Home Tech These SVS bookshelf speakers offer clear sound and a clean look

These SVS bookshelf speakers offer clear sound and a clean look

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Top side view of a glossy black speaker with an angular shape. Bottom view 34 of two shiny black speakers sitting on a red...

in the confusing cacophony of speaker brands, types and models, it’s nice for audio professionals like me to have a pocket-sized recommendation that consistently exceeds expectations. SVS, best known for their phenomenal subwoofers, has long been my innovative value pick. The company’s Prime series offers fantastic entry- and mid-level speakers, while the flagship Ultra series offers premium performance at a still reasonable price.

For 2024, SVS’s top speaker series has received an unusual redesign from the ground up, with striking new angled cabinets and new drivers, called Ultra Evolution. SVS completes the design with its familiar piano-like gloss finish (faux wood is also offered), giving the Evolution Bookshelf speakers I reviewed a sleek yet futuristic vibe.

These speakers are a pretty substantial investment and there are a glut of options in or around their price class that fight for your money. But, as always, the SVS emerges victorious. The new Ultra’s striking styling and thoughtful design give way to exhilarating performance, with a rapid combination of clarity, dynamics and vivid stereo imaging.

Who bent my speakers?

Taking the Ultra Evolution out of its packaging reveals sturdy mirrored cabinets that measure over 15 inches high, 8 inches wide, and 11 inches deep. The bent front looks like the Hulk had a fit and a remorseful Bruce Banner sent them off to be repainted. Rounded corners on the front and back complete the design for a minimalist look without being boring.

Angled speakers are nothing new; Focal’s Kanta speakers have it, while their million-dollar Towers of the Great Utopia They look like they have been cut with a katana and re-hung as mobiles. It is still surprising to see this design at such an affordable price.

Photography: Ryan Waniata

While it may function as a stylistic flourish, the Ultra’s new angle is all about science. SVS engineers used “time-aligned cabinet geometry” in an effort to align the center of the speaker’s 6.5-inch composite fiberglass woofer with the 1-inch aluminum dome tweeter for maximum “coherence.” phase”. In other words, the goal is to better align their frequencies so that they reach your ears at the same time, improving accuracy and stereo imaging. Given that Evolution’s visuals are among my favorite sonic abilities, it seems to have worked.

Aluminum dome tweeters are preferred for their longevity and fast clarity, but depending on the voice, they sometimes hit my ears too harshly in the higher frequencies. SVS says he smoothed things out by adding a diamond coating to the tweeter. Using a technique called vapor deposition, “a layer of diamond carbon is applied” to increase rigidity and smooth the sound transition between the tweeter and woofer.

The treble sometimes leans towards the positive side, especially noticeable after longer listening sessions, but the combination of clear and tempered high frequencies keeps all but the sharpest recordings in check. SVS also adds a random lattice tweeter cover, designed to protect the driver and better disperse sound frequencies to increase the sweet spot. You could cover it all with the included magnetic grilles, but the Evolution looks much more dynamic without them.

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