Subwoofers are a vital part of any home cinema system but if you're pushed for space it can be tricky squeezing one into your living room. US audio brand Velodyne has the solution in the form of the MicroVee, the smallest sub the company has ever made. Its 22.9 x 22.9 x 24.4cm dimensions make it easy to conceal, but Velodyne reckons this diminutive bass box is still able to muster a big sound thanks to the latest generation of its patented digital amplifier, along with a triple-driver system.
Whipping the unit out of the box, we were taken aback by how compact it actually is, but its 9.1kg weight is a good indication that there's some serious technology inside. It's also quite attractive as subwoofers go - our sample was Black Anodized, but it's also available in white, and both are sturdily constructed using a ribbed extruded aluminium cabinet that dissipates heat build up.
On the rear panel you'll find dials to control the sub's volume and low-pass crossover, the latter adjustable between 50Hz and 200Hz, allowing you to achieve a seamless transition between the sub and your home cinema speakers. You can, however, bypass the internal crossover with the Subwoofer Direct mode, activated using a switch on the rear panel, which could be handy for systems that use an external processor with its own crossover control. Another switch on the rear enables you to reverse the phase of the output signal.
As for connections, you'll find a gold-plated line-level phono input, which takes the LFE signal from the subwoofer pre-out on your amp through an RCA cable - plus there's a second input which can be used if a single line level input is too weak to trigger the automatic on/off feature. There's also a set of speaker level inputs/outputs for amplifiers that lack line-level outputs, plus a minijack input and output that enables you to boost the bass from your iPod dock or other audio devices.
Now the science bit. The MicroVee features one active 6.5in driver, with an aluminium cone and dual-layer copper voice coil, plus two 6.5in side-firing passive radiators with aluminium cones that augment the active driver. These are fed by Velodyne's patented Energy Recovery System (ERS) Class-D digital amplifier, which supplies 2,000W of dynamic power and 1,000W of continuous RMS power. The ERS amp is rated at over 95 per cent efficiency, which generates minimal heat, while the sub's frequency range stretches from 120Hz down to 38Hz.
Also on board is the Dynamic Drive Control System (DDCS), an active signal based system that assures linear cone movement and controls the driver's frequency and distortion characteristics.