With the best wireless speakers widely available from companies like Sonos, Apple and others, including models that can be paired for stereo playback, mainstream non-streaming options are starting to look outdated.
Some more expensive streaming speakers like the KEF LS50 Wireless II can even connect directly to a TV via an HDMI ARC port, making them a more than viable soundbar alternative. But it’s not necessarily a good idea to throw away an otherwise fine pair of the best stereo speakers just because they can’t stream music wirelessly. A better one is to make them streaming-capable – something SVS’s Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase ($700 / £600 / about AU$1,100) does nicely.
SVS is best known for its subwoofers, but the Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase is a compact 300 watt (150 watts per channel) stereo amplifier to which you connect your passive speakers. It houses a 24-bit/192kHz-compatible digital-to-analog converter and can stream music wirelessly via Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2, Chromecast and aptX Bluetooth. DTS Play-Fi is also supported, allowing the SVS SoundBase to be linked to a multi-room system with up to 16 playback zones.
Streaming control is done using the Play-Fi app, which gives you access to the best music streaming services including Tidal, Amazon Music, Qobuz, Pandora, YouTube and others for direct streaming to the Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase. And Play-Fi is high-resolution capable, meaning you can make the most of the amplifier’s built-in 24-bit/192kHz DAC when using compatible services such as Amazon Music Unlimited and Qobuz.
As well as streaming, the SVS amp’s HDMI eARC, optical digital and analog stereo inputs are suitable for wired sources, and there’s both a headphone output and a sub output for connecting a subwoofer – perhaps a big bass beast from SVS itself. .
If you’re more of a hands-on than app control type, the buttons on the Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase’s front panel let you select sources and adjust the volume, with visual feedback from a large OLED screen. A remote control is included and Alexa, Siri and Hey Google voice commands can be used when a supported device is connected.
Analysis: Streaming amplifiers are a better than simple option
There’s a lot to be said for wireless speakers, which provide an all-in-one solution for adding music to one or more rooms, usually at an affordable price. However, such compact speakers from Sonos, Bose, Apple and others are just one way to go about things, and they aren’t always a recipe for the best sound.
The Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase’s 2 x 150 watt amplifier can be used to drive a wide variety of passive speakers, from compact bookshelf models to floorstanding towers. And with a subwoofer output and built-in electronic crossover as part of the audio arsenal, your music streaming setup can go from fairly good to really high performance, adding extended bass to the wide stereo image that the left and right speakers have placed separately. provide.
Streaming speakers like Sonos’s also offer few, if any, connection options beyond wireless. But with a streaming amplifier like the Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase and similar models from brands like Sonos, Bluesound and others, you can the best turntables (provided it has a phono preamp output), a CD player and even a TV.
And then there’s the matter of high-res audio. Thanks to the support of the DTS Play-Fi platform for lossless streaming up to 24-bit/192 kHz, listeners can take full advantage of their high-res compatible music service subscription, which cannot be said for all streaming platforms. (For example, Sonos maxes out 24-bit/48kHz support, but to be fair, that should be enough for most users.)
Calling the SVS Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase “feature-packed” would be an understatement. At its $700 / £600 / roughly AU$1,100 price point, what this streaming amp offers is quite eye-catching, and certainly on par with what you get from Sonos’ own comparably priced Amp. If you have a stereo based on a set of old speakers and want to make the leap into the world of high-resolution wireless music streaming, this SVS amp is worth considering.