…and Soundpath Wireless Audio Adapter
I remember, around 30 years ago, when I purchased my JVC subwoofer in Indonesia. In fact, I still have that subwoofer with me. That thing has travelled with me and survived more than 10 moves across 3 countries and multiple cities. It adds so much depth and dimensionality to recordings and movie viewing starting from a simple (then) two-channel tracks to (now) multi-channel immersive surround recordings. Subwoofers improve sound so much I’m surprised not more people take subwoofers more seriously.
I agree, good subwoofers tend to be big, bulky, ugly, and expensive. Plus when they are not setup properly, they can sound horrible and distracting. So perhaps those are the reasons the haters hate subwoofer.
Just because of the look alone, I chose the Velodyne MiniVee 8 about a decade ago. It gives me acceptable kick and relatively clean bass (for that time) and it’s tiny. It fits the bill in many cases but keeps me wanting for deeper and cleaner bass. And since then, I’m always on the lookout for tiny sized subwoofer that’s actually capable to produce the sound I want.
Several months ago, I saw the SVS micro subwoofer was announced on their website. Immediately, I requested SVS to send me a unit so I can test one. Better yet, they offered me the wireless kit for the sub so I don’t need to run a sub wire from the front of the room to the back, where I install the sub.
So I received the micro subwoofer and indeed it’s tiny. With dual active and opposed 8-inch woofers, and a newly designed 800-watt RMS (2,500-watt peak) Sledge STA-800D2 amplifier with discrete MOSFET output, this small sub has some serious kick to it. In this configuration they receive identical amounts of current to ensure mirrored operation. By firing in unison in opposing directions, “…the mechanical energy transferred to the cabinet is effectively cancelled, creating a sonically inert enclosure that resolves the age-old problem of micro subwoofers moving around a room,” said the company.
A 50 MHz Analog Devices Audio DSP includes 56-bit filtering and includes in-room tuning, optimized frequency response curves and DSP controls. It can be fine-tuned to almost any room with the SVS subwoofer control smartphone app for advanced tuning and DSP. The app is used in controlling volume, accessing multiple DSP functions and custom presets for one-touch tuning optimised for music, movies and gaming. You can also customize crossover frequencies, a three-band parametric EQ, polarity, room gain, sub identification, as well as operate standby and factory reset.
Physically, at the bottom right on the 3000 Micro’s rear panel are an on / off rocker switch and a three-prong IEC power inlet, and to their left a 3.5mm trigger input that allows source components with trigger outputs to automatically power up the sub. At bottom left, is a USB port for applying firmware updates and for supplying power to accessories such as SVS’s SoundPath Wireless Audio Kit ($119.99), and to its right, line-level output and input jacks (RCA).
For this review, I opted for the 4K UHD version of Saving Private Ryan with it’s superlative Dolby Atmos track and more specifically I watched two scenes. The opening one with the landing on Omaha beach and the last which is the Battle or Ramelle.
For the opening sequence, the low end action started from the very beginning as the marine boats approached the beach and the German artillery shells were exploding on the water surface with the Micro giving you a small glimpse of what is about to come. When the Allied soldiers reach the beach the real barrage of sonic fun begins. There is so much low-end action in the whole sequence that is very hard to distinguish specific moments but it is amazing how the sonic assault of a subwoofer this small made me smile.
The subwoofer didn’t lose a single moment and reproduced the terrifying rumble of the tanks with great authority. The shaking felt real as if a tank was right outside my theatre. Tank fire had the necessary weight while ordnance explosions and weapons fire had a very naturalistic tone to them. Trying multiple scenes from Star Wars The Phantom Menace, the new Mortal Kombat movie, and several others always give me a sense of satisfaction. The same goes with music from orchestral pieces to heavy metal, the Micro added depth to all of them with enough rumble and kick to boot.
Of course, the vibration created by the Micro is not as big as what a 15” subwoofer can do, but then again, I prefer clean bass over the rumblings of uncontrolled bass. And the SVS app helped me to calibrate the Micro with relative ease.
All in all, I have nothing negative to say about the Micro with the wireless kit added for ease of connection. If anything, I wish SVS adds a bass auto-cal even at the cost of adding $100 to the price. This will make an already good value subwoofer to be even better value.
As it stands, I would highly recommend the SVS 3000 Micro Subwoofer (US$799 or $1,099) and the SVS Soundpath wireless kit (US$199 or C$249) to anybody who craves for clean bass and also to those who prefer unobtrusive sub cabinet.