Welcome to the age of the modern audiophile, where products like the SVS Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase (buy at Amazon) make it possible to buy an entire audiophile system for under a grand. Manufacturers have been clamoring to make one-box solutions since the dawn of home audio. With its latest contribution to the endeavor, SVS seems to strike the perfect balance between modern design, functionality, lifestyle, and cost. The provocative question I have when I see this kind of product is: Does the Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase bring actual performance that matches its feature-rich design? My experience with one-box solutions tells me that’s a tall order, but this is SVS, so let’s find out.
What Makes SVS Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase So Special?
- This is a one-and-done digital solution for modern audiophiles. It is, in effect, an integrated amplifier, DAC, and source all in one chassis. Just add speakers and perhaps a sub and you have a complete sound system. Period.
- When it comes to the sophisticated modern audiophile, seamless integration into a busy lifestyle is a highly desirable trait. The Pro SoundBase excels in user-friendly technology, all controlled through your mobile device via DTS Play-Fi. Sticking to the wireless theme: The SVS Pro also supports Apple Airplay 2, Spotify Connect, Chromecast, and aptX/AAC Bluetooth playback. From my Google Pixel 6, the Bluetooth sounded great in the background while puttering around the house, but as expected, it was the Wi-Fi connection I turned to for serious listening.
- The Pro SoundBase excels in wired connectivity too. On the rear panel you’ll find a set of RCA line-ins, ethernet jacks (both in and pass-through), a 3.5mm mini-jack input, optical input and an HDMI input.
- This streamer packs a quality 24bit/192KHz DAC that decodes all one needs it to. Sure, maybe not DSD; however, with most high-resolution content up to 24bit/192KHz, does one really need more? The important fact here is that the DAC in the SVS Pro is a high performer with very good fidelity on par with standalone DACs that cost the same as the Pro SoundBase.
- The Pro SoundBase is seamless in its operation. Through all my testing, I could not get it to bug-out, which is impressive since there are many higher-dollar products that cannot seem to get the software/user interface side of things right. It is so elegant when technology just works, and the Pro SoundBase just works.
- The display is readable from across a normal living room. While it seems silly, having a clear display on a streamer/integrated amp is a very important feature. There is a lot of information to display, from the volume control, to music metadata. I have no qualms about the display not being in color, nor fancy. It is easy on the eyes and easy to read. Like the DAC SVS chose for the Pro SoundBase, the display is all one needs.
- The Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase packs serious low-distortion power. There are not many specifications about the Class-D amplifier in the Pro SoundBase, but its rating of 150 watts by two channels seems mighty conservative. The Pro SoundBase has a lot of drive. Clean, low-distortion drive with none of the digital sizzle Class-D has gotten a bad rap for. Like The Amped A2400 (Review Pending), it is time to get with the program that Class-D is here to stay, and it has gotten very good.
- You do not need a Master’s Degree to understand how to use the Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase. It comes with a very easy setup guide, and the front navigation is pretty intuitive. The remote is simple and easy to use, and even laid out where muscle memory can take over so you can keep your eyes shut to adjust the volume while in the listening zone.
- It was very smart choice to use DTS Play-Fi to manage the streaming functionality. Play-Fi is simple to set up, customizable, and comes with usable streaming options ready to go such as Qobuz, Tidal, iHeartRadio, Pandora, and even SiriusXM.
Why Should You Care About the SVS Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase?
One thing Chi-Fi (Chinese Hi-fi) has not gotten right yet, at least from my experience, is the ability to seamlessly integrate multiple streams of functionality in a product, while simultaneously making all those functional streams high quality and user-friendly. Though manufactured in China, The Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase is seamless, feature-packed, and powerful, with high-quality functionality. An actionable testament to SVS’s commitment to quality in their products.
Going one step further, this little fella can do everything someone getting into hi-fi needs, but it does so affordably, so that a Zoomer who loves their music, but is stuck delivering pizzas between classes and exams, can get their audiophile rig going without having to buy used, outdated technology. For the current audiophile who already has their big rig, the Pro SoundBase makes an incredible secondary foundation for a bedroom system, and its multitude of ways it can be configured allows its use in quirky, special situations or locations. Once you figure out where it needs to be used, the Pro SoundBase’s setup is simple and streaming is high quality.
Some Things You Might Not Like About the SVS Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase
- There is no phono stage included. Perhaps it would be silly to expect such on a streamer/player, but it would round out the Pro SoundBase perfectly, because unbelievably, there still needs to be support for the long-lived love of analog records. Well, it is not all that unbelievable. Vinyl is an experience, and good musical experiences are the endgame in this hobby. Good, affordable phono stages are not expensive such as the Schiit Mani 2 which we’ve reviewed and can be bought at Amazon for about $199.
- The chassis is made mostly from plastic. Sadly, there is nothing rich feeling about the Pro SoundBase. It comes with a plastic remote, plastic front panel, plastic body and plastic knobs. In a twist of interesting industrial design, however, the bottom and back are metal. I believe this is for the heat-sinking of components, and to provide physical stability to the input jacks on the rear.
- Even though the DAC is sonically fantastic, it does not support DSD or MQA decoding. I am unsure either of these things matters all that much to the customer who wants a wireless all-in-one DAC/streamer/integrated amp, though. I would much rather pay $699 as the Pro SoundBase is, than $999 thanks to the licensing required to decode MQA.
- The Wi-Fi and Bluetooth buttons are on the rear of the Pro SoundBase. All manufacturer’s please take note: If you are going to need buttons and status lights to allows syncing with other devices, put them on the front. Your customer’s will thank you.
Listening to the SVS Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase…
I was fortunate enough to have several pairs of speakers on hand when auditioning the Pro SoundBase, but found three very distinctly different pairs stayed in the longest. The Tekton Design Pendragons, with their sheer audiophile presence and high efficiency, created a sonically complete system that covered everything in the music, top-to-bottom. The total price of this system was $3,100.
The Pro SoundBase also grabbed hold of the Polk Audio R200AE speakers (buy at Amazon) very well, and did not feel like it was missing power while driving a speaker nearly 8dB less efficient. All in for this system is a sugar-cube over $2,000. The real shocker: The under-$300 per pair Monoprice Monolith B5 Bookshelf speakers (review pending) (buy at Amazon) were a spectacular match for the Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase. The Monolith B5s and the Pro SoundBase would make a complete, audiophile grade system for under $1,000 total.
The Class-D amplifier in the Pro SoundBase never ceased to amaze, and while companies like AGD Productions are making bleeding edge GaN Class-D as in their Tempo amplifier (review pending), SVS is certainly capitalizing on how far Class-D has come. I think it’s time for some music.
I focused on the streaming aspect of the Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase, and while I tried Toslink in from a CD player, I found no need to go much further than a quick listen to Diana Krall’s Love Scenes (buy at Amazon) to decide that any ills occurring in the sound were due to being a Toslink connection, and not the Pro SoundBase. Speaking of Love Scenes, I love the opening track, “All Or Nothing At All.” Christian McBride comes out of the corner swinging on his upright bass and sets the up-beat jump for this tune. The bass was controlled, and the pop of his fingers plucking the strings was well intact on the hi-resolution version available through Qobuz. I found the sound of strings resonating through the body of the bass to be satisfactory, though I have heard more clear-cut distinction fleshed out on higher quality gear. The upright bass was not missing anything, it was just a little farther away than I am use to. The initial attack of Diana’s voice raised my eyebrow.
I did not expect the dynamics to be as big as they were, nor did I expect the tonality of Krall’s voice to be so accurately presented. My other eyebrow raised, too, at the thought of how far inexpensive Class-D amplification has come. By the time Krall’s piano and the jazz guitar are in the mix, the Pro SoundBase had me convinced of its high-fidelity chops. Its sins were minor, and these sins leaned more toward a lack of polish and fine detail than anything additive like distortion or noise.
The back-beat country tune by Jake Owen off the album Greetings From…Jake named “Down To The Honkytonk” strikes a chord with me. Heck, I will never have a statue named after me, or go down in history, but I’ll go Down to the Honkytonk! As Jake so casually sings, “life is what you make it,” and I believe that applies to our musical lives too. The Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase is the Honkytonk in this case, preserving the message and the snappy drums well enough to get the foot tapping. The dobro slides along on its twangy ride without any shrillness, and its individual notes stay well separated.
Owen’s voice sounds on-point. His poignant yet drawl-filled tone comes through almost conversationally during the verses, as if you are hanging out with your good-time buddy on any given Friday night. It was then I realized the Pro SoundBase is the place you want to go for some good times and forget about life for a while. It’s not fancy or upper-class by any means, but that does not matter much since it grabs the listener by the horns and demands their attention.
It mattered little the genre of music I used to audition the Pro SoundBase. The DTS Play-Fi streaming was seamless, and those slight details that were sonically missing mattered little. The SVS was a fun listen, non-offensive, and still had enough power to preserve a real foot-tapping punch. The SoundBase does have a subwoofer out, but I am unsure if, with a pair of speakers that can reach 30Hz and the power the Pro SoundBase provides, one is necessary in most modest-sized environments.
Does the SVS Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase Have Any Resale Value?
The opening buy-in is so low for the SVS Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase that it is hard to lose too much money. While there are lots of technologies here that could get updated, before you sell it you would likely move it to another room. If you did sell it, SVS products do really well used on places like eBay.com, audiogon.com, and elsewhere. Your investment is pretty safe here.
Who Is the Competition For the SVS Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase?
- Denon makes a nifty CD player/streamer for $499 called the CEOL RCD-N10 (buy at Amazon). It has similar functionality to the Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase, but they crammed an amplifier in it that only produces a modest 65 watts per channel with a meager 86dB signal-to-noise ratio. The Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase swings in with a SNR of 100dB, and a very respectable 150 watts per channel. Pound for pound, the Pro SoundBase wins this tale of the tape, but it costs $200 more.
- The Arcam Solo Uno for $769 is Roon Ready and gives you the ability to decode MQA. The Solo Uno will even give you a 117dB signal-to-noise ratio, which is as good as any high-end amplifier out there. However, it will only deliver 25 watts into eight ohms, or 50 watts into four ohms. At $69 more than the Pro SoundBase, losing the amplification may not be worth the jump.
Final Thoughts on the SVS Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase
The $699 SVS Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase represents a very important milestone in budget audio. It offers great power, useable decoding/streaming formats, smooth functionality with no glitches or hiccups, and has an HDMI input that allows it to serve as a stereo AV receiver, assuming your TV supports ARC. It is a very hard piece to beat in the era of cramming everything in one box. Is the Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase perfect? No, but that is perfectly OK because at $699 it is not about perfection, rather providing a great musical experience while avoiding the pitfalls of budget engineering. SVS truly found the sweet spot with this one, and that makes the component a spectacular value. I really like the Pro SoundBase, so much so, if I had room for it, I would not be sending it back. There is not a greater compliment I could give to it than that. This unit delivers audiophile greatness at a price nearly any enthusiast can afford.