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  1. #1
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    BFD or New Velodyne system

    I have been debating getting a BFD for a while. I read a review in Stereophile on the new
    Velodyne SMS-1 (?). Which is basically the automatic eq from their DD series subs.
    It does the automatic calibration using 8 bands. Includes a mic and pretty much is
    self running. Problem, $ 699 retail!! I know people have talked about the BFD many times
    here. How hard is it to set up and run? I am experienced with a sound level meter and
    Avia test disk.

    If someone would explain their experience with the BFD and the steps they took
    to setting it up, I would appreciate it!!
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  2. #2
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    good question. Since my hopefully soon to be arriving AVM 30 doesn't have room correction I have been wondering the same thing.

    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  3. #3
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Holy cow! My personal, biased, mine-all-mine opinion on this subject is you've got to be very rich or very lazy to spend an extra $600 on the Velodyne unit.

    The BFD isn't too bad to set. Best part is there's a few on-line user guides other happy owners have thrown together. It will probably take you 20 minutes to 1 hour of playing around to get the feel for dialing in your filters. Then another few days of experimentation to get your filters right. Maybe a few hours of your time altogether, maybe less. It's fun to tinker.
    I got lucky and had some very good success in about 25 minutes (I killed one very large +12 dB peak). That alone made a huge, King Kong, mega improvement in my bass response. I could hear all other bass frequencies at roughly the same volume without a huge boom over a small band.

    Unless money grows on trees for ya, get the BFD.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    The choice depends on how much you're willing to spend and how willing you are to put up with the learning curve. I use the BFD for subwoofer equalization, and in my system it's one of the top two items in terms of performance for the price (my Grado SR-60 headphones would be the other item). The improvement that it produces with my system's overall bass performance is very impressive.

    At $120 (when I bought it), it's an absolute steal. The new BFD model lists for $200 and can be found online for $150. IMO, still a steal for the improvement in performance that it delivers. The drawbacks to the BFD though are definitely apparent though. For what it delivers in performance improvement and functionality, it takes away with the ease of use, user interface, features, and steep learning curve.

    Setting up the parametric filters and room corrections with the BFD, a SPL meter, and a test tone disc (I would recommend the Rives Audio test CD because it includes one set of test tones that have been corrected for the mic accuracy of the Radio Shack analog SPL meter) took me 90 minutes. And I had to spend a lot of time on this and other websites getting up to speed on how to do and adjust the measurements, and how to connect the BFD in the first place. The BFD is designed for professional use, and the parametric equalizer isn't even the device's primary function. This makes the equalizer less than user friendly. For example, the center frequency adjustments are not expressed numerically, but in terms of octaves. And none of the connections in the back use RCA plugs -- you have to get adaptors for either 1/4" microphone plugs or balanced XLR connections.

    For more info on the BFD setup, you should study Sonny Parker's website very carefully. It has all of the nuts and bolts pointers that you'll need to get up and running with the BFD.

    http://www.snapbug.ws/bfd.htm

    The Velodyne subwoofer EQ seems to do everything that the BFD can do and more. And of course, you have to figure out for yourself whether the extra functionality is worth the extra $600. My read on the Velodyne is that it improves upon the BFD in the following areas:

    - auto calibration -- this is the key feature because it eliminates the time required to learn and manually program the BFD; place the mic, punch up and couple of buttons on the remote, and a few minutes later, you're ready to rumble
    - auto phase adjustment - unlike the BFD, which only adjusts for the levels at specific frequencies and bandwidths, the Velodyne will also perform phase adjustments automatically
    - calibrated mic -- this eliminates the need to use adjusted test tones or apply correction values to the Radio Shack SPL meter readings
    - on-screen display -- very handy tool to have on hand for doing instantaneous on-the-fly adjustments to the equalization settings
    - rumble filtering and crossover -- the rumble filter allows the user to set a cutoff frequency to eliminate excessive driver excursion, and the crossover allows for adjustments to both the frequency and the crossover slope; also includes a preout for line-level filtering with two-channel sources
    - preset EQ profiles -- the BFD also allows you to preset EQ profiles, but the Velodyne comes with some "house curves" predefined for different types of listening, and they can all be adjusted.
    - remote control -- might seem trivial, but it could be a huge deal if you're using multiple sources with different crossover settings, and you need to frequently toggle between different EQ profiles. It also allows you to adjust all of the EQ settings while you're at the listening position, without having to go back and forth to the EQ unit and make adjustments only through the front panel.

    $700 is indeed a steep price to pay, but IMO it addresses all of the shortcomings with using a BFD for sub equalization, and adds some very compelling features to go along with its functionality. With a $3,500 subwoofer like the Velodyne DD-18, it obviously adds a lot of value to that unit. But, for someone like me who owns a $400 subwoofer that's largely composed of DIY parts, $700 would definitely give me pause, especially compared to a $150 BFD that effectively does the same core function.

    If you live in California, you might want to check Good Guys' store closure sale. They are a Velodyne dealer, and as of last week, all of the Velodynes they had left were going for 30% off. If the reductions go down to ridiculous levels and I see any of those SMS-1s lying around, I might be tempted to grab one myself!
    Last edited by Woochifer; 11-04-2005 at 02:01 PM.

  5. #5
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    thanks

    I went ahead and ordered a BFD pro for $ 100. It's worth the effort to try. I am
    more than ready to spend the time and work the thing out. If I'm not happy,
    you'll see it for sale on this site sometime!!!

    I'll let everyone know how it plays out.
    JVC RXDP-10 Reciever
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    Douglas theater seating

  6. #6
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swgiust
    I went ahead and ordered a BFD pro for $ 100. It's worth the effort to try. I am
    more than ready to spend the time and work the thing out. If I'm not happy,
    you'll see it for sale on this site sometime!!!

    I'll let everyone know how it plays out.
    Good luck, and when you go to Sonny Parker's website, download that spreadsheet that has the before and after graph on it. When you're done with all your tinkering, post your graph on this site so we can all see for ourselves yet another success story! (The before and after shot for my subwoofer is shown below)


  7. #7
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    Good luck, and when you go to Sonny Parker's website, download that spreadsheet that has the before and after graph on it. When you're done with all your tinkering, post your graph on this site so we can all see for ourselves yet another success story! (The before and after shot for my subwoofer is shown below)
    Whew! nice curve Wooch...bet that was fun...modes and nodes to the extreme in my odd ball room.
    The other nice thing about the BFD is you could use it as a manual bass boost for your subwoofer to get a few extra Hz if need be and your sub is up to the task.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails BFD or New Velodyne system-kex_bfd.jpg  

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