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Velodyne EQ-Max 15 Subwoofer Review Introduction


Not long after sending in their flagship DD18+ to us for examination, Velodyne decided to also send us the top of their more budget minded EQ-Max line, the EQ-Max 15. The EQ-Max series still employs digital signal processing, built in EQ and efficient class-D amplification like the Digital Drive series but they lack the active servo control and are a little less powerful and advanced as one might expect from a line that is a fraction of the cost of its more upward scale brethren. After the resounding performance turned in by the DD18+, I was eager to see what the folks at Velodyne could coax out of one of their more humble offerings.

Unpacking and Initial Thoughts

eqmaxfront.JPGThe EQ-Max 15 arrived in a large brown box like most any other subwoofer and while it tipped the scales at 75lbs I found it to be an easy one man unpacking job. In comparison the DD18+ comes in at a hernia inducing 160lbs as delivered. The EQ-Max 15 has a single cardboard box of heavy gauge with cardboard corner reinforcement and top and bottom foam protections. The sub was further protected inside of a large plastic bag. Also contained within were the remote, batteries, power cable, a quick start guide, owners manual and the microphone for the auto EQ system.

After the unpacking was complete I had a chance to examine the unit in all of its glory. The finish is a dark chocolate brown vinyl wrap with lots of wood grain that looks rather good to my eyes. This is the one finish available on this line. Interestingly Velodyne lists this finish as black vinyl, but it is quite different from the usual plain black seen on many offerings. I liked the finish and found it to be a refreshing change from the aforementioned flat black usually offered in this price range. The EQ-Max 15 is not what most would consider a small subwoofer which is not a surprise. It is a vented 15” after all. I would call it moderate to large but not quite into the hulking beast category. The grille deviates from the standard black square and is instead cut into a form fitting shape around the bottom of the woofer which helps to spruce up its looks a little. The grille is also a wood frame and not plastic. Fit and finish overall looked to be very good.

Design Overview

The Velodyne EQ-Max15 utilizes a 15” long throw driver front firing in a vented cabinet. The vents consist of a pair of 3” diameter down firing ports which are held off of the floor by extra tall rubber feet. The amplifier is listed as an efficient digital unit of 750rms, 1500w peak rating. The unit is controlled via remote control and touts a total of 4 built in EQ presets to tailor the response shape to a listeners taste or to suit program content. The front panel houses an LED display and also the port for connecting the supplied microphone for the auto EQ function, which are hidden behind the grille in normal use. The auto EQ is mentioned as having 5 bands in the Velodyne literature.

In typical Velodyne fashion they have made it challenging to remove the driver for inspection. In this case there is a trim ring which covers the screws that mount the driver. They can only be accessed by removing the trim ring and it may only be removed by unscrewing it from the inside of the cabinet. This requires removing the amplifier and then working around the ports. Needless to say I decided to skip this endeavor. I was still able to examine the driver while mounted in the cabinet, although this did limit its ability to flaunt its photogenic properties.

The driver is a 15” nominal unit utilizing a paper cone and dust cap with small half roll foam surround. The frame is stamped steel and the spider appears to be of moderate diameter judging from the landing size available in the frame. The voice coil is listed as a 2.5” diameter 4 layer copper unit. The motor has a large pole vent with screen and a bumped back plate. The magnet is powered by a moderate sized roughly 6” diameter and ¾” thick single ferrite slug. Judging by the parts quality and construction this is low cost, moderate duty unit with limited excursion capabilities compared to some other current day drivers. However, the lighter moving mass may also impart this driver with higher sensitivity than usual.

The amplifier unit is listed as being a highly efficient and digital in the literature which indicates that it is probably a regulated class D topology. It is connected to the front LED and remote sensor via a ribbon cable. Interestingly virtually all of the controls except for the low pass crossover are controlled via the remote. I’m curious as to why all of the other controls are digitally controlled except for the low pass filter. Removing the amp from the cabinet showed it to have a couple of small aluminum heat sinks and a couple of large reserve capacitors. During the strenuous testing done outdoors it never got any more than warm. It seemed to have plenty of power for the application as well. Connection possibilities are limited to unbalanced RCA style and speaker level connections and a 12v trigger input.

eqmaxback.JPG         eqmaxboard.JPG

The enclosure of the EQ-Max 15 was what looked to be 1” thick material that the plate amp was recessed into. The grill was heavily constructed using what appears to be the same wood material as the cabinet and was not the light plastic commonly seen. The grill inserts gripped firmly and did not seem as fragile as many others commonly used. The pair of 3” diameter ports extended deeply into the cabinet stopping only a few inches from the top enclosure panel. The cabinet did not have any large braces in evidence, but there was a generous amount of damping material inside. Covering the top, bottom and both side panels and also behind the driver. Overall the parts and construction quality are good for this price bracket.

eqmaxinside.JPG       eqmaxbottom.JPG


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Recent Forum Posts:

Craigslist Joe posts on March 06, 2012 15:18
Velodyne quality costs lots of rubles, comrades.
ack_bak posts on February 28, 2012 12:00
zhimbo, post: 868077
Remember the room rating includes home theater use, so bass <32Hz is important. That's the qualifier - If you don't much care about <32Hz (and not everyone does), the numbers favor the Velodyne.

Quoting John:

Exactly. While I would take the SVS over this on because I am more of a home theater guy, I am sure there are lots of people that care more about the mid bass region and the Velodyne beats the SVS there and would most likely preferred for music. Velodyne is also known for giving your lots of features on their subs (like remote controls) and that may appeal to some.

But for the price, there are other ID subs I would take over the Velodyne.
kini posts on February 28, 2012 10:55
Pretty disappointing performance for a 15" sub. I'd bet the Cadence 15 would out perform it for less than half the price.

Hopefully the Klipsch SW115 will be better.
zhimbo posts on February 28, 2012 10:53
its phillip, post: 868081
Guys, his name is Josh


My apologies to Mr. Ricky.
Ricci posts on February 28, 2012 10:01
The EQ-Max-15 misses the large room rating by virtue of it's 25Hz and 31.5Hz performance which is part of the minimum criteria.

The PB12-NSD does better at those 2 bands so it meets the criteria.

And yes…My mother gave me the name Joshua.
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