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Velodyne SPL subwoofers - Pros & Cons ?

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15 replies to this topic

#1 of 16 OFFLINE   DaveBlairW



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Posted July 03 2005 - 09:22 AM

The time to add a subwoofer to my H-T has arrived. I am open to investing between $800 to $1,200 for a great unit. Accurate sound is more important than pure decibels to my ears.

My core setup includes Marantz SR-8400 receiver, Sony S7700 DVD, and CalAudio Icon Mark II CD. Speakers are latest Polk RTi series with 10's as the mains and CSi5 center across the front. Overall, it is a solid collection of gear, and the subwoofer needs to hold its own on appearance and performance.

A local dealer is running a promotion on the Velodyne SPL subwoofer line. The 10" model in cherry finish may be the right unit for my system.

If you're a Velodyne owner or have evaluated them recently, let me know what your experience has been. Any design or performance issues with the SPL line one needs to be aware of before taking the plunge?

#2 of 16 OFFLINE   Kenneth Harden

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Posted July 03 2005 - 05:00 PM

Very nice sub, no question, but if you want to strech your money to the limit, may I recommend:


This one is well within your budget (buy 20 DVD's with the left over cash!) - http://svsubwoofers...._pb12_ultra.htm

This one is at the top end, but even more powerful - http://svsubwoofers...._pb12_ultra.htm

#3 of 16 OFFLINE   DaveBlairW



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Posted July 04 2005 - 02:05 AM

Ken - Thanks for pointer to SVS!

I've noted the number of posts and different threads here on HTF about the SVS subwoofers. You only attract that kind of attention when you are doing something very well.

The feedback on SVS has been overwhelmingly positive, so I will likely take a breather on the Velodyne and research further. The SVS "box" format subwoofers would fit my room and personal taste better versus the vertical cylinder.

Build quality and accurate sound are at the top of my requirements and the SVS may just be the right subwoofer to round out the audio of my home theater.

#4 of 16 OFFLINE   Orlando


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Posted July 23 2005 - 09:26 AM

I just purchased a DLR-5000 and the sound improvement was night and day. Everyone in my house had to come downstairs and say "WOW, what was that?" after I plugged it in and played a few tests.

#5 of 16 OFFLINE   Gralen


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Posted July 24 2005 - 05:38 AM

mild audiophile

#6 of 16 OFFLINE   Dave Lipscomb

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Posted July 24 2005 - 11:48 AM

More SVS Kool-Aid drinkers. Try actually evaluating units. Velodyne has 20+ years of amazing results. SVS may hold up over time, but as yet it's simply the value leader, not the actual leader like Velo.

PS - Use your experience, not mine to make this observation.
The industry is only enjoyable on the outside looking in...

#7 of 16 OFFLINE   mackie


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Posted July 25 2005 - 05:12 AM

I've owned the spl-1000II for 1.5 years and am very happy with it. There are other subs that have more output at lower hz than the velo, but they are all much bigger. I didn't want a huge sub, think coffee table size, in my living room and the SPL series fit the bill. I also got it part of a package deal so I ended up paying less than retail for it.

I eq'd my sub with a BFD and can get 90db down to 25hz before it starts to drop off. Granted the much bigger SVS and Hsu do better, but again they are much larger.

Construction is top notch.

Whatever direction you go in, you'll end up with a great sub. Also, keep in mind that returning a sub like and SVS and HSU can be a pain. Those things are big.

#8 of 16 OFFLINE   R:o:b



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Posted July 25 2005 - 05:17 AM

i have a cht 12 and cht 8 for 4 years, love them both!
but ive never heard svs or hsu (seem to be the other main conciderations)...

#9 of 16 OFFLINE   james_pierce



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Posted July 25 2005 - 07:14 AM

The SPL series are very nice and get good reviews. Tom Noussaine has reviewed them favorably. I almost got an SPL-1200 but opted for the HSU VTF-3. The SPL 1200 and VTF-3 are close in performance but the VTF-3 is quite a honker when compared to the SPL in terms of size. So if size is an important factor then go for the Velo. For the small subs IMO Velo gives the best value in terms of price/performance.

I have listened to the SPL-1000 and it just wasn't enough for me and the size of my room. If you like more bass or have a big room then you should consider at least the SPL-1200. Although for the same price of an spl-1200 you can get the SVS PB12/PLUS

If you can go bigger the current leader in subs is SVS for value. I would have went to a PB12/PLUS if the wife would have allowed it. I am still very happy with my VTF-3. Very musical and blends oh so well with my Dyn's.
Dynaudio 42's across the front
Paradigm Cinema 90 surrounds (wife likes them)
NAD T752 Receiver
NAD C541 CD Player
Pioneer 563a DVDHSU VTF-3Vibrapods and Cones. Straightwire rhapsody interconnects and speaker cable.

#10 of 16 OFFLINE   Bryan Acevedo

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Posted July 25 2005 - 05:11 PM

Let me see if I can add some more info.

I used to run with a Velodyne SPL1200 in my last house. I had it with Klipsch RB5, RC3, SB1 and the Denon 3802. I got it refurbished about 4 years ago for a very good price. Let me tell you - it was the first real subwoofer I had ever owned. I loved that thing. It was clean, tight and powerful for a small sub. People were blown away by its output for its size.

Then we sold our home and I sold all of my speakers and the sub to my brother-in-law so I could get new stuff in the new house.

This time around I went with SVS. At first I was only looking at the box subs, because they seemed to "fit in" with the room better. But I realized how big they were after using some cardboard boxes to mock up some models to really get an idea of their size. They are some big boxes!

Then my wife and I realized that we could put a chair in the corner the sub was going to be in and she asked about "those cylinder subs you showed me." I then switched gears and started looking at the cylinder series. I can actually say I really like the look of them - they are cool. It's different than what everyone else has and they fit neatly in a corner and can be hidden behind furniture.

After conversing with Tom V, he said if I was happy with the SPL1200, I should be happy with a 2531PCi (22Hz custom tune) - the $550 one. I got it a few weeks ago and I loved it - but in my new home, and a much, much larger room, I was straining it. So now I am in the process of returning the PCi and getting the 2531PC+ (Which is a painless process by the way - I just have to give the UPS guy my old sub when he drops off the new sub - no lugging around a big sub to return). Let me say though, that the lowly PCi subs are an improvement over the SPL1200 I had. For the first time I FELT the bass. The Velodyne was awesome with audible bass, but it didn't have the tactile feeling that the SVS has. Movies make you feel like you are a part of the scene. To see what I mean play the Darla Tapping the Fish tank scene in Finding Nemo. To be fair, I never played this with my Velodyne up loud, but with the SVS, it was literally shaking the couch and you felt like you were in the fish tank. It was incredible. And that was with the PCi. Then we played it with the Plus (see below), and EVERYTHING in the room was shaking. Seriously, I have never experienced anything like it. I was sold - hook, line and sinker.

I had the luck of having a fellow home theater hobbyist in my area come over with the 2531PC+ to compare them side by side. Let's just say those Plus subs are some serious woofing. It went loud, deep and stayed extremely clean at insane levels in my 20 X 30 X 10 room. I still have the 3802 and now my speakers are the Klipsch RB25, RC25 series. So I need a sub that can keep up, and for me, the 2531+ is the answer.

What is the point of my post? Posted Image

Don't discount the SVS stuff (not sure what Dave L's problem is with SVS). It is hard to beat their quality at any price. I know people say they are a great value, but even if they were more expensive, they are just incredible performers. Their price is just icing on the cake. This is coming from a trained musician (I play the drums in large venues with pro audio gear). I know what musical instruments are supposed to sound like, both acoustically and mic'd.

Also, if you go with the Velodyne, I would go for the 1200. Have you seen their new 1200R series? They have the new digital EQ/auto room stuff built into them. That's a pretty big selling point. The only issue I had with mine was that it would pop when my oven or dryer would turn on. I am not sure if all of them do that, or because mine was refurbished there was still some problem with the amp picking up the RF interference. My new SVS doesn't do it, but then again it's in a new house and has different wiring.

Good luck with the decision. Either way, you will have some great performers. Tom V from SVS will even tell you that the Velodyne stuff is good, especially given its size.

"As far as I am concerned, the only level is reference level."
- A quote from my wife - who likes to poke fun at my hobby!

#11 of 16 OFFLINE   John_RO


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Posted July 25 2005 - 06:44 PM

I own a 25-31 PCi and use it in a sunken den measuring about 20" x 10". The SV is between my mains and right next to the armoire that holds my TV and AV equipment. At -10 below reference, the SV rattles my windows on deep bass hits and sounds nice and flat for music. We have an 8 mo. old girl who sleeps upstairs and the bass hits during "The Incredibles" actually made the baby monitor light up. Luckily, our little girl is a sound sleeper. In your size room, the 25-31 pc+ should do the trick although you may consider the 20-39 pc+ if deep bass extension is important to you.

Good Luck!

#12 of 16 OFFLINE   mindy_c


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Posted July 26 2005 - 07:33 AM

If your looking into the Velodyne subs, they've updated thier SPL line to include room correction processing with an included mic., and also a remote control. I think theve always been awesome subs, and adding some of the features of the DD series subs can only make them better. Too bad theres no video out on the sub so you can tweek the EQ like the Digital Drives, can't have everything in that price range I guess.

Nevermind, someone already mentioned that, sorry.

#13 of 16 OFFLINE   DaveBlairW



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Posted July 26 2005 - 12:26 PM

Thanks to all posters for the good pointers on both the Velodyne and SVS subwoofers !! This will be my first sub, and I'll make the investment needed to do my solid H-T system right with a great unit.

I have boosted my Velodyne knowledge base with the help of a super local dealer. It's the old adage about doing one thing (i.e. subwoofers) and surviving by setting the standard for the class of product.

The feedback here at HTF on SVS has been overwhelmingly positive. Their box subs have almost unbelievable specs, with fit and finish which appears top-notch on the web site.

I did catch one critical comment at audioreview.com where a buyer reported a disappointing experience with the timeliness of and general approach to customer service at SVS.

SVS owners - was this just a one off situation where the buyer may have been the real issue? Also, your report cards on SVS fit and finish would be especially helpful as I wind up the decision process.

#14 of 16 OFFLINE   Bryan Acevedo

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Posted July 26 2005 - 01:03 PM

I don't know what the review you are talking about says, but for me, the SVS guys have been right on top of it and taken care of things extremely quickly. They have even responded to emails at 8:00 at night! These guys are into this stuff like we are, and enjoy conversing with fellow enthusiasts.

As evidenced by this thread of mine - they shipped stuff out (a different port) on their own dime to try and help me out. I didn't request that, they just recommended that we try it and set the whole thing up.

As for the build quality, I haven't seen a box sub in the flesh, but my cylinder sub looks better than I expected it to. It looks like a professional grade product. It doesn't look like a DIY project at all.

I may sound like a fanboy - but they deserve the hype and respect they get. Like I said before, I was a proud owner of a Velodyne sub, and it was great. Now I am a proud owner of an SVS and I love it.

"As far as I am concerned, the only level is reference level."
- A quote from my wife - who likes to poke fun at my hobby!

#15 of 16 OFFLINE   mackie


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Posted July 26 2005 - 01:09 PM

I think SVS is working on developing a high powered small sub. I'd like to see them develop a sub no larger than a 14" cube that can play loud and flat to 16hz for $750 or less. I'd probably buy it, but until they do I still think Veleodyne is the king of small subs. Paradigm makes a couple of small ones that I've seen mixed reviews on, but they cost $1600 or more!

#16 of 16 OFFLINE   Blair G

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Posted July 26 2005 - 02:08 PM

I recently bought the SPL1200II and am very happy with.
Would have liked the new features on the 'R' series but the clearance pricing was too good to pass up. A clearance may be an option if you can find one.

My room is 15 x 12 x 8 and the Velo is more than enough.
I like the crossover bypass feature too.

The SVS also sounds very tempting but, being in Canada, the whole shipping/customs things makes it a prohibitable option.