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 outmoded.
Some pricier streaming speakers like the KEF LS50 Wireless II can even connect directly to a TV via an HDMI ARC port, making them a more than viable soundbar alternative. But junking an otherwise perfectly fine pair of the best stereo speakers just because they can’t wirelessly stream music isn’t necessarily a good idea. A better one is to make them streaming-capable – something that the Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase ($700 / £600 / around AU$1,100) from SVS handily 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 wire your passive speakers up to. It harbors a 24-bit/192kHz-capable digital-to-analog converter, and can wirelessly stream music via Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2, Chromecast, and aptX Bluetooth. DTS Play-Fi is also supported, allowing the SVS SoundBase to be linked to a multi-room system with up to 16 playback zones.
Control over streaming is carried out using the Play-Fi app, which lets you access the best music streaming services including Tidal, Amazon Music, Qobuz, Pandora, YouTube, and others for direct streaming to the Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase. And Play-Fi is high-res capable, which means you can make the most of the amp’s built-in 24-bit/192kHz DAC when using compatible services like Amazon Music Unlimited and Qobuz.
Beyond streaming, the SVS amp’s HDMI eARC, optical digital, and analog stereo inputs accommodate hardwired sources, and there’s both a headphone output jack and a sub out for connecting a subwoofer – a big bass beast from SVS itself, perhaps.
If you’re more of a hands-on than an app-control type, the Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase’s front panel knobs let you select sources and adjust volume, with visual feedback provided by a large OLED display. 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 is much to be said about wireless speakers, which provide an all-in-one solution for adding music to either one or multiple rooms, usually at an affordable price. Such compact speakers from Sonos, Bose, Apple, and others are only one way to go about things, however, and they are not always a recipe for the best sound.
The Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase’s 2 x 150-watt amplifier can be used to power a wide range of passive speakers, from compact bookshelf models to floorstanding towers. And with a subwoofer output and built-in electronic crossover as part of its audio arsenal, your music streaming setup can go from passably good to truly high-performance, with extended bass being added to the wide stereo image that separately positioned left and right speakers provide.
Streaming speakers like those from Sonos also offer few, if any, connection options beyond wireless ones. But a streaming amplifier like the Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase and similar models from brands like Sonos, Bluesound, and others let you hook up one of the best turntables (provided it has a phono preamp output), a CD player, and even a TV.
And there’s also the question of high-res audio. The DTS Play-Fi platform’s support for up to 24-bit/192kHz lossless streaming lets listeners make the most of their high-res-compatible music service subscription, which is something that can’t be said for all streaming platforms. (Sonos, for example, maxes out at 24-bit/48kHz support, though, to be fair, that will be plenty for most users.)
To call the SVS Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase “feature-packed” would be an understatement. For its $700 / £600 / around AU$1,100 price, what it offers is pretty eye-opening, and certainly on par with what you 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-res wireless music streaming, this SVS amp looks well worthy of consideration. Who knows, maybe you’ll even find it among the best Black Friday deals.