SVS SB16-Ultra aktív mélyláda teszt

Finomhangolt brutalitás

2017. március 8., szerda, 18:35

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SVS SB16-Ultra active subwoofer review

Fine-tuned brutality

Once we have physically sensed the colossal frequency waves of SVS's new flagship sealed-box subwoofer, we can declare that the company has launched something extraordinary on the market. But what exactly do we get beyond the vast power resource? We are going to discuss all the facts creating this extraordinary product.

Deep analysis of deep sounds

Certainly, old home theatre fanatics will be familiar with the details and history beyond the name SVS. Some years ago SVS started to manufacture medium- and high-class loudspeakers, as well (the test results of which were also published on our website), however, this company is basically most famous for its subwoofers and that is why we often mention it, too.

In the world of subwoofers there is always a balancing between the two sides of power and accuracy. Today high performance is practically not an unachievable target, owing to the remarkably developed efficient power supplies and Class D amplifiers. It does not even cost a whale of money to be able to generate a pant-shaking tornado in our home. Our expenses will rise only if we want to have fineness, tonality and resolution in the range of basses, too. In that case the final sum will soar up to several hundred thousand forints, and we will fail to experience the awaited foundation-shaking effect under a certain cost level. It might seem absurd that following the payment of an amount of 3-4-5 hundred thousand forints, not even a single glass has broken on the shelf. Those obsessed with power will rightfully feel they have been let down, while audiophiles will be well-contented to finally hear the double bass and will be confident enough to call the foot drum real.

SVS SB16-Ultra aktív mélyláda

The real challenge is when a soaring sound pressure level (SPL) can be realized simultaneously with accurate sampling. Theoretically, only such subwoofers should exist, but it is only a daydream similar to getting everyone a luxury car. Anyway, SB16-Ultra promises to balance the above extremes at the edge of the framework of the home category. For that you’ve got to pay about HUF 900,000. Yeah, for the same amount you can also buy a complete higher level home theater system. So what can SB16-Ultra offer that other smaller SVS models can’t? The answer may be boldly simple, but even then it is true: deep sounds. But more, better, more beautiful ones than the average. You can also buy speakers at the cost of a car and what can you get for your money? Sound that penetrates into your soul, makes you sweat and cry, etc.

SVS SB16-Ultra aktív mélyláda

Important information

Indeed, it might seem that SB16-Ultra is nothing else but another successful creation of an enthusiastic American team to bear the palm with brute power. In fact, the case is different. Here high performance is necessary to neatly align the deep sounds to the source in a properly prepared, softened acoustic environment (which is ideally a carefully constructed movie room). In other words, the basic essence of a high-end subwoofer is similar to that of a top category loudspeaker. It aims at virtually inserting the viewer into the movie in order to make the visual action on the movie screen more complete.

SVS offers its products with attractive conditions. By that we mean the possibility to test them at home for 45 days without risk. Therefore, if you are not satisfied with your subwoofer, you can take it back to the showroom. This possibility is, however not too realistic in the case of the models 16-Ultra for two reasons. On the one hand, its beautiful piano lacquer surface needs to be treated delicately and carefully, so one cannot guarantee that it will remain perfectly intact after using it for several weeks. On the other hand, (as a result of the deck DSP and the parametric EQ) the character of SB16-Ultra can be configured so versatilely that it in itself allows to switch among the styles of half a dozen subwoofers. If you like, they will sound exactly as the owners customize them (or have them set up) for themselves.

SVS SB16-Ultra App

Before telling our personal experiences, we deem it necessary to discuss some interesting features of the object we are testing. It will probably make it clear for the readers that for almost a million forints they will not only get a box covered with black lacquer and containing a big speaker inside. Making basses sound (especially at a high SPL) is a kinda sport you cannot pursue with some wooden slates and a cone alone, provided that you want to hear controlled effects instead of some incomprehensible mumbling.

SVS SB16-Ultra aktív mélyláda

Last but not least, we must not ignore the fact that great power has its price, beyond the money paid. If we want to release such astonishing performance, we have to calculate with the increased effect of the acoustic defects of the room. You may experience noises, vibrations that you have never or only slightly sensed before. Therefore, if the would-be owner would not like to watch a film on a buzzing sofa between walls trembling loudly, he should discuss it with the distributor, explaining the characteristics of his environment. The theoretical target is still to improve the experience provided by the music/movie, for which you need auxiliary equipment. By the latter we mean several minor extras like e.g., underplates damping oscillation, which you can also buy from SVS (we also used them during testing our SB16-Ultra).

SVS SB16-Ultra mélysugárzó

Is it not too big?

Amateurs may think the membrane of a 40-cm speaker cannot be vibrated at the proper speed, or at least it won’t be able to stop as promptly as cones sized a half of it that move less air. In the present case we should try to stop gazing at the massive fiberglass plate only. Do not forget that the magnet weighing over twenty kilos, consisting of four elements and responsible for moving the coil has an extreme capacity even in itself. In addition, the diameter of the voice coil is 20 centimeters - a size which has not existed in home entertainment electronics before, or at least not among the brands known by us. Nevertheless, SB16-Ultra is a sealed-box subwoofer, therefore, the air space inside of it dollies the membrane like a spring, and the membrane is attached to an edge with low deformation which allows wide movement range at the same time. Therefore, in the present case, the large diameter is not accompanied by the technology of old (and that time indeed more sluggish) industrial loudspeaker monsters, but precise components which developers have been mulling over for nearly 8 years.

SVS SB16-Ultra mélysugárzó

In order to make the signal produced not only fast but also in a defined way, they had to use an efficient and predictable amplifier. It is not surprising, therefore, that the heart of this "tiny tot”" is a Class D circuit that is able to meet the above requirements. The Sledge module delivering 1500 watts RMS of continuous power (5000 watts peak dynamic power) was complemented by a 50 MHz Analog Devices Audio DSP. You can better understand the beneficial function of electronics by visualizing an old kitchen tap and a modern one. Water comes out of the former without grades in every direction, while the latter supplies water in a straight line and as much as we intended by adjusting the handle of the tap. The aim of SB16-Ultra is, therefore, not to crash the ceiling down on us (though its specifications indicate its ability to do so, too) but to produce the high outgoing signal in a defined, articulated way.

SVS SB16-Ultra amp

Strictly user-friendly

Nowadays, many people expect (justifiably) to access their electrical appliances by all means from any position. It is undoubtedly the consequence of the convenience and laziness accompanying the usage of smart phones. We have already tested subwoofers that were sold with an optionally downloadable free mobile application. That time this option was rated as a minor wonder, but today we get disappointed if such a basic accessory does not come with the product. SVS engineers did not want or did not dare to miss such an extra, so you can get this app together with SB-16 Ultra. Despite the lack of self-calibration, the above-mentioned software is surprisingly versatile and user friendly. With the help of it, you can activate filter modules, you can freely adjust the parametrical EQ illustrated on the frequency scale with your fingertip, so that way you can customize the character of the subwoofer. After that you can save the scheme if you want to use different profiles for music, films or house parties. You can use the same application to adjust volume, phase, polarity and cutting frequency. If you do not insist on stroking your phone but prefer traditional solutions, you will appreciate the infrared remote control attached as a basic accessory, too.

SVS SB16-Ultra távvezérlő

According to the Hungarian distributor, you can quite well tune your SB16-Ultra subwoofer even by using only your ears if you want to have a good time in an average acoustic environment only. If the place of usage is a dedicated media room or a home theater room, it is, of course, advisable to ask for the help of an expert to correct the acoustics of the room and to complete other necessary work.

SVS SB16-Ultra aktív mélyláda kijelző

Sound quality

Most of the information and tips above have been supplied by the staff of Home Movie. SB16-Ultra was also tested in the movie room of their showroom. Exceptionally, the materials used for testing were not taken by us, but they provided us with their own movie and concert scenes that we played as the major part of testing. We got the same demo material as an interested client would have been provided, too. It helped us to understand better what extremities lower frequencies have to perform well between and how many ways the dramatic character or strength of a record can be intensified by using them. Otherwise, the ideally matching partners of subwoofers are the loudspeakers of series M&K Sound S300, which we focused on in our previous article. The heart of the system set with Audyssey calibration was a Marantz home theater processor with Vincent final amplifier and Arcam media player. And now let’s get to the main point!

SVS SB16-Ultra aktív mélyláda

At the beginning of the hose scene in the movie Mad Max, the main role was not played by basses, so we had enough time to immerse in the visual elements. Then came suddenly the bump with astonishing force shaking the whole room when Charlize Theron trod down the protagonist. The impulses of the film mixed with fanatic intensity were sounded by SB16-Ultra imperturbably and relentlessly. In the scene when the truck pulled out in the valley, the music accompanying the appearance of the motorbike riders on the mountain side hit the air like a hammer. Adrenaline was weeping from the screen, the sounds grabbed us with two hands to drag us into the center of the events. We felt the vibrations and tosses from head to toe. So tense and hard effects were created that otherwise perfectly matched this movie.

SVS SB16-Ultra aktív mélyláda robbantott fotó

In the movie Interstellar the deep sound engaged in battle against the room, extraterrestrial energies were unleashed. We physically felt the vibration of the cockpit of the space shuttle exceeding sonic speed, and we were pressed against our chairs like the pilots. This scene demonstrated a significant advantage of SB16-Ultra. Since in spite of the waves pulsating wildly, the sentences that the characters said and the rattle of the components of the cockpit were clearly audible. The fundamental features of M&K did not sink into the lower frequencies, instead of it, we could listen to the details in distinct layers, as one can expect in the case of a top category home theatre system.

SVS SB16-Ultra mélyláda belső

We did not skip the musical testing, either. At the beginning of a professional quality Michael Buble concert considered to be a reference piece by many (yes, it was Fever), a double bass had to be sounded.  We had already heard the same in different rooms, using different subwoofers and in home environment, as well. Despite its inherent brutality, SB16-Ultra managed to control its power. The twangs of the strings were dominant and warm, but we basically strained the system at a high signal level, running it at 75% of the full performance. The vocal and the rest of the orchestra stood out crystal clearly. Meanwhile the double bass supported and embraced the vocal range but did not merge into it and did not want to oppress it. It was followed by Daft Punk (Doin’ It Right). The performance was cleared by inches like in a studio. The typical low frequency impulses intruding the hit reached our stomach, but with precise grading and releases. As the tact ended in the frontal speakers, the deep sounds ceased immediately, too. The same strictly controlled, astonishingly fast character was sensed during Mad Max, too.

SVS SB16-Ultra mélysugárzó

The peak of the combination of speed and power was demonstrated in the case of the blu-ray disc Metallica - Through the Never directed by Nimród Antal. The foot drum and the bass guitar were stunningly powerful. The tacts attacked and decayed at extreme speed. We have hardly ever experienced such tapering and extended range of dynamics during testing, usually only even more expensive subwoofers were able to demonstrate such rampant, but even then surprisingly controlled power.

SVS SB16-Ultra aktív mélyláda


SB16-Ultra can be considered to be a mature and extraordinary item in its category. It nicely fits among the high-end subwoofers heard by us so far, on the basis of both its performance and its value for money. It is subjective what is the best for whom, however, it has been one of the most otstanding active subwoofers combining power and high precision we have ever met. Therefore, it is worth to be labeled as an "Excellent Product".

Pros and cons

The mobile application provides the user with fine-tuning possibilities.

If necessary, it can provide extremely high power reserves and, with the help of an expert, proper integration with other loudspeakers.

It strives to make use of its abilities also in the case of music, concert videos and dynamic recordings (successfully).

Irrespective of the strain, if set well, it leaves alone the frequency range where frontal speakers have to work, assigning the audible oscillation, critical details to them.

The epic power and the controlled frequency conveyance, as well as the modern extras cost a lot, of course.

Our oppinion

Sound quality for movie:  
Sound quality for music:  
Sound pressure:  
Build quality:  
Value for money:  

SVS SB16-Ultra Audio & Vision Online Excellent Product Award Winner



Home Movie Bt.


1171 Budapest, Óvónő str. 23.



További cikkek:


Zsóka Krisztián

telefon: +36-30-2272035


Future Life Kft.
Future Life Kft.

3535 Miskolc, Fényesvölgyi u. 16. 1/3.



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