VELODYNE DD12+

MJ01.10.2012

Subwoofers

The bass extension of the DD-12+ is specified as -3dB point at 17Hz. With the exception of a cathedral organ there is no other instrument fundamental that requires such the extension for pure stereo playback. Apart from few tracks on demonstration discs I do not generally listen to organ music so I do not real care about first two octaves, however, I was surprised how many other things are happening down there.

100% reference

Funkce a forma

88%
Ergonomie
90%
Zvuk
92%
Zpracování

Though the Velodyne DD-12+ worked flawlessly from its sonic perspective, I had issues with setting it up via computers. I had two laptops on hand – one running on Windows 7 and the other on Windows XP platform. None of these computers was able to install drivers from an enclosed CD-R with software automatically; it was easy to assign the driver to the program in Windows 7 but I did not manage to do so in Windows XP that refused to upload it whatever way I tried. Anyway, this is likely a SW related issue.

The problem I had was with saving the equalized and personalized values into the DD-12+’s memory. Though the subwoofer accepted the settings it rebooted itself right afterwards and overrode them with default values. I had to keep trying to save the settings over and over again, one out of ten attempts was usually successful and the values remained set in the sub’s memory after the reboot. Still, once I touched the remote and tried to use any preset, the Velodyne shuffled everything into default non-equalized values again. At the end I decided not to use the remote control at all to prevent the unwanted changes. I believe this behavior is either rooted in my ignorance (but I did not do anything that would deviated from instructions in the DD-12+’s manual) or the reviewed unit did have some software related issue.

Nízké frekvence

Váha
99
Výbušnost
95
Artikulace
93

The Velodyne offers three ways to optimize its bass output to be blended well with a room and speakers. All the methods are very well described in the DD-12+’s manual that is easily downloadable from Velodyne’s internet site, so I am not going to spend valuable space here on the details. Suffice to say that Self-EQ mode equalizes the subwoofer’s in-room response between 15 to 120Hz and leaves the settings for volume, crossover, slope and phase unchanged. This might be good if you prefer to fiddle with knobs and do not believe in Velodyne’s algorithms to automate the optimization. This is basically what Auto-EQPlus function does. All you need is the measurement microphone that Velodyne provides in the package and the rest is left on the subwoofer. All the parameters that you need are automatically set and stored into the DD-12+’s memory – the procedure itself does not require more than few minutes and you can enjoy audiophile playback quality. Oh yes, maybe you have to adjust at least something to prove yourself that you are better than Velodyne’s engineers – there is Manual-EQ option available for such cases therefore.

After performing the Auto-EQ I tried to improve what was already set by the DD-12+´s algorithms. Therefore I switched to the Manual-EQ mode and uploaded the hard-disk saved Auto-EQ settings to fine-tune the results. Frankly, I wanted to prove that a human (myself) was cleverer than a machine (the Velodyne). I was not lucky. Whatever I tried and change in basic settings made the frequency response more uneven than it was set by the Auto-EQ. As far as the EQ part is concerned I managed to further smoothen the bass response by moving two equalizing points 0.5dB up, but this had a visual impact on the screen rather than an aural impact. Anyway, the audiophile inside me was proud that he could make this improvement.

Čistota rozlišení

Detail
88
Transparentnost
90

The volume of the subwoofer set by the Auto-EQ was the only thing that seemed not to be entirely correct once I started to play music. Though the bass was even, punchy and contoured, I felt it to be too prominent, however. The balance of a kick drum in the Drum Sequence tracks on Nordost´s System Set-up and Tuning Disc was uneasy on ears and a double bass in Topsy (From The Age of Swing, Reference Recordings, RR-59CD) as well as bass lines in Megadeth´s Rust in Peace (Capitol CDP 791 935 2) were too forward in the mix.That is why I trimmed the volume to a lower level to get the bass response flat on the ATB PC Pro screen and started to adjust it step by step, up and down, back and forth, to evaluate its impact on the music by ears. I spent nearly 2 hours on this with a handful of recordings, Chesky´s Jazz Sampler, Massive Attack´s Mezzanine and Dean Peer´s Tundra from Stereophile's Test CD-3 inclusive. These experiments resulted into the DD-12+´s volume to be set to 18, which was a compromise between 20, where the double bass sounded the best, and 16, that fitted synthesized music perfectly – my findings should not be generalized as the quality of the mix and mastering is very varied as are the acoustics properties of listening rooms. What I want to say is that I ended up with the volume turned down by 30% versus the volume that had been previously set by the Auto-EQ calibration and yet finished with the flat response as measured by the ATB PC Pro and, more importantly, with more balanced and impactful bass for my ears. This is not to make the Velodyne´s calibration invalid - it just illustrates different preferences of listeners and highlights the versatility of the DD-12+´for different environments and different tastes. It is likely that the Velodyne’s calibration already optimizes the bass response to human hearing that is less sensitive at low octaves. You don´t have to make compromises I did – nothing is easier than to adapt contour frequencies in the presets or leave the presets uncontoured and vary the volume according your wish. I wanted to end up with a one-balance-fits-all setting that would extend the roll off of my Audio Physics at the bottom end without sacrificing the tinniest bit of their superb imaging and harmonic resolution – the goal was achieved.

Tonální věrnost

Témbr
94
Dynamika
98
Časování
98

Sensitive microphones in a studio can pick up noises that are normally low in their level and frequency and as such they remain hidden in a standard playback system. However, the Velodyne-supported system could retrieve low frequency information like a flow of air from an airconditioning system in a studio, heavy trucks passing by a jazz club while a live recording was taken, or someone slamming doors somewhere else in the building. These sounds does not contribute to the music at all, however, they are part of the recording and illustrate the inabilities of our standard audio chains to fully resolve the recorded information down to the lowest octaves. Movies are of course another reason to have a full-fledged subwoofer in your house.

How does the DD-12+ compare to SPL 800 Ultra that I reviewed earlier? There are three important differences: ease, extension and equalization. The DD-12+ size and its more powerful amplifier can render music more effortlessly. You can feel the capacity reserve that the sub has and though it may have reached its dynamic threshold occasionally when I played symphonic pieces really loud, at normal listening levels it operated at a fragment of its power capabilities. This is something that can be heard as the ease and the effortlessness.

Prostorovost

Trojrozměrnost
98

The DD-12+ comes with rubber feet. For the tightest bass possible I recommend to replace them with spikes. If your floor’s covering is delicate than it is easy to use four coins to protect it. By this the energy is not absorbed in between the Velodyne and the floor and you’ll be rewarded by the tightest bass possible. Also, the selection of proper signal cable is very important. This is one of the most underrated things in audio. It does not have to be expensive – see my remarks on Vincent Subwoofer Cable’s performance in the SPL 800 Ultra review. For DD-12+ I used few other options that are primarily not designed for subwoofers, Kubala-Sosna Emotion and Homegrown Audio DNA balanced sets of interconnects, always with clearly audible improvements in the definition and transparency of the bass. I did not experiment with different power cords and relied on Audioquest’s NRG-2 throughout the review.

The Velodyne DD-12+ is a very serious subwoofer that meets the most demanding audiophile standards and reconfirms the reputation of Velodyne as a company that represents the state-of-the-art of subwoofing. Indeed, also to my ears the DD-12+ deserves top positions in any hypothetic subwoofer chart. The only challenger out there is Bowers & Wilkins’s DB-1 subwoofer that offers similar versatility and more neutral voicing for ultimate high end applications. Yet the DD-12+ is more complex in its setting options.

Cena v době recenze:87 000,- Kč

Doporučení prodejci

High-End Audio Studio, Praha, tel. +420 224 256 844

Připojené komponenty

  • Sources: Accuphase DP-78
  • Amplifiers: Accuphase A-60, Accuphase C-2410
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Homegrown Audio DNA, Krautwire Fractal, Neyton Frankfurt, Vincent Subwoofer Cable
  • Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Virgo V, KEF LS-50
  • Subwoofers: Bowers & Wilkins DB-1

Galerie

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Doporučení prodejci

High-End Audio Studio, Praha, tel. +420 224 256 844

Zvuk
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