ZDNET’s key takeaways
- SVS Prime Wireless Pro powered speakers are available now from the SVS website.
- You won’t find a smoother, better-blended sound from an active speaker at this price point.
- To get the best bass, you should pair these with the SVS SB-1000 Pro subwoofer.
Most consumers believe the key to a good speaker is punchy bass and sizzling highs. If that sounds like your taste, then you have a lot of options available for you (because a lot of manufacturers cater to booming bass). But the mark of a truly good speaker is the ability to blend the sound in such a way that you hear it as the artist intended. Instead of highlighting the low and high ends, you should aim to get a balance so you can hear all voices, instruments, and ranges coming together to form a perfect union.
That’s not to say you want a muddy sound (as a lot of low-end speakers will deliver). The goal is to create a sound field that allows each instrument or voice to show itself when necessary (such as a solo or particularly important passage for a certain vocal range).
I’ve experienced a lot of speakers that punch up certain frequency ranges because, well, that’s what’s popular. And certain musical genres inadvertently place those demands on manufacturers.
But my aural happy place is when a pair of speakers can deliver a buttery smooth blend of sounds that don’t force a particular range at me. Instead, I get to hear the music how the artist intended it. For many, such speakers would be called “Studio Monitors” because they allow whoever is listening to hear the truth in the sound.
The SVS Prime Wireless Pro powered speakers delivered that very thing to me. And paired with my SVS SB-1000 Pro subwoofer, everything I threw at the setup was gloriously smooth. Hearing music through these speakers was like coming home.
Classical, choral, rock, prog, metal, classic rock…the genre didn’t matter, as these speakers could handle it all.
Of course, sound preference is a personal affair, but when you find a pair of speakers that can deliver a neutral sound, without lacking excitement, you know you have something special.
The specs for the SVS Prime Wireless Pro powered speakers look like this:
- Frequency response – 42Hz – 25kHz (+/- 3dB)
- Drivers – 1″ aluminum dome tweeter and 5.25″ mid-bass driver
- Dual Class-D power amps
- 200 watt (50 watt X 4) RMS power
- Digital control tweeter-to-woofer crossover (2kHz (12dB/octave slope)
- 2.36″ wide-flared rear-firing port
- DTS Play-Fi with lossless 192kHz/24-bit via Critical Listening Mode over Wi-Fi
- CD quality for both Apple Airplay 2 and Chromecast for Android phones and devices
- Bluetooth 5.0 with AAC and aptX
- Spotify Connect
- HDMI audio input supports ARC and eARC
- Left/Right RCA input (input impedance 20K)
- 3.5mm Aux input (input impedance 20K)
- Toslink Optical Input (S/PDIF receiver works at a range up to 96kHz)
- Ethernet connectivity
- USB service port
- Subwoofer output – 2V max – auto-detecting low pass filter activates low pass at 80Hz
- Cabinet dimensions – 11.61″ (H) x 7.09″ (W) x 8.85″ (D)
- Weight – Active Speaker Weight 12.3 lbs (5.58kg), Passive Speaker Weight: 11.68 lbs (5.3kg)
- Included remote for switching between inputs, changing volume, and selecting presets
Note: The preset feature is used in combination with the mobile app that you can pair with the speakers. Although I installed the app, I didn’t dive too deep into it because I didn’t it necessary.
First off, I should mention that I have a unique setup. I listen to both my turntable and PC from the same speakers (I know, bad audiophile). The reason for this setup is that I listen to both while writing. Sometimes I’ll want to hear a piece of music from vinyl and other times I’ll want to hear something I don’t yet have on my medium of choice. And because my office (with cats roaming around) isn’t exactly conducive to floor-mount speakers, I tend to go the bookshelf route.
My previous speakers included both Aux and Line In inputs, which meant I could plug my Rega P8 turntable into one and my PC into the other.
The SVS Prime Wireless Pro speakers have a single RCA Line In and a 3.5mm Line In. You can’t plug both of those in and expect the speakers to know which device to prioritize. That’s when I had to switch my PC over to the Bluetooth option and connect my turntable to the RCA Line In.
The only caveat is that my System76 Thelio disconnects the Bluetooth speakers every time the screen locks. So when I log back in, I have to reconnect the speakers via the Bluetooth manager.
No big deal.
OK, on to the music. As I said, I ran these speakers through several genres. Here’s a representation:
- Classical – Samuel Barber’s Adagio For Strings – By far my favorite piece of classical music, the SVS Prime brought this heartbreaking piece to its fullest life. Every instrument could be picked out of the orchestra and I was able to close my eyes and just let the smooth sounds wash over me. One very telling moment in this piece is the climax of the first movement, where lesser speakers can distort at louder volumes. The SVS Primes handled it without even the slightest crack.
- Choral – A Choral Christmas – There is no lovelier Christmas album and this recording came to life with every instrument and voice blending with just enough space and depth to make me feel like I was in the concert hall listening to VOCES8.
- Classic Rock – Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir – This was off the Mothership release and I’ve never heard the song with such clarity.
- Progressive – Rush’s Tom Sawyer – This is my go-to for testing speakers and the SVS Prime gave the song the punch it deserves. Granted, I am using these speakers with the SVS subwoofer, but the kick you get from the very opening of the piece immediately brought a smile to my face. It’s charged with power and just as agile as the musicians.
- Rock/metal – Band-Maid’s YOLO – I love this song. From Kanami’s near-virtuosity on guitar, Akane’s pounding rhythms, Misa’s phenomenal bass lines, Miku’s rhythm guitar, and Saiki’s voice, this song just fills the room with so much sound. And unlike my previous speakers, the song doesn’t get lost in a wall of kick drum and throbbing bass.
Along with my testing tracks (all played on vinyl), I’ve spent the past two weeks listening to Christmas music (as I always do this time of year) and every song filled my heart with delight.
ZDNET buying advice
If you’re tired of your old speakers sounding too harsh or muddy, it’s time you upped your game and purchased a pair of active speakers that deliver music as it was intended. With a smooth balance and beautiful aesthetic, you’d be hard-pressed to find a pair of speakers more impressive (at this price point) than these.