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SVS Prime Bookshelf Speaker Review (by EAC)

sweetchaos

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This is the 6.5" woofer bookshelf that SVS sells for US$600-700/pair depending on finish.

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Link to Erin's review:

Erin's conclusion:
As stated in the Foreword, this written review is purposely a cliff’s notes version. For details about the performance (objectively and subjectively) please watch the YouTube video. But a couple quick notes based on my listening and what I see in the data:

In my listening tests I continually found that the midrange was “forward” and overall “bright” in the high frequency for my tastes when aimed directly on-axis. Aiming these speakers out by about 30° helped remedy the high frequency brightness but did not correct for the forwardness in the 1-2kHz region. However, if you have EQ this particular area can be easily remedied by cutting this by about 3dB.

Horizontal directivity takes a hit in the 3-5kHz region due to diffraction (despite the beveled baffle). Vertical directivity has more serious issues likely due - at least in part - to the tweeter to midwoofer separation distance. Ideally, these two drivers should be physically closer together.

Soundstage width - due to horizontal radiation width - is quite wide at about ±70-80° until around 8kHz where the tweeter becomes more directional (aka “beaming”).

Output seems relatively good with reasonably low distortion (for a speaker this size).

The finish and build quality of this speaker is quite nice and I didn’t detect any resonances from the enclosure itself. I’ve reviewed speakers that I thought sounded better and cost less. For example, the Emotiva B1+ and the ELAC Debut 2.0. However, they do not have the finish and overall build quality of the SVS Prime Bookshelf.

Discuss!
 

beaRA

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Not terrible, but not competitive at $600/pair. The Emotiva B1+ has similar on-axis response, similar distortion & compression, and better directivity at $250/pair. Elac, Kef, JBL, Polk, Klipsch all have offerings at this price point that are better.
 

jhaider

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Another piece of evidence for the “6.5-7 inch woofer with tweeter on a flat waveguide is bad design” camp.
 

AwesomeSauce2015

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The speaker is compressing by > 1db at [email protected]
The one thing this speaker might have done good is get loud, which is what home theater needs.
Directivity and frequency response are unacceptable at this price level. (Although if directivity was good I wouldn't care about FR as EQ can fix it.)
SVS really disappoints on this one. Such a shame given that they make pretty good subwoofers.
 

MachOne

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I find it really odd that in 2022 a speaker company would release a model that was clearly not going to review well when the market has so many great and cheaper options. (Edit: My mistake, it is an old design)
 
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beaRA

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I find it really odd that in 2022 a speaker company would release a model that was clearly not going to review well when the market has so many great and cheaper options.
TBF, this is not a newly released design.
 

mtmpenn

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Could this result be related to the baffle step compensation in the design? If they are designing for placement close to a wall (which is likely in a mass market speaker) wouldn’t this frequency response make more sense?
 

VMAT4

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beaRA

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You'd think a revised edition would be offered by this time.
SVS has been focusing on active powered speakers recently. Perhaps this review will provide the motivation for a revision of the passive bookshelf.
 

Xmech team

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or 7 years and 10 months ago

It's funny that Monitor Audio has refreshed its speakers three times since then :D. From MA 4G to the current 7G... You might assume they have reference grade speakers by now with all those refreshes :rolleyes:
 

JR449

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Yes, this was released on Oct 2014, or 7 years and 10 months ago.

Ultra range was released March 2013. Hopefully we get to see something new from them soon!


Primes are clearly voiced more for home theater. As James Larson - Audioholics put it; Some home theater buffs might want a bit more sizzle in the high frequencies. The latest Prime Pinnacle seems to be smoother sounding, but would it meet ASR standards? Probably not.

If i´m not mistaken they used NRC chamber with both ranges.

SVS utilized the National Research Council (NRC) anechoic chamber in Canada to measure and test the Ultra speakers in addition to voice tuning it in real rooms. This speaker has all of the right parts to make for a good quality design with solid engineering principles to back it up.
 

TurtlePaul

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Would you say the Prime towers measure any better? The listening window looks much smoother than example more expensive B&Ws. I`m still learning to understand these more.

It would be nice if soundstage had a predicted in-room response.

It looks like the dispersion gets very wide at 4-5 kHz while the on-axis is relatively high at that point after dipping at 1.2 khz. I suspect those would sound too bright.
 

TurtlePaul

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It look obvious that the tweeter is too hot and there isn't enough baffle step correction. I think they were trying to make a bright speaker. This could be a lot better relatively cheaply but I don't think this is the sound they are going for.
 
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