Velodyne DD Plus: New King of the Jungle?

I've had the new Velodyne DD15 Plus now for about a week. I've had and heard plenty of subs, always looking for that magical moment where you are immersed in the music in its fullest range, uninterrupted by separation and unwanted resonances. Subs are difficult to judge; it depends on how well their sound can be blended with the system in use. And there's always that artificiality of tone the listener is fearing to detect, so my expectations were tamed as I set the thing up. My gear is simple, some of it is not the finest in the world but performs amazingly well for what it is, and I've heard lots.

I set it up on a stool about 8 inches off the floor, with plenty of padding to isolate it from the wooden floor(I'm funny about isolating stuff from wooden floors but it seems to sound better). It was placed diagonally, near a corner of the room. I put on some Diana Krall and roughed dialed it in. I have to say that right out of the box, not broken in and not EQ'd yet, the DD15 Plus and walls of my listening room just disappeared and left me with my jaw in my drink. I was in the concert hall with her. This sub just may be in a league of its own.

About an hour later, my wife came home. I was playing some Allman Brothers and upon walking in she exclaimed, "Something's different; did you get something new?" I was dumbfounded. Luckily it was covered up and in the same place the old one was so she didn't see it. "What Do you mean?" I mumbled. Later I confessed to her about the purchase. When asked about the sound, she said that when she walked in (45 feet from the sub), the whole house had "an atmosphere" to it and she thought "there was a live band in the living room". Now that's music to my ears!

Even as it was with the factory settings, it would have been good enough. But of course I ran the auto EQ with the microphone, video connection to my TV played the tone sweep CD it came with.

With one push of a button on the remote the DD15 plus began listening to and adjusting itself. Five minutes later it had analyzed my main speaker's low frequency output and matched their cutoff to its own, set its low level output and frequency responses to the contours of my room, set its crossover parameters, phase and parametric filters. The result was a very flat response line across the range on my TV screen. The crossover points were showing up as little dips, varying no more than -3db. It started rolling off gradually around 160db. I could have gone further with fine tuning the EQ manually but didn't need to.

Back to Diana Krall. Same effect only this time, the whole experience was smoother and more seamless. I realized its not only that the DD Plus gets completely out of the way, but it has a very organic and natural * tonality *; significantly more "real" IMHO than any other sub I've heard. I played some rock, blues, jazz and samba with the same effect. We have an extremely versatile sub here.

I'm using it for music in my stereo system so I don't need that much power. This is way overkill. However, I did play a DVD (Wall-E) on the surround system with it in place and again, it made the room disappear and put me right there in the action, everything not being lifted out but rather enhanced with detail I've never heard before. I felt like this sub could take me anywhere sonically. And the kicker is that the volume was at about 25% of its 3000 watt capacity.

I'm running Harbeth Super HL5's and they're extremely fast, detailed speakers with tons of naturalness. The DD15 Plus kept up and possibly exceeded them in velocity. For fun, I set the crossover on the sub to its highest point (200hz) and adjusted the volume. The instruments timbre and tonality were filled in with more detail and their stage presence more placed. Wow! This is one fast sub, full of natural tonality, detail and can put you right there in the musical event.

I can't wait until it breaks in -

I look forward to other fellow AG'ers who have far more experience, different gear, more brains and better ears than I do to give their opinions on this amazing piece.



Odyssey Extreme SE monoblock amps
Odyssey Candela tube preamp with Mullard ecc82 long plates
Harbeth Super HL5 main speakers
Velodyne DD15 Plus sub
all IC's and cables custom made UP silver over OFC
custom 12 gauge pure copper wiring from meter
customized and treated listening room

David Weinhart, Weinhart Design, LA
Klaus Bunge Odyssey Audio
Alan Shaw, Harbeth Loudspeakers, UK

All are IMO, among the very best in the business and phenomenal to deal with.

Wow, sounds like a great sub! I'm looking for a sub myself for my Zu Omens. I'll need a sub that is not only deep, but fast & tight as well. I'll check into this one!
I was thinking that sub was $1500. It's actually out of my
price range at the moment, but I have been considering the
Velodyne DLS 5000r.
Do you think velodyne has shot themself in the foot? Cause you can now do with one sub that it used to take two? I'm calling David tomorrow!
Sorry dude this sounds like a marketing pitch!

I have owned the DD 15, which was decimated by the Earthquake subs. The Earthquake played louder and lower and was very fast and blended beautifully with a large number of different speakers, the Earthquake did not have an advanced room tuning system but the results speak for themselves.

The JL Audio Fathom series bested the Earthquake although for a lot more money.

Velodyne builds a good product and many years ago was king of the hill, in the last 10 years they have lost the position in the marketplace that JL Audio now has, I would also probably add the PBK series of woofers from Paradigm but I personally haven't heard one.

So yes the DD 15 may be the best woofer you have had if you haven't directly compared it to the best current market leaders your post seems like more of a sales pitch then a real endorsement.
Wondering if you have also owned the DDplus? Or your compairisons based on your DD15, Tell us more based on what you have evidence of. My next purchase will be based on what I hear guided by you Goners direct observations and not a companys market position. That I leave to my financial advisor.
Sonicray, If you get a chance it would be helpful to know the lowest programmable roll-off frequency. In later iterations of DD-15 series it was 40hz-- too high for some systems.

The DD15 is a great sub and my experience could not be more opposite of yours. It blends wonderfully with Soundlab speakers.

No marketing pitch just two folks who love a product. I suppose system set up, room, room placement and one's subjective sound preference may be at work here.
DD15 Velo. vs JL Audio and Earthquake subs

Could the difference in perception between the Velodyne and the JL and Earthquake subs as Audiofreakgeek mention be that ....

The Velodyne is a servo controlled Sub which tend to play a bit softer and

The JL Audio and Earthquake subs being non servo controlled subs and hitting a little harder as A/F/geek mentioned in his experience

Servo subs are designed to control/reduce distortion .. whose harmonic's can reach up into the upper Bass and Lower Midrange and cloud the presentation

When the servo subs remove the harmonic distortion that reaches up ... the presentation sounds cleaner ... but do to the servo's intervention can sound a bit soft

No right or wrong just different approaches like a speaker with a first order crossover which can sound smooth vs a speaker with a 4th order crossover that sounds more lively
Thanks for all the responses. After reading my comments again, I admit it does sound like a sales pitch (and I hate that kind of G@Bs hype!). I was just so taken in by this sub though; I guess the conditions were "right" and I got a little gushy. I don't take back anything said though; its just my own perceptions anyway.

Thanks, Audiofreakgeek for the insights on Earthquake and JL Audio subs. They have their rightful places for good reasons. I remember the naturalness and tonality of the JL was without peer. As I mentioned before, I look forward to reading about a direct comparison with the DD Plus series, if anyone can swing that.

Don't forget that the new DD Plus series is a different animal altogether than its predecessors; totally different magnet (much larger), cabinet, cone, electronics.

Lewhite: Two subs will beat one any day as Dave agrees. I'd get another one but the wife would roll it out to the curb with me stuck in it!

Dgarretson: It looked to be around 35 or 37 hz roll off but I'll have to double check.

Good points about servos vs non servos. JL may still be the harder hitting as Davehrab mentioned. When set to 200hz crossover, the DD15 Plus seems to impart a kind of organic weight to the individual instruments in the presentation and does it in a crispy, unclouded way. But then again, JL can do this as well, perhaps with even more finesse. I wish I could have one of each to compare.

Not trying to pitch anything here, just sharing the discovery of a new thing and asking for more insights from those more experienced. Thanks again for all your thoughts.
Even the DD15 - the original - is a great sub.

Very musical and easy to blend with your main speakers. It has been the best sub I have owned.

REL G1 - the best for music
Audiofreakgeek sells both earthquake and JL so take his comments with a grain of salt.

And his calling the op's comments a "marketing pitch" is the ultimate in hypocrisy.

Yes, REL is another amazing sub. Are they still made in the same factory or have they moved onto China? If so, I question the materials and quality.

An A/B comparison between the original DD and the DD Plus series would be very interesting.
Have had the DD Plus 15 (cherry) now for a few months, integrated with my Estoric MG-20 speakers, and I run a separate balanced cable into the sub from my Integra for home theater where I'm running Gallo satellites. I used the room equalization software on my notebook computer that Velodyne has, and once dialed in, the sound is perfectly integrated. I dialed it down a couple of notches because I just want the lower foundation. Nice thing about the DD Plus is the functionality/customization. Also, it is fast and musical, and I've found that I appreciate what it adds to the mid range even more than to the lower registers. It creates much more dimension and atmosphere to the soundstage at all ranges. I am very happy.
Podeschi, Your comment that "It creates much more dimension and atmosphere to the soundstage at all ranges" articulates perfectly what I was trying to say. Of course this effect depends on your gear, room, etc. But that aside, the DD Plus seems to dig out much more substance from each instrument including vocals when the crossover is turned way up. Its like you can hear much more of the saxaphone or whatever instruments are playing and the delivery is crisp, airy and natural, not muddy or cloudy. This may change slightly depending on the break in, but I'm enjoying it for now.
Audiofreekgeek sells JL subs? Does the op sell Velodyne?
Are you DD plus guys really crossing at 200hz?
On the REL G1 box Iraqis designed and manufactured in England and USA (California).
>>02-18-11: Lewhite
Audiofreekgeek sells JL subs?<<

Yup, but he's using a different moniker because he was criticized for not disclosing his retail status with the original moniker.

Email or call me for details on this creep.
Thanks for the info Audiofeil!

I cross mine at 50 htz with my Soundlab A1 speakers.
BTW, I am NOT a retailer of anything and am not trying to pitch or sell anything. I'm just a regular dude with an ear for music. I've been fiddling with audio gear for about 22 years now and have heard the good, bad and the ugly. I'm rather new on Audiogon so forgive me if I wet myself and sound pitchy at times; its just enthusiasm.

Yea, 200 hz crossover setting sounds crazy but I wanted to see how it would integrate or enhance the lower midrange with music. Try this with your sub and see if it does what Podeschi described earlier.

Question: Does anyone have a preference on IC's for a subwoofer? I'm using custom silver plated; perhaps that lends to the detail.

Sonicray, you have nothing to apologize for.

However, the dishonest and unethical shilling dealer does.

Let's all hold our breath.
Its one thing for a manufacture or retailer to brag and beat their chest (Duke and Ralph do it constructivly all the time) and not hide their I.D. Its an entirely different kind of personility that derides a competing product then remains anonomus.

To the op: I currently have one DD and thinking about adding one for a stereo pair. Would you recomend selling it and getting one DD+?
Lewhite: Of course, the best way to find out would be to do an A/B comparison between the two in your own listenng room. I have never done that; I just went for the DD Plus series from talking with David Weinhart, who gave me a lot of honest information about the performance of the two and let me decide, and I went in favor of the Plus series. We could have done an A/B there, but it was October and he hadn't gotten any shipments in yet and I decided not to wait.

I guess you could get a Plus series and do an A/B, playing just one at a time (and If you do, I'm sure many of us would appreciate the results to your ears). If you still like the original DD, then return the Plus and stay with the original!

BTW everyone, I teach in a public school for a living and have equipped my classroom with the Odyssey Extreme SE, Candela pre and Dynaudio 1.3 SE speakers and a Sunfire Signature EQ sub (all at my expense of course). The kids really appreciate it. It really kicks @$$ compared to the absolute crap the school provides for sound. When administrators inquire about it, I say it "enhances the learning environment by helping the kids develop an appreciation for music"! I hope I don't start getting the upgrade bug for the classroom though; there would be no end to that.

I've had a pair of DD10Plus subs for about a month now and all I can say is they are miles ahead of the JL Audio F112 that they replaced.
I can't believe how smoothly they integrate with my speakers
Are you comparing 2 Velo subs vs a single F112?
2 vs 1 would hardly be fair but if it was 2 F112s, how about some details on the comparison.
Yea, two is better than one anytime.

I've had my Velodyne DD15 Plus breaking in now for a month or so, sometimes not having it on. I've positioned it so it is sitting 12" off the floor, diagonal to the room, near a corner, about 3 feet away from the walls. It fires toward the left wall, not across the floor.

In this position, the sound is dispersed very evenly. The tone is so good on this sub, I like to keep the frequency response to 120 or so, just to hear more of what it can do. In my 22' X 19' listening room, I have to keep the volume from 2 to 5 out of 100 or it becomes overwhelming with most music. For movies, I turn it up to 6 or 7. Such overkill! I'm sure the DD12 would have been just fine. Oh well, its fun to have more energy than is needed.

I've tried three different Harbeth speakers and three different Dynaudio models (including the C1's) and due to its speed, the DD15 blends in extremely well with all of them.

If anyone is trying this sub, please share your thoughts!

Yes I was comparing 2 Velo to one JL. Maybe it's not fair but that's all I have to compare. But then again the 10" Velos are much smaller than the 12" JL so I was able to place them on the front wall behind my main speakers. And from my point of view, I paid the same for the 2 Velo as I did for the 1 JL.

I have mine set up in the very same manner. Mine kicks in at 50 htz. My room is about the same size as yours.
i cannot decide...

i heard DD15 VS JL113 - JL113 is better it is just a lot faster

but my room need 2 15inches..or even 2 18 inches

for music application and main speaker is Maxx2

it does not make a total sense to have 2 JL113..from the bass driver sizes prospective , however there is more than one goner partner the JL113 with big wilson and heard soem good outcome of it

however i feel comfortable with a piar of 15 or 18inch...if the DD really as fast as the JL... then i shall go for DD plus
I have had a DD-15 for about 6 years now, with software that high-crosses down to 20 hz. I was very concerned that the new DD-15+, which is limited by the software to only high-cross down to 40 hz wouldn't work as well with my VSA VR-7se's, (which can go below 20 hz on a good day :-)) and my relatively higher-end 2-channel system.

I decided to pull the trigger anyhow and am very glad I did. The 20 vs 40 hz became a non-issue, as the new sub is even faster, deeper and more authoritative. In addition, I am getting much better room integration with the new software, although I have barely gotten my feet wet with it.

By holding onto the DD-15, an excellent sub, it opens the possibility of 2 subs at some future point if I go insane :-).

I have no agenda, have heard JL and Earthquake (although not in my system) and am actually pretty amazed the censors actually allowed audiofreakgeek, as a JL AND EARTHQUAKE DEALER, to post such an obviously promotional, self-serving and misleading post on this forum without a dealer disclaimer on 2-15-11. Going even a step further, he insinuates the OP is a dealer?? WOW. He's lost whatever credibility he may have had and the fact that he chooses to hide under a rock instead of apologizing to the forum seems to be a further indicator of character, or lack thereof. Amazing.

If you now have one DD15 and one DD15 Plus series playing in the same room, why not go insane now and while you're at it, do an AB comparison for us.

I hope you enjoy the way the DD Plus digs out the airiness, organics and detail as has been stated in previous comments.

I've been running my DD15 Plus now since I originated this thread and it has become an inseparapable part of my system, no matter what kind of music I'm playing. I keep the volume at 2 to 4 (out of 150) and the high corssover at the highest setting (200 hz). I know that's extreme but in my room it works and the sub shows its true colors. For rock and blues, I turn the crossover down and the volume up to around 12.

Would like to hear from anyone else who has pulled the trigger on one of these DD Plus subs and let us know what you think 8-))
I run dual dd plus 15s in stereo.... i ran the optimizer and was surprized that it set the crossover at 84 and 85Hz and volume at 14 and 15 (asymetrical room). This was because i was used to running my subs at around 35-40hz and about 1/3 to 1/2 on the volume. I thought i was going to hear boomy, overpowering bass but i was surprised that everything sounds great with my Usher BE-10s that are with an 11" woofer and rated down to mid 20hz.

I was so surprised that i had to go looking for more opinions on this sub, from an audiophile's point of view. Good to hear my specs are in line with others running high end gear and not just consumer HT stuf. I thought my ears and brain were out of sync.

I am still playing around with them and getting the auto setup to run both optimizations simotaneously was a bit tricky but doable.

All that said, i concure with what has been said....and add that 2 are better than one, especially in stereo.

Glad to hear those Velos are syncing well and digging up low level detail and in stereo. Wish I could be there to hear that! Would you mind mentioning the dimensions of the room?
room is 23' wide and 16' deep as I listen to music. I set the system up as a short throw rather as a 16"wide and 23' deep listening room to diminish the effects of the doorways and house flow.

I did get more advise from the Velodyne support group and it has made a great improvement to this new thought of sub use in my traditional audiophile head. :)
I'm sitting here listening to a newly installed DD18+ with Revel Salon2 mains. I thought the Salon2s had pretty good bass... well, with the DD18+ it's a whole new universe, and this universe has has absolutely compelling, seamlessly blended bass. And when called for, like on Tracy Chapman's Fast Car, well, I didn't know bass performance was possible like this in a home. Amazing. Beyond amazing.

The store I bought it from hadn't sold a DD18+ yet, only DD15+s. The sales guy that delivered it and helped me set it up in my room was so taken by the sound he spent an extra hour listening with me. He didn't offer to move from the sweet spot either. ;)

What a subwoofer. I'm pretty jaded, but this is pretty special product. Sonicray's pushed me into trying it. I hadn't been completely happy with the bass in my room, but I've been postponing doing anything about it. The Salon2s alone aren't exactly slumming it. All I can is thanks, Sonicray.
Well said, Irvrobinson. I love my DD15+. I was surprised at how seamless it blends into mains and into room. I was shocked at how it provides not just a low end foundation but the big impact is it opens up the mids/highs/soundstage and space. I just wish I had bought to DD10+ versus one DD15+
I will stick with my 800lb bass horn think it could dissolve a little dd15 with its tremendous bass pressures. 4 DD 15 would make nice feet for it to sit on ;)
So, Johnk, just curious, what in music generates such bass pressures? I was just at the symphony last night, and it is remarkable how little bass a symphony orchestra generates during a typical program. Even in rock and roll, a DD15+ can approximate the bass output of a 22" kick drum; certainly two DD15+s can do it. 18" PA subwoofers are typically -3db at 32Hz, so even live synth or bass isn't getting you to 800lb bass horn territory. Did you build it for movie special effects?
I use it mostly for music but also movies gaming etc. You would be surprised at the bass pressures just a venue has the large space all the movement etc generate infra sonics this pressure gives us the excitement of a live venue why the wee hairs stand up. This my bass horn does with ease it also has massive SPL capabilities with out strain its never force like a conventional design does. Most conventional subwoofers have massive driver excursions need massive power this reduces transient response and increases thermo compression the bass horn doesn't suffer from these design issues. It doesn't use 18in PA drivers as you think but 4 custom built 15in just for use in bass horn. It is similar to a design I use to replicate explosion etc for military training but a bit up-sized since I'm crazy. I have owned and built the best in subbass and nothing is close to a proper bass horn though most will never see or hear one so live on compromised subwoofer design. For that's all most will ever experience. And its probably good enough for most hobbyists bass horns are to large for most home systems.
Johnk, I wasn't implying that I thought you used 18" PA drivers in your super-woofer, I was saying that even rock bands that use subwoofers with 18" drivers in their PA systems usually have specs that are something like -3db @ 32Hz. So if classical outside of organs and bass drums don't get very low, and rock gets louder than lower, I was wondering what the material was that made such a monster necessary, that's all.

Your sub sounds like a force of nature, what with four 15" drivers.
Much music has infra sonics its not just the range of instruments as I mentioned above about venues. I do listen to pipe organ classic rap etc all have bass below 32hz. As do many movies live music games etc. Plus much of the fun in bass horns is above 30 hz where there Superior transient response lower distortion low driver excursions improved room loading all have the effect of more detailed better matching sounding bass. I can play this horn at low levels where one can easily talk over sound but when infra sounds present it will make your eyes unable to focus. I do love when I watch TV and they do not know they recorded infra sounds you hear a subway pass under or trucks idling..The truck thing really bothers my mastiffs they think its UPS or fedex.

What advice did you get from Velodyne regarding your set up?

I wonder especially if setting a sub HIGHER will sound cleaner and more natural. It seems so with my room (which is not a concrete slab, but very thick wooden floors and steel "I" beams supporting, from the 1930's construction). Very solid.

I've got my sub sitting on thick foam and on a 12" high steel stand. It just seems to me the sub cone should be away from walls as much as possible and logically, the floor. Anyway, I get a very dispursed sound which blends very well with the other cones in the room. Perhaps I'll raise it higher, hee hee ha ha!

What a great thread this is, especially with johnk's contributions about that horn sub. Yes, it would probably crush my DD15 Plus if it became a stool for it! What a magnificent sub. I suppose that horn sub would need a large volume around it to breath(?)

Yes, on the low levels, live orchestras do move a lot of air. And yes, I'd rather hear live, unamplified instruments over any systems I have or have ever owned. But that very pure, clean and natural movement of air can be approached by the subs mentioned here, which makes it all very fun.

Thanks for everyone's contributions here. And now, I must go back and . . . listen again . . . Cheers!
Thanks for the comments. I almost got the 18" but was told it was total overkill for my 26 X 21" vaulted room. Perhaps so. I keep the volume at 2 to 4 usually but that's with the crossover turned way up just so I can hear the sub bring out upper bass details (and it does this with such airiness; very fast sub). I knew this sub was special right when I turned it on, not even synced yet. In fact, I haven't had the luxury of having a profesional come out and set it up. But the thing does a pretty good job of dialing itself in through the auto eq. Enjoy!

Your comment, "I was shocked at how it provides not just a low end foundation but the big impact is it opens up the mids/highs/soundstage and space" it seems is what is being noticed by other owners of this sub as well. It seems to breath life into the soundstage, lifting mid / upper / lower bass detail in the instruments and vocals and presenting them in a much bigger venue than the listening room. It has a very natural, organic tone as well; very satisfying.

Two 10" vs one 15" hu? That would be a nice set up. I was told though, that the 15" is just as fast and more capable (better sounding) overall. True or not, I don't know. It would make a hellofa AB comparison!
I now have the velodyne paired with magnepan 3.7 speakers and it opens up the mids and highs on those as well. Everything i have read says two subs L+R are better than one.
I picked the DD18+, Sonicray, because my room is effectively 22x38x14 (I'm guessing), and my system is set up in one end of it. I wasn't sure what it would take to energize such a large space. As it turns out I probably could have used the DD15+ with equally good results. I typically run the DD18+ volume at about 12, maybe 14 for rock music, so the DD18+ must feel half asleep most of the time. Anyway, my motto is "Go big or stay home", so the DD18+ seemed to fill that bill too.
That this Velo can keep up with and enhance the openness of the Magnepan 3.7's and the other speakers mentioned in this thread says a lot about its velocity, cone / cabinet resonance and dynamics. I'm running my DD15+ with Dynaudio C1's right now and it keeps up with them. Or are the C1's trying to keep up with the Velo?) a very fast sub here.

I run the C1's by themselves and they are very pure and natural with very present base. Very deep, realistic soundstage. Then, I do the crazy thing of setting the crossover all the way up to 200hz on the Velo and setting the volume very low (2 to 6 for jazz and 6-12 for rock) and whaalaaa, the soundstage opens up and every aspect of the instruments / vocals / air is enhanced. Try this technique and let me know if its just me or does this happen in your set up as well.

Some ramblings: Now I want to try two DD12+'s in my room! Overkill? Certainly. Crazy? Never!!! I too believe 2 subs are better in a good listening room. My room has five walls, an open entry way, a strangely vaulted ceiling, very thick walls and floor and every component is suspended on foam layers. What does all that do? Something, I'm sure. This upgradeitis can become dilusional. Not knowing if there is something that sounds better is a fun thing and drives us. The biggest hurdle for me is telling my wife, "Yes dear, those have always been there" and getting away with it. Once I actually covered a new sub with a table cloth and told her it was a new side table, placing a lamp, etc on it. That worked for a couple of weeks. I don't want to talk about what happened next though.
You can get a smoother response in room using multiple subwoofers. Or one bass horn. So more than 2 is fine wont crumble your room break your windows but it will smooth out peaks and even response.
Yes two is the way to go. Just put a nice cloth tabletop on top of the second and tell your wife it is a new end table that happens to do double duty as sub.
Yea, the lamp table design is the way to go, which could explain the wires coming out of the back. I might make a removable cover for the cone so if she lifts up the cloth she won't see anyting.