SVS PB16 Ultra VS Monolith 16

SVS PB16 Ultra VS Monolith 16

Home theaters are incomplete without the rich and immersive sound that quality subwoofers deliver. The choice of subwoofers can dramatically ...

By Dewayne

Home theaters are incomplete without the rich and immersive sound that quality subwoofers deliver. The choice of subwoofers can dramatically affect your home cinema experience. This article focuses on two impeccable contenders in the world of subwoofers: the SVS PB16 Ultra and the Monolith 16. Both revered for their powerful delivery and distinctive features, we will embark on a detailed comparison, assessing their specifications, design features, and respective pros and cons, delivering a clear verdict on which subwoofer reigns superior.

The primary goal here is to help you, the reader, to understand the key differences and similarities between these two home theater giants. Whether you’re an enthusiast looking for an upgrade or a novice just getting started with home theater setup, you’ll find this guide extremely insightful. By comparing the SVS PB16 Ultra and Monolith 16, we aim to aid your decision-making process.

The comprehensive comparison will include several aspects: key specifications, design features, pros and cons, performance comparison, and, ultimately, our final verdict: which is better? Remember, the choice of a subwoofer significantly influences your overall home theater experience, so choosing wisely is essential. Now, let’s dive into the features that each of these home theater subwoofers brings to the table.

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SVS PB16 Ultra Overview: Key Specifications

The SVS PB16 Ultra showcases impressive specifications, placing it amongst the top contenders in home theater technology. It features an astonishingly powerful amplifier with a peak power output of 5000 watts. Driving this powerhouse is a1320 Watt RMS amplifier which also justifiably explains its heavy weight, tipping the scale at 174.5 pounds.

The SVS PB16 Ultra features a Front-firing 16” driver with 8” voice coil launched by a bottom-mounted 122 oz. magnet. Concerning frequency response, the SVS PB16 Ultra can impressively reproduce audio frequencies as low as 13 Hz in Standard mode and as high as 280 Hz extended. The enclosure is sealed and acts as an acoustic vessel to enhance the subwoofer’s bass response further.

The SVS PB16 utilizes a combination of innovative technologies for its driver. Using only the finest of materials, the driver is designed with a powder-coated cast aluminum basket, dual shorting rings, extended pole piece, and 8″ voice coil. Its advanced mechanics result in low distortion, superb transient response, and spectacular power handling capabilities.

Finally, the SVS PB16 Ultra exhibits well-considered connectivity options and user-friendly control interface. It accepts in-and-out line-level RCA, balanced (XLR), and 3-12V trigger inputs, addressing a variety of connection needs. Its advanced DSP processing and Bluetooth connectivity make the SVS PB16 Ultra easy to control and adjust – a genuine consideration when dealing with heavyweights like this.

  • Brand: SVS
  • Model: PB16 Ultra
  • Woofer: 16″ cone
  • Cabinet: Sealed or vented HDF cabinet with horizontal and vertical bracing
  • Weight: 174.5 lbs. (79.1 kg)
  • Dimensions: 25″ x 21.7″ x 30.9″ (635 x 552 x 785 mm)
  • Minimum frequency response: 15 Hz
  • Maximum frequency response: 280 Hz
  • Amplifier power: 1500 Watts RMS, 5000+ Watts peak
  • RMS power: 1500 watts
  • Sensitivity: 91 dB
  • Connectivity: Stereo line-level RCA Input & 80Hz High Pass Filtered Output connections, Stereo speaker level 5-way binding post input connections, Bluetooth with the most recent firmware update. IR receiver for remote control. 3V-12V trigger input.

Design Features of SVS PB16 Ultra

Design is a crucial element of any audio product and the SVS PB16 Ultra is no different. Its look complements its performance with a stylish, modern, and robust design that can withstand the enormous output it produces. Starting with the exterior, this home theater subwoofer has a robust and thick MDF construction, further supplemented with a black ash or piano gloss finish.

The PB16 Ultra features an easily removable and acoustically transparent fabric grille that contributes to its overall classy look. Beneath this grille lies the most distinct design features of the PB16 Ultra: the front-firing 16″ driver, which is the heart of this performance beast. Other features include a bottom-mounted 122 oz. magnet and dual shorting rings that ensure the driver’s enhanced functionality.

The cabinet design or enclosure of the PB16 Ultra is as thoughtful as its exterior design. The enclosure features a 16″ resonance free, sealed 3” thick MDF front baffle and rigid internal bracing to keep the cabinet devoid of unwanted resonance, even at the highest output levels. The front baffle also seals the cabinet providing a pristine response from its potent driver.

The design of the SVS PB16 Ultra does not only consider aesthetics and performance, but it also gives equal importance to user convenience. An example of this is its inclusion of the SVS subwoofer DSP smartphone app. This Android and iOS compatible app provides the most accessible and simplest way to control volume, access multiple DSP functions, and program custom presets from the comfort of your listening position.

Pros and Cons of SVS PB16 Ultra

Every product has its strengths and weaknesses, and the SVS PB16 Ultra is no exception. On the pro side, this subwoofer stands out due to its massive power, well-designed driver, and broad frequency response capabilities, capable of producing the deepest and hardest hitting bass response in the industry. Its excellent connectivity options, user-friendly design, and high-quality construction also earn it some significant points.

However, on the downside, the SVS PB16 Ultra, due to its powerful specifications and robust design, is quite a heavyweight home theater subwoofer. It requires considerable space for proper installation. Also, some users have found that it takes time to fine-tune for optimal performance. Lastly, it’s not the most budget-friendly option available in the market. But for those who crave outstanding performance and don’t mind investing a good amount in their home theater setup, this should not pose as a deterrent.

Another disadvantage of the SVS PB16 Ultra is that it is ideally suited for larger rooms because of its massive size and power. This may limit its suitability if you have a smaller space or apartment. However, the PB16’s size and power also make it shine in large home theater settings. Also, while the SVS subwoofer DSP smartphone app provides substantial control and customization, some users may find using the app a bit tricky at first.


  • Massive power output with peak power of 5000 watts
  • State-of-the-art SVS subwoofer DSP smartphone app for easy control
  • Modern, robust design featuring MDF construction and a black ash or piano gloss finish
  • Wide frequency response, capable of delivering low frequencies as low as 13 Hz and high frequencies up to 280 Hz
  • Excellent connectivity options, including RCA, balanced (XLR), and 3-12V trigger inputs


  • A heavyweight subwoofer that requires ample space for installation
  • Requires some time and effort to fine-tune for optimal performance

Monolith 16 Overview: Key Specifications

On the other side of the comparison, the Monolith 16 is another respectable contender in the world of home theater. Known for its brute strength and commendable performance, it features notable specifications that set it up for a head-to-head competition with the SVS PB16 Ultra. The first thing worthy of mention about the Monolith 16 is its impressive 2000 watt RMS amplifier, which can provide more than 3800 watts peak power.

The Monolith 16 comes with a 16″ driver backed by a 100mm voice coil with high-temperature aluminum wire and black anodized aluminum bobbin. In terms of frequency response, the Monolith 16 can deliver frequencies as low as 14 HZ when vented (3 ports) extended EQ and as high 200 HZ, reasonably close to the SVS PB16 Ultra frequency response range.

Material-wise, the Monolith 16 driver features a 2‑layer long fiber pulp/glass fiber cone. Surrounding it is an FEA optimized NBR (Nitrile Butadiene Rubber), both of which contributes to the robust and responsive performance of this subwoofer. The driver is further supported with an impressive ceramic Y35 magnet, doubling up as the total weight of up to 300 oz.

The Monolith 16 is a flexible subwoofer in terms of installation. You can choose to have it sealed or vented. Its enclosure is made from high-density fiberboard (HDF) and it features horizontal and vertical bracing. This quality of construction is a testimony to the Monolith 16’s durability and stability, even at peak performance.

Monolith 16:

  • Brand: ‎Monolith
  • Model: 16
  • Woofer: 16″ cone
  • Cabinet: Sealed or vented HDF cabinet with horizontal and vertical bracing
  • Weight: 171.6 lbs. (77.8 kg)
  • Dimensions: 28.1″ x 22.0″ x 25.6″ (715 x 560 x 650 mm)
  • Minimum frequency response: 14 Hz
  • Maximum frequency response: 200 Hz
  • Amplifier power: 2000 watts RMS (>3800 watts peak)
  • RMS power: 2000 watts
  • Sensitivity: (100mV @ 40Hz) 89dB @ 1m
  • Connectivity: RCA (2), XLR

Design Features of Monolith 16

The Monolith 16 reflects a superb blend of performance and aesthetics in its design. It features a high-density fiberboard (HDF) cabinet with horizontal and vertical bracing. The sturdy cabinet caters well to the Monolith 16 woofer that pushes massive quantities of air, ensuring that it doesn’t resonate or distort from the intense pressure fluctuations within.

Monolith 16’s impressive design involves meticulous planning and execution. The HDF enclosure supports both sealed and vented modes of operation. In the vented mode, the Monolith 16 subwoofer presents the most remarkable bass with extreme low frequency (XLF) capabilities, making it an ideal choice for large-scale home theaters.

Aesthetically, the Monolith 16 is a sight to behold. It features a Black Ash finish with a removable grille, providing a neat and clean look that suits any home theater setup. Its exterior is minimalist and professional. Its internal design, however, is where the Monolith 16 craftsmanship truly shines, symbolizing superior mechanical and acoustic finesse.

On the user convenience front, the Monolith 16 comes with an easy-to-use control interface positioned on its rear panel, providing the user access to various control settings, such as variable level control and variable phase. It also has multiple connectivity options, featuring two RCA inputs and XLR inputs and outputs, enabling integration with multiple audio systems.

Pros and Cons of Monolith 16

There are several strengths the Monolith 16 brings to the table. First and foremost, it delivers colossal power that leaves listeners in awe. The home theater subwoofer produces rich bass that fills up your room with a thunderous yet refined low-frequency response. Its dual purpose vented and sealed HDF cabinet also add to its appeal.

The Monolith 16, especially with its sealed or vented operation and impressive driver dynamics, is a pleasure to listen to. It can comfortably handle vast dynamic ranges and maintains its composure, even when pushed to its limits. High durability and value for money are other factors in the positive ledger for the Monolith 16.

However, no product is without its flaws, and the Monolith 16 also has its share. Its colossal power and size make it suitable only for larger rooms, making it a not-so-promising option for those with limited space. Moreover, some users may find the lack of an app-based control interface less convenient as compared to the SVS PB16.

Another drawback of the Monolith 16 is that it might require a bit of trial-and-error to tune it to its optimal performance. Its powerful amplifier and sizeable cabinet may require some room adjustments to avoid potential overloads. However, once set correctly, it rewards the user with unrivaled audio performance that few competitors can match.


  • Impressive power offering a peak power output of over 3800 watts
  • Delivers rich bass that fills up large rooms with a robust low-frequency response
  • Dual purpose vented and sealed HDF cabinet that enhances performance
  • High durability with value for money
  • Simple yet functional design with sealed or vented operation mode


  • The colossal power and size make it suitable only for larger rooms limiting it for those with limited space
  • The lack of an app-based control interface makes it less user-friendly than the SVS PB16 Ultra
  • The powerful amplifier and large cabinet may require some room adjustments to avoid potential overloads

Comparing the Design of SVS PB16 Ultra and Monolith 16

When it comes to design comparison between the SVS PB16 Ultra and the Monolith 16, both have commendable features to note. However, each home theater subwoofer exhibits its unique style, catering to different tastes and preferences. The SVS PB16 Ultra looks ultra-modern, with an MDF construction and a black ash or piano gloss finish. The Monolith 16, on the other hand, focuses more on a minimalist and functional layout.

SVS PB16 Ultra’s design includes a removable grille, a front-firing 16″ driver, a bottom-mounted 122 oz. magnet, and dual shorting rings. Its design focuses more on ensuring the subwoofer’s performance and durability, managing to withstand high power outputs without compromising sound quality. The Monolith 16 design isn’t much different, although it offers a bit more functionally with its sealed and vented operation mode.

From a purely aesthetic point of view, both home theater subwoofers boast a handsome look. However, Monolith 16’s minimalist and clever design might appeal more to the modern homeowner looking to add a subtle yet powerful touch to their home theater setup. The Monolith 16’s impressive combination of performance and aesthetics pronouncedly makes it an excellent candidate for those seeking a high-performance subwoofer with a keen eye for design.

From a usability perspective, SVS PB16 Ultra takes the lead with its SVS DSP smartphone app, which provides a user-friendly interface for controlling volume, accessing multiple DSP functions, and programming custom presets. This feature is not present in the Monolith 16, which might make controlling it a bit tricky for some users.

Examining the Performance: SVS PB16 Ultra VS Monolith 16

When it comes to performance, both the SVS PB16 Ultra and Monolith 16 are close contenders. The SVS PB16 Ultra delivers a peak power output of 5000 watts, while the Monolith 16 offers a peak power output of over 3800 watts. Still, both subwoofers provide plenty of power to fill a large room with deep, high-quality bass.

The SVS PB16 Ultra utilizes a front-firing 16” driver with an 8” voice coil, and the Monolith 16 employs a 16″ driver with a 100mm voice coil with high-temperature aluminum wire and black anodized aluminum bobbin. Both drivers deliver outstanding power and precision, contributing to the superb detail and depth of both subwoofers, and both excel in delivering low-frequency effects with impressive precision and authority.

Both subwoofers, the SVS PB16 Ultra and the Monolith 16, have stellar connectivity options. Whether you aim to connect it with RCA, balanced XLR, or any other type of home theater equipment, they both got you covered. They both offer multiple DSP functionality and options for custom presets, though the SVS PB16 does this more conveniently via its SVS DSP smartphone app.

Concerning frequency response, SVS claims that the PB16 Ultra can reproduce frequencies from 13 Hz to 280 Hz. The Monolith 16, on the other hand, does an also swell job with frequencies ranging from 14 Hz to 200 Hz. These show that both subwoofers can provide a rich low-frequency effect, filling up your room with a rich and immersive sound.

The Bottom Line: Which is Better?

The final verdict can be quite challenging, considering the impressive features of both subwoofers- SVS PB16 Ultra and Monolith 16. Both give an exceptional performance and amplify the home theater experience remarkably. They perform almost identically in terms of power output, frequency response, and overall sonic performance.

Indeed, both subwoofers bring out the finest sound quality and can effortlessly shake your room with carefully controlled and articulate bass response. The selection between the two comes down to more subjective aspects such as brand preference, physical design, price, and some additional features.

The SVS PB16 Ultra might be a more suitable choice for tech-savvy users due to the inclusion of a top-notch Smartphone app for visualizing and controlling the settings. But the Monolith 16 might be more appealing to users who prefer a minimalist design with power and performance to match instead of extra high-tech features.

The bottom line is, both the SVS PB16 Ultra and the Monolith 16 are excellent choices for large home theater setups or spaces where muscular bass is required. The end choice should align with your personal preferences in terms of design, desired additional features, and of course, budget.


Our comparison of the SVS PB16 Ultra and Monolith 16 presents a comprehensive overview of the key specifications, design features, pros and cons, and performance attributes of both subwoofers. In light of the examination, it is evident that both hold their ground firmly in the arena of home theater apparatus. It’s also abundantly clear that the choice between the two, as close as they are in functionality and performance, will primarily depend on personal preferences and budget.

The SVS PB16 Ultra stands out for its impressive power output, user-friendly app control interface, and modern aesthetics. Conversely, the Monolith 16 may captivate users with its minimalist design, dual operational mode, and slightly less price. But at the end of the day, both subwoofers are designed to revolutionize your home theater experience, and choosing between them boils down to what fits your bill the best.

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