Cuttin-Edge, On-the-Spot Reporting

Have You Seen?


Until now, SVS’s largest and most expensive speaker has been the Ultra Tower, a three-way, five-driver design that stands 45.6″ tall and sells for $2600 per pair (all prices in USD). That model remains in SVS’s line, but the new Ultra Evolution Pinnacle is now the flagship, and it ups the game significantly. This Pinnacle is the first model of SVS’s brand-new Ultra line, with other new models to be announced soon.


Like the Ultra Tower, the Ultra Evolution Pinnacle is a three-way design, but it stands 49.61″ tall, has seven drivers, weighs just shy of 97 pounds, and sells for $5000 per pair. According to Nick Brown, SVS’s vice president of marketing, the company didn’t want to make a big deal about the Ultra Evolution Pinnacle loudspeaker before it becomes available in mid-March—but they couldn’t help themselves. SVS gave a sneak peek of the Ultra Evolution Pinnacle at CES, which was held in Las Vegas in January, and word got out. While I wasn’t at CES, I took notice of the coverage of the new speaker. But that coverage didn’t provide any information about the new speaker’s sonic performance. At Florida International Audio Expo 2024, SVS had a pair on live display.

On the Ultra Evolution Pinnacle’s front baffle is a 1″ tweeter with a “hyper-rigid diamond carbon coating.” Above and below the tweeter are two 5.25″ midrange drivers, each employing a “composite glass-fiber cone with excellent stiffness/mass ratio for high sensitivity and pistonic behavior beyond pass-band.” Above and below each midrange is an 8″ woofer, again, with a composite glass-fiber cone. Directly behind each front woofer, on the rear panel, is an identical woofer that not only adds more bass output but creates what SVS calls a Force Balance Array. The woofers are in phase, but they fire in opposing directions so that you get bass radiation to the front and rear of the speaker. Equally important, the opposing motions of the woofers’ cones mean that vibrations transmitted from the drivers to the enclosure cancel each other out so that panel resonances are not excited. The tweeter crosses over to the two midrange drivers at 1.8kHz, the midranges to the four woofers at 140Hz. Two 3″ ports on the rear augment bass output.


The cabinet is a nice departure from what SVS has done in the past. Viewing the new speaker from the side, you can see that its tweeter fires directly towards the listening area. But the top of the front baffle angles slightly downwards and the bottom slightly upwards. According to SVS, this “[a]coustically-centered architecture orients the mid-range and woofer arrays in rotational-symmetry around the tweeter, ensuring that low, mid, and high-frequencies emanate from the same effective point in space, creating a coherent, integrated, faithful acoustic image.” The rear panel is shaped in the opposite direction, so the top woofer angles slightly upward and the bottom woofer slightly downward. Because bass frequencies radiate omnidirectionally, the sound should be no different than if both rear woofers were firing straight backwards.

Rated sensitivity is 88dB (2.83V/m), and impedance is 6 ohms. Assuming SVS’s specs are accurate, the Ultra Evolution Pinnacle should present a relatively easy load for the amplifier. Frequency response is an impressive 24Hz–40kHz, -±3dB. When placed in a room, the Ultra Evolution Pinnacle will benefit from additional gain in the low frequencies. That means it can be considered a full-range transducer, since it can reproduce the entire audioband, from 20Hz to 20kHz.


When I first walked into SVS’s exhibit, the Ultra Evolution Pinnacles were being used as part of a home-theater demo. Because a center speaker, surrounds, and subwoofers were also playing, I couldn’t tell much about the sound the big floorstanders were producing. But when SVS conducted a two-channel demo in a system comprising an Emotiva BasX A2 power amplifier ($499), which can deliver 160Wpc into 8 ohms; an Emotiva BasX PT2 preamplifier ($699); and SVS cabling, the sound was much more telling. SVS played a Miles Davis track I wasn’t that familiar with, but I did note how natural his trumpet sounded. They also played Bob Dylan’s “Man in the Long Black Coat,” which I know very well. Not surprisingly, bass was impressively deep but also superbly controlled and tight. But what really took me aback was how neutral the midrange sounded—Dylan’s voice was neither too present nor too recessed—and how refined the highs were. In the past, I’ve noticed that the highs on some of the SVS speakers can be a bit splashy, but here they were superbly clean. SVS finished the demo with Billie Eilish’s “Billie Bossa Nova.” Here, the bass went even deeper than on the Dylan track, because that’s what’s in the recording. With this deeper, more prominent bass, I could hear the room come more into play and make the sound a little boomy. Still, the bass was impressively tight. Up in the midrange and highs, the Pinnacles delivered the same neutrality and refinement I heard on the Dylan and Davis tracks. This seems to be a superbly voiced loudspeaker.


SVS has long been known for its high-value speakers and subwoofers. While the Ultra Evolution Pinnacle costs twice as much as SVS’s previous flagship speaker, the Ultra Tower, it clearly carries on this tradition. With the Ultra Evolution Pinnacle, SVS has provided an astonishingly complete and big-sounding loudspeaker for a price that is very reasonable in terms of high-end audio. If I’d been in Vegas when this new flagship was first shown, I’d have been willing to place a large bet that SVS will sell more Pinnacles than they can make when it hits the market in about a month.

Doug Schneider
Founder, SoundStage!