I do not have either, but both seem to be well respected.
One may also want to consider if integrating them into a system is easy or not.
They’re largely different designs. Yes, on paper SVS will deliver more deep bass per $ and sound quite good doing it properly set up, which is now much easier with their Pro series that includes integration software. Rel prefers to run off the speaker-level output and doesn’t offer integration software but by nature is easier to integrate without it. Bottom line, I’d take two sealed SVS SB1000 Pro subs at $1150 over one Rel sub because there’s a significant benefit to having two subs versus one if it comes to that. Past $1150, well, it’s all about budget. Don’t think you can go wrong with Rel, but then you start getting into Rhythmic, JL Labs, etc. territory that muddies the waters. Then it becomes a decision if using a speaker-level input or line-level input with integration shortware is preferable. Me? I’d read reviews of the various options and go with the one that offers the most of what you’re looking for. I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the above brands, but I will reiterate though that using at least two good subs is much better than using on great one. FWIW.
I have a micro 3000 and a PB2000, I enjoy them both. I have heard the REL is more musical, and I can’t confirm or deny that. But for me the SVS subs are just right for my needs. The adjustability via the app is awesome. Very versatile and lets one really dial things in. Also a plus, the SVS are priced right for me. You get a lot for your dough.
YouTuber Nemo Propaganda does a good job of doing explaining the differences between the two brands. Might want to check him out. I too had a hard time with REL’s specs as on paper they don’t seem impressive. It’s hard to explain, you kind of have to hear one. They produce bass and have extension but it’s like there is no sub in the room. Just more low end articulation that seems part of the mains. The two brands are just different philosophies. No right or wrong, it comes down to one’s preference.
I own one of each, a REL S2 and SVS SB1000 Pro, and I prefer the SVS. They augment a pair of OB speakers in a 16' x 21' room to great effect where you feel immersed in the sound.
As @soix mentioned, 2 subs better than 1. Easier to get good sound. 3 subs even better! Multi-subs are able to smooth the lumpy bass found in all rooms.
A while back I managed to borrow 2 ported subs to play with and found them a little difficult to place and that is why I chose the SVS sealed unit. I placed the SVS in the rear right corner and the REL about middle of left wall. Omnimic confirmed a better room response than the 2 ported designs and that was before any fussing over their positions.
The SVS has continuously variable phase adjustment and with the ability to change settings from the listening seat is a great help. In addition to phase there is also low pass, parametric EQ, room gain compensation and presets.
The REL ( it's the S2 I think) which I found used at a bargain price was placed along the side wall so I would have the option of moving it about for best integration because the phase is only switchable from 0 to 180 degrees.
Setting up these 2 was a breeze. With Omnimic guiding me I moved the REL backwards and forwards, each time readjusting the SVS then move REL again and further tweak the SVS and so on. Will now build myself a servo-sub to add to the fun.
To me ^these statements^ translates to use a REL or two in a 2 channel system, and either add a n SVS or use a couple of them for HT.
it is hard to beat speaker level inputs and Analogue SIgnal Processing (ASP) for the two channel.
Without disclosing specific models Nemo uses a questionable analogy of the personalities of two different women and another using two different German automobiles to describe basic differences with four subwoofers, REL, Rythmik and SVS and JL Audio. He also places something on appearances.
Three of these subwoofers is equipped with differing methods of equalization, two add room optimization all are vital in producing variable presentations. With the exception of REL they all meet or exceed their claimed low frequency response.
Better to give Nemo his twenty thousand leagues under whatever and begin with mrteeves’ philosophical differences.
All REL’s are sub bass speakers. Rythmik has optional frequency cut and boost and JL Audio F series has an internal frequency generator and a calibrated microphone to automatically (only) adjust the frequency response. All are set-it and forget-it subs.
The SVS uses a smartphone (remote control) based application that allows you to see what your hearing while making crossover, phase, frequency, Q and volume adjustments to your liking. And the ability add those settings and two others to memory presets. If you want the SVS to sound like a REL it’s up to you.
Best of all you can change the volume by remote control as well as the presets all from the listening position. Velodyne offered far more detail version of this almost two decades ago in their DD and DD Plus lines.
mrteeves, "No right or wrong, it comes down to one preference." All the best with your search.
In my personal experience, if spending less than $3-4K per sub, SVS takes the cake. I have two SVS SB-4000 in my room, which is 18x23 with sloped ceiling up to 18’, and the room is open to another room towards one back side. It’s a lot of space and these guys are fast and deep. I tried two SB-3000s and they were slower and not enough for the room, but still great considering their price against a pair of Rel T9i I demoed a week prior. The SB-3000 blow those away.
I did also try a REL 212 SE and it is faster than the SB-4000s, but I couldn’t live without the smartphone integration capabilities of the SVS. Phasing is especially important to me, and REL doesn’t offer that until you get up to their reference series which run $4K+. At some point I will likely upgrade to something in that line.
I own the SVS SB2000 Pro. It sits upon my homemade bungee trapeze which isolates the sub from floor. While waiting for delivery, I didn't have much hope, To my surprise, the blending with my Klipsch Lasalas is wonderful. I had all but given up on ever getting a sub to play nice with the big floor standers. Previous subs include Velodyne, Polk, Sunfire and other brands. See? I really tried. Honestly I purchased it expecting to return it as a failed attempt or try again by getting up SVS's product line to a bigger better unit. (Crutchfield returns policy is easy) Once set up, the sub did what every sub should- It simply disappeared and allowed the music to become the focus! Five Stars
I use a SVS PB2000 pro sub with my JBLL100 Classic speakers and the single sub really made my system go from pretty good to incredible. Like others have said, their software to integrate the sub is excellent and easy to use. You can make adjustments on the fly too. I was going to add another of the same sub but the system sounds so good with one, that I don’t want to spoil the magic.
I have the svs sb16 ultra it took a little more work to tune them with my tekton's than my klipsch but once I got it there you can' tell where the sub ends and the mains begin. I also got the svs isolation feet that work really well I have also put them on my tekton's. The 1 sub gives me more than enough bass.
I haven’t listened to any REL subs. A few months ago,I was looking to upgrade my aging HSU subs. I had my initial search down to Rythmik, REL, and SVS. A deal for two SVS SB2000 pro’s popped up that I simply could not walk away from. My take is these were a bigger upgrade than I had expected. They were very easy to set up, and definitely do everything I need them to do. Unfortunately,I can’t comment on the others,but they do get rave reviews just about everywhere.
I had one SVS SB-12NSD and was very happy with it. But I kept reading here about people using subwoofer swarms (4 subs) and raving about it. I stumbled across a guy selling two of that same model for $400 for the pair and jumped on it to see what all the fuss was about. While that doesn't give me a full swarm the difference in bass quality is remarkable, truly fantastic. In fact is has improved the entire sonic presentation. So the hunt is definitely on for a 4th.
@ratboysr, I may be wrong but I get the impression you think it necessary to have all subs in a multi-sub set up exactly same model. You are free to use a different type and in fact may prove beneficial. For example when helping a friend with 3 subs, 2 of them 10" and 3rd 12" my measurement showed a stubborn partial null at about 70Hz. Floor space was a bit lacking so I brought over a 6.5" little sub in a 9" sealed cube. After some experimentation found it worked wonders placed about 4ft off the floor on a large bookshelf. Measurement confirmed the the null had improved from -10dB to -4db. The small sub was about 5ft away at almost ear height so would not need much power but received enough to further smooth out the room response. In fact when turning up the volume on this sub I could fill in that 70Hz completely but raised a nearby peak a couple of dB. I erred on the side of caution to protect the 6.5' driver.
Generally it is best, for easier integration, to stay with sealed boxes. Multi - subs are transformative and I am constantly surprised by the reluctance to accept/ embrace the concept.
My experience is with a Plus and an Ultra, both 8-10 years old:
The main issue was the volume control, which blasted when barely cracked. I trained many different methods to employ them, to no avail. I had them with 3 different speakers. It took years of advertising them FS until someone bought them for his Video system, which is what the company originally was based on. So, if you're looking to use them in a channel system ask before you buy
SVS makes really good subs and they have great customer service and they are reliable. I have 3 of them, one SB-12 NSD in a bedroom system and two SB-13 Ultras in my main system, combined with two Rythmik F25 subs.
I have heard Rel subs and think they are great, but I have a hard time justifying the price difference between Rel and many other brands. There isn't enough sound "difference" IMHO to pay twice as much or more for the same level of output/performance.
I'm scratching my head a bit about the comment about them being too loud. The two in my main system have the volume set at something like -14 and -15. When I bought my Rythmik subs, I bought them pre-owned. The owner said something like "I have them set neutral" which in his mind meant that he had his AVR set at 0, but I don't think they were in any way calibrated or "neutral". They were overwhelming. You probably could have heard them half a block away the way he had them set up. In my setup, the volume is at about 9 o'clock.
Having them set up so that the volume control can be set low is a good thing. That means that when called on, they will respond with ease and have lots of overhead and when they are not a prominent part of the musical content you may not even realize they are there, when properly integrated.
Having lots of overhead is generally not considered a bad thing when discussing subwoofers. Some subs can be too big for the space, which is why there are multiple models in every sub manufacturer's lineup.
If a sub isn't good for music, it's not going to be good for home theater either and vice versa. I do however prefer to stick to sealed models for music.
Before you purchase either a Rel or SVS, I would suggest looking at Rythmik. I like their servo technology and would recommend them over SVS and you'll get more value for your dollar than you will with Rel.
I have one SVS 2000Pro in my system and it does everything I want. I have it in the back of my room, because I didn’t have a good place to put it in the front. I’m also using their Soundpath wireless setup, so no long RCA and it works very good as well. But I have to tell you, the app is where it’s at! From my listening position I was able to dial the 2000 Pro in, easy Peasy!
All the best.
@lemonhaze I have limited space and that model is pretty compact so when two were available for $400 total I couldn't pass it up. I was under the impression matching subs was preferred so good to know that's not always the case as good deals on that model are hard to find.
I think REL's high level connection technology is just incredible. This allows them to play more like woofers and they seamlessly extend the bass if set up properly. I added two REL SHO's to my system and it was a game changer. I would recommend two large REL's to create a great sound stage.
My friend had an SVS subwoofer and it sounded very boomy. Great for a teenager who loves to hear a pounding bass sound. REL's play different styles of music incredibly well.
Quick and dirty response.
Big room and big bass fan... SVS = great sub's, especially for the money.
Like bass articulation and control, have smaller room and desire more seemless bass integration and detail... SVS = look elsewhere REL JL
I own JL, KEF and SVS sub's and I love them all.
Hi all, just a thought for potential buyers. The SVS website has an outlet page where they have blemished units at a bit of a deal. I bought my micro 3000 with a blemish and I’m hard pressed to find the imperfection.. The cosmetic blemish doesn’t affect the sound it seems… I learn something new every day 😁
I have SVS micro 3000 and a friend of mine has a pair of Rel. They both sound good to me but I prefer being able to make adjustments from the app in my listening position. My buddy has to keep getting up to make adjustments. In this day with all the technology we has getting up just seems so archaic.
I have owned at least 5 SVS subs, luckily they have an excellent customer service department for the warranty as every sub I got from them (two via one of their dealers stores) failed. I took two of them apart to view the guts and I was not happy with the build quality from what I saw.
Another item, I could not get them to sound right in my large room when they were operational; the sound to me was very muddy and not musical at all; very boomy sounding.
I ended up getting in a very nice sub from Axiom Audio (who owns Bryston by the way) and all I can say is what a nice improvement that was. The amps are rated far lower in power than SVS, but trust me, they have a lot more power as they use linear power supplies with much more reserve. You should see the capacitors and massive toroid transformer; it must weigh 30 pounds. Plus they are super musical with a great amount of adjustment available on the variable phase controls and cross over points. I ended up with 4 subs from them and the sound is just outstanding. I'd suggest a look at what they offer on their webpage before getting anything from any other company; plus they have outstanding customer service and warranty support. That's my input on this subject.
It was an R.E.L sub that first truly showed me 'hall effect' on Eva Cassidy's "Fields of Gold" (with no discernible bass on the track). I used (and still have) an R.E.L. Britannica B1 sub for my main audio for years. (Also own an R.E.L. Storm III).
Now I use two SVS SB-2000 subs and one SB-3000 (all sealed) for three as a D.B.A. in my audio-only room. I won't go back to the REL though it was great. I would strongly recommend going the distributed bass array route if possible (not always I know). R.E.L. is great. SVS is great too, but a better monetary value.