable budget and so that’s what we will be discussing today as we take a look at SVS prime satellite home theatre speaker system.
Now obviously, a speaker system such as this is aimed at home theatre users; that’s not to say that you can’t listen to music through them, and we will talk about their music playback, a little bit later, but the primary focus of this review will be to look at the SVS satellite system as a complete home theatre solution.
In terms of high frequencies, the SVS satellites are solid. This is not a speaker that you need to make excuses for given its diminutive size. The highs are incredibly detailed and very very crispy which is nice especially in sequences, action movies like Deepwater Horizon where all the chaos is unfolding and scenes like that are supposed to be violent and it’s nice that the high frequencies here translate all of that drama impact without becoming fatiguing.
There is a lot of top end shimmer and sparkle here because of its metallic dome tweeter makeup but it never really becomes fatiguing even at high volumes. It does narrow ever so slightly as the volume increases so some of its spatial prowess will be minimised if you go for broke, but the high frequencies on these diminutive little satellite speakers is really good.
Now they’re mid range. The SVS satellites on their own isn’t a lot to speak of because it hinges almost entirely on how well you set up and integrate the included subwoofer because on their own, the mid range drivers on these tiny little speakers, well, they’re kind of flat and a bit thin, but integrate the subwoofer, get it right, and suddenly they take on a lot more weight and presence, although the mid range driver on these speakers is largely tackling that area in the sort of crossover point between the sub and the tweeter and in that range.
They’re incredibly dynamic, punchy, clear and dialogue has a really good presence. I’m not going to call it neutral, they are still ever so slightly cool, maybe, arguably even lean, but dialogue continues to be pleasing enough and intelligible even at higher volumes.
One of the things that does occur however at higher volumes with these particular loudspeakers, especially in the mid range is they can take on, just like the tweeter, a little bit more of a narrowed sort of beamy presentation, and as a result, some cabinet coloration is present, not as noticeable as say the Jamo S series that we also reviewed here but again at higher volumes, it is possible for the mid range like the tweeter to beam ever so slightly, maybe exhibit just a little bit of this, but for a two way satellite speakers such as these, it’s not surprising that they exhibit some of these characteristics.
SVS SB-1000 SUBWOOFER REVIEW
Now at the beginning of this review I asked the question Can a single speaker make or break your home theatre experience and I argue it can, especially in the case of the SB-1000, which is the subwoofer included with this particular speaker package; because this thing slams so good.
It has all of the impact detail and speed, and it can play all but the absolute lowest notes in a movie soundtrack. And how do I know this ? Well there is a scene that I bust out to torture test subwoofers and it is from Deepwater Horizon, and it is the scene where the cleaning room explodes in a wall of well, just water, oil and debris. And with that scene, this particular subwoofer, the SB-1000 doesn’t really attempt to hit those lowest notes, so it’s more of an error of omission.
But to be fair, there are only three subwoofers that I’ve ever come across in my travels that have managed to hit these notes, and they are SVS’s own flagship subwoofer, a flagship subwoofer from RBH, and of course, the king daddy of them all from JL Audio. Now the first two are well, they’re kind of approachable in comparison to the JL which costs as much as a Honda Civic so this really is the highest praise that I can place upon a subwoofer like the SB 1000 that’s included in an all inclusive 5.1 speaker package because it absolutely elevates this system from entry level to mid fi contender and it’s almost as if SVS is charging you for the sub alone and just kind of giving you these five satellite speakers for free. It’s that good.
In terms of dynamics, this system is an absolute knockout. On their own, the satellite speakers themselves are a little bit thin and constrained but add in the sub, and it sounds as if you’re listening to an entirely different system. There is so much impact made with the presentation of the satellites and it makes for a very visceral experience, especially if you turn it up.
ARE THESE THE BEST SURROUND SOUND SPEAKERS TO BUY ?
Now in terms of surround sound because this system employs five identical speakers, as you can expect, the surround sound presentation is seamless and this is something that I advocate for and why I like systems such as this because you don’t want any Sonic gaps to be present as the action unfolds around you and you won’t find any of that here.
This system is refined enough that it will show you the differences between films that are known for their mixing and say films that aren’t as evident in our tests when watching things like say Ford versus Ferrari versus Tom Hanks latest movie, Greyhound Ford vs Ferrari, Oscar nominated for its sound mixing, Greyhound, not so much. And you can hear the differences, through a speaker system such as this, which is pretty incredible.
HOW DOES THE SVS PRIME SATELLITE 5.1 SPEAKER SYSTEM SOUND WITH TWO CHANNEL MUSIC LISTENING
Now that we have discussed home theatre playback, we need to address music. I have to imagine that if you are shopping for a system, this home theatre is going to be your primary focus and so if you’re looking for something that will also do more traditional two channel Music ,this really isn’t going to be the system for that.
That’s not to say that you can’t listen to music through it, you can. I just would urge you to use DSP or some type of surround sound processing found in your receiver, as it will make it far more enjoyable. This is what we found when playing back music through our Yamaha A3080 or Sony DN1080, but again, as a two channel replacement, this really isn’t the system.
Now it is at this part of the review that I usually tackled downsides but let’s be honest, within their wheelhouse, the SVS satellite speaker system doesn’t really do anything overtly wrong so it really comes down to, is this the right speaker system for you ?
I bring that up because well, they’re small, they’re meant for small to medium sized rooms and if you have a larger room or you just have a taste for taking things to the max, this may not be the speaker system for you, in which case I would argue that you might want to look at SVS’s larger bookshelf or even tower loudspeaker systems, because, yes when pushed too hard, this speaker can exhibit some coloration and dialogue can exhibit a little bit of a megaphone effect.
This isn’t uncommon for budget speakers and small speakers such as this and when you encounter that type of a sonic response, you’re oftentimes asking the speaker to step outside of its means. And so again if you have a small to medium sized room, I argue this system will get the job done.
It may even play nicely in large rooms provided you understand its limitations, but if you are someone that’s like “no man, I want to just go all out, I want to crack the foundation of my house”, well this isn’t for you.
There are other speakers within SVS’s lineup that you should be looking at because they will do that. Performance downsides aside, I have a couple of just personal things that I think you should be aware of. Now for the purposes of this review, we requested these speakers in white because we knew that they would stand out. But if this were my system to keep long term, I would not have ordered it in white, or even the gloss black because in a home theatre environment, especially one built around a larger screen maybe even a projection screen, this high gloss finish is incredibly reflective and so portions of the image will be reflected and displayed on the sides of these speakers and that is incredibly distracting.
So for home theatre use I would say opt for the black ash finish which also happens to save you just a little bit of money. So obviously there is no shortage of home theatre speaker systems available on the market right now and a couple that come to mind are from def tech, Klipsch, Polk Audio, obviously Bose.
SVS PRIME SATELLITE 5.1 HOME THEATER VS Jamo S Series Home Cinema Speaker Package
I have to say the Jamo’s have it over the SVS in the looks department. Now I have been debating a lot about which one sounds better. The Jamo’s are a little bit easier to drive and are a little bit more open overall, but the subwoofer that is meant to be matched to the Jamo speaker system just does not hold a candle to the sb 1000, so you kind of have to pick and choose your battles a little bit. But I will say this; if you are looking for more of a hybrid system, one that kind of excels at music and movies, I do consider the Jamo speakers to be just a little bit better in this respect, and the fact that they are well, about half the price of the SvS prime system that can’t be ignored, either.
So to wrap it up, I do consider the SVS 5.1 prime satellite speaker system to be a great entry or even mid fi home theatre in a box type system. This is perfect for home theatres that serve dual purpose and like their media room environment, this may not be for a dedicated home theatre type system, but I argue if you have a room that is a dedicated theatre, you’re probably looking at a few other different types of products.
However for what it is, this system excels at both movies and even gaming playback and I do think that the sb 1000 that is included with this package is worth the price of admission, so it is a competent worthwhile home theatre system and I do consider it to be a viable alternative to sound bars in and around this price point.
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