In the deep blue of the wide oceans, waves unstoppably make their way until they hit the rugged coasts as surf. The following test asks: Can Velodyne’s Deep Blue Blue 10 – Active Subwoofer transform my listening room from a small pond into a vast ocean with its deep sound waves?
40 years ago, founder and chief engineer David Hall and his young company Velodyne Acoustics introduced the ULD-18, which weighed almost 60 kilograms. Groundbreaking and patented in 1983, the accelerometer-based high-gain servo system was miles ahead of the competition, delivering 20 to 30 times less distortion than comparable subwoofers on the market, despite increased volume and bass headroom. So it was unsurprising that the ULD-18 was awarded the “Special Engineering Award” a year later. Over the next few years, other groundbreaking inventions such as Dual Tandem Voice Coil, Energy Recovery Amplifier, Digital High Gain Servo-Control – membrane movements are controlled by a specially developed accelerometer – and the Digital Drive Room Bass System, an active, DSP-based system that ensures linear membrane movement and ensures distortion-free playback, follow. After 20 years of sales on the German market, Audio Reference owner Mansour Mamaghani acquired the Silicon Valley company in 2019 and relocated the company headquarters and development to the Hanseatic city of Hamburg in 2021. A representative of the Deep Blue line, the first series developed in Germany, has now found its way into my living room. I am curious whether the “Hamburger Jung” can seamlessly integrate into my system, which ensures linear membrane movement and ensures distortion-free playback. After 20 years of sales on the German market, Audio Reference owner Mansour Mamaghani acquired the Silicon Valley company in 2019 and relocated the company headquarters and development to the Hanseatic city of Hamburg in 2021. A representative of the Deep Blue line, the first series developed in Germany, has now found its way into my living room. I am curious whether the “Hamburger Jung” can seamlessly integrate into my system, which ensures linear membrane movement and ensures distortion-free playback. After 20 years of sales on the German market, Audio Reference owner Mansour Mamaghani acquired the Silicon Valley company in 2019 and relocated the company headquarters and development to the Hanseatic city of Hamburg in 2021. A representative of the Deep Blue line, the first series developed in Germany, has now found its way into my living room. I wonder whether the “Hamburger Jung” can seamlessly integrate into my system.
Packed in a standard carton and well-protected in a styrofoam sleeve, the 10-inch sub is easily unpacked and scrutinized by the punitive stares of my better half. “Would I like to turn our living room into the Minecraft world?” I hear, and it takes a bit of convincing to get our new guest allowed to stay in our hallowed halls for the foreseeable future. In terms of workmanship, there is nothing to complain about on the 2.5-centimeter thick MDF case; all edges are perfectly rounded, and no paint defects can be found. I preferred a plug-in or magnet version for the subwoofer’s grille. A spartan solution was found here: the grill can be pulled out with a small nylon lip. To hide the nylon lip, I stuff it inside, But then I get annoyed about my crazy idea and the now difficult handling as soon as I want to remove the speaker cover again. The glued-on Velodyne emblem doesn’t quite do justice to the otherwise high-quality workmanship. I decide on an optical tuning, and remove the front cover, and the small ten-inch device does justice to its price of just under €1,100. In addition to the standard IEC connector cable, the scope of delivery also includes a 14-page DINA4 operating manual – that’s it. Remove the front cover, and the small 10-inch device does justice to its price of just under €1,100. In addition to the standard IEC connector cable, the scope of delivery also includes a 14-page DINA4 operating manual – that’s it. Remove the front cover, and the small 10-inch device does justice to its price of just under €1,100. In addition to the standard IEC connector cable, the scope of delivery also includes a 14-page DINA4 operating manual – that’s it.
With dimensions of 29.6 by 31.6 by 34.8 centimeters and a weight of around eleven kilograms, the Deep Blue has quickly placed off-center between my speakers and is easy to put into operation.
The heart of the DB-10 is a powerful woofer with a reinforced ten-inch cone and a four-layer voice coil with a diameter of 5.2 centimeters. Two superimposed ferrite magnets increase the performance of the necessary drive. A solid pole bore contributes to the linearization of the magnetic field and temperature regulation.
The well-equipped connection panel is perfectly adapted on the back. In addition to the obligatory power switch, the DB-10 has an auto power switch that automatically puts the sub into standby mode after eight minutes without a signal – a good solution given today’s electricity prices. Due to its high-level input and cinch connections, Velodyne’s compact cube can be easily connected to hi-fi integrated amplifiers and AV receivers, making it an object of desire for home cinema fans. Other control elements are rotary potentiometers for level, crossover frequency, and phase. Thus, the DB-10 can be integrated very quickly into any listening room, I would only have liked control via an app or remote control for convenience. The face of the partner is a good indicator, especially when adjusting the volume. The perfect setting is when the cheeks turn slightly pink, and the anger can be read on the face. With my main loudspeakers, a starting frequency of 60 to a maximum of 70 Hertz is sufficient; everything above this distorts the basic tone. A small recommendation on the side: It is advisable to note the settings or take a photo of the settings of two-year-old household members. Otherwise, certain unwanted sound adjustments will occur during the next listening session. Behind the control unit is an active module with an output power of 350 watts and a pulse power of up to 850 watts to convince every neighbor of your new purchase.
At the beginning, the South African jazz and world music pioneer Hugh Masekela can play. The funky “Za Labalaba” makes the ten-inch Hanseatic groove, especially the drums appearing. A nice effect occurs: Where the recording lacks a little stage without a sub, the DB-10 harmonizes perfectly with my operations, and the spatial representation immediately gains depth and plasticity in the mid-range. I’m not disappointed with “Macongo” with its bongo intro either. Here I was concerned that the sound would start to muddy due to the depth spectrum of the Velodyne, but I am convinced of the opposite. All vocals and trumpet entries are presented in all facets. Especially with Slow Hand Eric Clapton’s unforgettable Unplugged album, thanks to the DB-10, the recording is enriched with surprising details: At the beginning of the song, the footsteps of the grandmaster can be heard tapping to the beat of “Layla,” and I am immediately in the Bray Studios in 1992 and notice the whispering of my Concert neighbors – wow.
But what about a little luxury? One of the most beautiful and powerful theme tunes in the James Bond series is Adele’s “Skyfall.” And immediately, the Deep Blue is in its element. After the short piano intro and the vocals that start, a huge wall of sound builds up at 1:24 minutes, and I can’t hold back and move the volume control of my amplifier a little more towards noon. Thanks to the subwoofer’s good adjustment options, the basses aren’t unpleasant even at higher volumes but are always precise and dry. Now that I’m a bit hooked, I want to challenge the DB-10 on two of my most listened-to albums. The re-mastered versions of Guns N’ Roses Use Your Illusion I & II accommodate various hard rock classics and a lot of emotion and dynamics. The first thing to do is “Double Talking Jive.” Especially with the drums, the ten-inch sub convinces me with its drive and doesn’t let me sit still anymore. This is followed by the more than ten-minute “Estranged,” and here, too, the Hanseatic player not only contributes with his depth. I now enjoy the intensity of Slash’s virtuoso guitar solos paired with Duff’s sleazy bass parts in a way I’ve only experienced at Gunner’s live concerts.
After the DB-10 was convinced with its dynamics and precision in music reproduction, I wanted to know how it looks in the subwoofer-typical genre of film presentation. I choose “KONG: Skull Island,” and the Velodyne feels at home here too. King Kong’s trembling footsteps shake not only the floor of Skull Island but also the hardwood floor of my living room. Due to its maximum output of 850 watts, the Deep Blue offers enough bass pressure to supply larger listening rooms over 30 square meters and bring the desired cinema feeling home. And last but not least, a bit of electronics from the French electro duo Justice: The bone-dry, super-deep basses on “Horsepower” and “Parade” transform our living room into a party disco and offer the opportunity to including hearing-impaired neighbors in the event. The intensity of the lowest pitches can be perceived physically without becoming intrusive. Fun factor ten!
The Velodyne DB-10 convinces you with its excellent musicality and takes you into deep soundscapes. With a lot of power and depth, the Hanseat inspires music lovers and makes the heart of home cinema fans beat faster. An absolute all-around talent!
|streamers||Volumio Primo Hifi Edition|
|power amplifier||DENON PMA-535 R|
|router & drive||Fritz!Box 7490, FRITZ!OS: 7.29, WD_BLACK P10 Game Drive 2 TB|
|tablet||Samsung Galaxy Tab 8|
|D/A converter||Cambridge Audio DacMagic|
|phono stage||NAD PP2|
|turntable||Technics 1210-SL MK7 with Ortofon Blue MM pickup|
|speaker||Aperion Audio Verus III Grand Bookshelf|
|smartphone||Honor 10, 64GB, 4GB RAM, Android 10|
|computer||Acer Aspire ES1-531-C5D9 15.6‟, 1.10GHz Intel Pentium N4200, 8GB, Microsoft Windows 10 Home, version 22H2|
|audio player||Foobar2000 v.2.0|
|cables/accessories||Chord Company Clearway Series: Speaker Cable & Stereo RCA Cable, in-acoustic 00404007, Mogami 2313, AudioQuest GroundGoody PSC, Micromega MyCable Speaker Cable, Nobsound Speaker Selector Switch, Dynavox HiFi Line Filter X7000B, Dynavox Turntable Stabilizer PST420|
|MANUFACTURER INFORMATIONVeldoyne Deep Blue 10|
|driver||10″ forward-firing woofer with double-ventilated basket and polypropylene-reinforced cone|
|amplifier||Class AB 850 watts dynamic, 350 watts RMS|
|frequency response||generally 16 – 280Hz|
|frequency response||±3dB 28-180Hz|
|Low-pass crossovers||50 Hz to 180 Hz (default 12 dB/octave), continuously adjustable|
|phase||0 to 180 degrees|
|case shape||closed MDF box with 52mm front baffle|
|magnetic body||Dual ferrite magnet motor|
|voice coil||Four-layer 52mm voice coil|
|inputs||gold-plated cinch (line and LFE), binding posts for high level|
|Exits passage||gold-plated LFE /RCA|
|Dimensions (H/W/D)||29.6 x 31.6 x 34.8 cm|