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Tag Archives: subwoofers

At Velodyne, Bass is Our High Note

DD 1812 postcard front copy

When you’ve been doing something exceedingly well for more than 30 years, it’s easy to forget that excellence is hard work.  Velodyne’s been a leader in subwoofers and bass technology for so long that our achievement has seemingly become part of the furniture (no pun).

So how did we get here – and how do we remain the class of the field?

For one thing, we’ve been single-minded for most of our existence.  Long before home theater was even a gleam in the consumer electronics industry‘s eye, Velodyne was one of the few companies manufacturing subwoofers.  As the audio business evolved, subwoofers found their way into people’s living rooms, but over the course of that evolution, Velodyne continued to make subs and little else — all the while delivering superior, low-distortion bass reproduction.

Today, there are a lot of speaker companies who believe that putting a big speaker in a big box with an amplifier and hitting some crazy dB level is all you need to do to create a quality sub. Velodyne’s legion of loyal consumers knows better.  We’ve pioneered and patented some fundamental bass technologies over the years, from accelerometer-based servo systems and DSP tuning to high efficiency amplifiers, equalizer based room correction, and more.  Every one is dedicated to recreating the most accurate bass possible.

What’s behind the magic?

  • Energy recovery amplifiers – At better than 95 percent efficiency, our ERS digital amplifiers generate less heat and deliver more power, to provide maximum output and reliability without wasting energy.
  • DSP Control – Our subwoofers are digitally tuned for greater accuracy, maximizing output while lowering distortion, and providing distinct output parameters that enable consumers to customize the sound to their source.
  • Digital high gain servo – Our accelerometer-based servo system measures driver cone movement and compares it to the incoming signal, then adjusts the amplifier accordingly.  The result: dramatically reduced distortion.
  • Equalizer-based room correction – It’s a given that room variation affects sound reproduction.  Relying on real time room analysis, many of our subs can adjust multiple EQ points below 140Hz, thereby tailoring the subwoofer’s output to the specific listening environment and ensuring the most accurate possible playback.
  • Massive magnets – The driver’s magnet structure operates much like a car’s engine and brakes; it enables the amp to deliver power to the driver and controls how precisely the speaker cone starts and stops.  We’ve long been known for our massive magnets; they ensure our ability to accurately start and stop even the larger driver sizes (think: 18-inch) without the sloppiness that has been known to plague other large drivers.

For decades now, reviewers and retailers alike have attested to our legacy of performance.  That support continues to keep Velodyne in the conversation when the topic turns to the best subwoofers on the planet.

 

 

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Velodyne at CES January 7-10, 2014

CES photo

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people from around the world descend upon the city of Las Vegas, Nevada for the International CES. Thousands of exhibitors use CES as the platform to share their technological innovations in consumer electronics. These big players in technology also launch thousands of new products at this show each year. We will kick off CES 2014 with Unveiled. This official CES media event will be held  at Mandalay Bay, Level 3, South Seas Ballroom C on January 5, 2014.

Just like last CES, Velodyne will have a presence in two spaces. In the Sands Ballroom, we will occupy spaces #71119 and 71121 with our LiDAR car. We will have one of our fully functioning LiDAR units on display, complete with a real-time readout/display on a monitor. We will also have a headphone listening station at the rear of the car for those who are interested in our personal audio line. We will also occupy last year’s suite at The Venetian, #30-131. In this suite, we will have not only have our headphones but our subwoofers and accessories as well. Current and new customers will be meeting with our sales and executive staff as well as demoing our offerings. New on the lineup for this year will be our vLeve with artist skins, vBold bluetooth headphone, and our vQuiet active noise canceling headphone. Additionally, our latest headphone, the vFit, just arrived at Velodyne headquarters this week, and will be on display. This new headphone is an in-ear model with an earhook which is great for keeping the headphones on during strenuous activity. We will also have our Wi-Q wireless subwoofer as well as many other favorites from both our sub and headphone line.

We will also be participating again in the Fashionware Show, which is a wearable tech fashion show held in the Venetian Ballroom Level 2 on January 9. This is a spotlight on the new popular sector where fashion and technology meet and a perfect fit for Velodyne.

Hope to see you there! Ping us in advance on Twitter if you’d like to meet up: @velodyneaudio

 

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Velodyne’s Highlights from CES 2013

Our LiDAR car leaving headquarters for Las Vegas, NV

CES 2013 was big for Velodyne, Inc. The show started on Tuesday, January 8, but our journey started much earlier.  A lot of preparation was required as our newly built autonomous car equipped with our LiDAR technology hit the highway to debut at the trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

LiDAR readout “On the Road to CES”

Two people from Velodyne -  Pamela Gauci from our audio division and Rick Yoder from our LiDAR division – traveled over 3,000 miles from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas with time to spare to prepare for Unveiled, a huge CES press event. Unveiled, which took place on Sunday, January 6, was an exciting night for us. We had several press inquiries, gave video interviews, and hosted a packed table several people deep all night. We had a blast sharing information about our vTrue studio headphones, vFree wireless headphones as well as our vPulse in-ear headphones. It was also quite fun fielding the “What’s that?” questions about our LiDAR unit sitting on our table.

David Short from Velodyne interacting with members of the press

Once CES actually started, it was “go time” for us in our suite at The Venetian as we were met with a constant flow of traffic.  The audio floor we were on was the perfect place to showcase not only our headphone line but many of our subwoofers which are Velodyne’s legacy. The greatest part about it was being able to engage with many of our customers who came from all over the world to attend CES. Relationships were developed, built and strengthened over the course of the week.

Our suite on the audio floor

Laurel Nissen from Velodyne e-commerce talking headphones with the German press

Our listening station at CES offered some quality time with the vTrue and vFree

One of the new relationships we developed was quite unexpected. Kelly LeBrock, best known for her roles in movies from the 1980’s, “Weird Science” and “Woman in Red” made several appearances at CES, and some would also say she made her comeback. She was tied in closely to many of the events that Velodyne was a part of through Living in Digital Times, and we spent a few days getting to know her. She posed for photos and gave autographs wearing our vFree headphones at our LiDAR car in the Sands Ballroom at the Venetian. She also emceed Fashionware, a wearable tech fashion show which also included our vFree and new interchangeable headphone skins. She stopped by our suite and visited with us as well as joined a few of us for dinner one night. She is a truly charming, intelligent, down to earth and beautiful woman and we hope to work with her again soon!

The press and fans went crazy for Kelly LeBrock!

Our vFree with piano skin on a mannequin

Model wearing our vTrue

Model wearing our vFree around her neck with interchangeable pink skin

Marta Hall, President of Velodyne, was chosen to be a panelist for Women in CE, to discuss what it’s like being a woman in an industry comprised mainly of men. It was interesting to hear the panelists discuss the necessity for marketing to women and share their ideas about how this should be done.

Marta Hall joined the Mommy Tech panel moderated by Women in CE founder, Carol Campbell

Our LiDAR car got its fair share of attention. Autonomous vehicles and “smart” cars in general seemed to be a popular theme this year and Velodyne was not the only company with a self-driving car at the show. However, there is no doubt that Velodyne LiDAR is a true pioneer of the technology and our engineer had a steady stream of interested show attendees who were full of questions. It was great to have two of our company’s divisions represented at CES 2013. It’s truly an honor to work for a company whose CEO and Founder, David Hall, is an brilliant inventor.

An autonomous car on the show floor intrigued many a passerby!

Despite the fact that most of our team contracted the “Flu of CES 2013” we all came back to work super-charged and enthusiastic about our product and our company. That is probably the brightest highlight of the trade show this year. Until next year!

 

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Velodyne subs are the perfect canvas for up-and-coming Northern California artists

Multi-talented visual artist, FORCE 129, brings his vision to our sound

This week begins an exciting new chapter for Velodyne. We currently have some top-secret projects in the works that promise to deliver an innovative mix of audio technology and modern art. And I just got the go ahead to give you a preview of one of these projects.

Velodyne has been collaborating with art gallery Anno Domini to marry the world of audio with the world of art.

Located in San Jose, Anno Domini features exhibitions by renowned international and local artists, as well as up-and-comers in the art world. And we’ve been teaming up with hand-selected artists who are bringing their inspiration and passion to our audio products. These artists will be transferring their style and vision to our subwoofers by custom painting them, turning what has traditionally been a square box into a thing of beauty.

Artist Lacey Bryant explores the subtle tension between the beautiful and the unsettling

The first four of these experimental painted subs will be shown during the SubZERO Festival in San Jose, California. But this is the just the beginning. Get ready to see some incredible custom subs in the coming months, as we bring in artists from all over the world to create limited edition audio works of art. You’ll see a multitude of styles and techniques, from fine art to graffiti art to spray paint.

And we’re not stopping at subwoofers. But that’s one of the other special projects that needs to remain top secret…for the time being, at least

Check out some of the first hand-picked artists featured at the SubZERO Festival:

Lacey Bryant

“As is common in Lacey’s work, there is a subtle tension between beautiful and unsettling elements. Though the settings are usually very light and airy there is a certain heaviness in the atmosphere and a distinct melancholy about the girls with wild hair and confrontational stares. We are presented with things we are uncomfortable with-spiders, holes, crack and decay. This contrast is constructed to create a sense of mystery and mood, enticing the viewer to linger and embrace their own hidden dark sides or even to find the beauty in something that scares us.”

Poesia

“His recent work has transitioned from abstract graffiti towards a more evolved version of his past letter based work. Creating a hybrid style of work that is able to bridge the gallery with the street. Abstract in nature yet structured in letter based form. Poesia’s work explodes with color and form, creating a cryptic version of his wall work. Layers upon layers of paint, Poesia is able to build a deep dialogue between fine art and graffiti with his pieces.”

Force129

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What do Audiophiles and Elephants Have in Common?

When the working day is done, I can usually be found writing fiction from the comfort of home. Currently, I’m working on a story about the relationship between a mahout and his elephant. I’m still largely in the research phase, which means my early morning hours are now saturated with all things elephant.

So, what does this have to do with audio?

One of the most interesting things I’ve learned about elephants is the way they communicate with each other. Elephants can “speak” to each other over long distances by producing and receiving infrasound, a sub-sonic rumbling, which can travel in the air and through the ground much farther than higher frequencies. The frequency range in which humans can hear sound is 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Sounds are generally considered to be infrasonic if their frequency is less than 20 Hz. This low frequency sound can’t be heard by humans, but it can be felt. This is how our subwoofers allow you to feel bass rumbling through your body during an epic battle scene. They go infrasonic. For instance, our flagship Digital Drive PLUS series produces frequencies as low as 8.8 Hz overall (14.4 Hz +/- 3 dB).

These infrasonic frequencies can also be felt by the sensitive skin of an elephant’s feet and trunk, which pick up the resonant vibrations much as the flat skin on the head of a drum. To listen attentively, every member of the herd will lift one foreleg from the ground, and face the source of the sound. They will often also lay their trunks on the ground, as well. The lifting of one leg will presumably increase the ground contact and sensitivity of the remaining legs.

The discovery of this new aspect of elephant social communication came with breakthroughs in audio technology, which can pick up frequencies outside the range of the human ear. The pioneer in this type of research is a woman named Katharine Payne. Payne is a researcher in the Bioacoustics Research Program at the Laboratory of Ornithology at Cornell University. In 1999, she founded the lab’s Elephant Listening Project. The Bioacoustics Research Program team developed Autonomous Recording Units (ARUs), which are used to continuously record elephant vocalizations in forested areas. These units are hoisted high into trees, protecting them from elephant damage. They are waterproof and will record unattended for up to six months. The ARUs have performed extremely well in the difficult climate of Africa’s tropical rainforests. Reportedly, the biggest problem has been damage to the power cables caused by inquisitive chimpanzees.

In 2004, Payne’s initial recordings of elephants were selected as one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry. Incidentally, I highly recommend taking a look at the list of recordings on record. It might surprise you to see what else is there.

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Why Do I Need a Subwoofer?

When I tell non-audiophiles that I work at a subwoofer company, the first question is usually either something like “What is a subwoofer?” or “Why are subwoofers important?” Believe it or not, I love getting these questions, because they give me the opportunity to go on and on about how a subwoofer can fundamentally change the way I experience media until my conversational companion’s eyes glaze over. Since I now have this platform to gush about them, I may just refer people to this page for my answer in the future.

Subwoofers like this Velodyne DD-18+ are indispensable to a satisfying audio experience.

So why do you need a subwoofer? Here’s my answer, in a nutshell: subwoofers reproduce bass (sound frequencies at the low end of the spectrum), and bass is absolutely essential to the emotional connection you forge with audio media. The cleaner and more powerful the bass, the more you can lose yourself in what you hear.

As far as I’m concerned, low frequencies are the id of entertainment. They tap into the base-level emotional and physical instincts that compose our collective psyche. Bass is sex; bass is terror; bass is overwhelming, uncontrollable joy. The heart and soul of sound lies in the foundational frequencies, and what is sound without feeling? Why listen to music, or watch movies, if not to be moved in some way?

Take hip-hop, where the bass is explicitly held in high regard. (Bass is essential for every musical genre, but in hip-hop the low frequencies take center stage.) I listen to rap to feel like a badass, and every time the bass kicks in a core-shaking rhythm, my whole demeanor takes on a life of its own. Thump thump rap lyrics thump, and I’m feeling like the king of the world in three beats flat. Badass indeed.

Or, consider the home theater experience. Movies are meant to be experienced, not just watched; a good film is meant to involve you wholly in its story, stealing you away from your daily life. If you want to be truly engulfed in a movie, you need to feel like you’re right there in the action, and the soundtrack is instrumental in bringing you there. Nautical battle scenes can’t seem real without thundering cannons; the tremors of an approaching beast’s footsteps can’t scare you if you don’t feel them thumping. Full and accurate bass reproduction allows you to forget that you’re watching a movie, letting you feel everything the characters do.

So, audiophiles and audio-philistines alike, I say to you: let there be bass! No matter the media, a subwoofer rounds out the sound and lets you turn on, tune in, drop out with all your consciousness. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go watch The Dark Knight on Blu-Ray and put my subwoofer to work.

-Benevolent Siren

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