Velodyne DD18+ review

The pinnacle of the revamped DD range is built for the biggest rooms

Velodyne DD18+
Whip the grille off the DD-18+ to get a peek at its massive 18-inch driver

TechRadar Verdict


  • +

    Single-driver high-end taut quality, with all the muscle and terror of a huge multi-driver effort

  • +

    Flexible EQ system


  • -

    Massive enclosure

  • -

    High-end price tag

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OK, who of you reading this are hooligans? Admit it. I do. You might well be a grownup hooligan, who likes seriously clean, tight bass to make the whole cinematic experience more visceral. But a hooligan nonetheless.

And there's nothing wrong with that. In a home cinema system, we get music and explosions, too. Even planet-splitting earthquakes and Tsunami – and in No Country for Old Men, true-live recordings of distant thunder that will challenge any mere loudspeaker to reproduce it correctly.

That's why sometimes you need a product like Velodyne's DD-18+. The very biggest and latest piece of technology-dripping active subwoofer from the US brand.

The DD-18+ is not just a bit of an animal – it's an entire, sweating Brahma bull, peeing on your carpet and breaking your furniture. This product created effects and happenings in my humble home, the like of which have only ever happened inside cars.

It's a simple issue of SPL, or Sound Pressure Level. This is measured in decibels, but that's a dry explanation – SPL is different at different frequencies. High SPL of treble will hurt and deafen. Huge SPL of low frequencies will excite you, make you fearful, help your digestion, risk incontinence and break things in your house.

When I cranked the DD18+, bits fell off the balsa wood banana tree we bought in Barbados on honeymoon, and when running a 5.1 music CD through it, the deck was facing the cone and jumped like it was a car unit struggling in a 150dB+ sound pressure environment. So yes, this is the most absurdly loud, air-shifting window-pumper I have yet had in my home. And I've had a few…

Handsome hulk

The DD18+ looks as good as an 18-inch sub can. It has such a handsome cabinet that I had fearful feelings regarding the finish. Mine was described as ebony (I hope it's a small 'e', as proper Ebony isn't exactly a sustainable source).

The grille is a serious affair on legs, with a simple cloth over a beefy frame. This is mounted on flanges, as the 18-inch driver has a massive to-and-fro capability and needs the space.

Hysterically, the DD18+, I am assured, meets the 0.5W standby environmental requirement for electronics. Yet when you switch it on and it goes boom, you will be making 3,000W. The continuous, all-the-time-all-day rating is 1,250W, which is around five times more power than is considered 'reasonable' by any sane person.

It's tech-savvy too. Buyers get a whole manual about the software. As well as state-of the art auto equalisation and a damn fine set of kit to do it with, the system allows you to have your own taste as well, so it's not as paternalistic as many auto-EQ systems.

It may be that you like it badder-than-life. If so, you can choose how it plays. And it plays ever so well. Yes, it does have a huge cone with a six-layer-deep coil on its butt, but the magnet that grips it is insanely powerful, and can stop and change direction blisteringly fast, thus avoiding what's called 'overhang'. This is when a cone keeps pushing air around after the amp has stopped sending it the note.

My favourite demo was from Sherlock Holmes on BD, as Sherlock experiments in ballistics in his Baker Street lodgings. From a quiet soundtrack, the sudden slam was jaw-dropping.

The DD18+ drops devilishly low and never ever seems to run out of power to spank you and your world to a happy, quivering pulp. Brilliant.

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