Saturday, April 19, 2014

Yamaha DSR112 Powered Speaker Review


When it comes to PA systems, Yamaha has always been a strong contender. They have found their niche in the middle of the road, selling quality products at reasonable prices, and bridging the gap between high-dollar equipment and low-rent crap that is more of a hassle than it is worth. I am a fan, owing a half dozen Yamaha mixing boards, as well as the fine DSR112 powered speakers that we are looking at today.

The Yamaha DSR112 speakers are a miracle of modern engineering and technology, combining the speaker and amplifier into a tidy and affordable package. These are the smallest cabinets in the DSR line-up, measuring 26” by 15” by 15” and weighing a stout 47 pounds each, and they have a neat triangular shape to the rear so they work well for floor monitors. They are made of solid wood (no plastic) and are coated with black Line-X that appears to be indestructible. The speaker grills are made of black powdercoated 16 gauge steel. There is a standard 35mm pole socket on the bottom as well as three M10 threaded mounts in case you want to hang them from a truss or ceiling.

Each loudspeaker includes two integrated power amps (850 watts for the woofer and 450 watts for the tweeter). The amplifiers are class D (efficient, cheap and small), and run cool enough that no fan is needed. The DSR112 is loaded up with a 12-inch neodymium magnet speaker with a 3-inch voice coil, and 2-inch titanium diaphragm tweeter (also with a neo magnet). This results in a frequency response of 55Hz to 20kHz. When cranked up they are capable of punching an astonishing SPL of 134dB. Ouch! By the way, the crossover is fixed at 1.7kHz.

As far as hooking these cabinets, it is pretty simple with XLR and ¼-inch inputs and an XLR out. Other things to be found on the back panel are a level control knob, a line/mic switch, plus HPF and D-CONTOUR switches (more on this below). There are no RCA jacks, which is something that QSC managed to include on their K and KW series speakers. An IEC-spec power cable socket specced for this speaker, which appears to be the standard for all of the powered speakers I see on the market.

Yamaha integrated some user-friendly basic digital processing controls into their DSR-series speakers, including HPF and D-CONTOUR. HPF is a high-pass filter cuts frequencies below 120Hz, so you would only use this if a subwoofer was hooked up or if a microphone was directly plugged into the speaker. D-CONTOUR boosts high and low frequencies based on volume with the purpose to make for a more listenable experience. Both of these features have ON/OFF switches, and I rarely use the HPF, but do find that the D-CONTOUR give a neat disco/club effect.

These specs and features are all first rate, and they all come together in the real world as a package that really works. The Yamaha DSR112 speakers have a huge sound, and blow away my K12s, both with volume and tone (which is more natural and meaty). Despite their huge volume capabilities they are still clear and punchy, and can be louder than any guitarist I have found. They are very even across the frequency range, and I have not found any hot spots. This is a winning combination!

I have very little to complain about with the DSR speakers. I wish that there were RCA jack inputs so I could hook an iPod directly up to the speakers for casual use, and a ¼-inch out would be a handy feature too. Other than that I am happy with these just the way they came from the factory.

Yamaha does sell a matching subwoofer, the DSR 118W, but I have not had a chance to try one yet. Stay tuned…

The Yamaha DSR112 active loudspeakers are great performers and are priced competitively with similar products from JBL and QCS. They have a list price of $1499 each, which translates to a street price of $999, which includes a 5-year warranty. Also, there are some of these on clearance right now, so you might be able to knock a few hundred bucks more off. Check them out if you get the chance!



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