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post #1 of 98 Old 04-01-2015, 06:55 AM - Thread Starter
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SVS Prime Bookshelf 5.1 System Official AVS Forum Review



Mark Henninger checks out a compact full-range 5.1 system comprised of Prime Bookshelf, Center, and Satellite speakers with an SB-2000 sub.

In my review of the SVS Prime Satellite 5.1 system, I promised a follow-up review of a Prime-based 5.1.4 Atmos-compatible system using every speaker within the line. That review is in the queue, but I want to hear more about DTS:X before I delve into it.

For now, I put together a compelling 5.1 all-Prime configuration based on the Bookshelf and Center models—I wanted to see how much of an upgrade it represents versus the Satellite-based setup.

SVS sells the Bookshelf 5.1 package for $1050. It's up to the buyer to choose a subwoofer to go with it; for this review, I used an SB-2000 12" sealed sub ($700). The rated frequency response of the entire system is 19 Hz to 25 kHz +/-3dB, which makes it truly full range.

Features

The Prime Bookshelf ($250 each) is a handsome 2-way design that employs the same 1" aluminum-dome tweeter found in the rest of the Prime lineup. Sporting a 6.5" woofer and a second-order crossover centered at 2300 Hz, it is an 8-ohm speaker with a rated sensitivity of 87 dB/W/m. The Bookshelf handles up to 150 watts of power.

Each Prime Bookshelf weighs 15.5 pounds and measures 13.3" x 8" x 10.3" (including grill and feet). Like the rest of the Prime lineup, it's available in two finishes: Black Ash or Piano Black.

The Prime Center ($350) is a 3-way design with a vertically aligned 1" dome tweeter and 3.5" midrange flanked by a pair of 5.5" woofers. It is the most expensive speaker in the Prime Bookshelf 5.1 system, but its sophisticated design merits the premium.


The Prime Center is a 3-way design.

Each woofer in the Center operates in a discrete vented chamber. Meanwhile, the midrange driver handles frequencies between 300 Hz and 2400 Hz. The result is a speaker that avoids the lobing issues in 2-way MTM (midwoofer-tweeter-midwoofer) designs. The Center measures 7.7" x 18.6" x 9.2" (including grill and feet).

Prime Satellites sport a compact 2-way design with the same 4.5" Peerless driver used as a midrange in the Prime Towers. Prime Satellites weigh 6.5 pounds and measure 8.85" x 4.9" x 6.3" (including grill and feet).

Cabinets on all Prime speakers feature a diffraction-reducing chamfered front baffle. Additionally, they all use ports that vent to the rear.

The SB-2000 is a compact sealed 12" subwoofer with a built-in power amp rated at 500 watts (RMS)/1100 watts (peak). It weighs 34.8 pounds and measures 14.6" x 14.2" x 17.1" (with grill), and its rated frequency response is 19 Hz to 220 Hz +/- 3dB. According to measurements published by SVS, it plays flat down to (about) 30 Hz, and the company says the sub's roll-off slope is "optimized to take maximum advantage of available room gain."


Here is the SB-2000 frequency response graph provided by SVS

On the rear of the SB-2000, SVS provides stereo line-level inputs and outputs, a variable-phase control, an adjustable crossover, and a volume control. In addition, there's a switch to toggle between automatic standby and always-on.

Setup

For this review, I used the same speaker placement as with the Satellite 5.1 system—a classic 5.1 layout with side surrounds just behind the main listening position. I connected the speakers and sub to a Crestron ProAmp 7x250 amplifier (250 W/channel into 8 ohms).

I placed the pair of Bookshelf speakers on 24-inch stands and positioned them approximately two feet from each side wall and three feet from the back wall, with seven feet between them. The Center sat on a shorter (12-inch) stand beneath a Samsung PN64F8500 plasma. The left and right surround Satellites were perched atop 36-inch speaker stands, placed near the walls and flanking my couch. I positioned the subwoofer in the front of the room. With most speakers, I get excellent results in both stereo and multichannel modes with that arrangement.

I used the same speaker layout when I wrote the Satellite 5.1 review; therefore, I did not have to adjust the delay (distance) settings for the speakers. Levels are a different story—both the Prime Center and Bookshelf speakers are more efficient than the Satellites, so I used Room EQ Wizard and a UMIK-1 to make minor adjustments.

The Bookshelf and Center play lower than the Satellites, so I set them to a relatively lower crossover point using the Crestron Procise PSPHD pre/pro. I used 80 Hz for the three front channels, and 100 Hz for the surrounds.

Performance

Compared to the Prime Satellite 5.1 system, the Bookshelf-based 5.1 kit kicks serious butt. It shares the same fundamental qualities with the smaller system—great imaging and a powerful sound that belies its size and price. However, the 5.1 Bookshelf system offers better performance in terms of dynamic range and frequency response.

The Center's higher power handling and greater efficiency result in a 2 dB boost in output versus the Satellite, and over a wider frequency range. Having good bass extension is important if you use a subwoofer crossover of 80Hz or lower. This speaker is well equipped to handle the task.

SVS Prime Bookshelf speakers are destined to become classics—that's how good they are. Pairing a 1" dome tweeter and a 6.5" woofer in a vented cabinet is a common approach for bookshelf-style speakers; doing it well results in acoustic excellence.

I was afraid that the Bookshelf model would not image as precisely as the Satellites, but that fear proved to be unfounded. Instead, I found myself in awe of how transparent these speakers sounded. I also thought the SB-2000 blended very well at 80 Hz; it was not localizable.

For movies, the system performed admirably during intense scenes. Deep movie bass takes a lot of power to reproduce properly, and the SB-2000 did a great job for a subwoofer of its size. Mind you, there's no such thing in my book as too many subs or too much bass extension, but the SB-2000 is likely to satisfy most listeners.

Surround sound is my default listening mode, even for music. When I listened to upmixed music, I used the same settings as for movies: an 80 Hz crossover for the front channels and 100 Hz for the surrounds. When I ran a frequency sweep and measured it from my listening position, I found that all the SVS speakers in the system met their specification.

For grins, I pushed the system to its limits to see what would happen. As a stress test, I blasted Die Antwoord's "Never Le Nkemise II" from their album Ten$ion. I clocked 150 watts for the Center on the Procise PSPHD while using Dolby PLIIx in Music mode. The average level at my listening position was 101.7 dBC—significantly above what I find comfortable. The speakers did not falter, even when pushed that hard.


I pushed the Prime system hard, to see how it performed near its power handling limit.

The Center worked especially hard during loud passages on a variety of tracks. I checked out some dubstep tracks like Bassnectar's "The Future" and "Don't Hate the 808" from the album Noise vs. Beauty—I could see its woofers pumping away. It was clear that a single Satellite could not match the Center's overall output and bass performance.

On a mellower note, Boards of Canada's album Tomorrow's Harvest showed off the system's capacity to paint complex aural collages, featuring soundscapes that seem to expand beyond the boundaries of the room. I love hearing the nuances of intricate, layered ambient music—the Bookshelf 5.1 system helped me experience all the little details that make attentive listening a gratifying experience.

When it comes to movie soundtracks, the Bookshelf 5.1 system delivered the goods—it's definitely suitable for home-theater use. The landing scene in Interstellar starting at 1:06:13 is a very chaotic and intense sequence that envelops you in audio chaos. It's full of shaking and groaning, with a near-continuous deep bass throb that lasts for two suspenseful minutes. The Prime system rendered it with precision and poise, even when the going got rough.

Conclusion

The Prime Bookshelf and Center sound excellent, with the same sonic character as the Satellites, but with greater overall capability. When I fed them enough power to experience their full potential, I heard a very capable set of speakers. The only catch is they are not very efficient, so you need ample power if you plan to play them loud.

I've been to enough audio shows to know a good bargain when I hear one, and the SVS Prime Bookshelf 5.1 package with an SB-2000 is just such a system. For less than two grand, you get full-range sound along with enough dynamic headroom to make watching movies a visceral experience. At the same time, the Primes have the finesse needed to reward the music listener, whether it's 2-channel or multichannel.

Finally, the SB-2000 is a solid sub. It's not the last word for bass addicts, but remember that you can choose the sub you buy with the Bookshelf 5.1 system. I think twin SB-2000s with the Bookshelf package would make a great system. Moreover, if you have room for larger subs, you can't go wrong with either the PB-2000 or PC-2000.

The SVS Prime Bookshelf 5.1 system is a great choice you want a compact, capable set of speakers that looks and sounds stunning. It offers a level of performance that is outstanding for the price.

REVIEW SYSTEM

Sources

DIY PC (Windows 8) running Tidal and iTunes
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc Player

Amplification and Processing

Crestron Procise PSPHD pre/pro
Crestron Procise ProAmp 7x250

Cables

Monoprice 12-gauge OFC speaker cables
Mediabridge Ultra Series subwoofer cable
Mediabridge Ultra Series HDMI cable

Additional Components

Samsung PN64F8500 HDTV


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Mark Henninger, Senior Editor at AVS Forum

Last edited by imagic; 04-07-2015 at 06:18 PM.
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post #2 of 98 Old 04-01-2015, 09:15 AM
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How refreshing to see a center channel properly designed using quality Peerless woofers, a sealed subwoofer with included measurements that actually looks accurate, and marketing words that are also accurate and technically correct.
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post #3 of 98 Old 04-01-2015, 09:41 AM
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I'd like to know how these match up against the HSU bookshelf speakers.
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post #4 of 98 Old 04-01-2015, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by javanpohl View Post
I'd like to know how these match up against the HSU bookshelf speakers.
Plus 10 million!

5.1 SVS vs 5.1 HSU - that would be a shoot out for sure

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post #5 of 98 Old 04-01-2015, 12:50 PM
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Would there any audible difference if you use the SVS prime bookshelves crossed over @ 80 Hz with a SVS SB2000 vs SVS prime towers crossed over at the same frequency with the same sub?

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post #6 of 98 Old 04-01-2015, 01:16 PM
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Just had a long conversation yesterday with a good buddy about why I have no burning desire to upgrade my current 5 speaker set in the home cinema--however, SVS is making it difficult to resist the urge (maybe I should stop reading reviews ).
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post #7 of 98 Old 04-01-2015, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mayhem666 View Post
Would there any audible difference if you use the SVS prime bookshelves crossed over @ 80 Hz with a SVS SB2000 vs SVS prime towers crossed over at the same frequency with the same sub?
The towers should have more output up to the point the woofers are fully crossed over to the mid range.

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post #8 of 98 Old 04-01-2015, 02:39 PM
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Mark,
you mentioned that the center was hard at work during the heaviest passages. How do you think a bookshelf model would fare as the center?
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post #9 of 98 Old 04-01-2015, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mayhem666 View Post
Would there any audible difference if you use the SVS prime bookshelves crossed over @ 80 Hz with a SVS SB2000 vs SVS prime towers crossed over at the same frequency with the same sub?
I'm not sure about SVS, but my Martin Logan Motion 40s are audibly different than the Motion 15 bookshelf. The dedicated mid-range of the tower really refines the audio. Both sound absolutely great, the difference is slight, but you can really tell at loud volumes. The bookshelf becomes brighter while the tower stays composed.

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This is exactly what I intend to use for a friend but also adding a couple more satellites for 5.1.2 atmos. I intend to use an Onkyo tx-nr838 receiver/amp. Does that all have the ability to drive the LCR adequately or do I need a separate amp?
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post #11 of 98 Old 04-02-2015, 03:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by candjhuntley View Post
This is exactly what I intend to use for a friend but also adding a couple more satellites for 5.1.2 atmos. I intend to use an Onkyo tx-nr838 receiver/amp. Does that all have the ability to drive the LCR adequately or do I need a separate amp?
A decent AVR will drive these speakers adequately.

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post #12 of 98 Old 04-02-2015, 03:59 AM - Thread Starter
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you mentioned that the center was hard at work during the heaviest passages.
[img]http://******************/4ce10.jpg[/img]
Yes, because I have enough amplification to exceed the speaker's capabilities, I pushed the volume level close to that edge, and I was playing dubstep.

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Finally, the SB-2000 is a solid sub. It's not the last word for bass addicts, but remember that you can choose the sub you buy with the Bookshelf 5.1 system. I think twin SB-2000s with the Bookshelf package would make a great system. Moreover, if you have room for larger subs, you can't go wrong with either the PB-2000 or PC-2000.
Thanks for the review, Mark! You have convinced me that this system would be ideal for me. Question about the sub though, for a dedicated HT (movies only) at 2,000 cubic feet, would you purchase the SB-2000 or the PB-2000?
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post #14 of 98 Old 04-02-2015, 04:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the review, Mark! You have convinced me that this system would be ideal for me. Question about the sub though, for a dedicated HT (movies only) at 2,000 cubic feet, would you purchase the SB-2000 or the PB-2000?
My room is 1880 cubic feet. I'd opt for the PB-2000 for HT duty.
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post #15 of 98 Old 04-02-2015, 07:07 AM
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I wonder how they sound with music. I dislike bright tweeters!
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post #16 of 98 Old 04-02-2015, 07:22 AM - Thread Starter
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I wonder how they sound with music. I dislike bright tweeters!
The tweeters in the Prime line have a moderately bright quality - it is not "laid back." I think of it as detailed, it is not fatiguing. Most of what I listened to through the system was music, I enjoyed all of it.

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My room is 1880 cubic feet. I'd opt for the PB-2000 for HT duty.
Thank you! Can I assume that one PB-2000 is better than two PB-1000s? Budget-wise, it is not much more to get a pair of PB-1000s ($950) vs the single PB-2000 ($800).

There are obviously significant differences between the two subs, I am just not knowledgeable enough to know which option is best.
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post #18 of 98 Old 04-02-2015, 07:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckeye Dave View Post
Thank you! Can I assume that one PB-2000 is better than two PB-1000s? Budget-wise, it is not much more to get a pair of PB-1000s ($950) vs the single PB-2000 ($800).

There are obviously significant differences between the two subs, I am just not knowledgeable enough to know which option is best.

I asked this kind of questions also to SVS. If you would locate the two SVS PB1000 both at the same location (colocation), then 2 x PB1000 will deliver the same clean output as 1 x PB2000.

The advantage of 2 x PB1000 is that you can place them on different locations in your room to better deal with peaks & nulls in the bass-region; in other words you can get smoother bass throughout the room (less peaks and nulls) and for more than one listening location. The size of a PB-1000 is somewhat smaller than a PB-2000 so it is easier to locate at other positions.

What ever set you choose, either the PB-2000 or the dual PB-1000 will for certain rock the house! At least it does at mine...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post
The tweeters in the Prime line have a moderately bright quality - it is not "laid back." I think of it as detailed, it is not fatiguing. Most of what I listened to through the system was music, I enjoyed all of it.
My wife and I like to pump up the volume when we don't have the kids. So, that "moderately bright quality" will become "ear bleeding crunching tiger" at higher volume?
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My wife and I like to pump up the volume when we don't have the kids. So, that "moderately bright quality" will become "ear bleeding crunching tiger" at higher volume?
It depends on how much you pump it up vs. available amp power. Taking into consideration the rated efficiency(SPL @ 1watt/Meter) and how high you intend to listen, more power on tap is better with judicious usage. When things get "ear bleeding" it is usually from lack of amp headroom, causing the signal to compress and/or the amp to clip causing driver distortion. This will also, over extended listening, damage the driver's voice coil and possibly burning it out.


This is true with any speaker/amp. Be sure you have the power to back up your intended SPL!
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It depends on how much you pump it up vs. available amp power. Taking into consideration the rated efficiency(SPL @ 1watt/Meter) and how high you intend to listen, more power on tap is better with judicious usage. When things get "ear bleeding" it is usually from lack of amp headroom, causing the signal to compress and/or the amp to clip causing driver distortion. This will also, over extended listening, damage the driver's voice coil and possibly burning it out.


This is true with any speaker/amp. Be sure you have the power to back up your intended SPL!
At the moment I've got Outlaw M2200 amps rated at 200 watts 8 ohms.
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At the moment I've got Outlaw M2200 amps rated at 200 watts 8 ohms.
I'd say you are all set!
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i have an onkyo tx-nr636, would this receiver power the SVS prime towers adequately?
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post #24 of 98 Old 04-08-2015, 04:51 AM - Thread Starter
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i have an onkyo tx-nr636, would this receiver power the SVS prime towers adequately?
I don't see any reason why it would not.

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post #25 of 98 Old 04-08-2015, 05:48 AM
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Hmmm I just ordered BW CM8 S2 and CM Centre 2 S2, I'm wondering if I should save some money and Pick up some SVS speakers. I did order the SVS SB-2000 sub to go along with my BW speakers. Have any of you guys listened to these SVS next to a pair of BW CM speakers?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moses760 View Post
i have an onkyo tx-nr636, would this receiver power the SVS prime towers adequately?
I running 3 Prime Sats, crossed over at 80Hz, with a Denon X1000, which has a 2 channels driven rating of 80 watts (20Hz-20kHz, 0.08%THD@8ohm) in a large living room with 2 story ceiling and open floor plan and. I can get as loud as I need and much louder than the female student body can tolerate.
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post #27 of 98 Old 04-08-2015, 10:05 PM
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Cool! Thanks for the response guys.
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post #28 of 98 Old 04-10-2015, 01:43 AM
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What kind of stands are those underneath the SVS bookshelves? They look pretty solid.

Is there any good way to "attach" them on such a stand to eliminate the risk of being tipped over?

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post #29 of 98 Old 04-10-2015, 04:33 AM
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Originally Posted by mayhem666 View Post
What kind of stands are those underneath the SVS bookshelves? They look pretty solid.

Is there any good way to "attach" them on such a stand to eliminate the risk of being tipped over?
To attach them most people use a putty called Blu-tack or Quake putty. Usually you can find these at Home Depot, Lowes, etc. Just pull off a few dime-sized pieces and knead them until soft. Place them in the corners of the stand's top plate, position the speaker where you want it and press it down into the putty. Once it sets the speaker is not going anywhere. The putty is safely and easily removed and leaves no residue.
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post #30 of 98 Old 04-15-2015, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by mayhem666 View Post
What kind of stands are those underneath the SVS bookshelves? They look pretty solid.

Is there any good way to "attach" them on such a stand to eliminate the risk of being tipped over?
they look a lot like the wood technology speaker stands I have. I found an amazon link for them but they are OOS and I cant find the company website anymore. maybe they don't exist anymore

http://www.amazon.com/Wood-Technolog...117036&sr=1-19
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