Velodyne SC-10 Subwoofers and SC-1250 Amplifier Page 2

The Short Form

Price $2,197 (AS TESTED) / velodyne.com / 408-465-2800
Snapshot
Not cheap, but you get the real deep-bass deal from this ultracompact, highly flexible, room-friendly system.
Plus
•Superbly compact and configurable •Genuine deep-bass performance
Minus
•Peak output a bit short of bigger, same-cost solutions
Key Features
SC-10 Passive Subwoofer ($599 each) •10-in cone driver •12.8 x 12.3 x 9.5 in; 36 lb SC-1250 Amplifier ($999) •1,250-watt RMS rated Class-D amplifier •DSP EQ, auto-room-EQ •Remote-control volume, phase, presets •4.3 x 17 x 13 in; 25 lb
Test Bench
I measured the Velodyne system using a single woofer for frequency response and two stacked woofers for SPL. With the amp set to SC-10 mode and Jazz EQ (the smoothest curve), the system had unusually extended upper-frequency response, making it a good match for smaller speakers. It played quite loudly above 40 Hz, though SPL fell off at 12 dB/octave below 62 Hz. Average SPL was 104.8 dB (25 to 62 Hz), and max SPL was 113.1 dB at 62 Hz. - Tom Nousaine Full Lab Results
PERFORMANCE Despite audiophile obsessions with "fast bass," "bass transients," and other such oxymora, sub performance is mostly about output and extension, and the Velodyne setup proved itself amply capable on both fronts. The SC system delivered clean, usable output to below 30 Hz on some of my favorite cannon shots and dino footfalls, comparing quite favorably, if not with parity, to my long-term sub, an equally costly single 12-inch internally powered model (coincidentally, also from Velodyne). There was plenty of chest-thudding impact in the bottom octave, and the SC array easily awoke vestigial room-rattles that only significant 25-Hz energy will excite.

That said, while the compact trio was plenty strong and went about as low as my everyday 12-incher, it was audibly not quite as powerful in the lowest octave. The avalanche scene from XXX (the sort of film Truffaut would doubtless have made, had he lived) is one of my favorite sub-missions, stressing subs and rooms to the max across the bottom two octaves. The twin SC-10s did the deed with enthusiasm, producing true, deep rumble, free of upper-octave boom, blat, or any of the rude noises of obvious driver stress. But it didn't deliver quite the full pressure of my 12-er, whose extra measure of solar-plexus massage comes only with another 3 dB or so below 30 Hz. At extreme volume settings the system induced "flaws" in the rumbles, gaps of missing dynamic peaks where the amp's limiting circuitry kicked in to prevent bottoming or audible clipping. I heard these easily while auditioning the woofers alone (by turning off my main amplifier), and while I then could still discern them when I turned the full system back on, I don't think I would have detected these voids had I not first "trained" my ear with the "naked" subs. Another test-bench detour showed that though the SC-1250's maximum steady-state 4-ohm output came close enough to Velodyne's 1,250-watt specification to make only a rodent's posterior of difference, engaging the amp's SC-10 mode, which imposes equalization and limiting tailored to the 10-inchers' capabilities, curtailed power by a couple of additional dB.

BOTTOM LINE Still, this system produces more than enough power and extension for any but the most demanding film sound, and then only if you insist on true, big-cinema levels in a large room - say, bigger than 2,750 cubic feet. And if that's you, switching to a pair of SC-12 or SC-15 woofers is the obvious solution. In short, this is impressive performance from so compact a layout.

Price is another question: There's no doubt that Velodyne (and others) can sell you more bass potential in more conventional form for the same $2,200. But that's without the subcompact size and installability (including in-cabinet) that the SC trio represents. And if the SubContractor series can bring genuine deep bass to custom systems that, however expensive, would otherwise have simply done without, then kudos to Velodyne.

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