Velodyne SC-10 Subwoofers and SC-1250 Amplifier

There's more than one way to skin a cat, and when it comes to subwoofage Velodyne knows most of them. The California low-end specialist sampled us its new SubContractor Series: a range of un-powered, very compact subwoofers in 8-, 10-, 12-, and 15-inch versions (there's also an in-wall model), using long-throw cones in very small sealed enclosures and a separate-component amplifier. The SC-1250 amplifier, designed to drive a pair of SC subs, combines smart electronics with DSP (digital signal processing) and enough watts to make the magic of deep bass from small boxes. It features robotic 7-band equalization for room correction and remote control of EQ presets, phase, and levels.

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Velodyne sent an SC-1250 amplifier along with two 10-inch SC-10 subwoofers, each no larger than a family-size breadbox. Two 10-inchers deliver slightly more than the air-coupling surface of a single 14-inch driver, while allowing you to try different locations for each to smooth out room effects. Working from long experience, I thus placed one SC-10 in my usual sub position just left of my surround setup's front-left speaker and the second in the room's right-front corner about 12 feet distant. (Experimentation with placements will always pay real dividends, but a front corner is usually a good bet for one of any subwoofer pair.)

SETUP The Velodyne amp offers a lot of hookup flexibility, with paired inputs for both line- and speaker-level inputs, a single balanced XLR-in marked LFE, and dual multi-way binding-post subwoofer outputs. I wired the SC-10s to the amp and the amp to my processor's sub output and got busy 'round front. Setting up the Velodyne system is simple. First, I told the SC-1250 which SC-series subs I was connecting (it delivers different EQ and limiting for each). Then, using the supplied mini-remote and mike, I ran the automatic room-EQ. There's no user memory for different EQ curves or any spatial averaging to broaden the sweet spot, though the Velodyne does incorporate four preset EQ curves labeled Movies, R&B/Rock, Jazz/Classical, and Games. Although conventional equalization can do only so much to tame room modes, a quick look at the SC-1250's output on the test bench showed me that its auto-EQ had indeed found my room's most egregious mode and dialed in an appropriate, though fairly broad, compensation.