A speaker named after Tchaikovsky's most famous overture has imposing shoes to fill, but Velodyne's new flagship subwoofer does a good job of living up to the stirring reputation of its namesake.
The Digital Drive 1812 Signature Edition is a two-way, bi-amplified, fully digital, High Gain Servo-controlled subwoofer. It features two custom designed drivers -- an 18-inch (15.2-inch piston diameter) and a 12-inch (9.7-inch piston diameter) -- powered by 2500 watts RMS. The smaller woofer reproduces the detail and definition in the upper bass frequencies and the massive 18-inch driver recreates bone-rattling deep bass to 20 Hz.
The 1812 is also the first sub to incorporate Velodyne's patent pending Digital Drive room analysis and correction system, which allows the subwoofer's frequency response in any room to be measured using a supplied microphone, digitally corrected, and stored in the unit's memory to assure peak performance in your home's listening area.
An on-screen graph of the system's in-situ frequency response provides feedback as you make digital adjustments to subwoofer equalisation, phase and crossovers. You can also modify additional over-laid curves to realise optimum performance for various source materials such as action/adventure movies, rock, pop, jazz or classical music, or through custom settings to match your personal preference.
With 6000 watts of dynamic power, this sub can easily grab your attention when it wants to, yet it does so without distortion. During the launch media briefing we viewed several scenes from House of Flying Daggers that showed off its power and subtlety to great effect. In a scene where Mei is being chased through a forest by several warriors on horseback, you could hear every intake of breath by man and beast, every hoof beat and the swoosh of every sword parry. In another scene where she dances in a circle of vertical drums as her nemesis ricochets dried beans off them -- OK, poor description, but you just have to see the gorgeous scene -- you could hear the unique timbre of each drum which really heightened the drama.
This baby is big -- "175 kg, 102 cm high, bigger than a small refrigerator" big. The cabinet is made from real maple or cherry veneers with black lacquer finishes and aluminium painted trim pieces on the enclosure's front and back panels, so it's very nice looking, but it does command a considerable presence in your room. (For a mere AU$1000 extra you can order a custom colour). Oh and yes, you'll have to part with AU$25,000 just to get the standard version.
The sound from this subwoofer is something to behold, so if you are undeterred by the size of its cabinet and price tag, then the 1812 Signature Edition is really worth checking out.