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Product Review
 

Phase Technology V-10, V-6, V-4, and HV-1000 Velocity Speakers

April, 2004

Matthew Abel

 

Specifications:


  V-10
● Design: Front Ported, Two-Way, Video Shielded
● Drivers: One 1” soft dome tweeter, One 7” VDT
    woofer
● Frequency Response: 35 Hz - 20 Hz
± 3 dB
● Sensitivity: 90 dB
● Impedance: 8 ohms
● Dimensions: 8.5" W x 40.5" H x 12" D
● Weight: 36 lbs Each
● Finishes: Black Rosewood and Sun Maple
● MSRP: $750/pr

V-6
● Design: Sealed Box, Two-Way, Video Shielded
● Drivers: One 1” soft dome tweeter, One 5-1/4” VDT
    woofer, One 5-1/4” VDT bass radiator
● Frequency Response: 56 Hz - 20 kHz
± 3 dB
● Sensitivity: 90 dB
● Impedance: 8 ohms
● Dimensions: 7" W x 18" H x 8.75" D
● Weight: 12 lbs Each
● Finishes: Black Rosewood and Sun Maple
● MSRP: $250/ea

V-4
● Design: Rear Ported, Two-Way, Video Shielded
● Drivers: One 1” soft dome tweeter, One 5-1/4” VDT
    woofer
● Frequency Response: 58 Hz - 20 kHz
± 3 dB
● Sensitivity: 90 dB
● Impedance: 8 ohms
● Dimensions: 7" W x 11" H x 9.25" D
● Weight: 9 lbs Each
● Finishes: Black Rosewood and Sun Maple
● MSRP: $280/pr

HV-1000
● Design: Front ported, 250-watt servo-controlled
    amplifier, Video Shielded
● Driver: One 10" mica/graphite polypropylene
● Frequency Response: 29 Hz - 110 Hz
± 3 dB
● Dimensions: 11.75" W x 17" H x 16" D
● Weight: 28 lbs Each
● Finishes: Black, Rosewood
● MSRP: $475/ea

 

Phase Technology

www.phasetechnology.com

Introduction

Phase Technology is a brand I have been interested in for quite some time due to their reputation for high value and performance. Founded in 1978 by William Hecht, Phase Technology has a long history of innovation, including the patent for the soft dome tweeter.

I had a chance to meet with Bill and his son, Ken, the company’s president, at CES this year and talk to them about the Velocities and some of their other products. They were both very excited about the Velocities, and their demo for me at CES wet my appetite for a full review. It was impressive for me to see the passion and knowledge these men have for speaker design.

The Velocity series is a new value-oriented line for Phase Technology. They sent me a 5.1 system based on the V-10 tower mains ($750/pr), the V-6 center ($250/ea), the V-4 bookshelf surrounds ($280/pr), and the HV-1000 subwoofer ($475/ea) in a very black finish.

The line also includes another tower, the V-12 ($1200/pr), another bookshelf, the V-8 ($450/pr), two more subs, HV-800 ($375/ea) and the HV-1200 ($600/ea), and a dipole/bipole surround, V-Surround ($450/pr).

The Design

When I was unboxing the Velocities, I decided to start with the biggest box which contained the V-10 towers. The V-10’s stand 40.5" tall, 8.5"' wide, and 12" deep.

They feature an outrigger style base with sturdy spikes to keep everything nice and stable. The V-10's are a two-way ported design featuring a 7" Vapor Deposited Titanium (VDT) woofer and a 1” soft dome tweeter.

The drivers each sit in their own baffle unit made with a high density resin to reduce vibration. Sitting right below the drivers is a largish front port, which is a nice touch that should help the placement options.

The entire Velocity line features Phase Technology’s “Absolute Phase” crossover, which is designed to keep the drivers acoustically and electrically in phase and to maintain vertical axis dispersion, which results in an even sound if your ears are either above or below the plane of the tweeter.

Aesthetically, the V-10’s and the rest of the speakers are very pretty, with sculpted baffles and the shiny VDT woofers.

Moving on to the next box yielded the V-6 center channel featuring the same tweeter as the V-10, flanked by a 5.25" VDT woofer and a 5.25" VDT passive radiator in a sealed box enclosure. The V-6 can be used either vertically or horizontally and can also be used as a main speaker. At 7" tall, 18"' wide and 8.75" deep, the V-6 should have no problem fitting into most home theater setups either vertically or horizontally.

For the surrounds, Phase Technology supplied the V-4 bookshelves, a two-way rear ported design that features the same tweeter and 5.25" VDT woofer as the V-6. The bookshelves are relatively compact at 11" tall, 7” wide and 9.25” deep.

Finally, there is the HV-1000 subwoofer. The HV-1000 is based around a 10” mica/graphite woofer, driven by a 250 watt amplifier in a front ported enclosure. The HV-1000 is relatively compact at 17" tall, 11.75” wide and 16” deep and quite light at 28 pounds. For connections, the HV-1000 has speaker level inputs and outputs, line level inputs, and an LFE input.

The controls on the HV-1000 consist of volume and crossover frequency knobs and a 00-1800 phase switch. All of the Velocity speakers feature removable grilles. The V-4, V-6, and V-10 all have nice gold plated binding posts, with the V-10 sporting two pairs for bi-wiring or bi-amping.

Setup

I placed the Velocity speakers in an ITU style layout with the mains at 300 from the center and the surrounds at 1100. I did not toe in the V-10’s as they had plenty of center fill without it, and this helped to expand the soundstage. All speakers were placed at ear level and had their grilles removed on the recommendation of Phase Technology.

The V-6 center was placed horizontally, with its tweeter slightly below the tweeter of the main speakers. The speakers were driven the entire time by a Pioneer Elite VSX-49TX receiver and a DV-47A DVD-Audio/SACD player. I crossed over the V-6’s and the V-4’s at 80 Hz, and I experimented with running the V-10’s full range and crossed over at 80 Hz.

Listening

The Velocities gave me an early indication of their performance when I was tuning in the system and I decided that it might be fun to watch the U2: Elevation Tour concert DVD. I was getting into the disc and was pretty impressed by the dynamics and the powerful bass that this system could produce, when I faintly heard a knock at my door. It seems that my neighbors don’t appreciate U2 as much as I do. The system was just so clean and enjoyable at high SPL that I didn’t back off like I normally would. This set the tone for some of the finest attributes of the system, deep bass extension from the V-10's and excellent dynamics all around.

With these attributes in mind, I decided to start running some serious DVD test scenes through the system. I had heard my fair share of very impressive demos at CES, and I thought it would be interesting to see how the Velocity system stacked up. I started out with Pirates of the Caribbean, something that was being used everywhere at CES to showcase all kinds of speakers and electronics. The Velocities handled the movie in stride, producing dynamic and engaging soundscapes. While watching Pirates or any of my other material, I never found the Velocities bright or fatiguing, a major accomplishment in a reasonably priced speaker.

I continued my action movie kick by watching X-2 and Super Speedway. Both movies sounded excellent with dynamic and coherent presentation. The timbre matching between the different speakers was excellent, with seamless pans across the front stage. I also spent some time sitting out of the sweet spot, and the off-axis response was very good, with minimal degradation in quality. Moving my head above and below the plane of the tweeters also had less effect on the sound than I normally find.

One of the key things I noticed throughout all of this was how much bass the V-10’s put out. The speakers are rated at being 3 dB down at 35 Hz, and my in room response test confirmed this. On many of the movies I watched, the V-10’s were overpowering the HV-1000, such that I was interested to see how the system would perform without a sub. After disconnecting the sub, I fired up chapter 16 of Titan AE, the “Ice Field”. There is a ton of low bass information in this scene, and if played at a reference level, it should really be shaking your room. The V-10’s delivered admirably, producing detailed, tight and deep bass.

I moved on to the opening scene of Star Wars Episode II: The Clone Wars. The ship’s engine noise in this scene gives all but the very best subwoofers a run for their money, so I wasn’t expecting any miracles from the V-10’s. The sound was breaking up at louder volumes, but the V-10’s performance was still impressive and exceeded my expectations.

I moved on to music with a selection of different multi-channel SACD and DVD-Audio recordings. One of my favorites here was the new SACD remastering of The Who’s Tommy. With this excellent material, the Velocities rocked my house for days, continuing to show their strong traits of excellent dynamics and solid bass extension. The imaging on this multi-channel material and other stereo material was competent, but not extraordinary.

Tonally, the V-10’s and the V-6 were always right on, never getting bright or fatiguing and displaying a natural timbre on instruments and voices. I’ve heard more detailed and transparent speakers than the Velocities, but nothing in their price range that could keep pace dynamically or offer the kind of bass extension they have.

Finally, to round out my listening, I moved the V-4’s up front to see how they performed as main speakers. I started out listening to them without a sub. The V-4’s offer 60 Hz extension which, while far from full-range, is very listenable for most material. I began by listening to Saturday Traffic from Copland’s The City (Telarc CD-80583), and I was instantly impressed by the V-4’s, as they offered the natural tonal character of the V-10’s with slightly greater transparency in the treble and midrange. This is probably due to the smaller woofer and baffle of the V-4’s.

My old wind band standby, Gustav Holst’s Second Suite in F, Fantasia on the Dargason (Telarc CD-80038) provided an interesting comparison between the two speakers. At the beginning of the movement, the V-4’s took a narrow lead by providing a more open and natural sound to the alto saxophone and clarinet, but as the movement progresses and builds in complexity, the V-10’s began to take over. The bass drum hits and the tuba solo at the end of the movement really let the V-10’s shine. At the end of the day, both speakers did an excellent job with this track. Adding in the HV-1000 to support the V-4’s made for an excellent combination with a nice, seamless blend between the two when crossed over at 80 Hz.

Conclusions

Obviously, I was very pleased with the Phase Technologies Velocity speaker system. The Velocities' sound quality on both movies and music was hard to fault, and while it may not be the best at any one aspect of speaker performance, their balanced qualities make their overall sound very enjoyable.

The V-10’s are great main speakers, and at $750/pr an excellent value, providing top notch dynamics and extension. If you want high quality tower speakers under $1000/pr for both movies and music, the V-10’s are a good choice.

The V-6 was impressive as a center for both movies and multi-channel music and is also an excellent value at only $250. It is a no-brainer choice if you are building a multi-channel Velocity system. The V-4’s are another excellent speaker and at $280/pr they are priced quite reasonably for a bookshelf of their size and type. I have no problem giving them an unqualified recommendation if you want to round out your all-Velocity system with the V4's as surrounds. I also really liked the V-4’s as small main speakers, and they worked particularly well in my system, but the competition in this price bracket is fierce, with many high quality contenders. You’ll have to decide whether the V-4’s are right for your room and your setup.

Taken on its own, the HV-1000 is a decent value for a 10” sub at $475. But, if you’re buying the V-10’s, you are going to need a bigger subwoofer, and if you really want the sub to add appreciably to the sound, it is going to need to have output into the mid-20 Hz range. However, if you are building a system around the V-4’s, it would be a superb choice for a subwoofer. With these considerations in mind, I can easily recommend Phase Technology’s Velocity speaker system for anyone who wants a well-balanced speaker setup for both movies and music.

 

 - Matthew Abel -

 

    Related to the article above, we recommend the following:

Primer - Speakers

 

 

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