Velodyne DD-15 Plus Incredible output and extension Be...
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authorized dealers In the tradition of most of Velodyne's upper tier subwoofer products, the DD-15+ is a single driver sealed active servo design. The DD-15+ sports a 15" driver. The servo feedback mechanism compares the input signal to the amplifier versus the cone motion and helps reduce distortion, which often plagues subwoofers in small enclosures. The amplifier in the DD-15+ features an overload protection circuitry. The driver is digitally controlled with a current limiting driver servo to reduce distortion by preventing clipping and over-excursion. The amplifier section has thermal protection as well as protection against excessive voltage drops. Velodyne is all about maximizing output and minimizing distortion in the smallest possible enclosure size. This takes two things: a driver with lots of excursion and an amplifier with lots of power. The DD-15+ has both in droves. This fact is quite apparent when taking a closer look at the new DD+ driver. DD-15+ driver advantages over the original DD-15 Driver:
Magnet motor structure weight increased from 24lbs to 39.7lbs
Basket design went from conventional design to underhung design
Increased electrical and magnetic linearity with greater Xmax, higher compliance (Cms) and 20-30% increase in Bl while maintaining the same Mass (Mms) and resistance (DCR) which dropped the resonant frequency (Fs)
Driver material upgraded from Kevlar reinforced resign to fiberglass Rohacell laminate
The benefit of an underhung designed motor structure allows the usage of a shorter voice coil compared to the top plate of the motor structure. This is done in order to reduce harmonic distortion, since voice coil is held in a constant magnetic field throughout the entire XMAX of the driver. This is quite an expensive driver type, but it shows how Velodyne spared no expense to ensure the lowest possible distortion out of their flagship DD+ series of products. Velodyne claims their DD+ line of subs have between 4-5dB more output for each comparable model to the original DD series of subs. Based on the driver differences between the two products (and the fact that the new DD-15+ box volume has increased nearly 25%) we have little reason to doubt this claim, but of course we measured to confirm the results as you will read later in this review.TVelodyne DD-15+ AmplifierThe Velodyne DD-15+ boasts a digitally controlled class D amplifier section (up to 95% claimed efficiency at full load) that is said to deliver 1250 watts rms power and 3000 watts dynamic power (same as the original DD-15). The amplifier, which is separated into two sections, occupies the entire back plate. One board is dedicated to the power supply supporting the transformer and main fuses. The second tiered board supports the preamp functions and six power supply capacitors. There is a small heat sink to the side of the capacitors while the majority of the circuitry lives under a grilled metal housing to reduce radiated RFI noise inherent in high frequency switching amp designs. Based on the power consumption rating of 12 amperes listed on the back of the unit at the standard 120 volts we get a power rating of P = 0.95(12A * 120V) = 1368 watts which exceeds the 1250 watt power rating that with a slo-blow fuse leaves little to suspect the rated power of the amplifier.Velodyne DD-15+ Grille Cover (notice no flimsy plastic here)The build quality of the Velodyne DD+ series of subs is obviously raised considerably compared to their predecessors, not only in driver mechanics and cabinetry, but in the actual grille cover, too. I don't think I've ever encountered a sturdier or heavier grille cover on a subwoofer before. The grille is actually constructed of 1" thick MDF (no flimsy plastic) and finished and stained satin black with cloth wrapped on the outside which looks and feels great. It looks very clean installed on the sub since it recesses into the front baffle for a nice flush look. Velodyne knows the driver in these subs have a lot of stroke and require not only a rigid cabinet but a grille cover as well. You don't typically get this type of build quality in less costly subwoofers - which, in my mind, helps partly justify its rather hefty price tag. Backpanel view of DD-15 (left pic)& DD-15+(right pic)What is most interesting is the original DD-15 and DD-18 subs were THX Ultra2 certified. The new DD+ replacements no longer carry the THX logo or certification. This is an obvious cost cutting savings for a company that can undoubtedly pass THX spec without the sheet of paper by now. As indicated in our measurements, the DD-15+ walks all over the DD-15 and you don't need a THX stamp of approval to acknowledge it. We've noticed a trend with numerous manufacturers that THX certify their first generation of new products but not the successor products. This allows the manufacturers to offer a next generation product that exceeds the performance of the original while keeping the retail price the same (or sometimes less) by not expending margin for the THX stamp of approval. Velodyne DD-15+ Backpanel ViewLike the DD-15, the DD-15+ has one of the most comprehensive connection panels we've ever seen on a subwoofer. The DD-15+ takes it up a few notches with the inclusion of all balanced connectors (nice touch) and an Ethernet connection for firmware updates. The only connections missing are speaker level outputs, but I can't imagine anyone buying a sub of this caliber would be hooking it up speaker level and using the bass management of the sub for their satellite speakers no less. Velodyne DD-15+ Frontpanel View (with grille removed)The front of the DD15+ is where the microphone and USB connections are made to run auto setup and self-EQ options. There are also a volume and crossover potentiometers adjustable in 1dB and 1Hz increments, respectively. Velodyne claims the volume adjustments are actually .4 to .5dB incremental depending on the actual output level setting. Gone is the backlit Velodyne logo that illuminated anytime a DD series sub was powered up. I really missed this feature and wish Velodyne would have at least incorporated some indication when the DD+ sub goes active other than simply listening for it (although it's hard to miss). This is especially handy in situations where users are employing multiple subs in their theater room and want to give a quick spot-check around the room to ensure all of the subs are powered on before playing a demo to a first-time listener.
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