Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Council Bluffs Iowa
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For what it's worth... I recently bought a SVS Prime bookshelf 5.1 system for my HT. I spent a lot of time reading and listening to neighbors/friends HT systems and listening to everything I could at several well stocked and represented HT/audio retailers in Omaha. During this unhurried process, of all the brands/models I listened too, one specific product got and kept my attention....that was the SVS PB 2000 subwoofer. I also heard the SVS satellites and was impressed with them compared to every other "little" speaker I heard, but that wasn't what I was in the market for. My point is that SVS products got my attention two times. I also listened to several flat panel (on wall speakers) which sounded (disappointingly) a lot like many (and often incredibly expensive) in-wall installations I've heard. Having owned some pretty good "enclosure" speakers over the years, I quickly reconfirmed my preference to "enclosures" based on my listening taste, their overall frequency response, dispersion, ease of replacement/upgrade, and ability to move them around and tweak them. After much listening to "these" front's with "that" center, and "those fronts" with a different center, etc, etc, etc, the only speaker that I really liked was the SVS Sub. Not convinced by any fronts or centers I'd heard, I re-read all the SVS bookshelf reviews and thought the reviews sound no better or worse than everything else I've listened too so far...including quite a few speakers that got glowing reviews but weren't so great with a center channel and/or sub. So, I decided to order the Prime bookshelf 5.1 system with the PB-2000 and listen to it in my home for 45 days.
I knew from experience that bookshelf placement and mounting is under-rated and critical, so I got some heavy, sand filled 30" stands to isolate and de-couple the enclosures and to get the tweeters up to that critical 40" listening-ear level. Stands also allow for easy placement adjustments critical to optimizing any kind of speaker. I got a matching sand filled center stand that allows for vertical aiming of the tweeter to ear level. My HT allows wall mounting of surrounds (SVS Satellites) at near perfect listening geometry. Fronts are 13 feet apart, 14 feet from center listening position with slight tow-in, 10 inches from wall, in a just over 2800CF room.
First impressions were somewhat opposite of what I had read and expected. Tweeters/highs were somewhat muted and not as bright or present as portrayed in reviews. I also knew from experience that "burn-in", "break-in" or whatever anyone wishes to call it, MIGHT or MIGHT NOT make a significant difference and only time would tell. So I manually adjusted speaker distances and the sound stage (tow-in and wall distance) to my liking and then ran Audyssey HT-32 and tweaked the sub per SVS recommendations with a 90hz cutoff. My plan was to let them run the music channel for several days and re-run Audyssey and then give the tweeters another serious listen.
Verdict is I'm keeping them. Much to my surprise and liking, and to a greater degree than any other speakers I've owned, this tweeter was substantially different sounding after 50 hours of "break-in. Let's be real here...it didn't become a ESS AMT Heil air motion transformer....but it is smoother and a pretty darned good domed metal tweeter. The bookshelves/center combination are more transparent than I expected at this price point with very good placement and soundstage, detailed dialogue, and surprisingly quick response and good movie dynamics driven by 125 WPC. Frankly, I'm surprised by how much I like this set-up for music...better than I expected based on the bookshelf reviews. Personally, I like the SVS Prime center as much as many $500 + centers I auditioned (many were "Boomy"). I consider it a bargin and central to making the parts of this surround system work together as well as they do. As I experienced from listening auditions of the PB-2000 with more than a few other "fronts" there is no localization of the SVS sub...and, with the SVS system there is a very good aural illusion that the bass is coming from center channel without too much competing bass from the center or the center overpowering the low end from the fronts....well done SVS! as this was a major issue I had with most of the systems I listened too.
A suspicion I confirmed after listening to many different front/center/sub brands, models, and combinations was that I much preferred the sound of fronts/center and even subs when all the components were from the same manufacturer. Speaker designers have clearly learned a lot about building and matching surround systems in the last decade. My advice to anyone is to listen to the manufacturers complete "system" before you start mixing and matching stuff based on reviews or recommendations....even from the salesmen. Honestly, I listened to multiple screwed-up sounding surround systems comprised of some highly regarded speakers from different manufacturers that were "packaged" and "highly recommended". My point is: I probably would have never bought the Prime bookshelves based on reviews or listening to them in a 2.0 system. However, with the "matched" center, sub and surrounds, the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. I really went into this expecting to spend a lot more money.
Last edited by JonfromCB; 10-18-2016 at 12:20 PM.