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Velodyne MicroVee subwoofer

July 28, 2008 By Brent Butterworth



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Velodyne MicroVee
Velodyne MicroVee without grill
Velodyne MicroVee back panel

Little Bottom

Buying one of the new all-in-one soundbar speaker systems—or any other set of small speakers—is like buying an economy car. You convince yourself you can live with the compromises, but as time passes you realize something’s missing. With the economy car, it’s power. With the small speakers, it’s bass.

Of course, adding a subwoofer can bring big bottom end to any speaker system.

Most subs look like ugly black boxes, though—hardly a suitable aesthetic complement for soundbars or slim flat-panel TV speakers. That’s why Velodyne created the MicroVee, a 9-inch cube designed specifically to augment small speaker systems.

The MicroVee packs a 6.5-inch long-excursion woofer and two 6.5-inch passive radiators into its ribbed aluminum chassis. There’s also a powerful digital amplifier inside, which Velodyne rates at 1,000 watts RMS and 2,000 watts dynamic power. However, these numbers probably don’t mean much; the MicroVee includes protection circuitry that prevents damage to the woofer, so I suspect that little 6.5-incher will never face the full brunt of the amp’s power.

The back panel includes a typical collection of connections and controls, with one unusual and welcome addition: 3.5mm stereo input and output jacks intended for use with iPods, computers, and powered speaker systems. These jacks let you interface the MicroVee easily with college-kid-style audio gear.

In the MicroVee’s manual, Velodyne gently suggests placing the sub in the corner. It sounds to me, though, like the engineers voiced this sub specifically for use in the corner. When I try it where a single subwoofer usually works best in my room (along the front wall, a few feet to the left of center), the bass sounds boomy and uneven; the Era D5 Satellite minispeakers I’m using actually sound better without the sub.

But when I move the MicroVee into the corner, the boom disappears and the bass blossoms. Electric bass lines on my old Steely Dan CDs exude the evenness and perfection of the L.A. studio bassists who played them back in the 1970s.

The minuscule woofer sounds good even when I play brutal bass tests I assumed it would fail, such as the spaceship explosion that opens Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones. It can’t shake the room, but it certainly fills the room. Corner placement plays a big role here, because it reinforces the sub’s bass output. And of course, if you’re looking to hide your subwoofer, the corner is often the least conspicuous place to put it.

I had the chance to compare the MicroVee against two other microsubs: Era’s $800 Sub8 and Sunfire’s $999 True Subwoofer Super Junior. The Velodyne’s in the same league as both, striking a balance between the Sub8’s precision and the Super Junior’s power. But it looks way cooler than either (and it’s available in either black or white, too).

All things considered, the MicroVee is a practically perfect way to bring more bottom to a soundbar or any other wimpy-sounding minispeaker system.

DESCRIPTION
Miniature subwoofer intended primarily for use with small in-wall and on-wall speaker systems

COMPONENTS

6.5-inch aluminum cone woofer, two 6.5-inch aluminum cone passive radiators, 1,000-watt (RMS) amplifier

CONNECTIONS
Stereo RCA line-level inputs, 3.5mm jacks for stereo line-level input and output, stereo spring clips for speaker-level input and output

DIMENSIONS
9 x 9 x 9.6 inches (hwd)

PRICE: $799
CONTACT: 408.465.2800, Velodyne.com

Velodyne MicroVee

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