Dual SVS SB-4000 Subwoofers Hands-On Review by Steve Potenziano

OK, first things first, let me get this out of the way: The SVS SB-4000 sealed subwoofer is a beast—a very serious piece of gear. Not only is it very heavy but it happens to be a very capable subwoofer, but without a massive footprint. Yes, that’s a very good thing when you take WAF “wife acceptance factor” into account. This subwoofer can fit in spaces that larger ported models cannot.

For this hands-on, I got to play with two SB-4000 subwoofers. Going with dual subs can be a good idea for any system with multiple seats because it smooths the response. Plus, you get more output (up to 6 dB more) when you go the dual-sub route. Depending on your room, with the deepest notes, that Extra output can make the difference between bass you can feel, and sensing nothing at all.

Specs and Build Quality

These subs are built like tanks, rock solid, and are very compact for the performance you are getting. The dimensions are 18.3" (H) 17.8" (W) 20.9" (D)" and that houses a 13.5” driver—the whole thing weighs a whopping 102 pounds!

A class-D “Sledge” amplifier with 1200 watt RMS and a 4,000 watt peak power along with some serious DSP processing make bass that will leave you breathless (from the pressure). The SB-4000 has a very high-quality driver with a powerful motor and big magnet—the driver itself weighs 43 pounds. Even if you never open it up to see what’s inside, you can tell by how much the whole subwoofer weighs, SVS is not fooling around.

SVS lists frequency response as as 19 Hz to 310 Hz +/-3 dB and this is a company that publishes accurate specs. Check out the chart and you can see there’s more response even lower than that, the rolloff is gentle. With the help of room gain, you can tap into that infrasonic extension using dual subwoofers and subwoofer EQ.

Chart from SVS
Speaking of WAF, these subs come in a “Premium Black Ash” or “Piano Gloss Black” finish. Personally, I opted for the Black Ash because I don’t like the reflections you get from glossy surfaces in the front of my theater. Also, the Piano Gloss Black costs $100 more, so unless you are going to be looking at it all the time, Black Ash is the way.

The SB-4000s have included screw-in rubber feet, but for this hands-on I opted for the “SoundPath Subwoofer Isolation System” feet sold separately ($50 for a set of four).

Around back you’ll find the amp plate. SVS provides balanced XLR and RCA stereo input/outputs. And up front there’s a display and control pad to change settings, which is a lot easier than reaching behind the subwoofer—very convenient. But even better is using the SVS app, available for iOS and Android, which connects by Bluetooth, so you don’t even need Wi-Fi to use it.

With the app you can control many DSP functions like subwoofer volume, parametric EQ, low-pass filter, phase adjustment, polarity, room-gain compensation, plus save custom presets and system settings.

If you do not want to use the app, the SVS SB-4000 comes with a small handheld remote. But you really should install the app because there’s an insane amount of adjustments you can make, like 3-band parametric EQ to get rid of the peaks in response caused by the room.

To see more specs and check out the manual, visit SVS here .

Sound: Movies

If you have ever heard an SVS sub, you know that you are in for a treat with how well they handle bass. I tried this pair of subs with many different movies and was wowed by the subwoofer with each and every one.

I hooked the subs up to a Denon AVR-X6500H , ran Audyssey XT32, and then manually set all the speakers in my Definitive Technology system to “small” and used an 80 Hz crossover. Then, it was time to play some Blu-rays. Tron Legacy, for example, one of my favorites, which always sounds amazing if the subs can handle it. I also checked out Edge of Tomorrow (great excuse to watch it again, and there’s that tone in the beginning that’s brutal —OK, I know it’s just a sine wave but still whoa! Luckily, the DSP somehow kept the cone from popping right out of the box. Unless you need to beyond reference dB levels, two SB-4000 subs are everything you need in a room like mine (14’ x 17’).

Captain Underpants, Monsters University and Avengers Infinity War—all made me say wow whenever there was action with bass! In scene after scene this pair of subs TOTALLY pressurized my theater. I felt the power of explosions in my heart and head! Super important: At no point did it sound boomy or feel like it was going to break up, and that’s with the volume cranked. If you have watched these movies, you know certain scenes are just out of control with the sound effects, all were handled beautifully.

Sound: Music

The music end of my hands-on with the twin SVS SB-4000 subs was just as impressive as the movies. I set the EQ curve settings in the phone app (which works great by the way) to “Music” and let it rip.

Fist up, some Daft Punk and Deadmau5 tracks since both artists have a lot of bass and great production. I played the Tron Legacy soundtrack (since I also watched the movie). If I was a skeptic that these could be musical (I was not, but roll with it) I'm totally convinced now. And Deadmau5's Mau5ville Level 1 EP has remixes of the track "Monophobia" that bumped hard like a club. Okay, I get bored with other genres fast, so time to take out the PUNISHMENT OF HARD CORE AND DEATH METAL!

Oldie, but great, Pantera’s Vulgar Display of Power is an album from 1992 that still kicks ass. The kick drum chest feel with the two subs is totally out of control: It felt like I was getting hit with a sledgehammer in the chest! This album was mixed by legend Terry Date who’s production is perfect on any of the music he works on this album is PERFECT as are ANY of the music he works on; look him up especially if you love metal.

The punishment continued. I ran the gamut from Dying Fetus (incredible Death Metal band by the way), to Anaal Nathrakh (Extreme Metal), to We Butter Our Bread With Butter (Metalcore/Deathcore). These Subs just churn dirty bass when asked, and then sing with the clean stuff when given the chance—they are great with music. I think a lot of people don’t give SVS enough of a chance with music, instead of expensive brands like JL Audio or B&W, but they should. These subs made my living room sound like a live show, which is all about feeling the music and that means you have to have killer bass.


Here’s the problem with these SVS subs: I was used to my Velodyne SPL12 subs and I really don't want to go back now! What else can one say? You can't knock them for build quality, and unless you need to simulate earthquakes (or have a stubborn concrete floor) you’ll never say “these subs just don’t have deep enough bass” because they play as deep as I can hear. And you certainly can’t say “These don't play music well” because they excel at it.

So, then what is the down side? IMO, nothing except the cost of buying two, it’s an investment. SVS knows what it’s doing, clearly. If your wife will kill you for the much bigger ported design, or the range-topping Ultra series, at least she will have no problem with the SVS SB-4000.

Admittedly, when these two SB-4000s first arrived, my wife saw the boxes and was like “OMG they are HUGE!” But now, no complaints because they just blend in. That, my friends, is what you want for a killer living room system, something that isn’t obtrusive and still takes handles everything you can toss at it!

It has been a joy to have these subs for a hands-on experience. I only wish I could keep them, but a Top Choice no doubt about it. A+.

Editor's note: This is a hands-on experiential review, not an in-depth technical review.

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