With the best wireless speakers widely available from companies like Sonos, Apple and others, including models that can be paired for stereo playback, regular non-streaming options are starting to seem outdated.
Some more expensive streaming speakers like KEF LS50 Wireless II can even connect directly to a TV via an HDMI ARC port, making them a more than viable soundbar option. But throwing away an otherwise perfectly fine pair of the best stereo speakers just because they can’t stream music wirelessly isn’t necessarily a good idea. A better one is to make them streaming-capable – which the Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase ($700 / £600 / around AU$1100) from SVS conveniently does.
SVS is mainly known for its subwoofers, but the Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase is a compact 300-watt (150 watts per channel) stereo amplifier that you connect the passive speakers to. It has a 24-bit/192kHz compatible digital-to-analog converter, and can wirelessly stream music via Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2, Chromecast and aptX Bluetooth. DTS Play-Fi is also supported, so SVS SoundBase can be connected to a multi-room system with up to 16 playback zones.
Control of streaming is done using the Play-Fi app, which allows you to access the best music streaming services including Tidal, Amazon Music, Qobuz, Pandora, YouTube and others to stream directly to the Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase. And Play-Fi is high-resolution, meaning you can get the most out of the amp’s built-in 24-bit/192kHz DAC when using compatible services like Amazon Music Unlimited and Qobuz.
Beyond streaming, the SVS amplifier’s HDMI eARC, optical digital and analogue stereo inputs accommodate wired sources, and there’s both a headphone output and a sub output for connecting a subwoofer – perhaps a big bass beast from SVS itself.
If you’re more of a hands-on than an app control type, the Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase’s front-panel buttons let you select sources and adjust volume, with visual feedback from a large OLED screen. A remote control is included, and Alexa, Siri and Hey Google voice commands can be used when a supported device is connected.
Analysis: Streaming amps are a better than basic option
There’s a lot to be said for wireless speakers, which provide an all-in-one solution for adding music to either one or more rooms, usually at an affordable price. However, such compact speakers from Sonos, Bose, Apple and others are only one way of doing things, and they are not always a recipe for the best sound.
Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase’s 2 x 150-watt amplifier can be used to drive a wide range of passive speakers, from compact bookshelf models to floor-standing towers. And with a subwoofer output and built-in electronic crossover as part of the audio arsenal, the music streaming setup can go from reasonably good to really high performance, with extended bass added to the wide stereo image that placed the left and right speakers separately. give.
Streaming speakers such as those from Sonos also offer few, if any, connectivity options beyond wireless. But a streaming amplifier like the Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase and similar models from brands like Sonos, Bluesound and others allow you to connect one of the best record players (provided it has a phono preamplifier output), a CD player and even a TV.
And there’s also the issue of high-resolution audio. The DTS Play-Fi platform’s support for up to 24-bit/192kHz lossless streaming allows listeners to get the most out of their high-resolution music service subscription, which cannot be said for all streaming platforms. (Sonos, for example, maxes out at 24-bit/48kHz support, but to be fair, that will be enough for most users.)
To call the SVS Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase “feature-packed” would be an understatement. For the price of $700 / £600 / around AU$1100, what this streaming amplifier offers is quite eye-opening, and certainly on par with what you’ll get from Sonos’ own similarly priced amp. If you have a stereo based around a set of old speakers and want to make the leap into the world of high-resolution wireless music streaming, this SVS amplifier looks well worth considering.