Velodyne Wi-Q 12-Inch Subwoofer Measurements

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Testing Velodyne's Latest Digital Subwoofers

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Velodyne

Lots of companies make good subwoofers, but when it comes to the digital sound processing inside the subwoofers, Velodyne is the clear leader. The company's Digital Drive Plus subs are, as far as I know, the most advanced on the market, with sophisticated digital equalization you can set automatically or manually using an included calibration microphone. But they're also among the most expensive subs on the market.

A couple of years ago, the Digital Drive technology tricked down in simpler form to the much more affordable EQ-Max series. At CES 2014 in January, Velodyne showed the Wi-Q series subs, 10- and 12-inch models that combine the auto EQ technology of the EQ-Max series with an included wireless transmitter.

About.com Home Theater Expert Robert Silva will be reviewing the $799 10-inch Wi-Q model. I was going to leave it to him, but the website HomeTheaterReview.com asked me to review the $899 12-inch model. I figured while I was at it, I'd run a full suite of lab measurements and post them here. So here we go ...

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Velodyne Wi-Q 12-Inch Frequency Response

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Brent Butterworth

Frequency Response

Mode 1 (Movie): 29 to 123 Hz
Mode 2 (Rock): 33 to 100 Hz
Mode 3 (Jazz/Classical): 32 to 110 Hz
Mode 4 (Game): 38 to 101 Hz

The above chart shows the measured frequency response of the Wi-Q 12-inch sub with the crossover frequency set to maximum in its four different EQ modes: Movie (blue trace), Rock (red trace), Jazz/Classical (green trace) and Game (purple trace). I measured this response by close-miking the driver and the ports, scaling the port measurements and summing them with the driver measurement. My tools were an Audiomatica Clio 10 FW audio analyzer and MIC-01 measurement microphone.

The Jazz/Classical mode is intended as the flattest, most neutral-sounding mode -- and it sounds the most neutral -- but the Movie model actually delivers the flattest and broadest response. Interestingly, the Game mode dials way back on the output below 40 Hz, probably in order to minimize distortion and maximize output.

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Velodyne Wi-Q 12-Inch Sub Crossover Response

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Brent Butterworth

Crossover Low-Pass Rolloff
-21 dB/octave

This chart shows the crossover function of the Wi-Q 12-inch sub with the crossover frequency set to 80 Hz in Jazz/Classical mode. The green trace is the response with with crossover bypassed, and the orange trace is the response with the 80 Hz crossover activated.

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Velodyne Wi-Q 12-Inch Sub CEA-2010 Results

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Brent Butterworth

Max Output  

        

CEA-2010A 

         

Traditional


                              (1M peak)             (2M RMS)


40-63 Hz avg          116.5 dB               107.5 dB

           


63 Hz                     119.6 dB L             110.6 dB L


50 Hz                     116.0 dB L             107.0 dB L


40 Hz                     112.6 dB L             103.6 dB L


20-31.5 Hz avg       103.1 dB                94.1 dB


31.5 Hz                  109.3 dB                100.3 dB


25 Hz                     100.0 dB                 91.0 dB


20 Hz                       91.8 dB                 82.8 dB

 

I did CEA-2010A bass output measurements using an Earthworks M30 measurement microphone, my M-Audio Mobile Pre USB interface and the freeware CEA-2010 measurement software developed by Don Keele, which runs on the Wavemetric Igor Pro scientific software package. I took these measurements at 2 meters peak output, then scaled them up to 1-meter equivalent per CEA-2010A reporting requirements. The two sets of measurements I have presented here -- CEA-2010A and traditional method -- are actually identical but for the way they're scaled. The traditional way that most audio websites and many manufacturers reports results is at 2-meter RMS equivalent, which is -9 dB lower than CEA-2010A. An L next to the result indicates that the output was dictated by the subwoofer's internal circuitry (i.e., limiter), and not by exceeding the CEA-2010A distortion thresholds. Averages are calculated in pascals.

These measurements are OK for a sub of this size and price. But they're well below what's probably the class leader for 12-inch ported subs, the $799 SVS PB-2000, whose measurements you can see here. For example, the PB-2000 gives you extra +3.2 dB of average output from 40 to 63 Hz, and a whopping extra +13.2 dB of extra average output between 20 and 31.5 Hz. So the Wi-Q's digital audio EQ function is basically costing you an extra $100 plus a lot of bottom-octave output.

I didn't hear any port noise when running the CEA-2010 test -- that's a nice change of pace -- but when I pushed the Wi-Q 12-incher's input hard with a high output voltage from the M-Audio interface, I got a "double thump" effect when doing CEA-2010 -- I'd hear the "whomp" of the CEA-2010 tone burst, then a second, quieter thump after. This never happened when I was playing normal material, though.

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