Velodyne SPL-1000 Ultra review

Velodyne's SPL-1000 Ultra subwoofer is another star Tested at £1400

(Image: © Velodyne)

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Best subwoofer £700+, Awards 2011. This is another terrific product from Velodyne. If you want a small but powerful subwoofer there are few better options


  • +

    Masses of quality bass from a compact cabinet

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  • +

    fine build and finish


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    No shortage of quality competition

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

The chase for ever smaller subwoofers that produce increasing amounts of bass shows no sign of slowing.

Velodyne’s SPL-1000 Ultra could never be described as cheap, but it delivers a mass of bass scarcely creditable from a (sealed) cabinet that is essentially, just a 34cm cube.

The sturdy forward-firing 25cm driver helps, of course, as does an internal class D amplifier rated at 1.2kW power output.

This Velodyne is a well-specified subwoofer. It has both line and speaker level inputs, remote control and offers four preset modes to optimise performance to the source material.

Take your time with set up
The presets make a notable difference to the sound, so it’s well worth playing around with these when you first set everything up with your system. It’s also worth taking a little time to equalise the subwoofer for its position in the room.

At the press of the EQ button, the SPL-1000 Ultra will emit 12 sweep tones (covering the frequency range from 20Hz to 150Hz) and use an internal seven-band equaliser to even out the sound.

As welcome as these features are, it’s the performance that grabs our attention. This is a subwoofer that’s fast and agile enough to convince with a Blu-ray of Beyoncé’s Vegas shows while still having the sort of muscle required to make the most of
the heavy-hitting and truly large-scale battles of Avatar.

Waves of deep bass
This Velodyne continues to impress even when pushed particularly hard, managing to deliver high volumes with waves of deep bass as well as any rival we’ve heard at this level.

It all points to a solid cabinet build alongside a heavily engineered drive unit and amplification.

To sum up, then, this is another really excellent bass speaker from the subwoofer specialist Velodyne.

It cannot quite match the perennial class leader, B&W’s outstanding PV1, in either outright precision or engineering innovation. But it does offer chunkier, more authoritative bass. And, to many, that will be a more than fair trade.


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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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