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Velodyne SPL-800 mini-review:

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by tk2001, Jun 21, 2003.

  1. tk2001

    tk2001
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    I currently have the luxury of owning this sub until Friday and although I've only had this sub for 3 days, I can simply not stress how surprise I was when I heard the way it performed.

    For those of you who don't know, this sub is only measured at 10 1/2" X 10 1/4" X 12" (H/W/D), is absolutely tiny and only has an 8" driver, but don't let that fool you cause it can certainly pack a mean punch when called upon. It has 600W of RMS power and can dynamically reach to a peak of 1200W, offering almost twice the dynamic power of the CHT-15:eek:
    This sub is not servo-controlled like the HGS series but in keeping with Velodyne's strong reputation of restricting distortion levels to a bare minimum, it incorporates a distortion limiting "Dynamic Driver Control System" which assures the tight, accurate, musical bass for which Velodyne is world famous. "DDCS" is an active, signal-based system incorporating several exclusive, new technologies from Velodyne that assure linear cone movement, and control the driver's frequency and distortion characteristics. This reduces the distortion to 1/6th that of competitive subwoofers.

    Now before we go on, I should note that this sub was tested in my 12 x 15 feet living-room and the entire review is based on how it SOUNDS IN MY LIVING-ROOM - there is a very strong possibility that the sub will sound entirely different in someone else's room, amongst entirely different equipment.

    Now on to the way this tiny sub sound with movies.

    I tried Toy Story 2 R1, LOTR R1 (DD 5.1), Titan AE DTS, SW: AOTC and on all those dvd's the SPL-800 sounded simply superb. It offered the same trouser flapping effect that I got from my CHT-15 but not quite as much as the HGS-18. During playback of those films I did not notice a single bit of room-boom that I get from the CHT-15 and the HGS-18. The SPL-800 offered nothing but tight, low, clean and trouser flapping bass that easily matched and at times even surpassed the 15" CHT-15 down to 28hz in terms of accuracy.

    In LOTR, the scene where Balrog is walking, because of the sheer rumble that shook the whole entire living-room (THIS IS FROM AN 8" DRIVER:eek: ), I had to check that the IFE was actually coming from the tiny SPL-800 and when I saw that the driver cone was moving and generating all that bass, I was simply awe-struck:eek: .

    In SW: AOTC, when the Jedi Knight uses their light sabre, OMG each swing just fills the entire living-room up with tight bass and not only that, but it causes the trousers to flap as well.

    The only film that I've tried (haven't tried The Haunting btw) where the HGS-18 has a huge advantage over the tiny SPL-800 in terms of performance is Titan AE R1 DTS. In chapter 16 'The Ice Rings, the SPL-800's in-ability to be able to output strong frequencies below 20hz makes for a very audible difference if one has heard that passage with the HGS-18. Thats not to say that it doesn't sound bad because it doesn't, infact it sounds great. You will just be hearing that passage without the really low notes which a lot of subs can't reach anyway (bar the Servo-15/SVS and other few top performers).

    The SPL-800 is superb with music and easily intergrates with the rest of my speakers as well as my HGS-18.

    Hear are the pros:

    Is able to output very tight, clean, and accurate bass.

    Can easily match the CHT-15 in the trouser-flapping department down to 28hz.

    Is able fill up a small to medium size living-room with high SPL bass.

    Cons:

    Absolutely nothing. This sub only has an 8" driver so you really can't expect it to go flat down to 20hz and below. The sheer fact that it is able to perform the way it does completely baffles me.

    This is easily the best compact subwoofer I have ever heard and I would be quite happy to have one in my living-room if I never had the HGS-18. In fact, regardless of the size, its definitely up there with the best.

    I simply dread what the 12" driver sounds like (SPL-1200).
     
  2. Tee Tee

    Tee Tee
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    Thanks for the review TK. I ordered one of these little beasties (together with 3 AG A'Divas & 3 Nucleus Micros) from the good Uncle yesterday. To say you've whetted my appetite is an uderstatement! :D . Will post my own thoughts as soon as the system is set up.
     
  3. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
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    FYI I have deleted Ian J and Eric's replys in this thread as I'm not entertaining a war of words. I also had to delete tk2001's reply.
    So there we are.
     
  4. tk2001

    tk2001
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    Tee Tee,

    I posted the above review because I honestly believe that the SPL-800's outstanding performance should without doubt be worthy of a mention.

    Some people may find it hard to believe when I say that the SPL-800 sounds quite close to the HGS-18. The reason why I stated that it sounded close to my HGS-18 was because it was outputing exceptionally clean, tight and very accurate bass (more accurate than the CHT-15 IMO) whilst also being able to give out high SPL and make the trousers-flap. Obviously, it doesn't offer the sheer low, sub-sonic, gut-wrenching sound that the HGS-18 gives out but taking in to account its compact size, you can't expect it to either but damm, in a 12 x 15 feet room, its not that far off. Stick a SPL-800 & and HGS-18 in a large room (25 x 18 feet) however and the you will then find HGS-18's superior performance and abilty to shift much more air even more evident.

    I strongly believe that you will not be disapointed when you hear the SPL-800 and if you do (which I doubt) then I'm sure we will all hear about it.

    Tee Tee, are you going to be using the SPL-800 in your living-room if so how big is it?
     
  5. Tee Tee

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    TK,

    Yes, I will be using it in my living room which is 13'x16' (not far off yours). I have to say that while we would all like the performance of HGS18's, there is also a compromise to be made with regard to space constraints. I'm very encouraged by your experience as I think this sub provides a high level of performance in a tiny package - a very acceptable compromise for me. Still, the proof (as they say) of the pudding is in the eating!
     
  6. tk2001

    tk2001
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    Tee Tee,

    What sort of volume levels would you most likely drive the SPL-800 at? Due to the fact that the SPL-800 is not mine and that I have to return it back on Friday, I didn't push it to reference levels. Having said that though, I did play all the above dvd movies at -10dB and at times -5dB below reference levels and not once did the SPL-800 strained or distorted. It just kept on pumping out tight, clean and very accurate bass. :)

    I'd say that within a small to medium size room (13 x 16 feet?) the SPL will perform very comfortably even with the occational movie played at reference level but pitched in a larger room played at very high volume levels, then you might begin to be pushing it close to its limits.

    I just finished watching 'The One' R1 at -10dB and I must say that for sound-wise, I'd give it a 9/10. Sound-stage is very wide, full and enveloping and on the LFE channel, it contains many moments of very strong, tight, thumping clean bass.
     
  7. Tee Tee

    Tee Tee
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    TK,

    I'm a bit of a newbie to this home cinema lark (this will be my first 'surround' set-up!) as I've been a dyed in the wool stereo lover until very recently, so 'reference levels', I'm afraid, mean very little to me at the moment. I'm certainly no bass fiend (current speakers are Sonus Faber Concertos + Cyrus 8 amp - speakers are being replaced by the AG A'Divas ) so I would imagine the output from the SPL 800 will be enough to satisfy me (certainly as far as outright SPL goes). I'm more concerned about the performance in stereo and how well it integrates with the Anthony Gallo A'Divas. I notice you have a set of these - what was your impression of these speakers with the the SPL 800?
     
  8. tk2001

    tk2001
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    Tee Tee,

    I think that I now have my A'Diva's possitioned so that now I'm getting the optimal bass extension from them. Intergrating the SPL-800 was quite easy.
    On my amp, I have all my speakers set to 'small', I bypassed the subs cross-over and used the amps internal cross-over, which is set to 80hz. The SPL-800 fills the lower octaves of the frequency range quite seeminglessly as does the HGS-18 and doesn't make itself noticable at all. The SLP-800 is positioned roughly a few feet to the left of my TV and about a foot away from the back wall. When I'm listening to stereo music, it sounds as if all the bass from the SPL-800 is coming from the middle of the room which is where the front left & right A'diva's positions/places all the bass - so effectively all the low bass sounds as if it is coming from the A'Divas. If a sub is not set-up properly, then one can easily tell where the bass from the sub is coming from.

    I wouldn't worry about the SPL-800 in stereo. It will hit every single note you throw at it with precision, and with no distortion.

    BTW, 'reference level' is very, very LOUD :eek:
     
  9. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Hello all

    Well I missed the fireworks that have been deleted so not sure what went on there.

    I can say that in my TV room that 4 x AG Nucleus Micro and 1 x A'Diva along with an SPL-800 makes a great sound that's enthralled most if not all visitors.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  10. Tee Tee

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    TK, Joe,

    Thanks or the advice (didn't want to hijack this thread!). Your comments and experience are very reassuring. Can't wait to get it all set-up now!:D
     

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