SVS 3000 Micro subwoofer

My incommodious room favors small standmount and panel speakers that some audiophiles would say require a subwoofer.

But I was never inspired to try one until a new category of subwoofer appeared: the "micro" (aka soccer-ball) subwoofer. The minute I saw the little KEF KC62, a 10" cube, I imagined it could do 0–100Hz and back to zero in record time. I reported on the KEF microsub last month, in Gramophone Dreams #49.

Just after I completed that report, I spied the SVS 3000 Micro. It, too, looked like a well-tuned, high-revving four-cylinder racer. When my request for a review sample was approved, my mind began to ask itself: What makes one subwoofer better than another? What does it actually mean for a subwoofer to be "fast"? Do some subs sprint like greyhounds while others drag their hind paw?

I asked Technical Editor John Atkinson to define the word fast as it applies to subwoofers. His answer was perfect: "As a subwoofer reproduces a narrow frequency band, its drive-unit alignment should be overdamped if it is not to sound boomy or blurry." Then I called Sound & Vision Technical Editor Michael Trei, my old friend and an experienced subwoofer reviewer, and asked the same question. I got the same answer though in different words. "It's more about stopping than starting," Mike said. "Lack of overhang is key." He added that, in this respect, sealed boxes are usually best.

Description
SVS Sound's new, most compact sub, the $799.99 3000 Micro, is a supersmall (10.9" × 11.7" × 10.7"), 26.7lb sealed-box subwoofer featuring dual-opposing 8" aluminum-cone drivers equipped with dual-ferrite magnets. SVS's first micro sub is considerably smaller than its slightly more expensive siblings: the sealed-box SB-3000 ($999.99), which weighs twice as much (54.5lb), measures 15.6" × 15.2" × 17.8", and features 13" drivers, and the still larger, even heavier, ported, more expensive ($1399.99) PB-3000. All three use the same 800W RMS (2500W peak) Sledge STA-800D2 class-D power amplifier. The 3000 Micro's specified frequency response is 23–240Hz, ±3dB.

721svs.rem

The SVS 3000 Micro can be adjusted with a Bluetooth smartphone app that works in Apple iOS and Google's Android. This exciting-to-use (!) app instructs and assists subwoofer installers in adjusting volume, low-pass frequency (30–200Hz), phase, polarity, room-gain compensation, and crossover slope (6, 12, 18, or 24dB/octave); the phase adjustment is performed with a slider calibrated in single degrees. There is also a DSP-powered parametric equalizer, which allows users to create and save as many as three custom EQ adjustments.

If you lose your smartphone, you can control most features of the 3000 Micro using the Intelligent Control Interface (ICI), a backlit user interface on the subwoofer's side plate. In addition to the obligatory On/Off switch and IEC power cord receptacle, this control panel features a 3.5mm trigger input and unbalanced (RCA) line-level inputs and outputs. There is no speaker-level input, nor is there an active, high-pass–filtered crossover output for rolling off the main speakers. One interesting feature is room-gain compensation, which allows the bass to be rolled off gradually (6dB or 12dB/octave, selectable) below a certain frequency (25Hz–40Hz) to keep the bass from rising at the lowest levels in small rooms. Also on the side panel is a USB Type A port for firmware updates and for powering SVS's $119.99 SoundPath Wireless Audio Adapter. An Auto/On button allows you to set the 3000 to stay on all the time instead of going into Standby mode.

721svs.bac2

The most important side-panel buttons are the [+] and [–] buttons, which allow owners to adjust subwoofer volume, raise or lower the low-pass frequency cutoff, select the frequency where room gain compensation kicks in, and fine-tune the phase angle; sometimes a bit of subtle-but-shrewd sub-to-satellite phase management can be the difference between subwoofers that completely disappear and ones that almost disappear, especially in multisub installations.

The 3000 Micro allows users to adjust the woofer's output phase in 10 discrete steps between 0° and 180°. An LED bar display indicates settings for each of those variables.

Setup
For me, adding a subwoofer is not a quick or simple exercise; it is a long-term, leisure-time project in which I aim to create a pair of three-way loudspeakers out of a pair of two-way loudspeakers and a sub.

Part of my brain says that this is an absurd task, one at which I'll never succeed. But another part remembers what Stereophile Senior Contributing Editor Kal Rubinson wrote in his review of the JL Audio Fathom f110v2 subwoofer. I paraphrase: Positioning main loudspeakers for imaging and tonal balance is very different than positioning stand-alone sources of low bass, which, for sophisticated music listening, should be positioned to minimize adverse interactions with low-frequency room-boundary modes. Kal's words encouraged me to try subwoofers again and motivated me to perform these careful setup experiments.

721svs.bac1

Armed with pink noise and warble tones from my trusty Editor's Choice CD and my now-discontinued dB Pro iPhone app, I did a lot of measuring when I reviewed the KEF KC62 subwoofer. I measured extensively because I did not yet know where to place the woofer for best blending with the satellites. At the start of that report, I connected the woofer to a 25' RCA cable and a long power cord and tried everywhere the sub could possibly go, including right next to my listening couch and under my desk. In most locations, boundary modes created irregularities in the frequency response that announced the sub's sound as separate from (and different than) the main speakers.

During those experiments, I supplemented listening with an FFT app on my iPhone called Octave RTA. I used it to look at dual-mono (uncorrelated) pink noise, with, without, and with only the subwoofer. It was interesting to observe, with the microphone fixed in my listening position, how the bass response morphed as I moved the woofer from place to place. My brain does not do room-mode math, but watching these changes on the FFT app helped me "see" my room as a complex (but stable) acoustical compliance.

721svs.exploded

Because of these experiments, when the SVS 3000 Micro arrived, I pretty much already knew where it should go. Between my speakers but off-center, I discovered a spot about 36" from my front wall that is what the late David Wilson might have called a "zone of neutrality," a place where the power of boundary reflections seems lowest.

Once the 3000 Micro was positioned, the SVS iPhone app made the remaining setup almost too easy: No crawling on the floor with a flashlight to change settings. No worrying or keeping notes or trying to remember how the last setting sounded. I just sat on my couch, iPhone in hand, iPad with Roon at my side, playing one recording after another and tweaking filter slope, volume, and turnover frequency one cycle or one dB at a time. For example, I spent one lazy afternoon adjusting the 3000 Micro's low-pass filter, 1Hz at a time, between 70 and 75Hz, simultaneously tweaking the level between –22 and –27dB.

One of the recordings I relied on was Maximilian Hornung playing Dmitry Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No.2 in G major, Op.126, on his album Cello Concertos of 1966 (16/44.1 FLAC, Myrios Classics/Tidal). The raw invention and surprise-filled drama of this composition make repeated listening more exciting with each repetition. Its relatively uncompressed dynamics are spread evenly over 10 octaves. I knew I was closing in on the right settings when the kettledrums and cello sounded like I thought they should. The smart design and subtle responsiveness of the SVS iPhone app made my setup efforts into pleasurable, music-filled learning experiences.

Listening
Some purists think adding a subwoofer to a BBC-licensed LS3/5a is heretical. But for me, using subwoofers to extend the bass of my Falcon Gold Badges has caused me to comprehend many of my favored albums in a deeper (pun intended) way—a way I'm certain their creators intended for them to be appreciated.

COMPANY INFO
SVS
340 Victoria Rd.
Youngstown, OH, 44515
(877) 626-5623
ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
partain's picture

I have a very old , very massive SVS sub that burned out its amplifier a year ago , SVS quickly sent me a new , upgraded amp with replacement directions for a modest sum .
Good people.
If I wasn't already over-endowed with bass capability , I'd love this new mini-sub .

Anton's picture

Señor Herb, could we beg the dimensions of your room?

I would love to get these, but I wonder if my room might not be a good fit.

Also, your opinion on one sub vs. two.

My fantasy is two of these babies lurking where they are felt, but not seen!

Thank you for the lovely review on a gREAT topic!

Herb Reichert's picture

my room measures 13' x 11' x 9.5' high. But!!!! It has no doors. Both sides of my main speakers open into hallways leading to other open ooms. So the volume is quite large and the boundaries are nebulous. Voice sounds clear and natural anywhere in this room. What's funny though, is how the system sounds noticeably muddy and less dynamic with the bedroom door (which is down at the end of a hall) closed. Also, the room is small enough that even without a sub, it sounds different with the windows open or closed. Rooms, like people and dogs and cats, have very distinct personalities.

On the one or two sub question: I can't advise because I've never been in your room. And . . . I am just now beginning to learn about how different subs 'feel' in my room.
good luck

herb

Jack L's picture

Hi

Easy easy, my friend. Adding subs to a home audio system is no "fantasy" at all. IMO, it is NEEDED !

FYI, I've installed 3 x 10" driver active subs to my humble system (L, R, L+R) many years back. I never look back as I am so so gratified having done so to ENHANCE my music enjoyment.

Why 3 subs so many? Well, as I already posted here before, there is usually an array of microphones (L, R, & L+R) overhanging the performance podium to pick the overall performance & acoustics of the hall. So Why not 3 subs then, to reproduce what the mics picked up ?

Listening is believing

Jack L

Anton's picture

Thank you!

thethanimal's picture

I’m glad you enjoyed the album. I recently was introduced to The Arcadian Wild’s album “Finch in the Pantry”; since you’ve avowed a love of bluegrass I think you’ll enjoy it as well. Not as emotionally enthralling as “Bloom” but great fun and poignant at times, with what to me seems like excellent recording of a live band (possibly a single centered stereo mic?). My buddy brought over the 180 gram 45 rpm vinyl, but it sounded as good on Tidal to me.

I recently replaced my 12” sealed SVS sub with the REL T/5x. The boom and overhang are gone, but I’m not sure it has the output I need in my larger open-concept space. Do I go for a second T/5x or jump up sizes? First world problems.

Herb Reichert's picture

I loved Bloom.

Now I think before you try another sub, you might wanna try Roscoe Holcomb's Folkways album The High Lonsome (Folkways LP FA 2368) it is so "emotionally enthralling" it cracks my chest open.

Meanwhile, with subwoofers, and regular loudspeakers, no one can advise from afar. You have to try them and see how they feel in your room.

hr.

thethanimal's picture

I’m enjoying Roscoe Holcomb now. Though I never heard this music much growing up it’s in my blood somehow; generations of farmers in upstate SC and western KY course through these veins. My uncle half jokes that my grandfather was a real life Ulysses Everett McGill in his younger years, and I’m inclined to half believe it.

I did mean the sub question to be rhetorical, but if you’re ever in Atlanta you’re welcome to stop by for some Decware / full-range driver / subwoofer fun. With a toddler and a wife who likes to go to bed earlier than I do it’s been hard to find time to fully express the neurosis required for proper subwoofer integration. My attempt during dinner preparation yesterday wasn’t well received.

Mikk's picture

Here in Australia, the 3000 micro is just over half the price of the SB3000. I imagine this would be due to much reduced shipping costs for the Micro’s micro shipping size, comparatively?
Either way, it makes 2 x 3000 Micro’s a feasible and affordable option for those of us not in USA, which is a definite win.

PeterG's picture

Great review, as always. As a proud member of the "need" a subwoofer camp, it's driven me bonkers to read sub reviews with no comparisons to other subs, only comparisons of stand mounts with and without subs. Even worse, stand mount reviews that do not use subs, then opine that the speakers could use a bit more base (Doh!) As you illustrate with the Harbeths, subs can be transformative. So many a speaker review is incomplete without them. Cheers!

MauriceRon's picture

how meny subs do you have? & which ones...

PeterG's picture

I have two systems with one sub each:

My first is a REL T5 paired with B&W CM-1s--it is a direct competitor to the SVS in the review, except it does not have an app. Just as the SVS, it takes some time to set up, and has a dramatic impact, breathing life into the sound. My little REL also has helped some very good floor standers.

My primary system is a couple of steps up the food chain--a B&W DB3D paired with B&W 805s. I chose the DB because B&W designed them specifically to match with their 800 series, and the DB app's automatic room correction makes placement and set up extraordinarily easy--just a few minutes.

Whatever your price point, if you do not have gigantic floor standers, it would be hard to find better bang for the buck than a well-matched sub.

Good luck!

MauriceRon's picture

thank you...which sub do you like the best....?

PeterG's picture

I prefer the B&W, but it's 3-4X the price, so maybe that's not a surprise.

B&W, REL, and SVS are all excellent. As Herb points out, matching is critical. So the best thing to do is get help from your local dealer if you have one. If you do not have one, I think I'd reach out to one or two of these companies online and ask for help matching to your main speakers. Good luck!

krahbeknudsen's picture

Dear Herb, Great article as usual. I was wondering whether you have played around with high pass for the speakers? This article I find very interesting: http://www.troelsgravesen.dk/High-Pass-Filter.htm

remlab's picture

..JA could figure out a way to test subs. I'm assuming he has a very good reason for not.

picky audiophile's picture

I wonder if Herb managed to come to a rest with certain settings. It might be tempting to incessantly readjust these subwoofer settings. Just in order to compensate for constantly shifting sound imperfections on a per-record basis.

Herb Reichert's picture

is when its right (at any price level) we can relax breathe easy and notice all the little flowers in the back corners of the soundstage

no?

Jack L's picture

Hi

Surprised to see from the picture above showing yr audition was carried out with the Falcon micros sitting on a table !

Would it be much better to have had the Falcons mounted on a pair of sturdy tall stands as Rogers always sound best when mounted on designated heavy duty tall stands, IMO.

I never want to listen to any small bookshelvers without mounted properly on floor stands as the sound will be subtantially compromised.

Listening is believing

Jack L

John Atkinson's picture
Jack L wrote:
Surprised to see from the picture above showing yr audition was carried out with the Falcon micros sitting on a table!

That's a stock "lifestyle" photo supplied by SVS.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

Jack L's picture

Hi

Glad you pointed it out.

No wonder! But still, the sub manufacturer should know better how to achieve better sound using the sub with proper placement of
the main speakers.

Jack

Herb Reichert's picture

My original Rogers LS3/5a came directly from CBS Television studios with Rogers factory wall mounts.

These small BBC monitors are voiced to work well near a wall or sitting on a recording console. They work very well on a desk.

Likewise the KEF LS50 works 'fine' sitting on a bureau or desk.

hr

hr

Jack L's picture

Hi

Yes, I fully agree when the monitors were used in studio when detailed accuracy in reproduction is paramount.

Yet, for HOME use, IMO, it will be an entirely different ballgame where closest to live performance is paramount.

So mini loudspeakers, e.g. the Rogers, MUST be placed on designated heavy-duty tall stands, far away from the walls & any furniture, etc. in order to get the best result, in term of image size & positioning, soundstaging & spatial envelopment etc. This is my experience.

I want to visualize the performance playing behind & beyond the loudspeakers back wall with sky being the limit for the performance atmosphere. When music is on, all loudspeakers are sonically 'vanished'.
Quality small loudspeakers mounted properly on quality tall stands can do the job.

Yes, difference objectives even for the same loudspeakers.

listening is believing

Jack L

Anton's picture

I would certainly love that!

mcrushing's picture

Herb, that Hosokawa/Mozart/Momo Kodama Record is mysterious, etherial and fabulous. Thanks for putting it on my radar. ECM delivers once again.

Bo Dacious's picture

It reminds me of the old Sunfire Junior (replaced by the Super Junior)subwoofer. Similar size and an excellent performer. A side by side comparison would be interesting. This SVS 3000 Micro have great adjustability so if might be a little easier to fit in with different main speakers and room.

tonykaz's picture

Mr.HR and his many associates seem to have access to ( or already own ) The phenomenal Abyss Headphone with it's 7 hz. Sub capabilities.

Should we ask for how this little Subwoofer System compares with a known outstanding ?

It might be 'unfair' to compare any large multi-driver transducer system that's limited by Room interactions, crossovers , wire, amplification, DACs but having an available reference is what a Reference is all about, isn't it?

Price wise, an Abyss System would be comparable in cost if not a bit less.

Tony in Venice Florida

ps. from the perspective of a 'decades-ago' importer and dealer for full-range Audio Systems, I have a feeling that my own modest & very vintage Sennheiser HD580 has no trouble ( effortlessly ) outperforming large loudspeaker systems . ( I do own full-range loudspeakers for background music )

Anton's picture

Probably great for when you host Hi Fi Club meetings, as well!

No vinyl, headphones are the reference...was your store called "Onan's?"

MatthewT's picture

Funny.

tonykaz's picture

My Audio Industry participation was during the Vinyl era, which has diminished to about 3% of the Media Sales now-a-days.

For the most part, a SubWoofer isn't needed for 33.3 which Engineers curtailed due to the groove limitations of Vinyl .

Recording people can now include significant content in the lowest Frequencies, tons of dynamic Range ( 20 bits ) and even feature loooooonnnnngggg decays.

Tony in Venice Florida

Anton's picture

Fine wine accounts for about 3% of total wine sales.

Fine dining makes up 1.4% of the restaurant segment.

I assume you also troll the wine and food forums telling them how Gallo Hearty Boxed Wine and McDonalds are the food trends you have latched onto?

Jazz sales make up only a small portion of the market compared to pop.

And you say digital is providing scads of dynamic range?

I think Onan may be your patron saint.

tonykaz's picture

Fine wine is 3%, hmm. Are the 97% cheap drunks?

Music Format buyers were once Vinyl buyers that abandoned 33.3 by an overwhelming percentage for overwhelming reasons that everyone knows well.

Committed 33.3 people are still sarcastically crying over the milk spilled long ago, almost shunning the non-believing. Has 33.3 become a Cult ?

Going back is not an option.

Tony in Venice Florida

Jack L's picture

Hi Tony

Sorry to disagree.

Apparently you haven't tried out good LPs with sub bass music using quality subs yet.

Here I just quote 2 LPs I own that pump out floor rocking sub bass notes via my 3 subs (L, R L+R) hooked up direct to my design/built tube phono-linestage:

(1) Richard Strauss ALso Sprach Zarathustra played by Boston Symphony directed by William Steinberg. (DGG 2535 209 1971).

I can virtualize some 20Hz subbass notes slowly crawling toward me, followed immediately by sharp powerful kettle drum beats !! Breathtaking transient !

(2) Andrew DAvis plays the organ at Roy Thomson Hall (CBC ERA 109
digital master 1984)

The last track of Olivier Messiaen rocks my 700sq ft basement audio den !!

I am yet to audition any CDs that can impressed like the above 2 LPs.

Listening is believing

Jack L

tonykaz's picture

Thanks for writing back,

My relationship with 33.3 Vinyl is primarily historic.

I still own a Stored Collection of Recordings that will probably end up in someone else's hands.

I rely on portable gear that easily reaches into the ultra low frequencies with powerful authority.

Perhaps there are some Vinyls that reach down to the lowest range, I'll accept that you discovered 2ea. ! I'd be worried that the Player would resonate with those powerful pressures to create a feedback loop.

Ultra low frequency capability remains kinda frightening to me as I encounter it, it's a Jurassic Park Predator feeling that has me looking around for a scary attack.

However

I love listening to Drums which now seem more Live and Real than they ever did over multidriver music systems. 5 or 6 watts in a headphone system accomplishes what a couple thousand Subwoofer Watts might do.

And Piano recording now seem to have a much richer range of harmonics than I recall my previous Full Range systems revealing.

Home Audio Gear is benefiting from plenty of juried Engineering talent now-a-days. ( older favorite gear might sound limited by comparison ) .

Vintage gear still sells well & 300B WESTERN ELECTRIC Tubes still cost mega dollars while an outstanding ABYSS Diana & Head Fi Amp ( both made in USA ) cost $5,000 US.

Tony in Venice Florida

Jack L's picture

Hi

YES, I love the ELEGANT sound of vintage WE300b like crazy. It sounds sooo effortless, so airy & so captivating. Yes, it ask for mega bucks assuming genuine ones are still available.

But for those rich & affordable who already own crazy priced amps, like USD125,000 Audio Note Japan 'Kegon' (17W+17W 2x2WE300B), whatever 'mega' bucks to pay for the vintage WE300Bs is only peanut to them.

I can only sum up the lively sound of WE300B:
"A Cinderella spinning ballet in her dancing shoes !"

Jack L

tonykaz's picture

It seems that Tubes are the easiest and least expensive way to have outstanding Sound Quality.

I'll submit the low priced Schiit Valhalla 2 ( for $300 used ) and a partial set of Russian Glass ( for around $200 ) will delight.

But Glass has a rather short half-life compared to a Solid State device.

Still: Tube rolling can be cheaper than outright buying pricy Transistor Gear.

Tube Rolling is also a crazy-fun hobby in/of itself.

I live with the Sound Quality limitations of Shirt Pocket Gear that travels well, besides I'm not going for the addictive dopamine release when I'm out ( which is most of the time ).

Tony in Venice Florida

ps. $1,500 for assured Sound Quality ( WE 300B pair ) seems reasonable if they live for the thousands of hours claimed.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Yes, "glass" is a vacuum state device & stops working when atmospheric air gets into the tube sooner or later, depending on the tube internal structure. Power tubes normally go faster due to operating at the high voltage/current, resulting thermal runaway due to very high operating temperatures.

That said, driver tubes will last much longer due to cooler working on lower voltage/currents.

FYI, the vintage 50-year-plus-old Telefunken ECC83s used in my design/built phono-linestage for many years now, are still kicking butts with no sign of backing down. Believe it not, they are operating off 440V HV DC supply --- no sweat !!

Jack L

tonykaz's picture

I agree, Tubes can last a Lonnnnnnggggg time.

Keep those fingers crossed.

Tony in Venice Florida

remlab's picture

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/abyss-ab-1266-phi-tc-review-headphone.23411/

tonykaz's picture

Are you the person that performed this Review?

Are you confident that this review is accurate ?

Have you auditioned any of the Abyss Products or are you making decisions based on someone's technical measurements ?

Still, all these Graphs might just be what Outstanding looks like on a Oscilloscope. ( or what might be the Closest to Outstanding we've ever gotten to )

I have my own audiosciencereview that I use to evaluate, why would I need someone's mic, Scope and signals?

--- I did tend to trust Tyll & John Atkinson's measurements ---

Tony in Venice Florida.

dcolak's picture

How can we know if it is a good product without the measurements???

Please add the measurements. Reviewing hi-fi without measurements makes no sense.

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