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Product Review
 

Velodyne SubContractor Series SC-12 Subwoofer and SC-1250 Power Amplifier

Part I

August, 2006

John E. Johnson, Jr.

 

Click on the photo above to see a larger version.

Specifications:

SC-12 Subwoofer

Design: Sealed Enclosure
● Driver: One 12" Paper Cone; 21.6 Pound Magnet
    Structure
● MFR:  22 Hz - 120 Hz
3 dB
● Nominal Impedance: 8 Ohms
Dimensions: 15" H x 14.5" W x 10.25" D
Weight: 41 Pounds/Each
● MSRP:
$799 USA

SC-1250 Power Amplifier

Output: 1,250 Watts RMS into 4 Ohms
● Inputs: Two RCA, One XLR
● Outputs: Two Speaker, Four High-Pass Speaker Level
    (To Main Speakers)
● Seven Band Auto EQ, Microphone Included
● Adjustable Digital Crossover: 40 Hz - 160 Hz in 1 dB
    Increments
Dimensions: 4.25" H x 17" W x 13" D
Weight: 25 Pounds
● MSRP:
$999 USA

Velodyne Acoustics, Inc.

www.velodyne.com

Introduction

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.

The Design

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 repairs.

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 to exit.

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 8" driver).

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.

Copyright 2006 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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