Positive Feedback Logo

SVS SB-3000 Subwoofer Follow-up

02-06-2020 | By John Zurek | Issue 107

Back in July 2019, after completing the original review of the SVS SB-3000 subwoofer (HERE), I took the subs out of my system. It took just minutes to determine there was no way I was going to send them back to the SVS folks in Ohio. They transformed my system into something special, and I realized how much the wealth of low frequency information they provided added to my musical enjoyment and understanding. They also showed me just how much a great sub, that is properly set up for time and phase coherence, positively affects the rest of the system. I've never had a subwoofer experience that moved me like the SB-3000. So, I bought the review samples and have been enjoying their benefits ever since. I'm loving the smoother response the dual-sub configuration provides, which is far superior to a single sub. If you think one sub is just as good, I'm sure you haven't heard a dual-sub configuration in a good system. No contest.

It was a few weeks later, after more listening, that the neurosis (neuroses?) we audiophiles seem to be afflicted with began to nip away at me. After all, improving our systems (especially when it's easy) is part of our blessing / curse. So, I decided to move forward to try to upgrade two features that were somewhat inconsistent with the quality of the rest of the product, and should be easy to improve:

1. The stock power cable, which did not seem to match the high standards of the SB-3000.

2. The stock footers, tiny rubber feet that seemed a little too basic when compared with the rest of the very well-constructed sub.

We're talking about a sub that, in my opinion, performs well above its $999 retail, so I chalked these issues up to sacrifices meant to attain a price point. Since both seemed ripe for improvement, and would be easy to implement, I decided to move forward.

I've always been an advocate for aftermarket power cables for power amplifiers. Although I've tried exotic power cables on other components with mixed results, each and every time I've paired a high-end power cable with a high-end power amplifier the results were positive, and in some cases transforming. So, I arranged with my friend Dana Robbins, of DanaCable, to borrow a pair of his Power Force AC cables, the same power cables I already use on my Quicksilver Mid-mono power amps.

After a week or so I picked the heavy cables up, I installed one end to the IEC connector on the back of the subs, and plugged the other ends into the two vacant outlets on my PS Audio Duet Power Center. The other two outlets on the Duet are occupied by the Power Force AC cables from my power amps.

Firing up the newest version of Audirvana, I honestly wasn't prepared for what I was about to hear. Hard to quantify, but very much the same, or better, experience I've had with quality power cables and other power amps. There was an obvious improvement to slam, impact, and punch. In addition, I heard richer textures, better definition in the mid-bass, less-restricted dynamics, cleaner transients, and a more solid soundstage. Vocals seemed a bit more coherent, and the sweet spot seemed just a teeny bit wider. As much power that the SB-3000 packs (800 watt RMS) it seemed the whole system didn't have to work as hard with the DanaCable AC cords. Music that was dynamic with plenty of detail came through with a greater sense of ease and more headroom.

If you think a high quality power cable makes no difference to the sound of a power amp in a high end system, my guess is you've never heard one. Replacing this one short path in the entire circuit of the power delivery system had a vivid impact. I was surprised by how much these subs—now augmented by the PowerForce cables—brought new life with better detail throughout the system. The overall difference may not have been day and night, but maybe day and dusk. My conclusion: a high-quality power cable brings out the best in the SB-3000's amplifier. Replace the stock cable asap for a substantial increase in performance.

When I talked with Nick Brown, VP of Marketing at SVS, about this follow-up,he suggested trying the SVS Soundpath Subwoofer Isolation System, which consists of four footers per sub, and is the logical (and easiest) path to improve on the stock footers.

SVS calls the Soundpath system a decoupler, and states "Decoupling is making the interaction between a subwoofer and floor so weak that virtually no energy is transferred between them. The SVS SoundPath Subwoofer Isolation System features rigorously tested optimized durometer elastomer feet that significantly reduces the transmission of subwoofer energy through your floor and walls."

The new footers were easy to install. Unscrew the originals, pick the appropriate size machine screws for the sub you're using, and screw in the new footers with a Philips head. About ten minutes for the entire process. The Soundpath footers are very well made, quite strong, and they give the subs a more refined look.

Once again my tweaking was instantly rewarded. There was really no comparison to the sound with the stock footers. I heard a cleaner, clearer presentation with better leading edge definition, the transients were sharper. A couple of annoying occasional room resonances went away. Mid-bass was enriched, and timing improved. High-pitched metallic sounds such as cymbals, triangles, and chimes seemed purer, more vivid. Micro detail was enhanced, and easier to distinguish. The effect on the entire system was indeed positive, and the integration with the main speakers was smoother. The subs felt more solidly anchored to the room and the music. My conclusion: high-quality footers bring out the best in the SB-3000's driver performance and room interaction. Replace the stock footers asap for another substantial increase in performance.

When I began this follow-up I was hoping to report some minor improvements. I really wasn't prepared for the enhancements a high quality power cable and substantial, well-made footers could provide for this subwoofer. This was a really quick and easy project that yielded substantial results. Although I only tried one brand of each cable and footer, I'm sure you could try others. There are certainly many power cables and other footers / isolation devices out there to experiment with, some more affordable and some more expensive. Either way, judging from my results, I believe the SVS SB-3000 will respond very positively to these types of tweaking. Both upgrade paths are ripe for improvement, and I think if you're going to try one, you might as well try both. You'll get a bigger, bolder, smoother, and more detailed presentation from your system, which will definitely kick up the performance of your SB-3000(s). A great sub gets even better.

Soundpath Subwoofer Isolation System

Retail: $49.99 (package of 4) MSRP



Power Force cable for Amps and High-Current Components

Retail: $399 MSRP