Review: Yamaha DXR15 Powered Loudspeakers
For the brainy guys in lab coats, building a loudspeaker with its own dedicated onboard amp provides the complete freedom they need to create a totally optimized product. The current state of powered loudspeakers is beyond sophisticated. What’s going on behind that back panel in terms of processing and protection is simply mind-boggling. Much of the magic in getting so much sound from such compact amps is a matter of how the signal is managed right from the input. Fortunately, what happens in the black box stays in the black box–as users, we simply need to respect the limits of the design and try not to blow them up.
The new DXR Series from Yamaha, developed in cooperation with NEXO, a giant in the touring industry. The DXR8 is the smallest and lightest of the group. This 8” bi-amped 2-way may weigh in at less than 30 pounds, but it’s able to wail out an SPL of 129dB. The DXR10 and DXR12 feature 10” and 12” woofers with SPL ratings of 131dB and 132dB respectively. If you need something with an even larger set of lungs, meet the DXR15, a 15” 2-way rated at 133dB. With so much emphasis now on digital signal processing (DSP), it really has become more about brute SPL than power output, but in case you are taking notes, all of the DXRs are driven by 1100W Class-D amps. Dispersion is 90°x60°. There are also two subwoofers designed to compliment the DXR 2-ways. The (relatively speaking) compact DXS12 and DXS15 produce up to 131dB and 132dB SPL respectively, with 950W onboard amps.
While I personally love using a full-blown system with tops and subs, for most of the test gigs we had scheduled (both live music and DJ events) a pair of 2-ways was fine. That said, I certainly don’t want to skimp on bass, so when Yamaha asked which units they should send, I opted for the DXR15s. Another reason for selecting the DXR15 was based on reliability issues I’ve encountered in the past with 15” drivers housed in lightweight ABS cabinets. As you know, any road gear will take some pretty hard knocks. A slam that a solid birch cabinet might brush off can spell death to an ABS unit with a 15” driver that’s not designed to take it. On the upside, these 15" speakers weigh less than 50 pounds. In choosing speakers, one obviously has to "weigh" the pros and cons of ABS speaker construction in light of one's own situation. (Unlike the tops, the DXSubs feature wood cabinets.)
Whereas it’s easy to mark a speaker as being best for a particular application (for example, DJ vs. band) the DXR series is (among those units we’ve reviewed) as close to an all-purpose portable PA speaker as you can get. It’s got the “oomph” DJs will appreciate, the intimate clarity singers are looking for, and the versatility that makes it a welcome solution when you need to rise above the noise of the crowd. They have plenty of punch, with excellent sound, even when cranking digital tracks of questionable quality. If you need more bass, you may want to opt for the DXR12s with a sub, but as a stand-alone solution, the DXR15s have all the bottom you’ll need for the average gig. You can also “daisy chain” multiple units for creating a line array (mounts are included). While I hesitate to use the “one-size-fits-all” label, the DXR series comes pretty darn close to marking that sweet spot.
Yamaha Corporate Video: