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Product Round-Up:

Velodyne Deco 5.1 Speaker System
September, 2002

Brian Weatherhead

 

Specifications:

Satellites: Cabinet (H/W/D) 8"/5.5"/6"; Drivers: 1" Tweeter, 4" Mid-Woofer, Internal Crossover; Frequency Response: 110 Hz - 20 kHz 3dB; 4 Ohm Impedance (4/6/8 Ohm Receiver compatible); Sensitivity: 88 dB.

Subwoofer: Cabinet (H/W/D) 11.25"/11"/11.75"; Drivers: 8" Cone, 2.5" Voice Coil; Variable Crossover (40 Hz -120 Hz), Integrated 600 Watt RMS Class-D amplifier; Frequency Response: 29 Hz - 120 Hz 3 dB.

MSRP: $1,499 USA

Velodyne; 1-800-VELODYNE

www.velodyne.com

Introduction

The Velodyne Deco System was introduced at CES, 2002, and they will surprise you the first time you listen to them.

Aesthetics

The Deco line is very stylish with a modern look and feel. With their nice lines and crisp features they immediately set themselves apart from the crowd. Where most of the manufacturers in this range provide a square box, the Velodyne Deco is something different.

If you're looking to get your speakers noticed, this is the set to buy. Everyone who came into the room immediately commented on the light silver finish and the modern styling. The set contains five satellite speakers that are all the same shape and size. The subwoofer compliments the styled theme with an 8" driver. The set is shallow enough to sit on a bookshelf or ledge. When the satellites are on stands, the nice finish on all sides is very appreciated. A black set would be great for those who aren't looking to make a big statement, but I like the silver finish.

Listening

The 1" silk dome tweeter in this set gives the set very good extension into the upper range. The tweeter provides smooth highs without sounding overly harsh or bright. The 4" mid-woofer does a very good job of providing decent punch for snare drums and fast mid type sounds. I got the most satisfaction out of the system with the subwoofer's crossover turned as high as it would go. Placing the subwoofer near the front speakers helped the imaging of the low-mid bass around 120 Hz. All speakers of this size really need support from 200 Hz down, especially when playing at decent volumes.

As you can see from the frequency response graph below, the Decos are pretty flat between 200 Hz and 20 kHz. This is why they don't sound harsh. No serious peaks in the range, nothing too pronounced. The peak at about 15 kHz is too high to contribute to edgy sound. The subwoofer complements the set with a roll-off around 200 Hz, right where the small satellites really start dropping off. It delivers great output, on par with the rest of the set, and it has enough punch to make those scenes come to life, but don't expect HGS-18 style output. Overall, the system sounds very clear with little coloration. I wish there were more mid-bass, but you can't demand that much from a 4" speaker. For their size, they perform well.

At 1 kHz and 90 dB output (2" from the speaker), THD was 1%, which is fine for a speaker this size.

Imaging from the speaker set was spot on, sounding good from all the listening positions. The left and right surrounds are monopoles, so they should be pointed at the listener. This creates a more directed feeling for surround. Some people like this, and some don't. For a smaller room, or a room without defined walls (large doorways), this can really help with the imaging in the rear. The speakers have built-in threaded posts, so brackets and clamps are unnecessary.

Conclusions

The Deco system from Velodyne is a well thought out package. Clean sound, and get-you-noticed styling will make this a hit with many consumers. Power handling to 150 watts makes this system compatible with most if not all mass market receivers. The silk dome tweeter really smoothes out the sharpness that some receivers can produce. Although I wanted more mid-bass, this small package performed better than my expectations. The sub provided with the system accents the total sound very well, with good solid punch and good extension. Overall, the Deco system is a very good buy.


- Brian Weatherhead -

Related to the article above, we recommend the following:

Speaker Primer

Misunderstood 0.1 LFE Channel

Nature of Equipment Reviews

A Big Dig into Bass Reflex

What we Hear

Big Bass in Small Places

High Fidelity

Equalizers

Accuracy, Distortion, and the Audiophile

Copyright 2002 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
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