Reviewed: Yamaha DZR & DXS XLF Powered Speakers and Subwoofers

Yamaha Music Australia | au.yamaha.com | Expect to Pay: Enquire for pricing

It’s been a number of years since the team at Yamaha introduced a new PA speaker, or range of speakers, with the previous three levels certainly suiting most needs. However, they have certainly recognised an area for the premium speaker system in their range to receive an upgrade and have more than delivered with the DZR speakers and DXS XLF subwoofers. This is sound reinforcement for the serious. You not only get solid build, but volume and clarity all in one. I can honestly say I raised a smile when I first heard these speakers, especially when they were given some gas.

The main focus of your sound is of course with your front of house powered speakers. They need to deliver with or without the aid of a subwoofer and that is exactly what the DZR range does. With four speaker options available, there is something suitable for any setup. Whether you’re a serious musician looking for the ultimate in portable PA or you’re a venue owner wanting hassle-free quality in installation audio, these speakers are going to get you excited.

 

They start with the smallest, the DZR10, which will be popular for the more portable setups, but doesn’t leave you wanting much more. These speakers deliver a powerful 137dB SPL, so you’ll be getting asked to turn them down before you want to turn them up. From there, the DZR12 offers an extended lower mid-range and an even fuller sound. As to be expected, the DZR15 goes even further on the low frequency response while delivering up to 139dB SPL.

 

All of these speakers sound fantastic by themselves. They are clear, punchy and don’t have that typical ‘hi-fi’ sound that many modern D-Class power amps can suffer from. Best of all, they don’t sound brittle when the volume is pushed. All the speakers in the range retain their clarity at higher volumes, with the top end staying tight without becoming shrill. They just love operating at high SPLs.

 

Of course, this is a fairly standard offering from Yamaha with those three sizes on offer. The real standout in the DZR range is the DZR315, a new design that sees a 2” high frequency driver married up with 8” mid frequency and 15” low frequency drivers for a real wall of sound in one box. These things dish out an incredible 143dB SPL and thrive on the higher end of that range. You will be asked to turn these guys down, that’s for sure. The overall effect is like having the DZR10 and DZR15 stacked on top of each other, but it all comes in a single solid housing. On top of all these, each model is available in a Dante enabled version to allow for greater networking and DSP control over large setups.

 

 

There are two models of subwoofers in the range, along with their Dante enabled counterparts to complete the offering. The two options are the DXS15XLF and the DXS18XLF, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that we are talking about 15” and 18” models respectively here. They both house the same power amp and are cable of delivering the same SPL, but the DXS18XLF offers a slightly lower frequency response in a larger casing. It’s really a matter of matching the subwoofer to suit the other boxes you are using. If space or weight isn’t an issue, the 18” is the obvious choice for sheer flexibility in frequency response.

 

But these are not just simple afterthoughts to add value to a speaker range. Yamaha has gone above and beyond with the design of these boxes and created a truly incredible feature in these subwoofers—directional bass. Yes, you can actually achieve a cardioid pattern to your bass delivery with a pair of these subs stacked on top of each other. When set up correctly, they use a clever phase alignment concept that cancels the sound from the rear of the stack and pushes it out towards the front. The result is quite unbelievable and really becomes evident as you walk around the stack hearing how the response changes. Of course, you don’t get the full volume that two subs facing forward would offer, as there is some cancellation involved to achieve the directional sound, but it still offers more air movement than the single sub alone and allows you to send it out into the audience and keep the low frequencies off the stage. This is a real breakthrough in subwoofer design and an absolute standout feature in this range that is unlike any I have heard before.

 

The DZR and DXS XLF series of powered loudspeakers and subwoofers offers a new level of audio reproduction that eclipses anything I have heard from Yamaha to date. These speakers are amazing, and while they come with a serious price tag and some hefty weight in the boxes, you understand why when you hear them. If you’re serious about your live sound, you really should listen to some of these speakers and ask yourself just what it is that you’ve been missing.

Hits and Misses

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Incredible sound quality

Huge volume capabilities

Amazing directional bass control

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Heavy boxes

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