Custom installation is the hottest market in
home theater right now, so naturally, most hi-fi companies are starting to
build products to serve those customers.
Subwoofers may be the most difficult component
to build for this market, because the product has to be pretty big. You are
not going to get much bass out of a 4" cone.
With the advent of Velodyne's new SC series,
the bar is officially open. The series includes the SC-12 reviewed here,
which has a 12" driver, but also the SC-8, SC-10, and SC-15, which are custom
install subs that are in external enclosures, as well as in-wall (SC-IW),
in-floor (SC-IF), and
in-ceiling (SC-IC) models.
All of these subwoofers are powered by the
SC-1250 amplifier, which will deliver 1250 watts into 4 ohms. The drivers
are all 8 ohm impedance, so what this basically means is that one amplifier
will serve two subwoofers (connected in parallel).
Although some of the drivers sit outside the
wall, like the SC-12 reviewed here, and some are in-wall or in-ceiling, the
amplifier always sits outside the wall because of its high power (to meet
building codes). Of course, you can put the amp, as well as the sub
enclosures in cabinets if you wish.
The amplifier is of the switching variety,
which means it is very efficient, but more importantly, it runs cool. The
subwoofer drivers, although having a DC resistance of 8 ohms, have a
reactive impedance higher than that, which means the whole system is
practically bulletproof, making it an ideal choice for custom installers who
want to put a system in, and not have to come back a bunch of times for
The SC enclosure is sealed, which gives a
tight, controlled bass, and coupled with the SC-1250 which has a menu for
selecting the specific SC model being used (limits the voltage depending on
the driver size), this means a subwoofer package that will probably just
never break down. In other words, r-e-l-i-a-b-i-l-i-t-y, which is a critical
factor in the world of the custom installer, forms the cornerstone of the SC
product line. That does not mean that the rest of us are not interested in
reliability, but these particular types of products are (1) built like a
tank; (2) a little more complicated to install because they have flexible
features for custom placement, so they are perhaps less likely to be
purchased by average consumers to put into their system themselves; and (3)
maybe just a little more expensive than standard products of the same size
due to their increased flexibility and heavy build quality.
Hard rubber feet come as an accessory, and by
screwing them into the holes that fasten the grille, you can convert the
enclosure into a down-firing configuration. Custom installers can then put
the unit into a cabinet with only a short slot at the bottom for the sound
The rear of the power amplifier has line-level
and speaker-level inputs for maximum flexibility. There is also a set of
line-level outputs (through - with no high-pass), and a set of speaker-level
outputs to the main speakers that is high-passed at 80 Hz. One of the
line-level inputs is XLR balanced, for use with long cables.
A trigger for auto-on/off and an IR input
round out the features.
Click on the photo above to see a larger version.
The menu for the amplifier, operated from the
front panel, lets you configure the amplifier for specific Velodyne drivers,
such as the SC-12 (12"), the SC-8, the SC-10, SC-15, but also for the
in-wall series of drivers. By setting this menu, the amplifier automatically
will control not only the maximum voltage that can be sent to the driver,
but also four bands of parametric EQ. This prevents the driver from being
damaged by too much voltage, or frequencies that are too low (e.g., for the
One last set of inputs on the amplifier are
for the included microphone. By connecting the microphone, and placing it in
the listening position, then activating Auto EQ on the front panel, the
amplifier emits a series of low frequency tones, and uses a built-in seven
band parametric EQ to flatten the room response.
So, there are a total of eleven bands of
parametric EQ (four specific to the driver, and seven that are set during
the Auto EQ procedure).
The remote control, shown on the right, has
buttons for power, phase, volume, EQ (this activates the Auto-EQ function),
night mode (reduces the loud musical sections to a quieter level), light
control (turns off the light on the front of the subwoofer), and four
presets - Movies, R&B/Rock, Jazz/Classical (this one has the flattest
response), and Games.
Click Here to Go to Part II.