Velodyne has landed a truly impr by fjwuxn

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									HEIMKINO Magazine
Velodyne Digital Drive 1812 Signature Edition Review
Germany, 8/2005

Doppel-Her(t)z

If a well renowned Subwoofer manufacturer introduces a new flagship, you can rightfully be strained. Just the name
itself, DD1812, makes experts nervous. With tremendous bass power at overwhelming levels, Velodyne's new
subwoofer wants to turn the world upside down. Therefore HEIMKINO is very proud to be the first in Europe reviewing
this highlight.

Since the company's foundation in the year 1983 by David Hall, the Californian bass-smithy enriches the world with
highly innovative and very special subwoofers. The latest creation is just the top end of the current Digital-Drive
Series, that already has achieved a couple of awards all around the world, with the DD10 (EISA Award 2004/2005)
and the no less spectacular DD12, DD15, and DD18. Velodyne's President Bruce Hall is the responsible, who has
been in charge of the Digital-Drive Series. Because it's not Velodyne's philosophy to rest on their laurels, they asked
themselves, how to improve a nearly perfect product line, and how to outshine everything else. Though the rational
target seems to be achieved, they have to give their fancy full scope. The result is the DD 1812 Signature. An
exceptional subwoofer of a special kind.

Chassis
Like the name already predicts, this remarkable bass-monster is equipped with an 18" and 12" driver. This means no
less than 1.650 cm² of cone area for pure home cinema enjoyment. The resulting air movement is so enormous, that
even large volume environments adequately can be flooded with bass. But moving a 46 cm driver without any torsion
and perfectly piston-like, it needs some ingenious construction details and the very best materials. Both cones are
finished from a Rohacell-Core that is sandwiched by a special carbon fiber compound structure. The advantage of this
high-tech sandwich construction is an effective reduction of partial vibrancy and cone resonances, that naturally
appear at such large cones and varying wavelength. Together with the self developed, digitally working accelerometer
in the drive assembly, the cone will be checked 15,000 times a second for deviation of the nominal values, corrected if
necessary. The cone is integrated into an aerodynamically optimized and very strong basket. In the end, the sound
takes profit from extremely low distortions of no match. The lower 46 cm driver works up to a frequency of 50 Hz,
while the upper 30 cm driver takes over at this point. This division of labour ensures that each driver works in it's
optimum range in terms of level and impulse correctness. The result is the highest possible sound quality and
efficiency.

Cabinet
The DD 1812 weighs an impressive 175 kilograms. This unusual high weight is not just because of the powerful active
module and the two giant bass drivers, but especially because of the costly stiffened cabinet. Extremely thick walls are
combined with a tricky inner strutting, that reduces resonances to an absolute minimum. Because the front baffle is so
much stressed by the strong drivers, Velodyne's engineers decided to go for an impressive front construction.
Doubled material and filed braces lead into a nearly perfect damping unit matrix. To get even closer to the optimum,
each of the driver works into its own, closed cabinet. Each volume has been chosen carefully to match the drivers
resonance frequency and cone size in a relatively small volume. Even if the more spectacular finesses are inside the
cabinet, we do not want to keep secret the immaculate built and material quality of the cabinet. The polished lacquer
shines in a noble and deep black. Also the front baffle and the rear are of highest valency, and are kept in discreet
silver in all versions.

Active module
Both drivers are driven by an active module, that is equipped with Velodyne's proprietary software to acoustically
customise the sub's characteristics to the environment. Included with the sub is a serious microphone to measure the
room response for analysation within the software. Using the integrated video outputs at the rear, all results, like
phases and filters, can be displayed comfortably on a TV screen or projector. The unpracticed user take his hands of
the Special Menu, because all settings here can be used to fine tune the results up to a nearly perfect level. High
pass, low pass, slope and Q; everything can be fine tuned so exactly that you confidently can send your family out for
a short vacation on a weekend. If you don't like to work meticulously, Velodyne won't abandon you. Five Presets can
be chosen comfortably via the included remote control. Enough for every taste. With a hefty 2,500 Watts RMS and
6,000 Watts peak, you should check your homes circuitry before. Fully digital, and with a power dissipation of just 2%,
the DD 1812 holds a world record in efficiency. Carefully selected active parts and materials are used for the well
thought circuit board. Wiring to AV-processors are made via the complex connection panel, using balanced XLR
connectors, and unbalanced, gold plated RCA connectors.
Measurements
In HEIMKINO's laboratory Velodyne's bassist immediately revealed, how much research and finesse in construction it
encloses. Distortion K2 and K3 are on a world record low level. Especially the region up to 40 Hz reaches new
landmarks in linearity and low distortion, that will be hard to beat for upcoming subwoofers. The effect of the different
presets can be seen in the frequency depended level diagram, like Movie, Music or Flat. The extensive set of
parameters can be used to reach nearly every desired sound characteristics.

Sound performance
Once installed correctly, the DD 1812 unfolds such a dynamic and controlled bass rendition, like I have never heard
before. The skillful technical symbiosis between two, for each frequency range optimized, phase corrected drivers
opens up a sonic stage for the listener - pardon, "pressure receptor" - like it can't be much more accurate. In the lower
region between 20 and 50 Hz, the 46 cm driver pushes tremendously forceful amounts of air into our Test Cinema.
Reference subwoofer signals from DTS coded tracks like Jurassic Park III are reproduced so much impulsively and
powerful, that the session shall never end for me. The scary, stamping legs of the carnivorous T-Rex during the fight
with its rival, as well as its breaking neck at the end of this fight-scene, covers me with goose-pimples. It seems, that
I'm directly present at the fight. With the DD1812 you're not just audience, you inevitably will be drawn into the event,
whether you like, or not.

To cover the musical qualities of our participant, I'm using a well chosen DTS soundtrack, that features an excellent
dynamical and well balanced tonality. "Surrounded by Drums", a virtuous drums-DVD recorded in the belgium Galaxy-
Studios, presents me an unbelievably realistic Bassdrum-response. The hitting drumsticks are followed by a core
striking thunderstorm, that comes as fast as it goes. The two drivers supplement themselves perfectly.
Apprehensions, that both of the drivers could play for its own, are unfounded. While you feel the 18" in your stomach,
at the same time you'll feel the 12" in your chest. Perfectly balanced, and of best impulsiveness, that's how the
Velodyne presented itself in our Cinema.

Conclusion:
Velodyne has landed a truly impressive coup. Whether for musical, or for cinematic performances, thank the
uncompromisingly of its creators, this exceptional subwoofer is highly recommended, without any restrictions. This is
bass-culture in its best shape, paired with tonal flexibility and well controlled bass-power.

Philipp Schäfer

HEIMKINO Highlight

Rating:
+ excellent bass reproduction
+ innovative calibration system
+ comprehensive equipment

Sound performance (weighted 70%): 1+
Measurements (weighted 10%): 1+
Practice (weighted 20%): 1+

Overall conclusion: 1+ (A+); Reference Class

								
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