Keep in mind that AVR settings are kind of personal, and will vary as the equipment changes. I decided to do a walk through on some of my own Denon X6200W AVR settings, not to proclaim it as the right way to do it, but just to show the way I do it. Some or all of the settings I use may not be right for you, but my hope is that some may benefit from seeing how I adjust my settings and why.
Tip: the Denon X6300 comes with 11 channels now, and the Denon X4300 and Marantz SR-7010, SR-7011, and SR-6011 are all 9 channel, allowing 4 height effect Dolby Atmos and DTS:X speaker configurations, and most if not all offer Auro 3D as a paid upgrade. The Denon X6300 allows 4 height, but also back/rear surrounds as well, I would need to add an external amp to do that with the X6200w. I also really like the Sub EQ HT feature on these units, it does a really nice job.
Updated 8/8/17 after spending time with 2 PB-16 Ultras.
Have you ever asked yourself what would happen if arguably one of the world’s best subwoofer makers, SVS, decided to design a mega-subwoofer? I have, but I clearly think about subwoofers a lot. To a fault, I’m sure.
I’m very proud to be the world’s first SVS affiliate, along with my other site affiliations like Amazon. The economics of being a YouTube Creator are challenging, and I need all the support I can get, but I truly enjoy this project and interacting with my audience.
Given the reputation and performance of SVS subwoofers, their support makes a lot of sense for this site; I’d be discussing their subwoofers regardless. Viewers regularly express their surprise at just how amazing SVS subs are. I get some fun comments! The depth is undeniable, even with their most economical subs.
Gary Yacoubian, president of SVS, challenged the engineering team to build something that they were uniquely qualified to build. A bigger and badder subwoofer than the PB-13 Ultra!
That’s a tall order, if you know anything about high quality subwoofers. The PB-13 Ultra has been a home theater champion for quite a while.
The new subwoofer is truly exciting, and a little frightening! In both sealed and ported configurations, the PB16 Ultra and the SB16 Ultra, are just insane. The power behind these subs easily eclipse the PB-13 Ultra, which already delivers an astonishing 1,000 watts RMS and 3,600 watts peak. The new PB16 Ultra delivers an obscene 1,500 watts RMS and over 5,000 watts peak!!!
Now just in case you missed that, we’re talking 5 KILOWATTS of peak power!! 10 KILOWATTS with duals!! Fun, right??
5,000 watts, available and ready to convince you that there is, indeed, a T-Rex crashing through your living room. Nikola Tesla himself might have been impressed!
Subwoofer 101 Disclaimer: NOT for houses with weak foundations!!
At first, that disclaimer was just a joke. Joking aside, having enjoyed these subs personally, you might need to actually consider it. Finding the limits of these subs is not something I’m willing to attempt.
Seriously. This house was built in the 50’s, and these subs made me nervous when I tried to push it. I gave up well before the subs did.
Not only did they cram the power of a typical naval ship into the incredibly reinforced cabinet (which is an absolute MUST at these levels), they’ve added new features for SVS, including a smartphone app and a remote control, along with an advanced DSP.
I have to say, I was concerned that the app might be a little gimmicky, but it’s incredibly well thought out, allowing multiple subs, the ability to rename those subs, ability to change the PEQ’s (Parametric Equalizers) with graphs for visual reference (rather than just plain numbers) to change the response curve, and all of it done in real-time. As the app changes (like an increase in volume), so does the sub.
A lot of time was spent on the app, and it really shows. It’s very intuitive. Being able to see how the Q effects the response is very useful, as some enthusiasts may not be 100% on how Q adjustments will effect outcome. In the app, it’s pretty clear once you fiddle with it.
At one point I thought I’d found a flaw in the app: every time I set the music or movie preset, everything defaulted, including the PEQ’s, Port Tuning, and Volume, which could really be an issue. Turns out, when you make adjustments, you’re supposed to save the preset.
Here I thought I was clever, and it turned out I just hadn’t read the directions. I’m sure that’s the first time that’s ever happened in home audio, right?
Saving the presets to Movie and Music allows you to run that extra dB or so for movies, and still have the perfect balance for music. Even if you run the same setting for both, it’s still a good idea to save both presets anyway.
Then there’s the new driver. Huge 8” voice coil. Massive magnet. It is shipped on a pallet due to the weight. You’re not getting this sub into the house on your own without a substantial dolly, and even then you should have someone help you. The dimensions according to the SVS website are 25” H X 21.7” W X 30.9” D and 174.5 pounds for the ported PB16-Ultra.
It’s not only deep in extension, it’s deep in physical dimension. You’ll want about 33″+ clearance to the wall. Not Small.
I’m really enjoying these subwoofers. I waited for a while to do the review, and the only way I could review it was in a dual configuration. Knowing what duals are capable of, a single didn’t give me the experience I wanted. So, I tried mixing subs.
I’ve found that trying to mix subs is generally harder than perfectly matched subs. The closer they are, the better. The PB-2000 (12″ driver) with a PB-16 Ultra (16″ driver) was not very good, with some annoying cancellations.
PB-16 Ultra mixed with the HSU VTF-15 (15″ driver)? It was better (I’m assuming due to a closer driver size) but still not what I knew it should be. I still haven’t heard dual VTF-15’s, so based on this experience, I still haven’t truly “heard” the VTF-15’s.
When SVS was finally able to send out the second PB-16 Ultra, everything clicked into place. A tight wall of well composed thunder came forth! It was then that I truly understood the desire for increased power.
I have wood floors, which absorbs energy and redistributes sound (not a good thing), so I took the isolation off of the PB-2000’s, and with an extra pack from SVS (the PB-16 Ultra requires 6 instead of 4 feet) I got both subs mostly decoupled from the floor.
The buzz in the floor, which could be felt clearly on the other side of the house, was now only evident when standing near the subs. I envy those with concrete floors, but now I was ready to rock.
Fear laced giggling was the initial response, something new people tend to experience as well. They always look around to be sure the house is not coming down, legitimately.
Hacksaw Ridge, when the big navy guns go off, is something that still makes me shake my head in awe. Absolutely incredible with these subwoofers!!
When we first saw that scene, my wife and I just looked at each other in disbelief, jaws on the floor and eyes wide, then we laughed out loud, and used some expletives to properly punctuate the experience.
Keep in mind, big powerful subs are not new to us. We had expectations, but we were still unprepared for the merciless onslaught we’d experienced. And yet the pummeling was not painful, just exciting and fun! A little scary, sure, but incredibly fun!
Music is still as it should be, soft when soft bass is being played, but the true benefits of power become evident with powerful, “sharp” bass. Explosions hit you in the chest. Deep in the chest.
Some might assume that with such great home theater chops, music won’t be as good. After hearing all of my favorite material, even hearing vinyl for the first time in over 20 years, I can say that Diana Krall’s album on vinyl sounds absolutely gorgeous on these subs, as does Norah Jones, and my usual “go-to” tracks. If anything, the bass is just more sure footed.
Dual subwoofers are really important for music. Running dual matched subs means being able to hear all of the bass, and reduces “Swiss Cheese Bass”. Running matched duals wont make “bad” subwoofers sound great, but they will sound better.
So having said that, does this mean that the PB-16 Ultra requires a $5000 bass budget? Yes, I believe that 1,000%. If you’re going to spend this kind of money on a subwoofer, you really should get everything out of it, and not immediately put it at a disadvantage. I believe that to be true for any subwoofer.
If you’re running a cheap home theater in a box, getting a second matching sub would help, but it’s far from essential. If you’re spending anywhere near $1000 or more on a subwoofer, you really need 2.
So before the suggestion even arises, yes, if you followed the links, and bought 2 PB-16 Ultra subwoofers, it would be better for me than if you bought a single, so that MUST be my motive! No, my suggestion is that you should split your budget.
If you’re scrimping and saving to buy a single PB-16 Ultra, consider dual PB-12 Plus instead. So long as you order factory direct, you still have a year to upgrade at full purchase price, less shipping costs.
You may not get all of the benefits of the PB-16 Ultra, like the impressive amp, 75 pound driver, 8 inch voice coil, app, remote control, etc… but it’s how I would spend my money if I only had enough cash for a single PB-16 Ultra. Dual subwoofers are THAT important!!
But should you go sealed or ported? I’ve tackled this topic already, but to reiterate, I find the PB-16 Ultra more comfortable to listen to, as sealed causes a bit of ear fatigue, something I discovered when I checked out the SB-2000 subwoofers.
I expected to be a sealed subwoofer convert, but the unexpected pressure issues I experienced reduced my listening sessions down to less than an hour, and by comparison I can enjoy ported subs all day. Some people have this issue, others don’t.
I thought maybe the sealed issue might have been a room correction issue, so I was willing to try sealed again just to be sure. After all, sealed subs do have a lot of benefits, like zero port noise, tighter response, etc…
So I decided to try the PB-16 Ultra’s in sealed mode. That is what confirmed it, sealed subs don’t work for me. Angel (the white Tibetan Mastiff) didn’t like it either, her ears twitched in sealed mode, the same as with the SB-2000’s. So I think I can safely say that ported subs are more pet friendly.
Remember that naval gun scene in Hacksaw Ridge? She just slept through it, no problem. I’ve gotten used to seeing them snooze unfazed with their heads right next to the subs, but when my friend pointed it out, I realized it was pretty remarkable just how comfortable these powerful ported subs are.
I have to say though, in sealed mode, I was VERY impressed with the depth, it presented with similar characteristics of a ported sub! If you enjoy sealed subs, the SB-16 Ultra is a winner. It’s smaller, but still able to deliver serious home theater performance. The response profile is exactly what I prefer.
There are 3 modes on the PB-16 Ultra, Standard, Extended, and Sealed. Standard has all three ports open, Extended has two ports open, and sealed has all three ports closed. My favorite is Standard mode.
In Standard mode (all ports open), the performance is excellent, even in torture scenes like the one above. You can see from the video above that the PB-16 Ultras move a ton of air, enough to blow out the candles from across the room!
Cutting that airflow by 33% (plugging one port for Extended mode) was not quite as good for me. These subs like to breathe, and the extra 1/2 to 1 hertz extension wasn’t worth the trouble. Standard mode never sounded like it wasn’t deep enough.
Extended mode didn’t sound quite as natural to me either, so I recommend you let these babies breathe.
The SB-16 Ultras will not have as much headroom as the PB-16 Ultras will, but they are FAR from anemic, and will easily deliver the goods better than most ported subs. In Sealed mode, I found the sound of the PB-16 Ultra to be very impressive, and it made me more annoyed at my intolerance of sealed subs.
These subwoofers excel in providing realism that’s as close to real life as I’ve ever heard. For an ultimate home theater, a pair of PB-16 Ultras deliver a wall of bass that remains comfortable while exhilarating. Quite a trick, if you really think about it!
I don’t want to mislead anyone though. These subs, just like their least expensive stable mate, the PB-1000, could hurt your ears if pushed hard enough (I know, thanks to a rookie mistake measuring the PB-1000’s too loud), decibels are decibels.
When configured properly (as any sub should be) they are simply a joy to listen to, if not genuinely startling at times.
If you’re fortunate enough to add these subs to your home theater, plug them in, get them adjusted (more on how I do it), consider warning the neighbors to avoid uninvited blue and red party lights, buckle up, and enjoy the realism that few people will ever experience!
At $2,499 for the ported, and $1,999 for the sealed, they aren’t for those on strict budgets, but with a 5 year warranty including amp and electronics, free shipping, a gorgeous look, and loads of adjust-ability and convenience to go with it’s ultra powerful, sub-audible bass performance, they are truly outstanding.
This is what a home theater Mega-Subwoofer should be!
First and foremost, in deciding between these 2 subwoofers, you need to be asking yourself whether you are going to get 2 PB-1000’s or 2 PB-2000’s.
Getting a single sub, no matter how good it is, will leave gaping holes in your bass performance. No bueno. This is true of any subwoofer, not just SVS subs. Splitting your bass budget to get 2, so long as they are still quality subs, is almost always better than a single awesome sub at the same price.
This isn’t some audiophile thing, the way some might insist on $2,500 speaker wire (or a certain brand of cracker that MUST go with your caviar) otherwise life just isn’t worth living. This is real, and it makes a noticeable difference, even if the results aren’t always measurable.
2 subwoofers break down the standing wave effect, reducing peaks and dead spots, allowing you to hear bass that you would not otherwise be able to fully hear. It’s important, especially if you are going to go so far as to get good subs.
With that out of the way, people ask whether it is worth the extra money to go from PB-1000’s to the PB-2000’s. Being world’s first SVS affiliate, and having heard both in my room for some time, my knee jerk reaction is absolutely, but I need to go into some reasons why. Budget, of course, is a big issue, and space is the other.
In considering your budget, only you can decide that issue. Is it worth being late on your electric bill? I can’t answer that for you, some people might say yes, but I probably wouldn’t do that myself. For sure, the PB-1000’s are excellent subs, and will get down to 21 hertz before starting to taper off, which is a drastic departure from most “common” ported subwoofers.
A lot of subs, even expensive ones, start “calling it a day” and tapering off around 30-40 hertz, and some even sooner than that. The PB-1000’s are just getting started in that range. They will put a big grin on your face if you’ve never heard a quality sub. Even if you’ve heard quality subs, they are impressive and earn respect.
They are also the smallest ported subwoofer I can confidently recommend at this point. They are still larger than many ported 10” subs out there, but still “small” in the realm of proper ported bass.
Are they enough?
I’ve stated before and I’ll say it again: If the PB-1000’s were the last subs I could ever have, I would not be upset in the slightest.
I still believe they are the smartest buy in bass. I learned how to measure subwoofers with these, and through my own mistake, I damaged my ears, reaching well over 120 decibels in my room. It took 2-3 weeks to feel “right” again. They never made a bad sound during that brutal onslaught.
Output wise, yes, they are enough for me, and I would have to assume they are enough for most sane people.
Honestly though, who get’s into this to have “enough”, right? I would have 2 PB-16 Ultra’s if I could, it has nothing to do with “need”.
So what do you get when going from the PB-1000 to the PB-2000? Power is increased from 300 watts RMS to 500 watts RMS, and 700 watts peak to 1100 watts peak. More power is almost always a good thing.
You also get deeper response. Where the PB-1000’s are respectably flat to 21 hertz, the PB-2000’s are flat to 14 hertz. For perspective, I can’t hear below 17 hertz, so the PB-2000’s cover every bit of audible bass for me. I love that in a subwoofer, and for a ported subwoofer, it’s not common at all. Gold star!
On the PB-2000 you get the rounded metal grille, where the PB-1000 has a more traditional cloth over wood grille. Some people have issues with the metal grill. For some it’s an aesthetic thing, while others have found that the grill will fall off if not pushed in all the way, which could take you by surprise. It’s fairly heavy and could come down with a crash.
I never had an issue with the metal grille at all, and I like how it cleans easily, where cloth grills can attract and hold dust. I have dogs that bring in dust, so I notice this kind of thing. I prefer the metal grille myself.
Then there is this thing called headroom. The PB-1000’s have plenty of output in a dual configuration, so why would I want more power? Well, when you have more than you need, the results are often better, like horsepower or towing capacity.
Try hauling a heavy trailer up a grade with a truck loaded to it’s maximum GCVWR (gross combined vehicle weight rating), and you are really going to feel it. Now haul that same trailer with a more capable truck that has an extra 5,000 pounds worth of capacity, and that same grade will feel like nothing. It’s a little like that, you never feel like you’re pushing anything too hard, and it does what you want with ease.
The PB-2000’s are barely working at levels that would have the PB-1000’s really moving, so there’s a lot left over. I’ve not pushed the PB-2000’s to their limits. I don’t see any need to; they do so well when I play them as loud as I can tolerate already.
I’ve even cranked up the subwoofer output at the AVR and really rocked them, but I gave up before they did. I pushed the PB-1000’s to their limits, and while it was uncomfortable, I still managed to do it. My house is older, so I chickened out on the PB-2000’s. Another gold star.
So for those agonizing, I can say that both are absolutely impressive, and if you’re coming from disappointing bass (like most are), it will sound incredible by comparison. The difference compared to most subs is undeniable unless you legitimately have hearing problems.
At this point, it’s like deciding whether to get a 3D TV or not. It’s really nice to have 3D, but it’s not going to ruin your home theater experience if you stay 2D. As long as you are at least 4K, you’re in pretty good shape. Dual PB-1000’s should absolutely satisfy your needs without any real remorse of what could have been.
That said, it’s good to keep in mind that SVS has a phenomenal consumer protection package called the Bill of Rights, and one of the benefits is the ability to upgrade within a year at full price. I’ve had a lot of people tell me there is no way they could justify anything more than the PB-1000’s, and I do see their point.
For me, the only thing that would hold me back from getting the PB-2000’s over the PB-1000’s is whether I have the cash or not. In the grand scheme of things they aren’t really much bigger, so size is not that big of a deal to me. The PB-2000’s fit nicely on either side of my entertainment center, and looking at the specs of other subs, they will likely be the best fitting subwoofers on “The List” in my situation.
The PB-2000’s represent everything I discuss on this site and this channel: True, authoritative, full range bass performance at a reasonable price. The PB-1000’s are almost as good, only losing a small amount of bottom end and headroom in comparison.
In my opinion, the PB-1000’s arebetter in a dual configuration than a “single” PB-2000.
Make duals a priority, and you should be in good shape.
**Everyone** wants better bass, whether they realize it or not. Even people who scoff, and say it’s not important, or that they aren’t interested, are quickly “converted” once they hear the difference.
It’s undeniable, and so much better than what most people are used to! From blockbuster movies to Diana Krall, nearly everything sounds better when you can actually hear **ALL** of the bass.
Traditional, run of the mill subwoofers basically filter out real depth, which is not good.
This isn’t just about loudness, almost any typical, basic, run of the mill sub can be loud.
It’s about the Depth of Presentation, or truly **SOUNDING DEEP**.
Your local theater rarely dips under 40 hertz with any meaning, while many of these subwoofers will routinely drop to 14 hertz in room, which is likely lower than you can hear.
Most subwoofers, easily more than 90% of ALL 10″-18″ subs (regardless of wattage, rated frequency response, and price), are TOO SHALLOW SOUNDING, both in extension and in “Depth of Presentation”.
“Depth of Presentation” is important, because your hearing fades as the frequencies get deeper.
Some people assume that’s why they can’t hear the deep stuff, but it’s actually the “typical subwoofer” that is to blame. It’s definitely audible, but most subs just don’t produce *enough* of it.
Few subs can plumb the depths, like they really should.
Good bass is not about what your neighbors can hear (like that guy next to you at the stoplight), it’s about what YOU can hear.
If you have an extra-large room (greater than 600 sq ft), you may need to look at the bigger subs, while those with large rooms and smaller have no such limitations on this particular list, so long as you go dual like you should.
You can always turn a sub down, and it should always be volume matched to your main speakers, regardless of room size.
Big subs like these DO NOT mean overpowering “boom boom”, they mean “articulate” bottom end sound reproduction, which will include blowing your mind with movies like Jurassic Park and Hacksaw Ridge, and shows like my personal favorite, Cosmos.
Amazing content with the proper subs.
Cosmos was particularly surprising. It’s not all about punch, but a lot of low rumbling sounds too. It’s an impressive series too, bass aside. Dr. Tyson has a great way of explaining things.
If the source material is bass heavy, these subs will respond appropriately, while still remaining balanced, and not intrusive at all with regular content, when properly set up.
Tom Petty’s (RIP, I love his music) “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” will NOT rock your world with bass, it just wasn’t mastered that way. Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters”, “Lord’s of Summer”, and “Murder One” are truly an experience, if you enjoy their music.
Metallica’s album, “Hardwired… To Self Destruct” is excellent for bass. “Lords of Summer” is what I use to set subwoofer levels by ear. I used to use several songs, but I get it set right away with 1 song now.
These subs should all do as they’re told, no more, no less. They should be thrilling, yet not intrusive. You can run them too loud of course, but integrated properly, they are true to the content.
The following subwoofers are known for great bass, a DRASTIC departure from more commonly known names that tend to inflate their numbers, but totally lose composure at lower levels. All of these should play with real authority to 20 Hertz, not just make “measurable noise” at that depth.
It’s my opinion that a subwoofer is not a **quality subwoofer* if it can’t play the entire humanly audible bass spectrum, down to 20 hertz,with clear, low distortion authority. Impeccable manners are also a must, and more rare than you might imagine.
Since I have not listened to every single sub out there, the only subs I can personally vouch for on this list are labeled “VERIFIED”.
Others I shy away from, often due to customer service concerns, like shipping policies that are outdated and prohibitive. If you’re asking your prospective customers to take a leap of faith by buying a product they’ve never heard, you should make it easier if they decide they don’t like it.
No subs over $3,500 will make the list for the sake of value and relative sanity.
As you can see, the list is pretty short. Great bass is truly rare. Keep in mind that going dual is SUPER important, and I would make it aSTRONG priority instead of getting the largest sub possible.
If you are going this far, you might as well do it right! You will need a pretty big room to strain any of these if you listen at “normal person” levels (loud, with plenty of oomph, but not ear damaging, headache inducing, foundation crumbling loud).
If you want serious power, more authority, and super convincing realism (a truly believable thunderstorm in your room), go with the higher end models, like dual PB-3000’s or PB-16 Ultras.
I would consider it a mistake to buy one of these to use **as a single**.
Splitting your budget for other subs on this list is a MUCH better choice.
**Dual PB-3000’s** would yield MUCH better results than a **single PB-16 Ultra**.
Gotta go dual! Seriously, it’s everything!!
Most of my audience, would be thrilled with ANY of the following in a dual setup. There isn’t a dog in the bunch, and even the smallest will challenge structural integrity when pushed, that I can absolutely verify!
This will be an evolving list that will change as I listen to more offerings. Generally, ported offerings produce greater output and depth of presentation, and therefore better value over a sealed sub, but that’s just my opinion.
Many prefer sealed, and I can respect that. See my Ported vs Sealed write-up for more on that.
I find ported subs MUCH more comfortable to listen to, and I highly recommend them over sealed for sensitive ears, like those prone to headaches, sensitive ears in general, autism spectrum, Post Concussion Syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury, and pets.
I have Post Concussion Syndrome, which causes light and sound sensitivity. A canary in the coal mine, poor sound will bother me before it bothers most people. It’s something I prefer NOT to experience, I don’t recommend it. Similar to a horrific hangover.
This sound sensitivity is why I don’t review sealed subs anymore, but I do respect their positive qualities.
If I was going to go with sealed, I would start with the SB-3000’s. That is where the sealed subs take on a deep, ported box sound, which is a very good thing.
Even the most finicky audiophiles would have a hard time picking these subs apart in any “meaningful” way.
Subwoofer101 is the world’s first SVS affiliate. I asked them to start an affiliate program years ago, so I could have a way to support my content.
They have easily been the most supportive of my message about deep bass, which makes sense, because they produce what most “in the know” would consider the gold standard of subwoofers. Their customer service is also legendary.
Rather than producing “man cave only” subwoofers, they produce subs that look nice in multi use, living/family rooms as well, while also producing the deepest sounding subs on this list.
All subs on the list are deep sounding, but so far SVS subs consistently have the deepest sound and depth of presentation, regardless of size or price.
To be certain, they are NOT a “sponsor”, they do not pay me for content, and do not script me in any way.
I’m free to promote ANY company or product I want, including every competitor. I only promote what I believe in, and I give my audience the same advice I give close friends and family.
Affiliate commissions are how I keep going, no matter what product it is, with zero added cost to you. Everything helps, I am a 1 person show.
Ordering Factory Direct through these links ensures full Bill of Rights, including 1 year trade-up, and other benefits that might not be included from dealers (like 45 day return period, trade up, etc…).
($) The PB-2000 Original is a 12″ Ported subwoofer. The predecessor to the PB-2000 Pro (my personal favorite for so long, for their performance, price, and size), these subs have been produced for small production runs for BLACK FRIDAY and holiday specials ONLY!!
Get them while you can, and go dual!! If you miss the Black Friday sale, watch the SVS Outlet, gently used products that have the same Bill of Rights and warranty as new, including free shipping, free returns, and 1 year trade up!
($) The PB-1000 Pro is a 12” Ported Subwoofer. Verified!!– Highly recommended for duals under $1,500, the most compact and affordable ported subwoofer on this list!! Isolation highly recommended for wood sub-floors. “Smartest Buy in Bass” due to economics, performance, and the 1 year trade-up. Get started with quality dual subs, and trade up if you feel the need! Free shipping, free returns.
($$)VERIFIED!!! The PB-2000 Pro is a 12″ Ported subwoofer, 550 watts RMS, 1500+ peak! My favorite sub for value, size, and 100% full range bass performance down to 14 hertz measured in my room.
These are the subs I decided to go with in the motorhome theater project. I wanted shocking performance, explosiveness, composure, and of course, depth. These deliver everything I look for, including being attainable.
The PB-3000 and PB-16 Ultra are both more explosive, but if you can’t swing those, or if you are thinking about a single, split your budget for dual PB-2000 Pro’s. Matched duals are vital for amazing bass, and these definitely get it handled!
Isolation highly recommended for wood sub-floors. My “Go-To” subwoofer to recommend.
It’s only about an inch bigger on all sides than the PB-2000, yet it’s performance is much closer to the PB-4000 in terms of raw impact and explosiveness!!
Aside from the outstanding PB-16 Ultra, this has been THE MOST SURPRISING SUBWOOFER I’VE REVIEWED YET!! The Split-Wind voice coil isn’t just cool sounding tech, it makes this sub SOUND BIGGER AND MORE POWERFUL than it is. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!!!
($$$$) VERIFIED!!! The PB-4000 is a 13.5 inch Variable Ported subwoofer. 1,200 watts RMS, 4,200 watts peak. True 13 hertz performance in room, remote control, comprehensive smart phone app.Ultra low distortion, ultra high output.
Isolation HIGHLY recommended for wood sub-floors. Measure before ordering, very large, very heavy (153.2 pounds!), truck freight shipped on a pallet. Realism, impact, and explosiveness are off the charts!
My only hesitance to recommend the PB-4000 is that the PB-3000 is so close that I couldn’t tell the difference if my eyes were closed! The PB-3000 is noticeably smaller, lighter, and less expensive.
The PB-4000 offers the piano finish, a front display, and a storied legacy from it’s predecessor, the PB-13 Ultra.
Like the PB-3000, it’s performance is only bested by the PB-16 Ultra. If it were me, I’d either go smaller and less expensive (Dual PB-3000’s), or step up and get Dual PB-16 Ultras.
($$$$)VERIFIED!!!The PB-16 is a 16 inch Variable Ported subwoofer. New SVS Flagship, 1,500 watts RMS, 5,000 peak! That’s 1.5 kilowatt RMS, 5 kilowatt peak, with an **8″ voice coil**! Talk about ultra low distortion, and incredible explosiveness!!
For those who want the best of the best, it’s my favorite “money no object” subwoofer, and **the best bass I’ve heard to date**. Still in 2023!!
Isolation HIGHLY recommended for wood sub-floors. Measure before ordering, very large, VERY heavy (175 pounds!), truck freight shipped on a pallet, yet still with free shipping and FREE RETURNS!
Realism, impact, and explosiveness are the best I’ve heard so far, and a great spleen massage while still 100% comfortable. TRULY INCREDIBLE!!
($$)Verified!12″ Ported Cylinder sub, comes with the Soundpath Subwoofer Isolation System, same internals as the PB-2000 Pro. Down firing subwoofers are OK for concrete, but might not be ideal for wood sub-floors. The Isolation System helps for wood floors (comes stock, no need to order more isolation).
($$$$) (Not Verified, but same guts as the PB-4000, which is totally Verified!!!) 13.5 inch Variable Ported. 1,200 watts RMS, 4200 watts peak.
Ultra low distortion, ultra high output. Isolation included! Down firing subwoofers are OK for concrete, but may not be ideal for wood sub-floors.
Measure before ordering, very tall (47 Inches). Realism, impact, and explosiveness are incredible!
I’ve been a Monoprice affiliate much longer than SVS, long before their Monolith subs came out, but I was never able to get any response to my inquiries to review their subs, despite several attempts since these subs first came out.
At their customer service line recommendation, I bought a pair of Monolith 15’s, listened during the 30 day return period, and sent them back.
Shipping is free, but return shipping is the customer’s responsibility, and it will vary, depending on how far you are from their facility in California.
For TWO Monolith 15 subwoofers (266 pounds total, on a pallet) the return freight was over $300 for less than 500 miles.
Return freight for 2 Monolith 15’s could exceed $800 on the East Coast, something to be aware of.
The smaller subs would certainly be cheaper to return. It’s the customer’s responsibility to shop and arrange the freight shipment.
That said, the Monolith 15’s have the depth of presentation and explosiveness that I look for.
They did a great job with the Monolith 15 THX subwoofer, and I would love to hear more, but I hesitate to fully recommend due to shipping and pretty terrible communication with me (ZERO returned inquiries).
($$) (NOT VERIFIED) The Monolith 12 is a 500 watt 12″ variable ported subwoofer. Based on previous experience, it would likely not make this list in “THX Mode”, but it MIGHT belong in “Extended Mode” like the 15.
This subwoofer is on this list tentatively, pending an actual hands on, dual sub review. I can’t say that it will deliver the kind bass that I look for, but I suspect it might, and earn a permanent spot on this list.
($$$$) Verified. 13″ Variable Ported, down firing Outlaw Flagship, THX Certified. In THX mode, this subwoofer would not make the list, it sounded far too shallow in my opinion.
Other EQ settings were more acceptable, though not as deep sounding as other subs on this list. So far, it’s the shallowest sounding subwoofer on this list, and anything shallower would not qualify.
It’s ability to be hidden is an excellent feature, however. Down firing subwoofers are OK for concrete, but may not be ideal for wood sub-floors.
Isolation HIGHLY recommended for wood sub-floors. Excellent for hiding subwoofers as end tables, so long as the beautiful top is protected from scratching.
($$)(Not Verified) 12” Variable Ported
($$$) (Not Verified) 15” Variable Ported
($$$) 15” Variable Ported. Verified, MK-1 version. High (max) output, though not as deep “sounding” as other subs on the list.
Shipping policy is painful, especially if you return it, but a good option if you are in the Los Angeles, California area, and can pick up and return in person.
I bought this subwoofer myself, before starting the website and channel, but haven’t been able to get support to hear duals, which is unfortunate. The MK-2 should be better, but I wouldn’t know.
No returned communication, but a notable mention. Cannot recommend without hearing a set of duals.
($$) (Not Verified) 12” Ported
($$$) (Not Verified) 15” Variable Ported
FV15HP (Not Verified)
($$$) 15” Variable Ported
$= less than $500 delivered or $1,000 for dual
$$= more than $500 delivered or $1,000 for dual
$$$= more than $800 delivered or $1,600 for dual
$$$$= more than $1,400 delivered or $2,800 for dual
*Pricing changes happen regularly.
Ported = With ports, not sealed.
Variable Ported = Ported, with inserts to change the tuning.
Each brand has it’s own flavor, so to speak, but any of the above subs should satisfy with gusto in most home theater setups (a lot of which are in living rooms like mine).
The smallest, least expensive entry will perform with outstanding depth, clean bass, unobtrusively, but with movie theater quality bass and impact (EASILY deeper than most theaters) that will impress and satisfy when called upon. By no means is the most economical sub to be avoided. See my 1 big sub vs 2 small subs comparison for more on that.
Dividing your bass budget to include 2 matched subs is the ONLY way to go, and any **VERIFIED** sub on this list in a dual configuration should put a Cheshire grin on your face. If not, your sickness is much worse than mine, and you are in serious trouble!
Fortunately, all offer in home review periods. Some require you pay for shipping, others do not.
If you decide to go with one of the above, please follow the links shortly before placing your order. For those that are not linked, please be sure to tell them you heard about their subs on this site.
Canadian orders aren’t tracked through SVS, while Amazon orders are, but going factory direct is better for Canadian customers for the Bill of Rights. I rather you got the trade up instead of me getting credit on Amazon.
Eventually, I would like every listed maker to be a Subwoofer 101 affiliate and become a portal for all quality subwoofers. SVS and Monoprice so far…
Hopefully this will simplify your search for great bass!