First Look: SVS PC-4000 13.5″ DSP Ported Cylinder Sub

SVS is known for making excellent subwoofers and speakers. The company has just introduced its new 4000-series subwoofers that promise reference-quality performance. There are three 4000-series models—the SB-4000 sealed sub ($1500), PB-4000 ported sub ($1900), and PC-4000 ported sub ($1800). I have the PC-4000 in for review, a cylindrical sub that promises ultra-deep bass whether it’s running in a ported or sealed configuration.

Specifications and Features

All three subwoofers sport 13.5″ rigid composite-cone drivers with high-excursion parabolic surrounds and Sledge STA-1200D MOSFET amplifiers that provide 1200 watts of class-D power.

The 4000-series subs also have DSP capabilities, which enhance performance and are programmable using a dedicated app for Apple and Android devices. These subs also come with a remote, but the app is the way to go if you want to get the most out of the tools SVS provides. Also, these new models feature front-mounted displays with menu controls, a very significant improvement in ergonomics versus older SVS models sporting 13.5″ drivers.

SVS put the display and controls on the front of the PC-4000, a major ergonomic improvement.

The PC-4000 benefits from a large interior volume—despite its minimal footprint—that’s made possible by its vertical cylindrical design. Cylinders make great enclosures for subs because they are naturally resistant to flexing. In this design, the three tuned 3.5″ ports vent out the top of the sub. This sub measures 47″ (H) x 16.6″ (W) x 16.6″ (D) and weighs 90 pounds (shipping weight is 108.8 pounds).

Manufacturer specs for the SVS PC-4000 describe a sub with great bass-making potential, both for music and movies. You can run this sub in three modes: Standard, Extended, and Sealed. Standard means all three ports are open, with a resulting frequency response from 17 Hz to 200 Hz (+/-3 dB).  If you plug one port, the sub runs in Extended mode, which offers a response from 15 Hz to 200 Hz (+/-3 dB) at the cost of a bit of output. Finally, this sub offers a response from 15 Hz to 200 Hz (+/-3 dB) when the ports are sealed—deeper than the SB-4000 or the PB-4000 running in Sealed mode.

This sub integrates SVS Sound’s Soundpath subwoofer-isolation feet, which the company says helps provide cleaner bass output while reducing room rattle and bass bleed.

The back panel of the PC-4000 contains the inputs and outputs. This is a highly flexible subwoofer that takes advantage of powerful built-in DSP to offer a wide variety of configuration options. Here, you’ll find stereo unbalanced RCA inputs and outputs, as well as stereo balanced XLR inputs and outputs. There’s also a 12-volt trigger, but no physical controls hidden back there—a welcome ergonomic improvement.

Inputs and outputs of the SVS PC-4000.

First Impressions

While the PC-4000 is very new to me, it immediately made a positive first impression. There are those who will squabble about which brand offers the ultimate “decibels per dollar” ratio, but SVS provides a highly refined package with great performance that represents a solid overall value.

Last night, my first act was to simply take the XLR cable that fed bass to my reference JL Audio F112 V2s and plug it into the PC-4000. So far so good, there was no obvious change in tonality, just a smooth swap.

Today, I had a chance to re-run Dirac Live for a full calibration of the system. Here are the results:

This is what the uncorrected in-room response, measured at the listening area in Standard mode, looks like.

Post EQ, in-room response is much improved.

What I glean from these preliminary measurements is that the sub nails its deep bass-extension spec, but it also exceeds its 200 Hz spec on the high end, with output that’s quite flat out to 300 Hz. The bumps and dips you see are 100% room interaction, including peaks, nulls, and room gain. And the result here is consistent with what I get from good subs and Dirac Live in this room.