|SVS Ultra Bookshelf Loudspeaker Review|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Bookshelf/Monitor Loudspeakers|
|Written by Andre Marc|
|Tuesday, 07 May 2013|
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Founded in 1998 and quickly making a name for themselves in the subwoofer market, SVS is now a global maker and distributor of complete speaker systems. They are a unique organization, with a design team and warehouses spread across North America, and manufacturing based in China. The products are sold direct with a generous in-house audition period because, according to SVS, there is no place better to hear a speaker than in your own listening room. The company touts its engineering muscle, commitment to quality, and customer service as a reason for its longevity.
I have only heard about SVS products from audio show reports and a few reviews, but I had not had the opportunity to hear one of the products until now. I received a review sample of their brand new Ultra Bookshelf model, priced at $499 each, or $998/pair. The Ultra Bookshelf is part of the Ultra line, which includes the Ultra Center channel, Ultra Surround, and Ultra Tower models. SVS says the Ultra Bookshelf shares much of the technology found in the larger Ultra Tower floorstanding model.
A Closer Look
Mark Mason, Director of Product Management, is the driving force behind the SVS speaker and subwoofer designs. Before joining SVS in 2011, Mason spent time at highly acclaimed speaker manufacturer PSB, among others. Be sure to check out my interview with Mason and SVS CEO, Gary Yacuobian, at the conclusion of this review.
The Ultra Bookshelf speakers are not “mini monitors” in the sense that they are fairly substantial, weighing in at 19lbs each. Available in piano gloss black and real black oak veneer finishes, my review samples appeared in a very attractive gloss black. SVS claims bandwidth of 45 Hz - 32kHz (+/- 3 dB). The Ultra Bookshelf uses proprietary drivers, equipped with a 1-inch aluminum dome tweeter in conjunction with a 6.5-inch composite glass fiber cone woofer for midrange and bass duties. The speakers come equipped with a black cloth grille, which was left off for all listening.
The Ultra Bookshelf features a wedge-shaped front baffle, and what they call an “intelligent” Sound Match Crossover. According to the SVS technical literature, when engineering the Ultra Bookshelf speaker’s design the company envisioned “a two-way monitor that would fill small to medium sized rooms with an encompassing, coherent soundstage; deep, dynamic bass; and sparkling mid and high-frequency details, whether they were being pushed to extreme volumes or played at moderate levels. A combination of premium build materials, FEA optimization, cabinet innovation and careful selection of crossover frequencies brought this vision to life.”
Around back, there is a rear port and two sets of high quality speaker binding posts for bi-wiring. The speakers' published specifications indicate it is not difficult to drive, rated at 8 Ohms, and 87dB efficiency. This turned out to be the case, as the amplifiers I used with the Ultras barely broke a sweat.