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Yamaha DXR Series Speakers Review

Aug 14, 2012 4:31 PM, Reviewer: John McJunkin

PAs that deliver loudness and fidelity on a small budget.

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If I were asked, “Is the market for small, portable, self-powered PA speakers saturated?” my answer to the question would be, “Absolutely, yes.” Every major pro audio manufacturer has at least one model available and I might be able to come up with the name of an organization that exists only to serve that market. There is demand out there for these speakers with a broad array of features, in a wide variety of sizes, with varying degrees of power, and with an extensive range of pricing. These are the speakers with which the vast majority of public address, audiovisual, and light sound-reinforcement work is accomplished. They’re used by professionals and amateurs alike, in applications as widely distinct as a single speaker with an 8in. LF driver used in a coffee shop poetry slam to a 16-cabinet FOH rig for a heavy metal show in a 1,000-seat venue and beyond. No small wonder why there are so many options available; there are buyers who demand them.

Yamaha’s DSR line of self-powered speakers has emerged as a major contender in the market. An excellent line of speakers that delivers an astonishing amount of sound pressure level with remarkable fidelity, I got an up-close look at a DSR system (consisting of two 15in. full-range speakers and two 18in. subwoofers) last year, and was impressed. The DSRs offer a nice blend of power, fidelity, and bells and whistles.

At the 2012 NAMM convention, Yamaha introduced a similar line at a lower price: the DXR series. The main distinctions between the two lines are in the domains of power, SPL, materials, weight, and minor differences in frequency response. The DXR series consists of four models, and I evaluated a DXR system consisting of two 15in. full-range speakers and one 15in. subwoofer (specifically, two DXR15s and a DXS15), and I’ll be referring specifically to the two systems I evaluated as I compare the lines throughout this review. There is no single 15in. subwoofer in the DSR line for a fair comparison with the DXS15, so there will be no comparisons between subs. The DXR15 is the largest of the full-range speakers, and there is also a 12in. sub in the DXS line.

The DSR full-range speaker’s amps deliver a total of 1,300W, compared with the 1100W delivered by the DXR’s amps. This is the main reason for the 3dB SPL advantage the DSR has over the DXR, 136dB SPL vs. 133dB SPL, respectively. The full-range DXR speakers weigh 11lb. lighter than their DSR counterparts: 50lb. and 61lb., respectively. The main reason for the difference is the fact that DSRs are constructed of wood, while the DXRs are formed of ABS plastic. And while the published upper frequency response limit is 20kHz, the DSRs deliver lower lows—45Hz vs. the 49Hz limit of the DXRs.

Another minor distinction between the two lines is the use of neodymium magnets in the DSR series and ferrite magnets in the DXRs, resulting in higher fidelity from the DSR’s LF drivers. One other notable distinction is the substantially more extensive input/output and more sophisticated mixing conventions of the DXR. In recent years, most speaker-on-a-stick manufacturers have worked to meet the demand for more I/O and better control at the speaker for the benefit of users who may not use a mixer or other signal processing—think of a singer/songwriter with a guitar in a coffee shop.

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