SVS PB16-Ultra Ported Subwoofer Review
The SVS PB16-ULTRA has frequently been called one of the best subwoofers available. That hasn’t changed much; this model remains an excellent choice in its power range. However, many new models have surfaced on the market over the years, offering some powerful alternatives.
Although SVS was never a company immune to changes, it has been long since the launch of their last top-end subwoofer.
- massive deep bass output
- low distortion
- excellent finish and attractive cabinet
- frequency response is highly adjustable
- immune to over-driving
- excellent customer service
- extremely heavy
- huge footprint
- deep bass and mid-bass dynamic range differ in power
Build and design
Although its heavy build might be a no-go for many people, the fit and finish constitute a fantastic appearance, which is as far as a large ported subwoofer goes. The rounded ages and the piano gloss finish make its appearance attractive for those who would otherwise balk at such a heavy item. SVS has incorporated a rounded metal grille but in a grey texture, and the PB16 looks better without it. The company has indeed tried to make a sizeable ported enclosure, and they have managed to do so.
In many ways, the PB16-Ultra design is similar to the SVS PB16-ULTRA, and if you don’t pay a closer look, you might find yourself wondering whether it’s a larger version of PB13-Ultra. The apparent similarity is, in fact, the enclosure design. The PB-16 has three operating modes: three open ports, two open ports, or sealed, meaning that when one of the ports comes with an included port plug, it allows the subwoofer to playback deeper bass frequencies at the expense of of of louder deep bass.
The PB16-Ultra enclosure design doesn’t bring any radical solutions. However, the driver design happens to be a huge change – and we are not talking about the unconventional woofer diameter of 16”; actually, it uses a very unusual monitor structure.
Another apparent characteristic of the PB16-Ultra driver is using an underhung voice coil; however, this addition was already brought to the PB13 Ultra, allowing more linear excursion of 82mm peak-to-peak, giving an abundance of 41 mm of Xmax.
Sound Quality of SVS PB16-ULTRA
Talking about the cone, we must mention its composition, a gorgeous glass fiber laminate with a reinstated composite cone sub-structure, and it’s connected to the cast aluminum basket by a large rubber surround. Besides, SVS has added innovations in amplification as well. The PB-16 Ultra uses a 1500-watt, class-D Sledge amplifier. The front LED display and or remote control are in charge of managing the amplifier. Also, SVS’s smartphone app does the same work as new functionality, and a good thing about the app is its ability to manipulate the frequency response with a parametric equalizer. SVS’s app can control each segment of the operating of the PB-16. The amplification, in that matter, uses a MOSFET output stage, not an integrated circuit output stage. In that sense, the good thing about MOSFETS is that they offer better bandwidth and lower distortion, unlike the op-amps, which usually are in use with class-D amplifiers.
As far as processing goes, it’s done by 50 Mhz Analog Devices Audio DSP with double precision 56bit filtering.
Talking about building this subwoofer cabinet, although most people, in general, describe subwoofers as ‘build like a tank,’ the previously used saying is not even close to describing this work of art. The SVS PB16-ULTRA is one of the most prominent, heaviest tanks ever made. In that reference, if you google what the most enormous, heaviest tank ever made is, you will find out that it’s the WW2 German prototype Panzer VIII Maus, weighing 188 tons! The construction of the PB-16 Ultra indicates that it has 1 inch MDF sides and internal bracing and a 2 inch thick in front baffle. The center of the sub has two window braces surrounding, and their purpose is to support the driver’s motor, and the other is there to provide support for the ports.
To prevent damp resonances, the manufacturer has added a rich layer of stuffing lines. The grille, in itself, is very heavy and rigid, thus fulfilling its purpose of protecting the woofer and ports from children or any pets running around. It looks like a plate of armor for the front of the sub. Lastly, to support the total weight of the PB-16 Ultra, the manufacturer very wisely decided to use six rubber feet instead of four and two feet, keeping the midsection.