Shootout: Five Mid-Price Subwoofers Page 11


How Did It Sound? Saint-Saens The DLS-5000R could do no wrong on this torture track. It couldn't play the lowest half-octave tones, but it didn't butcher them, either. In fact, even when it didn't deliver the full bass extension, it sounded quite musical. On the upper half-octave, its tonal balance was very musical, with a realistic organ sound. The DLS-5000R didn't have the moxie to trigger landslides, but it did make me smile.

Linkin Park The DLS-5000R delivered a pretty neat low end. The lowest notes were slightly below its comfort range, but it had surprisingly good deep-bass extension. A few lower notes, however, though not the lowest ones, triggered resonances and were delivered with a good distortion buzz. The middle and upper notes were clean, with a really rich tonal balance throughout that range. At loud levels, the expected "blatting" sounds popped up. At more moderate levels, the Velodyne was nearly flawless.

Superman Returns This soundtrack has scenes with a wicked bottom half-octave, and the DLS-5000R delivered that content convincingly. Ambient rumble was clean and remarkably free of added cabinet resonances; this sub very much gives the impression of mechanical solidity. Explosions were punchy with clean attacks, and the peaks sounded relatively unclipped. Very loud levels pushed the sub to its limits, but few owners will routinely listen at such high playback volumes.

Godzilla As in music playback, the DLS-5000R strove to deliver movie soundtracks with clarity and authenticity, neither adding nor subtracting from the original. Rumbles were convincing and did not contain unwanted added harmonics, and impact sounds were well articulated. The sub could also play very loud, producing enough ambient grunt to match or overpower almost any satellite system you pair with it. The Velodyne was very solid on this track.

What's the Bottom Line? I liked this sub a lot. It might not be the beefiest on the block (or in this test), but it did sound great. I particularly appreciated the DLS-5000R's musical quality. Even when it couldn't play as low or as loud as I wished, it never sounded stressed -- just rich and full. In that respect, because it avoided some errors that other subs did not, it sounded bigger and more powerful than it really was. It was awesome on movie soundtracks, really cranking out ambient rumble and explosions while largely avoiding audible missteps. Although the up/down level control irked me, I did appreciate the remote.

Manufacturer Velodyne 408-465-2800