After showing newest speaker model, the angled Prime Elevation, at CES 2016, SVS is ready to ship this innovative speaker. Therefore, today marks the launch of this new design that's meant to make adding height channels to an immersive audio system a bit easier by offering placement flexibility.
At first glance you may think that these are reflective-sound elevation modules that you place on top of speakers. However, that was not the design goal for this model. The slanted baffle is designed to angle the drivers appropriately when the speaker is wall-mounted at or near ceiling height, and they can also be adapted to serve as LCR or surrounds.
The SVS Prime Elevation is available in three finishes, seen here. It includes mounting hardware.
The company notes there is "no sideways or upside-down" with the Prime Elevation, and that's what it's really about. It's larger than a typical satellite speaker, and its shape makes it easy to wall-mount and get a good result.
These speakers cost $200 each and they combine a 1-inch aluminum-dome tweeter with a 4.5-inch, rear-ported, polypropylene woofer featuring a cast ABS-fiberglass composite basket, and a vented voice coil former. The second-order (12 dB slope) crossover is centered around 2500 Hz. In terms of performance specs, SVS specifies the frequency response of the Elevation at 55 Hz-25 kHz (+/-3 dB). Recommended amplification is 20-150 watts and their impedance is rated at 8 ohms. Sensitivity is pegged at 87 dB (2.83V @ 1 meter full-space, 300-3kHz).
According to SVS, "In creating a height effects speaker for object based surround sound, our engineers didn’t believe existing solutions, relying on sound bouncing off the ceiling from below, are an optimal approach because they require frequency response limiting and perfect room conditions to be effective." The press release talking points even state that "Placed high on a side wall, the directly radiated sound (of the Prime Elevation) is a vast improvement over compromised "ceiling bounce” or in-ceiling solutions."
Them's fightin' words! It's a bold statement regarding the efficacy of reflected-sound speakers, which I personally have found to be effective in my own home as well as in multiple different room environments at various shows. Fortunately, as I type this, I have a 7.1.4 surround-system featuring four Prime Elevations, seven Prime Bookshelfs, and a SB13 Ultra—a serious sub-satellite system by any standard—sitting right behind me, just waiting to rise to the challenge.
Full disclosure! I already have three competent reflected-sound (i.e. Atmos-enabled) systems on-hand (Pioneer, KEF, Klipsch) that I use as points of reference. That's what this system will have to go up against when I review it; may the best method of adding height channels win.
Gary Yacoubian, president, SVS, noted that "The SVS Prime Elevation is a product of vision and happenstance that was born when our engineers sought to invent the most realistic and immersive sounding height effects speaker possible. When we decided to make it direct radiating, we thought, why not develop an incredibly versatile speaker that also delivers an awesome experience for the other home theater channels in rooms, where perfect speaker placement isn’t possible."
As someone who rents, I can appreciate a solution that provides overhead effects without requiring you to cut holes in the ceiling. I also understand there are rooms that are challenging to work with and get a good effect with the reflected-sound approach to rendering height effects. I get the idea, and SVS makes great speakers. Therefore, I'm curious to see how the Prime Elevation performs in the real word, so keep an eye out for that review.