I am often asked “So—what cool gear did you see at the ______ show?
Because we are all gear heads around here, most of what we see gets a high WOW factor from at least one of us. Sharing our subjective opinion is always so much more fun than the analytic, factual approach—yet that is why we do what we do, to give you some solid, factual information to give you some solid, dependable info on which to rely when it is time to buy.
What are we currently working on?
Well, I can’t speak for the others, but I personally have several items that are in some phase of the review process, one of which is the DLM Loudspeakers from Mackie. Follow that link and you’ll get all the specs and tech stuff.
But, in a nutshell: The DLM 8 is a full-range box with an 8″ LF woofer / 1.75″ HF compression driver. The DLM 12 has a 12″ LF woofer / 1.75″ HF compression driver and the DLM12S is the subwoofer with a high-power 12″, heat-treated woofer with 3″ voice coil that can be used either of the aformentioned tops.
For power, they all utilize ultra-efficient Class-D amplification and are rated at a chest-pounding 2000W.
Yesterday, I had my first chance to actually use the DLMs in a live setting. It was a small, casual, sunday afternoon reception in a tent by the lake. I took just the two subs and the 2 DLM8 tops and even that was overkill.
As far as how they sound… about all I can say is, at low to middlin voulume—fine. Do they sound good loud? Can’t say from personal experience yet (that’s coming) but we did get a report from Jamie Rio on the West Coast who used it with a band that he had gas to spare. Like i said, there is more coming.
What I can share now is just how easy it is to get the system balanced.
As you know, here in the new millenium (I guess it’s not all that new any more) everything has a digital read out—and so do each of these loud boxes. To adjust volume, EQ, FX etc. you work a panel of buttons and then adjust with either the “+ ” or the “-“. It’s so simple, they actually put the quick start info on a card attached to the handle.
For example, to set up this system, I set the subs at 0db and selected the crossover for the DLM8 tops. On the tops, I selected the EQ for PA, which seemed to best fit the occasion. In my younger days, I probably would fussed and futz about designing my own EQ curve, but the ones provided sounded fine.
Now let’s talk about the physics and features—we promise: no math. Think of how most speaker cabinets look.
You have a low-frequency driver and then above it a high frequency driver on a horn with—sometimes—mid-range drivers in between. Now, stop thinking about speakers.
Think about a calm pond of water and what happens when you toss in a stone. Ripples—or waves—radiate smoothly away from the point where the stone kerplunked. Now, throw in two stones. They hit in different places, likely at slightly different times and that smooth pattern of waves is no more. Now it is a chaotic mess.
A speaker acts just like one of those stones. It causes waves in the air that we percieve as sound.
When there is one, those waves are smooth and coherent.
But just like two stones cause two patterns that interefere with each others, two speakers do the same thing.
In fact, the phenomenon is called an “interference pattern” and they hold true be the medium water, sound, or light. What Mackie has done with the DLMs is create a box where the high-frtequency drive is not ABOVE the low, but behind it. The patterns from each driver combine in a predictable, non-chaotic way and the result is exceptionally clear audio that is especially well suited to any use t5hat requires the listener to be able to hear nuances and not just brute force.
On the less science and more practical side, just as auto manufacturers are consistently working to lighten what drive for higher MPG ratings, loudspeaker makers are in a similar contest to achieve speakers that are reliable, loud, sound good, and still easy to schlep about.
Here’s where mackie has done a phenominal job. These sub woofers weigh in at under 50 pounds. In fact, the DLM8 boxes are so light I had to keep my eye on them at all times fearing that someone—even a child—could walk off with them. And, because the top is pole mouted directly to the sub, you can leave the tripods at home.
If there was anything at all to find fault with, it is (and this is my opinion) that the back plate (especially on the DLMS12) which has all the various controls and switches, is not recessed far enough. While loading the truck, I had to be extremely careful not to slide any of these boxes with that controller side down. All it would take is raised bolt or maybe a piece of gravel to potentially do some damage. I may be overstating that concern, but it would be nice to see that set a little further in.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be taking these out with the DLM12 tops to some venues that really suck up the sound. We know they sound good in tent with 50 people – but how will they do when there’s 200+ people in the room? We’ll soon find out.