Most of you know I am a huge subwoofer fan. I
have four big (18" driver) Velodyne subs in my home theater reference lab
and two more in one of my two-channel reference labs. I truly love deep
I like my low frequencies to be delivered at
high SPL with as little distortion as possible. The way to get that is by
having a big driver in a big enclosure with a powerful amplifier. The 18"
subs fit that profile.
People ask me why I have so many big subs. The
reason is that I set each one at low volume, and this gives me plenty of
room shaking bass, but almost zero distortion because each subwoofer is
working at only a fraction of its potential.
My wife puts up with having all those big
boxes because A/V is my business, and because she certainly has no
complaints once the lights are down and the movie begins. There is no
question that such films as Pearl Harbor are a real experience with
equipment like that. When guests come over and watch a movie with us, I have
to tell them to close their mouths as they leave, before a bird starts
building a nest inside.
There are plenty of consumers who also like
this type of experience and excuse the room full of stuff because they want
the huge sound.
But, there are also lots of folks who just
can't or won't have all of the big boxes in the room. Yet, they do want a
reasonable movie experience, so they are looking for the product that shakes
their booty but doesn't look like a small refrigerator in the corner.
Enter the Velodyne MicroVee.
Over the last 5 years or so, most companies
who manufacture subwoofers have started offering compact models. And by
compact, I mean less than a foot on any dimension. The iPod movement simply
accelerated this trend, with its emphasis on music from little packages.
Velodyne has marketed a number of compact
subs, and the MicroVee is their smallest one yet.
However, what differentiates the MicroVee from
its ancestors is that this product has a new long throw (about 2") active
driver (6.5") along with two passive radiators (6.5"), plus a much more
powerful amplifier (1,000 watts RMS) than was used in the other models.
The product photo at the top of this review
shows the MicroVee without the grille. The photo below illustrates what it
looks like with the grille, and you can also see one of the side-mounted
passive radiators more clearly.
The MicroVee has an extruded aluminum
enclosure which makes it very strong, but also, there can be no rattling or
buzzing at seams, because there are no seams except at one spot where the
one-piece extrusion is joined together. The aluminum also makes the
subwoofer lighter, so it is easy to move around. There are four small rubber
feet on the bottom.
The amplifier panel on the rear is shown
below. It has line-level inputs and speaker-level inputs and outputs.
Besides volume, you can dial in the low-pass frequency or switch the
crossover out altogether. Phase is selectable between 00 and 1800.
Now, when I was introduced to the MicroVee at
CEDIA a couple of months ago, and they told me it was going to sell for
$799, I thought they might have trouble competing with other small subs that
are less expensive. However, once I saw that it has such a long-throw driver
with a 4 pound magnet, two passive radiators, and 1,000 watts RMS of
available power, I concluded that this one is worth the additional dollars.
So, there it is. I might have added the old
platitude, "warts and all," just to be prosaic, but there are no warts. This
thing is gorgeous.
Go to Part II.