SVS Prime Tower Review

We reached out to SVS recently to check out the Prime Tower. They are local to us and we wanted to see what this Ohio company had to offer. SVS offers a few levels in both Bookshelf and Tower builds, as well as quite a few subwoofer options and Atmos and surround solutions. All of their products are very reasonably priced in the world of audio, so we set out to see if the value was there. We are doing a two part review on the SVS Prime Towers we have, part one, which is this part is how well they perform in a 2 channel music only system. Part 2 will be in my 7.1 Home theater Atmos system. We want to see where these perform their best as well as who is best buyer for these speakers.

svs prime towers

SVS Prime Tower Impressions and Appearance

Unboxing the SVS Prime tower is a bit of project, and I recommend you have someone around to help. They are not terribly heavy, but they are well packed in their respective boxes. I would venture to say the carrier would have to get pretty crazy to damage the actual speakers in transport. Once out the box they have both a plastic and cloth cover over the speakers as well as plenty of well fitting styrofoam. In the box with the speakers you have a set of spikes for each speaker, as well as some literature and warranty information.

Once I had the Prime Towers set up in the room I took a good look at the details. The finish on the Piano Black set we have for review is gorgeous, deep and luxurious. The drivers fit nicely on the front of the cabinets and the recess for the drivers leaves them flush with the front of the cabinet. Along the edges of the front there is a nice diminishing chamfer that gives the front panel some dimension. The back is fitted with two ports, so keep that in mind for positioning, as well as the binding posts. The posts allow for just about any type of termination you would have, we used banana plugs with ours. The speakers very easily could fit into any room decor easily and elegantly, though I think a gloss white option would be nice for people with that room aesthetic.

svs prime tower

SVS Prime Tower: Manufacturer Specs

Frequency Response / Acoustic Data:

  •  Rated bandwidth: 30 Hz-25 kHz (±3 dB)
  •  Nominal impedance: 8 ohms.
  •  Sensitivity: 87 dB (2.83V @ 1 meter full-space, 300-3kHz)
  •  Recommended amplifier power: 20-250 watts.

Speaker Specs:

  • Floor Standing Tower Loudspeaker
  • Black ash and piano gloss black finish options
  • Single set of 5-way binding posts
  • Dual 1.7” wide-flared rear-firing ports
  • Cloth grille with pin/cup retention system
  • Elastomer stick-on bumper feet (adds 3mm to height)
  • Spiked metal screw-in feet included – adjustable for level
  • Cabinet Dimensions: 36″ (H) X 8″ (W) X 11.1″ (D)
  • Overall Dimensions: 36.6″ (H) X 8″ (W) X 11.6″ (D) (includes grille and feet)
  • Shipped Dimensions: 41.3″ (H) X 14.1″ (W) X 17.3″ (D)
  • Weight: 40.1 pounds
  • Shipped Weight: 46.3 pounds

Driver Specs:

1” Aluminum Dome Tweeter:

  • FEA-optimized diffuser for airy and unveiled presentation
  • Aluminum dome for exceptional transient response

4.5” Midrange Driver:

  • Polypropylene cone for excellent stiffness/mass ratio and pistonic behavior
  • Aluminum shorting ring to reduce gap inductance, lower distortion, and enhance high frequency response
  • Cast ABS-fiberglass composite basket ensures precision component alignment and excellent thermal transfer
  • Vented voice coil former minimizes air compression artifacts

Dual 6.5” Woofers:

  • Long stroke motor and suspension for high output
  • Polypropylene cone for excellent stiffness/mass ratio and pistonic behavior
  • Aluminum shorting ring to reduce gap inductance, lower distortion, and enhance high frequency response
  • Cast ABS-fiberglass composite basket ensures precision component alignment and excellent thermal transfer
  • Vented voice coil former minimizes air compression artifacts

Crossover & Cabinet Specs:

Crossover:

  • 3.5-way crossover with premium-grade capacitors, air-core inductors and heavy-trace printed circuit boards.
  • Tapered woofer array optimizes the transition to the midrange driver and reduces vertical axis lobing
  • Midrange-to-tweeter crossover: 2.1 kHz (12 dB/octave slopes)
  • Top woofer (Combined Woofer) to midrange crossover frequency: 350 Hz (12 dB/octave slopes).
  • Bottom woofer low pass frequency: 165 Hz (customized filter Q and slope)

Cabinet:

  • Separate sealed midrange enclosure shifts standing waves beyond the driver pass band, improving sound quality
  • Separate woofer enclosures with optimized port tuning frequencies for smooth and accurate bass response
  • Acoustically transparent and FEA optimized grilles minimize diffraction
  • Chamfered front baffle and flush-mounted drivers reduce edge diffraction and improved on-axis high frequency response
  • FEA-optimized cabinet and bracing eliminates resonances
svs prime tower binding post

SVS Prime Sound

I hooked up the Prime Towers and moved them around a bit to get the best sound for my room. After about an hour I was able to get the toe in and positioning from the walls pretty well nailed down. Positioning is going to be different in every room, but some basics I found with the SVS Prime Tower is they like their space, especially on the back. They have two ports back there and will not like being pushed up against a wall. Mine are about 20 inches out from the back and a foot from the side walls. For my room dynamics this seemed to work the best. Too close the back and the low tones really suffered as well as getting some very displeasing reflections. I did not change any of my settings on my preamp when hooking these up as I wanted to hear what they would sound like out of the box as if I were replacing my existing speakers. What I first noticed is they are very mid and low heavy and seem to fall off in the top frequencies. Now keep in mind I typically have Martin Logan speakers in that room, known for being bright.

I did not change anything around to record the spectrum analyzer to confirm or deny what I believe I am hearing. Below I played Taylor Swift’s “Afterglow” on vinyl. What I saw confirmed that with the current tuning on the Preamp these speakers are much warmer than Martin Logan Motion speakers. They are very easily tuned and more than capable of putting out high frequencies with the alluminum dome tweeter. It is just something to keep in mind, that depending on what you come from you may need to play with your tone controls.

As you can see in the octave and spectrum area’s the speakers are able to put out rather low and high frequencies, but certainly shine in the mid range. The dual bass drivers and single mid range driver are certainly doing their jobs well. The bass can be quite deep and is rather crisp. We played some tracks from Headphone Activists on the SVS Prime Towers to really test out the low end, there is bass that you can feel as well as hear. They certainly do well and if you are after a set of towers for a 2 channel system you will likely be pleased. I was happy with the output without having a sub added to the system, though bassheads will still likely prefer the addition.

Tuning the SVS Prime Towers

Like I mentioned above you can tune your preamp to make the towers really shine. This is exactly what I did. I am a huge fan of crisp and detailed high frequencies. Out of the box with the previous tuning the highs were a bit muddied. After playing with tone I was able to get the sound I appreciate and look for. The higher frequencies where much more audible and you could hear more detail as they were not being covered up by the mids. I have below another recording of the same song. The only thing modified was the EQ. Keep in mind this is not the fault SVS or any other company for the inherent tone of their design, but rather to demonstrate that speakers do in fact have those tone differentiations. Before you dismiss a certain speaker you should experiment with positioning and eq., and if after that you are still not satisfied then look elsewhere.

SVS Prime With Audyssey

I wanted to try one last thing with the SVS Prime towers in terms of set up and tuning, Audyssey. Audyssey is a program included with many different integrated amps, as I use a Marantz SR7009 it has it as an option for set up. Audyssey is designed for room correction, and it works quite well as long as you have done your best to set up the room as correctly as you can. It will not correct for everything, so certainly do your best to position speakers and furniture as “correctly” as you can. I followed the set up guide using the Mic Marantz includes as well as the positioning recommended. As I only have 3 seating options in my listening room I did 3 rounds of tests. After testing is done you confirm and set the Dynamic Volume and EQ to either on or off. I chose on for both as I wanted to see what results that would garner. When I was setting the EQ manually I was changing the settings based on what I was after, which was more of the high range frequencies to come through the very mid and low tone weighted speakers. It worked well, I got what I was after but it didn’t sound completely natural, so I tried Audyssey to see if years of engineering and sound testing that went into it could do better than me. Well it did, what I heard after this was much more natural sounding, I still got my brightness, but it seemed much more balanced than just pushing it higher manually. Below is the recording of that test with everything the same as above other than the volume set on the Marantz. (I had to turn up the volume a bit after using Audyssey to get similar over all decibels.)

One last thing I tried out while recording frequencies was a song I knew reached both very high and low in the spectrum. This is “Robots In Motion” by Philter. It has no vocals but it does have quite the reach of frequencies making it great for seeing what a speaker can really put out. You will see below in that recording what I mean.

This concludes our measurement testing for the SVS prime. My thoughts are the speakers are more than capable if you are willing to actually put some time into getting them how you want them, which to be honest you should do with every speaker. I think some speakers require a little more out of the user to get the sound they want than others, but it’s not a bad or good thing it is just a thing. We as tinkers with sound enjoy the chase of what we consider the best sound we can get out of a set of gear.

Equipment used for review

  • Marantz SR7009 for preamp
  • Nakamichi PA5 Power amp
  • Audio Technica LP7 with Ortofon Blue
  • Gear it Speaker Cables
  • Factory Power Cables
  • AudioQuest Evergreen Interconnects
svs prime tower

Semi-Final Thoughts on the SVS Prime Towers

These thoughts are on part 1 of the two part review, stay tuned for the theatre part next month.
Over all I am pleased with the SVS Prime Towers. As we mention in each review they are not for everyone, but who are they good for? If you find yourself wanting to upgrade from a bookshelf to a tower in a two channel system this may be something to consider. At a price point of 1200.00 US Dollars for the finish we have and 1000.00 US for the black ash they are well priced. Anyone pricing out entry level 3 way towers from Klipsch, Polk or similar options should add the SVS Prime Tower to the list of options. While I was not blown away by them, they certainly do not disappoint for 500 dollars each either. They are somewhat sensitive to positioning as mentioned so if your space does not allow for moving them out from the atleast the back wall you may not get the most out of these. Based on the tone I have heard so far I am excited to try these in the home theater setup. I think they may shine a little more with movies than music, though that may make them great for someone who needs a balance in one system. I am fortunate enough to have separate systems for consuming video content and music. Someone who has one system for both will likely want to look for something like this. I would also like to try these against the Pinnacle and Ultra towers to see how this entry level option from SVS compares.

As always we highly recommend you find a local dealer and try them out for yourself before purchasing.
to find a dealer near you check out the link below.
https://www.svsound.com/pages/us-dealers

Disclaimer:
SVS Provided Hifi Chicken with the SVS Prime Tower. This review was not paid for in full or part by SVS or any sponsor.

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One thought on “SVS Prime Tower Review

  1. Just acquired a pair of SVS Prime Pinnacle – 3-Way Tower Speakers In Black Ash. Had to do some traveling to to hear the differences between the Prime and the Prime Pinnacle. The crossover in the Pinnacle does a much better job of balancing the highs & lows. I expected the three woofers to dominate the sound stage but they are well balanced with no need to adjust the EQ. I replaced a pair of B&W 603S3’s from the mid 90’s that still sounded great but the detail and expansive sound of the SVS’s is amazing given the price is several hundred less than new B&W 603’s.

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