Costing around just £470, Velodyne's CHT-12R come in at a great price. And this is despite the fact that it includes a 200W amplifier and 300mm front-firing bass driver. This front-firing speaker has a large port beneath the main driver, and a blue light telling you when it's powered up.
The setup is split between important basic controls on the back panel (low-pass crossover adjustment and twoposition high-pass filter switch) and on-the-fly adjustments on the remote control (such as phase). Volume control is present on both the rear and remote. Once set, there are four preset levels on the remote - for movies, R&B/rock, jazz/classical and games.
Each slightly changes the parameters of the sub, and a list of suggested presets is printed in the manual. Ultimately, it might be best if these presets had more user control, but they are intelligently chosen and offer a broad spread of settings.
It's easy to make the CHT-12R a brutal subwoofer. Set it up quick and dirty and you will get the sort of subwoofer that can make architectural changes to a room. And it's tempting to stay with that quick and dirty setting, because it is easily louder and deeper than any of the other subs in this group test. It's also the least subtle.
The CHT-12R deserves some tweaking, however. You should exploit those four presets to make a more-or-less subtle sound. And there's an almost inaudible, yet hugely handy, night mode on the remote. This prevents the subwoofer from doing its earth-mover impressions when the kids are asleep...
Ultimately, you'll never entirely eradicate the brute within the CHT-12R - but would you really want to? This sub is never going to find favour with those who want to add some filigree bass to bolster up the cello sound in a string quartet. But that isn't the point. Its point is simple - unadulterated home cinema fun. We stuck our Star Wars test disc on and were hugely impressed. We sat back to enjoy the lightsaber fight between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader, and each time they clashed the sound was mighty and dynamic, just like a good fight should be.
Music through the CHT-12R certainly isn't a totally depressing experience, but it does serve to explain why so many home cinema reviewers (who started life as hi-fi reviewers and never quite shook off the CD player) still love their BritSubs.
Sometimes we just need a subwoofer to let rip (but not in that bonkers 'back seat of a Kev'd up Vauxhall Nova' manner). If you want sheer power, the Velodyne CHT-12R is a clear winner. What's more, in sound-per-pound stakes, this is a bargain.