The Ascendo brand has been getting a lot of attention lately. In just the last few months a video of them boxing a 50 inch subwoofer has millions of views. The company first got my attention thanks to my predecessor writing an amazing review of a 2.1 system that used a 21 inch subwoofer. So while I was hunting for the first products to review I sent requests out to Ascendo. They responded by sending me their entry level subwoofer, the SV-12. Street price on this unit is around $1,400 which puts this subwoofer up against some excellent competition from the likes of SVS, HSU, Monolith, Emotiva, Rhythmik just to name a few.

Ascendo subs were also in the Home Theater of the Month September 2021, in fact 3 of them. Two eighteen inch subs and a thirty two inch sub. Ascendo builds a tank of a sub and their least expensive unit until recently was over $5,000. So this is their first foray into affordable subwoofers.

So the question is does this subwoofer stand out amongst the competition? My quick answer is yes, but lets dive into the details first:

The SV-12 consists of a 12 inch composite driver in a ported 16 inch by 16 inch by 18 inch cabinet (WxDxH) and a 500 RMS watt class D amplifier. The cabinet is made of HDF material with significant internal bracing. All while weighing just under 49 pounds.

The system for this review consisted of a Denon AVR X4700H, NAD T778, NAD M33 and a slew of speakers (Vivid Audio, Totem Acoustic, B&W, Magnepan, Atlantic Technology) from bookshelf to towers. I connected the subwoofer with a Blue Jeans cable LC-1. My source was an Xbox Series X, Oppo 203, and a Linn Sondek 12 turntable. All interconnects were BJC.

Hooking this bad boy up was very simple. I moved it where I thought it would sound best and plugged it in. I moved it around after taking some REW measurements until I found what I thought was the best place for it. Normally I would recommend multiple subwoofers. For my sized room 2 can pressurize the room decently but I generally always prefer 4 subwoofers if the situation allows.

Normally a 12 inch subwoofer in this price category will have problems going under 35HZ. Most of the subwoofers in this category will be small as can be sealed units. They usually have long voice coils and high inductance that leads to early roll off and not being very punchy.

So Ascendo decided to make it small for a vented design giving it really long flared ports to prevent chuffing. The result is a subwoofer that in my room with room gain got to around 21HZ. The sound is tight and punchy. While its possible to tune a 12 inch driver down below 20HZ you lose a lot of efficiency in the upper bands and many great subwoofer designers don’t bother in this category and for good reason.

The first thing we threw at the sub was the movie John Wick 3. This movie has amazing depth to the soundtrack. Shotgun blasts and explosions coming from all over. The SV-12 was definitely pushed but came out with a tight punchy sound with extremely low distortion. No shotguns don’t sound real, but this subwoofer definitely sits in the top of its class with a handful of other 12 inch subwoofer solutions out there.

Check out the movie here as of this writing its on sale too: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum [4K] [4K UHD] : Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Halle Berry, Lance Reddick, Laurence Fishburne, Chad Stahelski, Basil Iwanyk, David Leitch, Summit Entertainment: Movies & TV

I then went to music. First I dove into Pink Floyd’s intro to Darkside of the Moon. Silly? Dated? Sure. I don’t care. The opening heart beat and how early you can hear it (and feel it) has always been a favorite little test of mine. The SV-12 did not pass with flying colors, but generally you need an 18 inch driver or larger to impress me with this opening. Compared to its price point however this little sub was impressive. It definitely has punch for its size.

From there I dove into some Daft Punk and specifically Around The World, and boy was I impressed. This sub is fast, tight, and musical. So it proved in this demo to me that it could handle music as well as movies and the dynamics they crave. The steady baseline of this song truly shines on the SV-12.

From there I dove into Ready Player One, the 4K Blu Ray. This movie is great for Dolby Atmos demonstration, video performance, and definitely low end dynamics. This demo I found myself going back to as I was listening to different speakers hooked up with the SV-12. It didn’t matter if it was hooked up to small entry level book shelves to extremely high end audiophile tower speakers this little subwoofer kept up.

Buy Ready Player One here (and yes we get commissions): Ready Player One (4K Ultra HD) [Blu-ray] : Donald De Line, Adam Somner, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Daniel Lupi, Chris DeFaria, Steven Spielberg, Dan Farah, Bruce Berman, Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe, Philip Zhao, T.J. Miller, Win Morisaki, Hannah John-Kamen, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance, Ernest Cline, Zak Penn, Ernest Cline, Steven Spielberg: Movies & TV

CONCLUSION: The Ascendo Immersive Audio SV-12 is a chest slamming and toe tapping dynamo. Is there such a thing as Subwoofer of the Year? That likely will go to their 50 inch sub (which we got in for review yesterday). This is another SCARY GOOD product. The SV-12 is in a very tiny class by itself and this entry into affordable subs is a win for every hobbyist out there. If you're in the market for a subwoofer, you owe it to yourself to find a dealer of Ascendo and demo!

Great news is that Ascendo is following this up with more affordable models sometime in the future. The idea of more affordable Ascendo is great news for the hobby. If they ever are available online I will let you know.

Bottomline: Its an AVS Forum Top Choice Award winner.