SVS Prime Speaker Series Overview
SVS was originally known for their very high-value subwoofers, and when they entered the home speaker market, they wanted to do the same thing for speakers as they had done for subwoofers. Their first speaker series was the Ultra lineup introduced a few years ago. The Prime series was added later and is the subject of this overview. The Prime series is poised to do just what the SVS subwoofers have done by surprising and delighting music lovers with far better performance than they could have imagined for what they cost.
The SVS Prime wired speaker lineup consists of 6 different speakers that give you a virtual erector set of choices when putting together a home theater system. SVS has made it really easy to bring immersive home theater sound into your home with a solution for just about any physical situation. Like many speaker brands, there are two tower speakers, a bookshelf and center channel, but SVS has two other models that allow you a lot of flexibility in setting up a Dolby Atmos home theater system. The Prime Elevation and Prime Satellite are real problem-solvers for surround and Dolby Atmos height speakers.
SVS also has a wireless Prime lineup that is focused more on the stereo listener we will go over in another review.
This brief SVS Prime speaker overview will help you understand each model in the series so you’ll be better informed on which models will work best to provide great sound for your home theater or two-channel music system.
Technology Shared By All Prime Speakers
The first SVS speakers were in their more expensive Ultra series of speakers and like many great home theater companies, SVS used what they learned in their Ultra series and brought a lot of that same technology to the Prime models.
Well Braced Cabinets
The first thing that will stand out to you when you pick up or move around a Prime model is just how solid the cabinets are. Even the tiny little Satellite speaker at only $270/pr has heavy internal bracing to reduce resonance. And just like their subwoofers, these guys are stout on the weight scale due to those solid cabinets and massive drivers. The job of a cabinet is to allow the speaker components to reproduce music with no added cabinet coloration and it's apparent that SVS spent a lot of time working these out using anechoic testing. The cabinets also have chamfered edges to minimize diffraction which will improve the speaker's imaging.
To further reduce cabinet interference, SVS mounts the speaker components to a front baffle made from a much thicker piece of MDF. This is actually true for every single SVS product. Construction like this greatly reduces cabinet resonance and colorations allowing the drivers to just do their job.
Separate Cabinet Enclosures
Another thing that really impressed on the Prime models, is that any model with more than a two-way design has separate internal enclosures for the midrange driver. All of their three-way designs use multiple woofers for increased speed with each woofer driver given its own internal cabinet with a small rear-firing port. This lowers distortion and the multiple smaller ports allow you to position them closer to a rear wall without having to worry about the port being too close to the wall.
Matched Speaker Drivers
Nothing drives a surround sound system to provide a seamless transition as effects pan across your room quite like identical speakers. If you can’t have all identical speakers in your room, the next best thing is to have them all using the same types of speaker drivers. With the Prime series, the tweeters are identical across the entire product line, assuring you have a perfect match. The 1-inch aluminum dome tweeter uses a specially designed diffuser which yields a very open and effortless top end that never sounds the least bit harsh.
All of the three-way systems and the Prime Elevation use the same 4 ½” driver to cover the critical midrange frequencies. Like the woofers, these use a polypropylene cone with a unique cast ABS-fiberglass composite basket for perfect alignment of the speaker components.
Very High-Quality Crossovers
For those of you new to higher performance speakers, the job of a crossover is to send the correct parts of the music to each speaker driver. Since it does this by filtering out the unwanted frequencies for each driver, it's really important that the filtering process does not take anything away from the sound. In many respects, the crossover is the most important part of the speaker. Many speaker companies trying to hit a price point will cut corners here as the customer never sees the crossover itself since it is buried inside the speaker.
When you look at an SVS crossover, you can tell that they put a lot of care into the quality of it. SVS uses premium-grade capacitors, air-core inductors, and heavy-trace printed circuit boards like you might expect to see on a $10,000 speaker.
Finishes and Designs to Fit the Modern Lifestyle
All of the Prime series speakers have very slender cabinets allowing them to blend easily into most environments. The Elevation speakers and Satellites, since they will likely wind up mounted on a wall, are available in a gloss white, gloss black, or black ash finish. The other models offer up both black ash and gloss black finish. The gloss finish does raise the price a bit but is beautifully done.
SVS Prime Series Speakers
Prime Elevation Speaker
We started here as this one is such a great problem solver, not only for creating great SVS systems but for use as an Atmos height or surround speaker in any home theater. The Prime Elevation, starting (depending on finish) at just under $400 a pair, is a 2-way system designed to perfectly match up with the other Prime speakers. The 4 ½” driver coupled with the aluminum dome tweeter provides plenty of output for surround and even main channels when coupled with a subwoofer. It’s shape and super cool mounting bracket make it a wonderful problem solver.
The ultimate Dolby Atmos height speaker would be on the ceiling and angled right at the main listening area. The catch is, there are only a few in-ceiling speakers that have added the angled design as opposed to firing straight down. And, unless you are very good at pulling wires, getting speaker wires in your ceiling is beyond most DIY skill sets. To solve this, you can find Atmos height speakers designed to sit on top of your main front and/or rear speakers and bounce the sound off the ceiling. This is probably the easiest solution, but if your ceiling is not flat and if you are not at just the right distance from your front speakers, the bounced sound may not land in the right spot.
SVS came up with an angled speaker designed to be mounted high up on the sidewalls, that aims the sound right down at the listener. Their special mounting bracket makes this very simple and, in a lot of cases, will give you better Atmos height effects than a traditional in-ceiling speaker or Atmos height speakers that bounce off the ceiling, since you can line it up with your listening spot.
But SVS did not stop there, as the bracket allows you to mount the speaker sideways as well. Ideally, you want your side surround speakers to be pretty much even with your main listening spot, but this may not be physically possible in your room. With the Prime Elevation, you can turn it sideways and use it as a side surround placed a few feet back from your main seats. Or if you had to spread your rear speakers too far apart, you could use a pair of these to help angle the sound back in some.
Finally, 3 of these could be used on a low shelf under a TV to angle the sound up towards the seating area for your front three channels.
We can’t think of a more flexible problem-solver speaker on the market!
Prime Satellite Speaker
The Prime Satellite is the smallest and most cost-effective SVS speaker. Starting at just $270 a pair (depending on finish), the Satellite uses the same speaker drivers as the Prime Elevation, but in a much smaller cabinet. The Satellite makes a great surround or rear speaker, or in a small room could be used with a subwoofer for a great little 5.1 surround sound speaker system.
The Prime Satellite comes with a keyhole insert on the rear side, meaning hanging them on a wall will be an easy task. Don’t let the low price fool you either, this is another good example of how SVS products perform so well for their price. It uses the same tweeter found in their top of the line Prime speaker with just a smaller version of the woofer, constructed the same way.
These little guys on a small speaker stand throw out a huge soundstage, as you would expect from a tiny speaker, with great detail. They do need a subwoofer to reach the lower octaves as they roll off at about 70hz, but you will be very impressed with their detail and dynamics.
Prime Bookshelf Speaker
The Prime Bookshelf is a two-way speaker using the SVS 6 ½” woofer coupled with their aluminum dome tweeter. These are fairly large in size standing about over 13” tall and weighing in at over 15 pounds. You can tell when you pick them up that they have an extremely solid cabinet.
Considering these start at just under $500 a pair (depending on finish), they are another great SVS value. With the 6 ½” woofer and specially designed enclosure coupled with the rear-firing port, they are capable of pretty decent bass response on their own. We like the fact they are only about 10” deep, so you could actually put them on a typical bookcase and still have some room for the port to breathe.
The bookshelf speaker category is a very competitive marketplace with just about every speaker brand vying for your attention. When you look at the way the Prime Bookshelf is put together compared to the competition, you wonder how SVS pulled it off for around $500/pair. Then, once you give them a spin, you will be very impressed at the clear and airy soundstage they can throw out there, keeping up with some of the much more expensive bookshelf brands.
Prime Tower Speaker
What happens when you put together a 3-way dual woofer speaker, with separate internal cabinets for the woofers and midrange driver, audiophile-level drivers and crossovers, spiked feet, and in a slim but 40+ pound cabinet with edges designed to improve imaging? Well, you usually go above $2,000 a pair in price. This is what makes the SVS Prime Tower so incredible for a starting price under $1,000 a pair.
The dual woofers provide deep bass down to an impressive 30 Hz and the slim cabinet allows these guys to image way out beyond the sides of the speakers when properly set up. We do feel they benefit from an amp with some current to really bring them to life, but their price allows you to buy into a better amp or receiver!
With their fast and effortless bottom end coupled with a smooth, yet clean and open sound, these can be equally at home in a great 2 channel audio system or home theater space.
Prime Center Speaker
We like the way SVS names their speakers as it's pretty easy to figure out what their purpose is just from the name! Their center channel delivers big with a 3-way design you would normally expect to pay about twice as much for. The two 5 ¼” woofers in separate enclosures can deliver the impact of big special effects quite well. We have to say, a three-way center built like this for only $350 in black ash is pretty darn impressive!
And, like all of the Prime speakers, the tweeters are identical meaning transitions across the soundstage will be totally seamless. The Prime Center is the perfect match for every possible Prime configuration you could dream up.
We think the center channel is probably the most important speaker in a home theater system. If you can find one that delivers great dynamics with the ability to portray those subtle details in the dialog track you have a real winner. The Prime Center gives you a whole lot more of these traits than you would expect to get for what it costs, keeping with the SVS promise to surprise and delight their customers.
Prime Pinnacle Speaker
The very name of this impressive speaker sums it up pretty well. The Prime Pinnacle, at a starting price of about $1,600 a pair, is the newest model in the Prime lineup and has already garnered a ton of accolades in the audio and home theater press.
SVS designed a brand new 5 ¼” midrange driver for the Pinnacle which is positioned above the tweeter in their tall and slender cabinet. This driver uses the same type of fiberglass cone used in the SVS Ultra series giving it extreme clarity and openness.
The midrange and each of the three woofers all have separate internal enclosures. On paper, the Pinnacle only goes 1 Hz deeper in frequency response than the Prime Tower, but to us, the sonic presentation of the bass is even faster with a lot more impact.
Their soundstage is big and wide with a tonal balance that is super smooth and sweet. Like the Prime Tower, you’ll extract a whole lot more from the Pinnacle with a power amplifier or receiver that has the guts to bring out their best.
We hope this brief overview of the Prime Series from SVS gives you some great ideas on how to start assembling your dream home theater system. With so many possible combinations you could put together, feel free to reach out to us via phone, chat, or email to discuss the best options for your room and home theater dreams!