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Friday
Feb152019

Podcast #883: SVS Prime Wireless SoundBase


Ever since Ara has begun building speakers he has been searching for ways to drive them. He has tried small desktop amplifiers with some real success. His current go to is the AudioEngine N22 (MSRP $199) desktop amplifier 40W a channel. That works great for most desktop and some booksehelf setups. If you wanted to go wireless you had to add the Audio Engine B1 (MSRP $189) Bluetooth receiver. This did add AptX, including AptX HD support which allowed for high quality listening. The cost of the two totaled almost $400 and was cumbersome to “assemble”.

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SVS Prime Wireless SoundBase

Ever since Ara has begun building speakers he has been searching for ways to drive them. He has tried small desktop amplifiers with some real success. His current go to is the AudioEngine N22 (MSRP $199) desktop amplifier 40W a channel. That works great for most desktop and some booksehelf setups. If you wanted to go wireless you had to add the Audio Engine B1 (MSRP $189) Bluetooth receiver. This did add AptX, including AptX HD support  which allowed for high quality listening. The cost of the two totaled almost $400 and was cumbersome to “assemble”.

Then Ara saw that SVS had release the Prime Wireless SoundBase for $499.99. About a $100 more expensive than his current solution. The SoundBase is 150W a channel and has a rated bandwidth of 10Hz to 20kHz. Much more powerful and a little more on the low end of the audio spectrum. But the big thing for use is that it's all in one unit. No need for separate amp and wireless adapter. The full specs are:

  • SN Ratio: 90dB @1V input, 2 x 150W output

  • Left/Right RCA Input

  • 3.5mm Aux Input

  • Toslink Optical Input

  • Subwoofer output

  • Left/Right RCA Output

  • Front 3.5mm headphone output

  • 192kHz/24-Bit DAC

  • Dual-Band WiFi Connectivity for Wireless Streaming - DTS Play-Fi app enables direct connection to Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, SiriusXM, Tidal, iHeart Radio and all the top music streaming sources as well as your personal playlists.

  • App-Based Control over WiFi - DTS Play-Fi app control lets you access music streaming services and audio content from any smartphone or tablet via WiFi and distribute it throughout your home.

  • 6 Custom Presets - 6 custom presets for instant access via WiFi to your favorite playlists, Internet Radio stations and streaming music services without needing a phone or tablet.

  • Voice Control - Voice control of music from any Alexa device on your WiFi network is as simple as “Alexa, play reggae in the living room” and you can adjust volume, skip track forward, mute, pause and stop the music.

Setup

Setup was simple. Connect your speakers, pair your Bluetooth and you are good to go. But if you want, you can also connect the device to your wifi and use the DTS Play-Fi app to listen in critical listening mode which enables 192kHz/24-bit lossless streaming. More on that in a bit.

If you don’t want to use wireless you can use an RCA, 3.5mm, or Toslink Optical to connect CD or other external devices to the SoundBase. There is also a Subwoofer output in case you want to connect a subwoofer. The SoundBase also has an Ethernet jack for a hardwired connection to your network and a USB port for firmware upgrades.

Our test configuration was using a Bluetooth connection to both our iPhone and MacBook Pro. The Macbook’s connection was using aptX which provides a higher quality Bluetooth connection.  We also used the DTS Play-Fi app to listen to 192khz audio.

Performance

You can hear the difference as soon as you turn the SoundBase on! Strong booming bass crystal clear audio and a lot of power. You could feel the desperation of life in Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Tin Pan Alley. The bass was strong and full. Feeling it more than hearing it. The Guitar sounding like it was being played right in front of you. Yes good speakers help, but the Soundbase made the ELAC Debuts come to life! Even at loud volumes there was no noticeable distortion. It just sounded like Stevie was in the room giving a private performance!

Drums are a difficult instrument to recreate. Howard Rogers from RSL Speakers told us, in an interview on our show, that he spent a lot of time perfecting speakers to recreate the sound of a drum. It's hard to AB a live drum with a recording but if your speaker/amplifier can’t handle the low end you can tell there is something not quite right. It will sound soft, muddy, or not even there. The SoundBase is spec’d to go to 10Hz which is more like a feeling than hearing but give it something like “When The Levee Breaks” by Led Zeppelin and you know right away that you are listening to something really special.  There was a presence about the drums that enhanced the listening experience.

If you want to make use of the Critical Listening (192kHz/24-bit lossless streaming) mode you need to download the DTS Play-Fi app which is easy enough. But that’s where the ease stops. The DTS app is cumbersome to use and not intuitive. But once you figure it out you can activate the Critical Listening mode by tapping the Hi-Res button at the top of the screen in the Zone selection. Then only sources that are compatible with this mode are visible

We listened to the same music from iTunes but this time through Tidal. It sounded very good but Ara’s old ears could not hear a noticeable difference. If you are able to discern the difference between Hi-Res and high quality AAC this device makes it easy to wirelessly listen to all your high resolution audio. One thing we didn’t like, and it has nothing to do with the SoundBase, was the DTS Play-Fi app is not an intuitive way of playing music on the Soundbase. However, if you want to natively make it part of a multiroom wireless system it is required.

The only complaints we had was there was not a remote control nor was there a power button. We reached out to SVS and asked about the power button and this was their reply:

Prime Wireless SoundBase is designed to remain on at all times so you can stream music to it instantly without waiting for the product to boot up and connect to the network every time. Worth noting that Prime Wireless meets all low power Energy Star requirements for products of their type.

Conclusion

If you are really into music you probably have some speakers that you really love. Odds are they are not wireless though. The SVS Prime Wireless SoundBase brings those speakers into the connected era with enough power to drive anything from bookshelf to towers. This is a great addition to any music lover’s setup. But hey, you don’t have to believe us. SVS offers a 45 day risk free in home trial with free shipping both ways. We will wager that if you try it you won’t ship it back!

 

 

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Reader Comments (1)

A few comments:

1. Vizio Warranty -- I had a Vizio M70-D3 (70-inch 4K Full Array Local Dimming LED TV). It had the same dark spot issue (a few of the LED zones had died). I was on month 13 of owning the TV. I called Vizio and they told me I was completely S.O.L. I will never buy another Vizio again. Thankfully, I purchased this $1,900 TV on a credit card which offered an extended warranty. They paid me full price and I am currently rocking the LG OLED65C8P. LG and Sony OLED TVs are far and beyond better than anything else available. Burn-in is not an issue, it's a scare tactic.

2. Yamaha Receiver and Airplay -- I have a recent Yamaha receiver that is connected to speakers in my master bathroom solely for the purpose of listening to music via Airplay. The receiver automatically turns on when I connect my iPhone to Airplay and then it shuts off after a period of inactivity. It's amazing. I highly recommend Yamaha receivers, even their entry-level.

Ara and Braden - Long time listener; love the show!

February 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAaron K from Tampa FL

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