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Velodyne WiConnect WIC-10 Wireless Powered Subwoofer - Review

Subwoofer Freedom!

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Velodyne WiConnect WIC-10 Wireless Subwoofer with Accessories

Velodyne WiConnect WIC-10 Wireless Subwoofer with Accessories

Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
Subwoofers are definitely a necessary home theater component, but they can be a hassle when trying to find the best spot in your room to place it, especially with that long required cable connection back to your home theater receiver.

However, Velodyne has added a twist to its WiConnect WIC-10 subwoofer that makes it easier to place in your room. In addition to the traditional wired LFE or Line Input connection option, the WiConnect WIC-10 can also be integrated into your system via wireless signal transmission, which eliminates that long subwoofer cable and gives the user additional room placement freedom.

For more details and perspective on the WiConnect WIC-10, keep reading this review. After reading the following review, Also check out a close-up look at the WiConnect WIC-10 in my Photo Profile.

Product Overview

Here are the features and specifications for the Velodyne WiConnect WIC-10:

1. Design: Bass-reflex, built-in amplifier, 10-inch diameter single downfiring driver supported by rear mounted port. Built-in Wireless receiver. Wireless Transmitter (with AC Adapter also provided).

2. Amplifier Output: 125 watts RMS Sustained/200 watts Dynamic Peak.

3. The Amplifier Design Features a defeatable Automatic On/Off function.

4. Frequency Response: 33Hz to 140Hz (+/- 3db).

5. Crossover Range (Low Pass): Continuously adjustable from 50Hz to 200Hz.

6. Phase Control: Switchable between 0 and 180 degrees.

7. Wirelesss and Wired Connection Options: LFE Input only on Subwoofer. Stereo Line and LFE inputs on WiConnect Wireless Transmitter unit.

8. Wireless Channel select on both external transmitter and subwoofer. 2.4 Ghz Frequency band.

9. Subwoofer Volume - This allows you to set the subwoofer volume output. This is also commonly referred to as a Gain Control or Level Control.

10. Dimensions: Height 16 in (40 cm), Width 12 in (30 cm), Depth 15.5 in (39.5 cm), Weight: 35lb (16kg).

9. Available Finish: Black Ash

10. Warranty (parts and labor): 3 years (electronics), 5 years (driver).

10. Suggested Price: $399 (Compare Prices)

For an additional close-up look the features and connections of the Velodyne WiConnect WIC-10, check out my supplementary Photo Profile

Hardware Used

Velodyne WiConnect WIC-10 Wireless Subwoofer Bottom

Velodyne WiConnect WIC-10 Wireless Subwoofer Bottom

Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
The additional home theater hardware used in this review included:

Blu-ray Disc Players: OPPO BDP-93,

DVD Player: OPPO DV-980H.

Home Theater Receivers Used: Onkyo TX-SR705 and Harman Kardon AVR-147.

Loudspeaker/Subwoofer System 1 (5.1 channels): EMP Tek E5Ci center channel speaker, four E5Bi compact bookshelf speakers for left and right main and surrounds, and an ES10i 100 watt powered subwoofer.

Loudspeaker/Subwoofer System 2 (5.1 channels): 2 Klipsch F-2's, 2 Klipsch B-3s, Klipsch C-2 Center , Klipsch Synergy Sub10.

NOTE: On both speaker systems used, both the original subwoofer and WIC-10 were used for comparison. Settings were adjusted accordingly.

TV/Monitor: Toshiba 47TL515U 47-inch LED/LCD TV (on review loan)

Audio/Video connections made with Accell, Interconnect cables. 16 Gauge Speaker Wire used. High Speed HDMI Cables provided by Atlona for this review.

Software Used

Blu-ray Discs: Avatar, Ben Hur, Cowboys and Aliens, Godzilla (1998), Inception, Iron Man 1&2, Jurassic Park Trilogy, Super 8, The Dark Knight, The Incredibles, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Standard DVDs: The Cave, House of the Flying Daggers, Kill Bill - Vol 1/2, Kingdom of Heaven (Director's Cut), Lord of Rings Trilogy, Master and Commander, Outlander, U571, and V For Vendetta.

CDs: Al Stewart - Sparks of Ancient Light, Beatles - LOVE, Blue Man Group - The Complex, Joshua Bell - Bernstein - West Side Story Suite, Eric Kunzel - 1812 Overture, HEART - Dreamboat Annie, Nora Jones - Come Away With Me, Sade - Soldier of Love.

DVD-Audio discs included: Queen - Night At The Opera/The Game, Eagles - Hotel California, and Medeski, Martin, and Wood - Uninvisible, Sheila Nicholls - Wake.

SACD discs used included: Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon, Steely Dan - Gaucho, The Who - Tommy.

Set-up and Installation

For this review, I installed the WiConnect WIC-10 using both the wired and wireless connection options, and am happy to report that both options worked fine for me.

Using the wired option, you simply connect your home theater receiver's Subwoofer Pre-Out to the LFE input on the Subwoofer.

On the other hand, if you are using the wireless option, the WIC-10 has a built-in wireless receiver, but you need a way to transmit the signal wirelessly from your home theater receiver to the WIC-10. To do this, Velodyne includes a compact wireless transmitter in the WIC-10 package. All you need to do is connect the Subwoofer Pre-Out from your receiver, using a short audio cable, to the LFE or Stereo Line inputs on the provided transmitter. However, you also need to provide power to the transmitter using the provided AC adapter module.

After this is done, you turn on both your receiver and subwoofer and you can tell if they are sync'd up if the LED indicator on the transmitter turns blue and the indicator on the subwoofer turns yellow. To further test, play a CD or DVD and see if the sound comes through. If the sound comes through, the communication between the transmitter and the subwoofer is fine.

However, if you have trouble making contact, both the transmitter and subwoofer provide up to four transmission signal settings. Try each one (both the transmitter and receiver have to be on the same channel) until you find the one that works best for you. The transmitter and subwoofer do not need to be in direct line of sight, but if you may get interference from other devices that use the 2.4Ghz transmission band, such as an internet router, wireless phone, or other wireless gadget.

Now, of course, just getting the wireless transmission to work is not the only important factor. To get best low frequency performance from a subwoofer, such as the WIC-10, you need to match it with the rest of your speakers and also place in an optimal location in the room.

As far a physical placement goes, Velodyne suggests a front left or right corner, center (not usually practical if you also have a center channel speaker), or about a quarter of the way down one of the side walls.

As far as matching the WIC-10 to the rest of your speakers, probably the easiest thing to do is use your home theater receiver's onboard automatic speaker setup system (such as Audyssey, MCACC, YPAO, etc...). This will enable your home theater receiver to set the subwoofer level and equalization in relation to your other speakers. However, the WIC-10 does have its own crossover and level controls that you can set manually as well.

However, every room has different acoustical properties that can affect placement, so you still may have to do some critical listening and moving to get WIC-10 to sound right to you. Velodyne offers additional setup tips in their user manual, such as the Crawl Test and Move Test, that can assist you further in fine tuning your subwoofer performance.

Audio Performance

Velodyne WiConnect WIC-10 Wireless Subwoofer - Wireless Transmitter

Velodyne WiConnect WIC-10 Wireless Subwoofer - Wireless Transmitter

Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
I found that the Velodyne WiConnect WIC-10 integrated sonically well with the rest of speakers I used in terms of providing smooth transition from the upper and midrange frequencies produced by the speakers to the lower frequencies produced by the WIC-10.

I did not encounter any unwanted distortion, but initially I did notice slight hum. I sensed that it was actually a ground loop issue and switching the WIC-10 to another AC outlet corrected this situation and I had no problems proceeding from that point. For more on what to do if you encounter this situation when using a subwoofer, read the article How to Eliminate Subwoofer Hum.

In terms of how the WIC-10 compared to the other two subs I was using (the Klipsch Synergy Sub10 and the EMP Tek ES10i), I did find that the WIC-10 couldn't quite match the extreme low frequency extension of the Klipsch, but was a little deeper on the low end than the EMP Tek.

With movie soundtracks, (such as Godzilla-1998, U571, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon) the WIC-10 provided good low frequency response, but was more subtle than the Klipsch, but more impactful than the EMP Tek.

On the other hand, except for low frequency drop-off on the extended bass slide in Heart's Magic Man, and less impactful deep bass response on Sade's Soldier of Love, the WIC-10 did well with music, with good detail on the acoustic bass tracks in both Norah Jones CD Come Away with Me and enough tightness on electric bass on other CD tracks. On the other hand, another test example, the Blue Man Group/Dave Matthews collaboration Sing a Song was a little more restrained than the Klipsch. However, with both movies and music, the WIC-10 did not exhibit upper bass boominess that can be a problem with some subwoofers.

Taking the comparisons and my additional listening experience into consideration, the WIC-10 did well with low frequencies, providing good bass effects for both movies and music. I would best describe the audio performance of the WIC-10 as good, but was not quite as energetic or detailed as the either the Klipsch or EMP Tek used for comparison. The WIC-10 is a good subwoofer for small and medium size rooms, but its modest power output and drop off rate on extremely low frequencies may not be as suitable for a large room. The two rooms I used in this review measured 20ft x 15ft, and 12ft x 12ft.

Final Take

The Velodyne WiConnect WIC-10 combines very flexible installation possibilities, with both wired and wireless connection options, with good performance in its price range. If you are looking for a replacement subwoofer, or are expanding a speaker system to include a subwoofer, definitely give the WIC-10 consideration. For a closer look at the physical features of Velodyne WiConnect WIC-10 Wireless Power Subwoofer, also check out my Photo Profile.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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