Big speakers are cool.
They move a lot of air, meaning they can shake the room or the whole house for that matter. Even though I’m usually partial to mini-monitors, It’s always fun to check out a speaker that makes you feel the music as well as hear the intricacies of a song. That’s what I have today.
The SVS Prime Tower Floorstanding Speaker ($499 each, $599 each in the gloss black) is SVS’s least expensive floorstander, coming in under the Prime Pinnacle Tower ($799 each), and the SVS Ultra Tower ($999 each) which is their TOTL offering.
However, if that leads you to think this is some watered down budget offering, you would be mistaken. The Prime Tower is a serious hi-fi speaker capable of producing a broad soundstage along with precise imaging and remarkable detail.
My review samples are loaners sent out by SVS, and I will return them once the review is complete.
Build and Features
The Prime Tower comes in two finishes, a black ash veneer, and a sexy Piano Gloss Black, which is the version they sent out to me. The Piano Black costs an extra $200 per pair, and to me, it’s worth it because the shiny finish makes them look so much sleeker and classy.
These speakers are built solidly, something I found out real quick when I had to drag the individually boxed towers into my house. Each one weighs about forty pounds. They are also relatively large, at three feet tall and almost a foot deep.
Inside of each tall speaker is extensive bracing along with separate enclosures for the 4.5-inch polypropylene midrange driver and dual poly 6.5-inch woofers. A rap on the side of the cabinet and the resulting “thunk” sound confirms how well their structure combats resonances.
Also on the inside, is the heart of the speaker, a 3.5-way crossover with beefy capacitors and air-core inductors. I’ve seen speakers a lot more expensive than this one that didn’t have crossovers this robust.
It’s also significant that they did a 3.5-way configuration on this speaker, using one of the 6.5-inch woofers as a mid/bass driver. I think this aids in the separation, especially with a floorstander this big.
On the front, there’s a chamfered front baffle to which the previously mentioned drivers and 1-inch aluminum dome tweeter are flush-mounted. Besides adding a stylish flourish to a somewhat plain design, it’s also intended to reduce edge diffraction, which can cause muddiness in the sound.
On the back of the speaker are dual 1.7” bass ports, with a single set of 5-Way binding posts. It would’ve been cool to see a twin set of binding posts for bi-wiring here, but I guess at this price point, you can’t have it all.
That’s not to say there aren’t some well thought out inclusions with this model. For instance, I loved the rubber feet they included for hard flooring. To me, they did a great job of isolating the speakers as well as protecting the floor. They also include adjustable screw-in spikes for use on a carpeted floor.
Also included are acoustically transparent grilles which use pegs to attach to the front baffle. Magnetic grilles would’ve been nicer for aesthetic’s sake, but it’s not a deal-breaker.
Listening to the SVS Prime Tower
I started with the Prime Towers connected to our 2019 Product Of The Year, the Cambridge Audio CXA81 Integrated Amp. They sounded good, but I found the bass to be a bit too rambunctious for my taste. I thought they might benefit from a pairing with my Reference Integrated the Audiolab 6000A, and I was correct.
The more restrained (and more detailed) Audiolab amp brought out the best of the Prime Towers. The Bass went from overbearing to punchy and deep, the highs were precise, and the mids were very sweet.
I cued up the album “Jesus Is Born” from Kanye West’s Sunday Sermon choir (a fantastic sounding album, check it out if you haven’t heard it), and I was immediately taken aback by the scale of the music.
Unlike a pair of mini-monitors, which in most cases “miniaturize” the music, the Prime Towers projected almost a full-sized representation of the choir, tall and broad. Each section of the choir, the sopranos, the altos, jumped out at me from the left and right sides in such a convincing way.
The dynamics of these speakers were also very impressive when I played the track “Back to Life,” a cover of Soul 2 Soul’s classic song, the drums hit with fantastic depth and brought that rhythm section to life in my living room! I felt the music in a way no bookshelf or smaller tower could reproduce.
I also compared them to one of my favorite floorstanders under $1K, the DALI Oberon 5. The DALI was more revealing, especially in the midrange, but it couldn’t compare with the scale and the dynamics of the SVS speaker. The music on the Oberon sounded smaller, and the bottom end was a lot thinner by comparison.
The DALI conveyed the feeling of the music more, however. On the Oberon, you could better hear the singer’s emotion, but the Prime Tower expressed the size and the force of a full gospel choir in a way the DALI could not.
The SVS Prime Tower is an incredible speaker. The heavy-duty build quality, along with the high-quality components, equates to a reasonably priced speaker that can do a lot of great stuff. The imaging and soundstage are excellent, the scale is incredible, and they have a lovely midrange. The bass and dynamics are exceptional as well. Just be careful not to match them with an amp that’s too forward, or you might get too much of a good thing.