SVS Prime Tower Review

SVS Prime Tower Review

SVS Prime Tower Review

If you're looking for a new set of floor-standing speakers and don't know what to choose, the sheer number of brands and models available can make the task daunting, to say the least. But there is one brand that has won the hearts and minds of audiophiles, home theater fans and general users, and that is SV. Today we take a look at the  SVS Prime Tower floor-standing, speaker , which may not be new on the market, but has managed to stand out in the affordable Hi-Fi market over the years.

SVS Prime Tower was released in 2014, so it's been with us for 8 years now. And while it may not be a very long time in the speaker market due to the slow updates we get from speaker manufacturers, it's amazing that it has managed to maintain its value and remain a favorite even after so many years and new models released. At $1,200 for a pair of SVS, the Prime Tower may belong in the entry-level hi-fi market, but don't let the "entry-level" definition fool you, and we'll briefly explain why.

The Prime Tower is part of the SVS Prime series and is a 3.5-way design with one 1" aluminum dome tweeter for high frequencies, one 4.5" mid-range driver and two 6.5" woofers. They are housed in an FEA-optimized cabinet with carefully placed bracing and come in the black ash and black high-gloss piano lacquer finishes for which the SVS speakers are renowned.

Having been on the market for so many years, SVS Prime Tower has proven its worth countless times. But it's time to test it out for yourself and see what all the fuss is about. So, without further delay, let's begin our analysis.

Design, inputs and characteristics

Appearance

The Prime Towers aren't the biggest SVS floorstanders in the Prime series as the Prime Pinnacle occupies that space, but they measure respectable 36″ x 8″ x 11.1″ (914 x 203 x 282mm) nonetheless and weigh 40 .1 lb (18.19 kg).

If there is any brand that you can immediately recognize by its looks, it is definitely SVS, and the Prime Tower models have a special design that SVS likes to use in many of their releases. Like black columns, Prime Towers give a sense of authority and power when you look at them.

But it's not just that SVS put a lot of effort into developing these systems. They use a FEM-optimized cabinet and bracing to eliminate resonances, while the beveled edges of the Prime Tower speaker's front panel, known as chamfers, minimize diffraction at the edges for a clear and accurate soundstage reproduction.

Internally, SVS uses separate woofer cabinets with optimized port tuning frequencies for smooth and accurate bass reproduction, while a separate sealed midrange cabinet shifts standing waves out of the driver's bandwidth, improving sound quality.

SVS Prime Tower Review

Acoustic systems, like many SVS products, are presented in just two color variations. The black ash and glossy black finish definitely look more premium, but also cost a bit more. Unfortunately, only black colors are available, so you have to decide whether they suit your room design.

As for the gratings, they are acoustically transparent and optimized by the finite element method to minimize diffraction. They are non-magnetic and use a conventional pin system to attach to the front panel. But, frankly, such beautiful speakers greatly lose their status with hidden drivers. Without grilles, they look much better, but this is a matter of taste and does not affect performance.

Prime Towers come with two sets of feet to ensure optimal placement on a variety of floor surfaces. The elastomer insulating feet pre-installed on the Prime Tower legs can be removed and replaced with the included set of threaded metal spikes. Both sets of legs are threaded, making it easy to level the Prime Tower if they need to stand on an uneven surface.

We love the type of stand/legs the Prime Tower uses. With them, the speakers retain the appearance of the column, and they also do not affect the overall area of ​​\u200b\u200bthe speakers themselves, as many other floor stands do.

In conclusion, we can say that the Prime Tower is truly amazing acoustics. And in appearance, and in design, and in build quality. SVS knows its art and it shows. Yes, when you choose SVS, you know that there are not many options in terms of color variations, but this is not the reason why you will choose a speaker from this brand.

Internal equipment

The Prime Tower uses a 3.5-way design that houses one tweeter for high frequencies, one mid-range driver and two woofers for better bass reproduction.

The 1" aluminum dome Prime Tower tweeter comes with an FEA optimized cone. The tweeter is light, efficient and rigid, and reproduces crystal clear sound at high volumes.

A single 4.5" midrange driver is housed in a separate and completely sealed compartment to deliver smooth, accurate and clear midrange sound without coloration. The cone material, made of polypropylene, is extremely light and rigid, has an excellent stiffness/mass ratio and piston-like behavior to maintain a flat frequency response with excellent controllability in the main mid-range frequencies.

SVS Prime Tower Review

There's also an aluminum ring that's used to reduce break inductance, reduce distortion, and improve high-frequency response, while the molded ABS fiberglass composite basket ensures precise component alignment and superior heat transfer.

Dual 6.5" woofers have many of the same characteristics as a mid-range driver, but on a larger scale to deliver deep and crisp bass and movie sound effects. Each woofer has a separate internal bay in the chassis with its own customizable port frequency.

But the drivers themselves are not complete without the use of a good crossover, and here SVS applied the innovative 3.5-way SoundMatch crossover. Its conical grille is designed so that each woofer has its own discrete crossover to minimize the chance of scattering. This creates an expansive yet focused soundstage with precise frequency response at all listening positions in the room. SoundMatch's fine-tuning of the crossover also ensures the highest precision while maintaining the signal's pristine purity.

SVS Prime Tower Review

The crossover between the mids and the tweeter was set to 2.1 kHz (roll-off 12 dB/octave), the crossover frequency of the top woofer (woofer combo) to the mid-range is 350 Hz (roll-off 12 dB/octave), and the bass frequency woofer frequencies - at 165 Hz.

The combination of an aluminum tweeter, midrange driver and two 6.5" woofers gives the Prime Tower a frequency response of 30Hz to 25kHz (±3dB) with a nominal impedance of 8 ohms and a sensitivity of 87dB.

Connection

All Prime Speakers, including the Prime Towers, include terminals with handy gold-plated 5-pin terminals that accept cables with banana plugs, speaker poles, spade plugs and, of course, bare cable. The choice is yours, but to be honest, we have always preferred bare cable for most applications.

Location

Unpacking the speakers was relatively easy as the speakers don't have a stand. You only have to choose between rubber feet and spikes depending on the floor you put them on.

SVS Prime Tower Review

Now, as far as positioning is concerned, SVS assumes they are at 30 degrees each (total 60 degrees between them) and also allows for 5-10 degrees of convergence for the best image. In general, if the speakers are placed too close to the walls, the bass is amplified, but can be boomy and unclear. If the speakers are placed away from walls, it can improve stereo imaging and surround by attenuating and delaying edge reflections.

We usually try to follow the manufacturer's advice when placing speakers in our test room, but as always it's more of a trial and error process and you should place them in a way that sounds best to your ears. As we always do in tests, we left about 2 feet from the back wall to give them a little more air. The distance between the two speakers was about 9 feet.

The speakers we had for testing had already been running for many hours, so their break-in period had already passed. Most manufacturers suggest 50 to 70 hours of run time before the speakers can reach their peak performance, but we always recommend waiting around 100 hours if they are new to be completely sure of what you hear.

SVS Prime Tower Review

Now, as far as our testing is concerned, for our films we prefer to use a simple 4.0 channel surround system with only two front channels and a pair of surround channels, and the reason for this is that we can more easily determine how the front speakers can cover the sound in the absence of center channel and subwoofer. Weaknesses become more pronounced, and while this is not the case with any real home theater system, since almost all of them will have both a center speaker and a subwoofer, we are here to specifically characterize the two front channels, and at least this is the best way for us to do it.

On the other hand, when it comes to our musical testing, we prefer, as always, to use a pure 2.0 channel system with just two front channels. Now, after all the necessary connections and calibrations with our Marantz AV receiver, we are ready to start.

Movies

In this review, we started with 4K UHD Pacific Rim: Uprising with its great Dolby Atmos. One of the first things that immediately catches your eye is the clarity and transmission of even the smallest details.

Its quality as a sequel may not match the first, but such an effects-driven film has very carefully engineered sound design, and Prime Tower takes full advantage of that. The front soundstage exploded in front of us with wide movie scenes and epic battles. Especially during the city battles, there is so much audio information about buildings collapsing, debris flying all over the place, metal clashing, projectiles firing.

SVS Prime Tower Review

It seemed like Prime Towers was made for this kind of chaos, and they were able to reproduce the scenes with the highest fidelity both in terms of picture and tonality. Our setup lacked a center channel, but even so, the front speakers managed to keep dialogue centered. It was so satisfying that we could close our eyes and almost believe there was a center speaker.

But Prime Towers not only capture a lot of detail very well, they also have good dispersion, making them ideal for large rooms and places far away from the listener. Bass was good and the dual 6.5" drivers proved to be capable enough to capture all the low frequencies, although to be honest we expected a bit more from them.

Next test and we turned on Alien: Covenant 4K UHD, which again uses very good Dolby Atmos. Unlike Pacific Rim, Alien: Covenant has a more atmospheric tone and isn't all chaos and destruction. When the paratrooper enters the alien ship for the first time, you can hear a lot of sounds played with precision, making the scene much more believable.

Dialogue was more focused here, and the speakers did a great job of keeping everything in the foreground with clarity and high resolution. Prime Tower worked in harmony with our surroundings to provide great transitional effects.

SVS Prime Tower Review

The last challenge for today, and we couldn't do without the Lord of the Rings action. As the Rohirim gallop towards Sauron's army, you can feel the earth tremble as hundreds of horses race towards their doom. Again, the effect isn't as crisp or pronounced compared to what your subwoofer can do, but the bass drivers are very well crafted here.

When the Olyphants arrive in the movie, Prime Towers took the show to the next level. Everything was so carefully crafted that it looked like the speakers were playing on a playground. The heavy steps of these gigantic beasts, the sound of their battle horns, the cries of soldiers, the clash of weapons and shields, all sounded natural. No exaggeration, no harshness and hiss.

The sound was wide and well distributed throughout our room, faithfully recreating the vast dimensions of the Pelennor fields in all their glory. Finally, the speakers had a remarkable balance as none of the frequencies seemed overly exaggerated or overlooked, creating a very pleasing sonic result.

SVS Prime Tower Review

And that's where we end the testing of films. What we can say about the Prime Tower is that at their current price, which should be considered the lowest for a Hi-Fi speaker, it will be difficult to find a speaker that has the same advantages and does not have any of its disadvantages for that same price. The Prime Tower can be a great choice if you want to build a new home theater system and have amazing quality speakers without burning your pocket.

Music

The last test for today is all about music, so we switched to a pure 2.0 channel audio system with only two front speakers connected and played some FLAC music tracks through our Marantz receiver's front USB port.

Prime Towers may not be considered an expensive choice for HiFi audiophiles, but the quality of music you get from them far outweighs the amount of money you have to pay. Keep in mind that they don't make the warmest sounds and can be a bit over the top and harsh at times, but their balance and great poise more than make up for those little inconveniences.

The front soundstage comes to life as the speakers can recreate every musical instrument with amazing fidelity. The sound image was also very satisfying and there was amazing fidelity and fidelity in space.

SVS Prime Tower Review

In terms of bass, the Prime Towers proved to be decent, although again we felt that something was missing. Don't get us wrong, the speakers have powerful bass, and even on some songs with intense bass, they never had a problem following the rhythm and muffling the sound as much as they could. We just hoped to get a little more, which would allow them to rise above the competition. Even so, they performed surprisingly well, delivering clean bass without being muffled or boomy.

As with all of our speaker tests, we tried several different genres to see if the speakers would behave differently, and so this time we tried jazz, electronic music, some heavy metal, pop, and ended up techno. Most of the time, Prime Towers performed very well without deviating much from their core performance. In some cases, we wished we could hear a little deeper bass, while the treble was a bit brighter than what we wanted to hear, but looking at them overall, they scored highly across the board.

One thing that plays a very important role in this is the type of electronics you are going to be using. Speakers can work well in many genres, but since they have a few specific characteristics, you need to think about what they will pair with to create a more balanced result.

If you're looking for a pair of speakers that can really work well in whatever genre you like, then the Prime Towers have proven to be great value for money.

SVS Prime Tower Review

Conclusion

Although Prime Tower speakers have been on the market for 8 years now, they are still a respectable option in the budget price range, showing how much engineering and design SVS put into them when they were originally released. And even today in 2022, we can assure you that they can easily compete with much newer speakers that can cost a lot more than they do.

There are so many good things to say about these speakers that it's hard to find new words to describe them. Starting from the design and build quality, SVS has put all their experience into them and is sure to exude a powerful aura when you look at them. In terms of sound, they may not offer the warm sound that some other speakers do, but the level of detail and overall balance you get is hard to come by at this price. The treble was punchy without getting in the way, and the bass was deep, crisp, and articulate.

Is it possible to say something bad about the acoustics? Of course, speakers need some air to work well. When we tried to place them close to the wall, we felt that the bass overshadowed the rest of the performance, but this can happen with most floorstanders with rear ports. Its audio output had amazing detail, which came at the expense of warmth, as we just mentioned above, while the treble sometimes felt like it lacked the dispersion of some of the other speakers we heard.

This concludes our review, and as a final comment, we can say about the SVS Prime Tower that this is an acoustic that, even for its age, remains one of the best budget speakers you can get at the moment. Its quality isn't outstanding, its performance is undeniable, and it could be a perfect choice if you're a home theater fan or an entry-level audiophile. SVS is a brand that makes sure you get the best for what you pay, and Prime Tower remains a very distinctive example of what they have to offer.

PROS

High-quality parts

Excellent build quality

Balanced Sound

Ideal for both movies and music

Cons

The sound is not warm enough

Required space when placing

No magnetic grids

Only 2 color variations

Overall Score

Design: 9.0/10

Cinema: 9.0/10

Music: 9.0/10

Inputs and features: 9.0/10

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