SVS SB-1000 review

US subwoofer brand serves up something more manageable than its usual towering bass-bins

SVS was once famed for making subwoofers only for lonely nerds who could get away with standing a bass tube bigger than their girlfriend in the corner of the room. Mostly because they didn’t have a girlfriend. And, while it does still make those bonkers bassmakers, SVS also offers two other forms of woofer – smaller and more cubical large-performance ported items and a series of compact, sealed woofers. The SB-1000 is from the sealed series and is SVS’ idea of as small as any sane person could go, bass-wise.

The sub is just over a cubed foot of neat round-edged box, with a rubbery 12in driver in the front and an amp panel on the back, called an STA-300D. It’s a very hard to upset DSP-controlled 300W powerhouse. In fact, it hits at least as hard as some other brands' half kilowatt amps. It could be that the driver itself is very efficient – it's certainly fast, as it has a lovely bass grip and impact.

The box is a bit of a function-breeding form item and, apart from the curved edges, there is little remarkable to see. The grille is solidly made and powder-coated. When it's removed it reveals the blue LED ‘on’ indicator.

Its small size means the sub can easily be tucked away, but you may want to experiment as its output really is colossal and varies depending on placement.

For setup you get three knobs – level, crossover and a sweepable phase, plus a switch for 12V trigger switching or auto power options. In standby mode, the SB-1000 draws only 0.5W.

Rich bass

Performance is revelatory. There is a definite familial sound of rich, girthy bass. Not as pure as a Bowers & Wilkins DB1 or high-end REL, but this is a small, affordable box. It can reach very far down due to the flexible driver suspension and iron grip of its ‘Sledge’ amp.

I spun up some bass music from the low-end specialist Bass Mekanik and the SVS loved it. Not a query, nor waver. It's rated at -3dB to 24Hz, so is relevant at -9dB at what? Ten cycles? Basically, it can drop.

On a slightly saner note, Bridesmaids on Blu-ray found the SVS equally adept. The music in the track is writ large and the cute sub easily kept up with my large, floorstanding speaker system. The car crash sequence, followed by a redneck driving off in his V8, really thumped, then rumbled.

Overall, this is ridiculously good for the size and the price. Not only can it do the hooligan stuff but it is melodic and musical, too. It's a tremendous performer and a real contender for those seeking high capability with a good domestic acceptance factor.


SVS SB-1000
£500 Approx

Highs: Easy to set up, easy to house; compact design with a rich output that sounds bigger than the box
Lows: The user manual is a basic sheet to save a buck; we'd prefer sharp spikes as well as rubber ones

Performance: 5/5
Design: 3.5/5
Features: 3/5
Overall: 4/5