SVS Prime Pinnacle Loudspeaker Page 2

Each bass driver works out of a rear 50mm-wide port and each is individually tuned. The MDF cabinet – 25mm-thick at the front – features four separate internal enclosures, plus rigid bracing, in a bid to combat unwanted resonances.

sqnote Big And Bold
Consider the sub-£2000 price tag, and trio of front-firing bass drivers, and you might think SVS's floorstander is all about bass brutality. But while low-frequency handling is an obvious plus point – and a trait that brand fans will no doubt be expecting – it's neither overblown nor unrefined, while mids and highs aren't relegated to second fiddle. And the Prime Pinnacle's natural talent for the low-end creates a sound that's as big and bold as they come at this price.

The title track from Michael Jackson's Bad [EPC 504423 2] gives this pair a chance to strut its stuff. It's a performance that's not quite as slick as Jacko moonwalking in his slip-on shoes, but is undoubtedly infectious: full-range, propulsive and large in scale. The ascendant bassline that underpins each verse is delivered evenly and fluidly, and is subjectively uncoloured. Atop this, the electronic percussion (this was 1987, after all), hand-claps and Jackson's breathy vocals have a crisp edge and believable tonality. You can close your eyes and imagine you're in that parking lot, about to have a dance off…

AC/DC's 'Thunderstruck' [The Razor's Edge; EPC 510771 2] is one of the Aussie rockers' more thoughtfully mixed recordings, striving to create the scale of a live stadium performance from the confines of the studio. A key component is the repetitive slam of drummer Chris Slade's tom-tom, which through the Prime Pinnacle sounds delightfully taut and immediate, and forward in the mix. Switch to the synthetic bass notes of London Grammar's 'Hey Now' [If You Wait; MADART1], and the speaker shows its ability to drop deep while maintaining a tight grip. The company's expertise in subs certainly seems to pay dividends.

A quieter, more considered track, such as Alice In Chains' semi-acoustic 'No Excuses' from the Jar Of Flies EP [Tidal Hi-Fi download; 44kHz/16-bit], finds the Prime Pinnacle in fine voice for what is arguably an affordable floorstander. Jerry Cantrell and Layne Staley's twin-tracked vocals are clearly delineated, and the low-key percussion, which blends hi-hats and rapid snares with high-pitched toms into a syncopated rhythm, finds its space within the soundstage. And again, the sheer body given to the bassline, and the Pinnacle's ability to resolve low frequencies without coming across as sluggish or boomy, is remarkable.


Rear-ported and full-range, the Prime Pinnacle naturally warrants placement out from a wall to avoid excessive boundary gain, but you don't have to venture too far for the sound to be direct and unmuddied, a benefit perhaps of SVS's triple-port design. I found the recommended placement of 30o L/R, with a slight toe-in, a sensible starting point, although removing that toe-in – for practical and aesthetic reasons – didn't weaken image integrity.

So where's the trade-off that the Prime Pinnacle's price tag implies? Sure, there's a sense that treble definition could be sharper, which robs tracks of that top layer of incisiveness, and the superb driving nature of its low-end isn't matched by the same forcefulness higher up the frequency band. As such, the astonishing lead solo in Pink Floyd's 'Comfortably Numb' [The Wall; EMI 50999 028944 2 3] sounds a little shy, Dave Gilmour's axe not so much cleaving through the instrumentation as gliding across it.

This is hardly a blot on the copybook for, as well as being nuanced, authoritative and weighty with bass, these SVS's floorstanders are very effective at creating soundstage depth and width.

Pure Pleasure
This was obvious in the precise placement of Brad Wilk's drum kit in Black Sabbath's 'The End Of The Beginning' [13; Vertigo 3735426], and the widely thrown guitar and flutes in 'Can't You See' from The Marshall Tucker Band's self-titled debut [Tidal Hi-Fi download; 44kHz/16-bit FLAC]. This languid slice of 1970s Southern rock fits the Prime Pinnacle like a glove.

SVS's voicing here favours smoothness and warmth, as opposed to the attacking sound you might expect from a company with one foot firmly in the home theatre camp, and the result is pure listening pleasure, as the track layers on instruments (piano, acoustic guitar, a gently distorted Les Paul) and gradually builds to its crescendo. Doug Gray's plaintive vocals also get the grit and texture they deserve. So if you crave a warm and a full-bodied sound, the Prime Pinnacle will have your system glowing.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
Just svelte enough to slip into all but the smallest rooms, and undemanding when it comes to placement, these floorstanders have clear all-round appeal, matched by a big, crowd-pleasing performance. Music driven by bass and percussion is their bread and butter, but there's a sweeter side that makes them more than competitive. In the middle of the price/performance Venn diagram, you'll find the Prime Pinnacle.

Ohio, USA
Supplied by: Karma-AV Ltd, York
01423 358846