SVS SB12 NSD Review: Is It Worth Buying?

SVS SB12 NSD Review

If you’re interested in having a home theater or already have one, you know the subwoofers are essential to your setup. There are plenty of subwoofers already on the market, so it can be tough to decide which one to get. For example, some subwoofers are big enough to fill a small room, while others have so many features they cost a small fortune.

SVS, or SV Sound, has one of the best subwoofers available with its SB12-NSD offering. There’s plenty to like about this subwoofer, and it’s a great addition to any home theater system. What makes it so great? Let’s dig into what the SB12-NSD has to offer.

SVS SB12-NSD Design

SV Sound’s SB12-NSD is a subwoofer that offers a 12” driver that fires forward on the device’s front panel. Control and power for the unit come from Sledge technology, which SVS calls its proprietary plate amplifier. It provides 400 watts continually into a 4ohm load. If it sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the same technology used with other SVS units, including the PB12-NSD.

If you should choose to examine the driver behind the SB12 enclosure, you’ll find that it’s identical to the one used in the PB12. That means you’re getting the same high-quality driver that SVS developed for previous subwoofers. SVS’s driver is built on open-designed, powder-coated aluminum hardware. It is attached to a Nomex linear spider that offers voice coil leads sewn right in.

The cone on the SB12 consists of lightweight aluminum with a composite engraved with an SVS logo. A 2” voice coil resides within the unit, designed with a high-temperature material that allows the device to handle higher powers. Additionally, the SB12 has a motor system that consists of a double-stack of ferrite slugs, which measure 5.5-inches in diameter and roughly ¾-inches thick.

You’ll also find a thick-bumped backplate and a vented pole that prevent the pole from bottoming out. Plus, there are a pair of aluminum shorting rings within the motor that lower and control inductance.

Sledge Amplifier

SVS’s Sledge amplifier states that it provides 400 watts of continuously while offering a class D switch mode that offers high-efficiency. The amplifier provides all the basic functionality you would expect to find with a high-quality unit: RCA type inputs, phase, gain, auto-off/on switch, and the ability to daisy chain output connections.

The unit’s construction is top-notch, which is exactly what we’ve come to expect from SVS hardware. The SB12 also offers small heat sinks made of aluminum, which keeps the amplifier from getting hotter than it should while it’s in use. Even during long periods of use, the unit’s temperature isn’t going to get so hot that you can’t touch it.

Check out our list of best amps or subwoofers.

Build Quality

The SB12 subwoofer is a small unit that is made of MDF material. Even though the device doesn’t use cross bracing to support its frame, there are no vibrations while you’re listening to your favorite music or watching the latest blockbuster movie. How does SVS accomplish this? By using thick panel material, along with a generously lined interior consisting of several enclosure panels.

Plus, these panels are short, small, and stocky, which makes them stiff and inflexible. This type of small enclosure with stiff panels means that the unit does not require the internal bracing that bigger subwoofers need.


The SB12 is wrapped in black vinyl, which helps give the unit its rounded edges along with a sleek and sophisticated look. Its grille is fastened securely to the front of the unit, which seems a little more durable than some of the other options in the industry.

Overall, this makes the SB12 subwoofer look appealing while remaining unobtrusive. With a piano gloss finish, this unit has plenty of visual attraction. It’s a well-built, high-quality unit that’s a great option for anyone who is in the market for a subwoofer.

Initial Setup

Once your SB12 subwoofer arrives, getting it set up is something that only requires a few minutes of your time. Plus, it’s something that can be completed by just a single person. All you have to do is open up the box, take the unit out of its bag, plug in the power cord, and get going. Instead of a paper copy, you can download the owner’s manual online.


Once you have your SB12 out of the box and set up, you’ll see just how compact this powerful unit really is. The device is roughly a 14-inch cube that will fit wherever you need it to. Of course, that doesn’t take into account the curved grille that adorns the front of the unit, which adds nearly 2-inches to the overall depth of the SB12.

It’s not the smallest subwoofer on the market, but it’s plenty small enough that it’s not going to be obtrusive no matter where you live. Plus, the unit only weighs 35 pounds, so putting it exactly where you want it won’t require much effort. It is clean and functional and won’t draw a lot of attention.

Due to its small stature and its curved grill, the SB12 offers a functional and modern look. The excellent finish, quality, and design of the SB12 are exactly what SVS users have come to expect.

SVS SB12-NSD Pros and Cons


  • Clean and sleek finish
  • Small and sturdy
  • Rugged build
  • Excellent performance no matter what you’re listening to
  • Stylish and sophisticated design


  • Only a few color choices available
  • Doesn’t offer high-level inputs
  • Would be nice if a fabric grill were available


If you don’t think the SVS SB12-NSD is the right subwoofer for your needs, other options are available on the market. Here are a few others you could consider.

Martin Logan Dynamo Subwoofer

If you’re looking for fantastic bass, look no further than the Martin Logan Dynamo Subwoofer. Boasting 700 watts means you’ll get a bass so strong the ground will be shaking. It doesn’t hurt that you’ll experience minimal distortion as well.

This subwoofer is one of the best on the market, offering both front-firing and bottom-firing modes. With this flexible design, you know you’re getting the performance you want. The unit defaults to bottom-firing mode, but a quick flip to its side makes the Martin Logan Dynamo front-firing in no time.

Along with the Dynamo subwoofer, you’ll get a wireless transmitter and receiver. These are features you won’t often find with subwoofers, so you’re getting some value add with this Martin Logan offering. The unit is well-designed and robust, so you’re getting a high-quality device that’s not going to be an eyesore. It’s affordable and stylish, delivering great bass sounds at a reasonable price.

Definitive Technology ProSub 1000

For those that want to go a different route, the Definitive ProSub 1000 offers a sealed design, as opposed to the typical open-air design you’ll find with other subwoofers. Additionally, the ProSub 1000 offers a front-firing driver along with a bottom-firing radiator. With this type of design, the subwoofer can create strong beats even though the unit itself isn’t very big.

Even though the ProSub 1000 is a small subwoofer, it gives off a large sound. When you’re listening to music or watching a movie, you’ll get ground-thumping beats with amazing accuracy. On top of sound quality, you’ll also get a well-designed unit that delivers on aesthetics.

It offers a beautiful grill cover made of foam that is easily removed, along with a vinyl finish painted black. These features give the unit a distinguished and stylish look. The ProSub 1000 offers amazing specs and plays well with other high or mid-range speakers that might be part of your home audio setup.

This unit is a solid addition if you’re in the market for a small subwoofer that offers amazing sound for an affordable price.

BIC America F12

The F12 subwoofer is manufactured by BIC America, which is known for making quality products. BIC American manufactures affordable speakers and subwoofers, so you know you’re getting a well-made unit.

BIC’s F12 device offers a strong amplifier that creates a deep, robust bass for your movies or music. It’s so strong and powerful that you might feel as though you’re suspended in a room made only of sound. You may even get the impression that you’re keeping up your neighbors thanks to the high-quality audio the F12 provides.

Something worth noting about the BIC America F12 is that its looks can be deceiving. The unit is a little larger than it looks, so if you think you might purchase one, be sure to confirm it will fit where you plan on placing it. Regardless, the BIC F12 is a solid subwoofer that’s sure to shake your home with its powerful bass.

Audioengine S8

If you’re thinking about adding some bass to your home entertainment system, then you might consider the Audioengine S8 subwoofer. This unit would be a great addition to any already existing sound system. That’s because the S8 is a wireless unit, with a small design that creates high-quality bass sounds for your listening pleasure.

Since it’s wireless, the S8 subwoofer gives you plenty of flexibility in regards to where you can put the unit. That means you can put the subwoofer where it sounds best, so long as you have an outlet nearby to plug it in. It doesn’t have to be wired into the rest of the system.

With the S8 subwoofer as part of your home theater system, you can easily transform your living room into a movie theater. You’ll get amazing accuracy and stellar low-frequency sound once you hook it up to your system. Its sturdy frame and rubber speaker gives the unit a clear and distinct sound that is completely free of distortion, even when you have the volume turned up to 11.


There are plenty of questions surrounding the SVS SB12-NSD and subwoofers in general. Here are a few that are more commonly asked.

Question: How can I make my subwoofer wireless?

Answer: Thankfully, there is an easy way to make your subwoofer wireless, even if it’s already a wired unit. If your subwoofer has RCA input and outputs connections, you’ll need to search for a wireless adapter that’s compatible with your subwoofer. One example is the SVS SoundPath wireless adapter.

Question: What size subwoofer is the best for good bass sounds?

Answer: The ideal size for your subwoofer is 12-inches. This is the perfect size for handling a variety of music and movie types. A subwoofer is a common purchase for audiophiles who need a bigger bass sound to add to their already existing system. A 12-inch unit is great for getting additional bass that won’t overpower other sounds.

Question: Should I put my subwoofer on the floor?

Answer: You’ll find that most people prefer to place their subwoofer at or near the floor. This is because lower frequencies tend to be less than directional than their higher counterparts. These types of frequencies are felt rather than heard. By keeping your subwoofer close to the ground, means the sound can travel across the floor, which makes it sound natural and authentic.

Question: How can I tell if my subwoofer is going bad?

Answer: If your subwoofer is going bad, you’ll be able to tell when the sound starts getting distorted. This will result in a tinny, distorted, or weak sound coming from your subwoofer no matter what the volume. If that’s the case, you probably have a partially-blown unit

Final Thoughts

Overall, the SVS SB12-NSD is a solid subwoofer. Sure, it lacks the high-level inputs you might find with more expensive models, and there aren’t many colors, but other than that it’s hard to find much wrong with the unit itself. In reality, there’s plenty to like about this compact and sturdy subwoofer.

It’s well-built and operates smoothly. It’s sleek, stylish, and the finish gives the unit a sophisticated look that will work in nearly any setting. It’s distinct without being overt and it’s not going to take up a lot of room in your home. Of course, all these things are great, but the real test is how well it performs. Right?

For the amount you pay, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a clearer, louder, and more powerful subwoofer on the market. Sure, you can spend less, but you’re not going to tick off the boxes that the SVS SB12 does. This unit offers the perfect blend of price, features, and attributes that are sure to complete your home theater sound system.

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