June 22, 2011 by Audioholics.com
Velodyne has been producing their flagship Digital Drive series since 2003. We were fortunate to have two of their DD-15’s integrated into the Audioholics Showcase Home reference system for the last few years. When introduced, the DD series of subs marked a first of many features not found in competing products including a fully digital interface with an onboard adjustable 8 band parametric EQ, adjustable crossover and subsonic filter slopes, phase and volume level. We found the configurability and interface of these subs to be excellent, sans the included measurement system which proved too coarse to make precision adjustments. Since the introduction of the DD subs, some of Velodyne’s direct competition have surpassed their products in sheer output and extension for the same given box size. It was time for Velodyne to raise the bar again. Enter the new Digital Drive Plus series of subwoofers - the successor to the venerable Digital Drive series. We wanted to establish if the new DD+ series offered significant performance advantages over the original DD series to truly accomplish this goal. This review directly compares the DD-15 to the DD-15+ sub to make that determination.
In the tradition of most of Velodyne’s upper tier subwoofer products, the DD-15+ is a single driver sealed active servo design. The driver size is directly related to the model#, so in our case, 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. As you will see in our measurements section, this sub, like all Velodyne Servo controlled subs we’ve tested, is unbreakable.
The new DD+ series come in three finish options (black gloss ebony, satin cherry and walnut). Make no mistake, their so-called “black gloss ebony” is nothing like the black gloss from the original DD series. Instead it’s much more bland and incorporates a wood grain. Velodyne claims it’s a man-made ebony and the most expensive veneer used on DD+ they can get in China. Natural ebony is not available. I personally prefer the original black gloss, but Velodyne, like many manufacturers, are moving away from this finish option claiming negative feedback on a high gloss finish in light controlled rooms is why they went to semi-gloss and added a subtle ebony grain to the look. My review units came in satin cherry, which I felt was the nicest finish they currently offer. The contrast between the subwoofer cabinet and the wood flooring in our theater room was gorgeous and quite stunning.
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.
Read the complete review here at Audioholics.
For more on Velodyne go here.
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