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I’m surprised that almost twenty-five years after I first saw AC/DC perform at the Oakland Coliseum, thirteen-year-old kids are still walking the malls today, proudly wearing the same AC/DC “Back in Black” shirts I purchased in 1981. Reminiscing a bit, the first CD I slipped into my Denon DVD-3910 DVD/CD player was AC/DC “Back in Black” (Deluxe Digipak) [ORIGINAL RECORDING REMASTERED] (Atco). The bass was tight, punchy and had a visceral quality that could be felt as well heard. The pounding bass-line of AC/DC never sounded more authoritative.
For great percussion compositions, look no further than Mickey Hart “Planet Drum” (Ryco). This well-recorded CD offers some of the best drum demonstrations you’ll ever hear, even though you might sometimes feel like the music isn’t going anywhere. On “ Temple Caves ”, you’ll hear a combination of sounds ranging from drums, conch shell, slit gongs, body percussion and even a rain stick. With extremely low frequency bass, it’s a true test for a subwoofer and the Velodyne SPL-1200R never let me down. Pitch definition was some of the best I’ve heard and low frequency output was impressive. I have never heard another 12-inch subwoofer provide bass with as much low distortion and deep bass response as I have heard with the Velodyne SPL-1200R.
To add some “flava” and “phat” bass hooks, the last CD I listened to was “The Eminem Show” (Interscope Records). If a thirteen-year-old can be into AC/DC, then I can listen to Eminem, especially if it’s a sample of Aerosmith’s song “Dream On”. On “Sing for the Moment,” it had all the bass slam, drive and punch that even Diddy would admire.
Now it was time for movie watching and I started my movie viewing with “Monsters, Inc.” (Pixar/Disney) Chapter 5, “Ted Walks to Work.” I was surprised by how my theater was energized by the bass output of this compact subwoofer. Bass energy could actually be felt as much as it could be heard, which is a testament to the shear amount of output this small subwoofer provides.
One of the greatest, extremely low frequency bass demos in movie history is in U-571 (Universal Studios Home Video). Chapter 15, “Depth Charge,” is the low frequency king and I was treated to distortion free, bass authority that is seldom heard from such a small subwoofer. Deep bass never sounded strained or uncontrolled, not even in the least bit.
Black Hawk Down is a great, action packed movie with an amazing, sweeping soundtrack. On Chapter 4, “Irene,” the whirring sound of the helicopter blades creates low frequency sound pressure levels that are felt, as much as they are heard. Anything in my home theater that wasn’t bolted down was rattling and I was treated to deep, room-shaking bass, adding to the realism of the event like no other 12-inch subwoofer I’ve heard before.
Regardless of what you think of Pearl Harbor (Buena Vista Home) as a movie, the soundtrack is amazing. Chapter 22, “First Strike”, has incredible dog-fight scenes, with rafter-rattling bass levels. Explosions never seemed to stop and I could see the 12-inch driver of the Velodyne SPL-1200R moving violently, but bass quality remained tight, forceful and never out of control.
How could any comprehensive subwoofer review be complete without the bass- demonstrating movie that started it all? I couldn’t wait to put the Jurassic Park DTS Collector’s Edition (Universal Studios Home Video) (fixed disc version PEMC-D2R2) DVD into my Denon DVD-3910. The Velodyne SPL-1200R made it feel like the T-Rex was stomping on my chest, as I literally felt the bass output of this compact subwoofer. I was amazed and couldn’t believe that I wasn’t listening to a much bigger subwoofer.
At $1899 retail price, the SPL-1200R isn’t the cheapest 12-inch subwoofer on the market, but when you consider the technology, ease of use, compact size, bass quality and output level, this subwoofer is a bargain. I also expect a subwoofer at this price level to offer a detachable power cord, for those of us who like the option to make those types of changes.
Velodyne has always been known to manufacture some of the biggest, baddest subwoofers in the world, but some of their older designs were the size of coffee tables. Velodyne applied everything they know about making great sounding, big subwoofers and now produce incredible sounding, small subwoofers. Whether you’re an audiophile or home theater enthusiast, in minutes you can set-up the feature-rich, Velodyne SPL-1200R and listen to amazing amounts of distortion-free, accurate bass. The Velodyne SPL-1200R isn’t inexpensive, but if what you want is a compact subwoofer that will produce prodigious amounts of accurate, distortion-free bass, this subwoofer is a bargain and I highly recommend it.