SVS stands for subwoofers with an exceptional price/performance ratio. This has made the company from the USA an established name in the subwoofer sector.
With the 3000 series, SVS wanted to undercut their sharply calculated 4000 series price-wise, with minimal losses in performance.
The developers around Smith Freeman, Director of Product Management at SVS, were able to be generous at the sound-relevant points and the cost-cutting measures didn’t go that far at the expense of performance.
I tested SVS SB-3000 and SB-4000 to give you the most accurate comparison of these two series. In this article, I’ll do my best to present the results.
SVS SB-3000 vs. SB-4000 Test – Overview
Before going into details about the testing and features of both models, I will give you a quick overview.
- The SVS SB-3000 is probably the subwoofer to buy if you have space limitations.
You won’t miss out on a lot, and it will likely do all you would expect from the sealed enclosure.
My test showed that the advantages of the SB-4000 over the SB-3000 are not well highlighted in 2-channel listening, meaning the SB-3000 is also likely your best bet if 2-channel listening is your primary focus.
- If the home theater is the primary objective, SB-4000 is a better choice.
SB-4000 truly hits harder and with more authority on the deeper notes. It also has a hardware capabilities section that has XLR inputs and outputs.
- If your budget allows you only to have one of these two in your home, I would also lean toward the SB-4000 as it hits the sweet spot on power, size, and features.
SB-4000 can easily handle home theater as well as 2-channel listening.
- If you have the option of two SB-3000s or one SB-4000, I would immediately take the two 3000s for both home theater and 2-channel listening.
It’s hard to compete with two-grade subs filling all the room nodes. Both of these subs are great, and I would have no problems recommending them to anyone.
Another item of note is the support you will receive when you purchase SVS equipment from the SVS Sound store. The staff is well equipped to answer any set of questions or concerns with their products. They also offer a 45-day in-home trial just to give you an idea of their confidence. That is followed up with a five-year warranty.
If you buy from Amazon, you get the same support and warranty just as if you bought it directly from SVS, as long as you’re buying new. The serial number when registering it is what it’s based on.
Now let’s look at the features first, and then I’ll explain how I did the test and what are the results.
The Driver and Cabinet
The closed SB-3000, intended for music lovers, got a 13-inch magnet from SVS, just like its bass reflex counterpart PB-3000.
This sub falls in the middle of the SVS lineup. It’s a sealed enclosure, a very nice compact unit comprised of reinforced MDF. I would say it’s actually very compact, considering it does have a 13-inch driver.
Its key data is not only impressive in this class: The double ferrite magnet with a ventilated pole core supported by a die-cast basket weighs over 24 pounds.
For comparison, here’s an image of the SB-3000 and SB-4000 together:
The driver is an aluminum vented cone with a composite fiber dust cap. It’s made to be lightweight and provide extreme accuracy.
The cabinet is essentially a cube without the included metal grille, and it comes in at 54 pounds.
Mine is Black Ash. Piano Gloss Black is also available as an option, but I actually prefer the Ash. It would be best to consider that it is a fingerprint magnet and will be handled very often.
The SB 4000 loses the compact nature of the 3000 and replaces it with essentially sheer weight.
The SB-4000 weighs:
- Over 102 pounds, nearly double the weight of the SB-3000.
Although the sub is still considered small, you will need a little more room to house this model compared to its ported siblings.
The driver size is not all that different coming in at 13.5 versus 13 inches. But at a quick glance between the two, you will see substantial build changes such as a 25-pound magnet on the 3000 and a 40 pound on the 4000.
The SB-4000 also doesn’t use aluminum in the driver. Instead, SVS went with a composite cone and glass fiber dust cap.
Driving power in the SVS SB-3000 is provided by the Sledge STA-800D2 amplifier, derived from the STA-1500D in SVS’s 16-Ultra series, and it produces a healthy 800-watt RMS and 2500 peak power.
If we look at the amp, we will notice that this sub only accepts line-level input signals. Most of you are likely only to be using the LFV input. But I always think it’s nice to include high-level inputs for more connectivity options, like some previous models.
The amplifier in the SB-4000 is also a Sledge amp, but this one is rated at 1200 watts RMS and 4000 watts peak.
A flat voice coil with a new split-wind design moves in its force field. Its thicker windings at both ends promise advantages in distortion behavior at extreme excursions.
In the middle, on the other hand, less wire is sufficient because this area is only relevant at low volumes and correspondingly smaller strokes.
This way, SVS reduces mass and improves the overall efficiency of the driver with its stiff aluminum diaphragm with a composite dust cap.
When looking at the back of the SB-4000, you will notice a few more options. It has XLR input and output connectors and triggers on and off connectors. This may be useful for serious home theater enthusiasts.
The DSP module equipped in both models provides signal control and equalization functions that allow you to modify the response for the best results.
The module provides precise low-pass filter control in one-hertz steps, phase control from zero to 180 in single steps, and gain control.
Another useful tool in this series is the three-channel parametric equalization and room game compensation.
These features allow you to more easily fine-tune the placement of your sub and possibly allow for more flexibility.
As far as controlling these features, you have two options:
- Navigating the rear panel – simple and well thought out.
- Download the SBS app and connect to the sub over Bluetooth. This will allow you to sit in your listening position and adjust and modify your sound to your liking.
The app is required to truly utilize many of the key features within the DSP, such as crossover slopes, parametric equalization, and Room Gain Compensation. Also, for saving your pre-sets.
One item to note is that while the SB-3000 allows two methods of control the app and phone, the SB-4000 also offers a remote.
I found that the most useful feature of the remote is pre-set. You can control home theater, music, and nighttime options if you need less bass.
You should also note that these subs will not have a way to measure your interim response. You will need to use an external mic such as a UMIK-1 and likely RTW software to fine-tune your equalization settings.
SVS relies on its Bluetooth app
A 50-MHz DSP from Analog Devices is responsible for the control over the SB-3000. SVS confidently speaks of the most powerful processor in the subwoofer field.
It enables filter functions with 56-bit precision for room adjustment and frequency response optimization. Despite rear panel controls, you should adjust the SB-3000 and SB-4000 via the free Bluetooth app for iOS, Android, and Amazon devices.
This is much more convenient and more precise because you can immediately evaluate the result at the listening position.
In addition to functions such as the parametric 3-band EQ, a polarity reversal or room gain compensation is available for adapting to the room and the respective application.
How I did the test and what I found out
I put the SB-3000 and SB-4000 to the test in a 2-channel configuration (for music listening) and home theater.
The key points:
- SB-3000 has tight and powerful bass
- SB-3000 handles 2-channel effortlessly
- With SB-4000, drums hit harder
- SB-4000 stood out more in the home theater configuration
2-channel configuration (music listening)
The subwoofers were paired with two JBL L-100s and a Cambridge CXA61 stereo amplifier.
The source was the Cambridge CXA61, and the streamer played Amazon HD tracks.
The integrated amplifier had no bass management built in, so I relied completely on the SPS DSP for tuning. I ran through and found a suitable location for the subs with a relatively flat curve.
I then went into the app and basically tamed a couple of peaks and some Knowles with some equalization.
The SB-3000 performed it with tight and powerful bass on the first album. The click built into a deep bass tone in the chorus that demonstrated the amp and driver’s output.
Paint It Black, by Rolling Stones, floated a baseline throughout the song that will have the driver busy as well. I quickly realized I had the gain too high during this, although this also demonstrated just how much bandwidth is actually available in the subs.
Another thing I’d like to point out is that SB-3000 can punch when they need it, but they can also blend in.
An example of this would be the David Bowie song The Jean Genie, covered by Iggy Pop. It’s a solid example of simply adding more texture and dynamics. Drum hits and baselines attacked and blended, with no booming, bloated bass, or blurring.
All in all, the subwoofer handled 2-channel effortlessly, and at no point the driver seem stressed or pushed.
The SB-4000 attacked with the same speed and power, but I found a new layer. The D-frequencies were pushing through slightly more, and the chest thump was a little more pronounced as well.
Drum hits on Thunderstruck by AC/DC hit a little harder, almost like it put an exclamation point on it.
Most of the frequencies in my sound demos could easily be produced by the SB-3000. But there was definitely a notable change in hardware between the two.
Home theater configuration
The subs are connected to the Denon AVR-X4000 receiver and calibrated with Odyssey xt32.
In LFV mode, the low-pass filter is disabled, allowing the subs to really breathe. I moved both subs through the same familiar scenes in Inception, Batman, The Dark Knight, and The Matrix.
The SB-3000 (buy it from the SVS sound store if you’re in the USA or Canada) was able to dish out deep thundering bass and scenes but also articulated enough to add character and details to whatever you’re watching.
It could pressurize the room, letting you feel the subsonic frequencies with ease. My listening room is open and large, and this subwoofer can hit well above its footprint.
The SB-4000 in the same setting stood out more in the home theater setting. The LFV tracks highlighted what this sub could really do. Absolutely pound out deep tactile base with no distortion or signs of slowing down.