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Al's Yamaha DXS12 powered subwoofer review

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  • Al's Yamaha DXS12 powered subwoofer review

    Yamaha's DXS line of powered subwoofers was designed to compliment the new DXR line of powered tops and features two models : the DXS12 and DXS15. After being very impressed by the quality of sound and features found in the DXR cabinets (DXR8,10,12 and 15), I was looking forward to testing these new DXS powered subwoofers.

    The DXS12 and DXS15 are bandpass 12'' and 15'' powered subwoofers with 600 watts of continuous built-in power (950 peak). Features include a 3 position low pass filter selectable from 80hz to 120hz and three sound modes : Normal (off), Boost and Xtended LF. You also get a front LED disable switch and 4 seperate LEDs indicating signal, power, limit and protection. Ins and outs are XLR and the outs are thrus (and not hi-passed) most likely since the DXR cabs all have selectable HP filters that can be set to match the low pass frequency settings on the DXS subs. The DXS subs (like the DXR tops) are fan cooled. US pricing is 699$ for the DXS12 and 799$ for the DXS15. As for weight, the DXS12 comes in at a comfortable 73lbs while the DXS15 is 83lbs. Finish / look is very nice and professional although I wouldn't want to bump the sub as it does look like it could chip/mark fairly easily. Unlike many, I prefer a carpet finish on my subs.

    So, how does the DXS12 perform?

    After one hour of continuous testing with a variety of music (although mostly modern top 40), I can say the DXS12 powered subwoofer offers a remarkable amount of thump for its asking price and does not limit easily - always a good thing for those who don't like to have to worry about such things. The processing seems to do an outstanding job of getting as much possible sound out of this unit as possible, and for having a 12'' woofer, the DXS12 performs surprisingly well - especially in Xtended LF mode. Going from one sound setting to the other, my favorite was definitely the Xtended LF which does as its name implies and brings out those lower notes that seem inaudible (or weak) in the other settings - and which I really like as they do add a lot to most modern songs. The Off (normal) and Boost settings seemed similar to me, with the boost simply being louder but with no noticeable increase in extension over the off(normal) mode.

    How does the DXS12 compare to my LS720P?

    It actually gives the 720P a REALLY good run for its money output wise, but doesn't extend quite as low - especially with the 720P's boost knob set to 45hz. The 720P sounds slightly fuller and deeper overall. I imagine the DXS15 would be a better comparison (and might just outperform the 720P) as I am currently comparing a 12'' and 15'' with the 720P being slightly larger and more expensive and with a higher quality (15''+3''VC) woofer. The 720P's limit lights are a little easier to get blinking, but this has more to do with the processing of each sub I believe, as the Yamaha (like the DXR tops) seems to have the limit light set so it only fires once actively into limiting, and just slightly too late IMO as you can tell the woofer is really at its limit excursion wise. I have noticed the same in the DXR tops. Another little issue I have is with the frequency response specs on the DXS subs, which are qualified with a -10DB figure. A -3DB figure would be more accurate of what users can expect in real world use. The DXS12 might indeed go down to 47hz, but I would guess its output at that frequency would be close to -10DBs down...

    Conclusion

    Just like the DXR line of powered tops delivers excellent performance, sound quality and features for the price, the DXS subs offer the same. It is surpring how loud and low this 12'' sub goes. A pair of DXR8s over a pair DXS12 subswoofers (with the Xtended LF engaged) would be a great compact system for DJs or live bands wanting reliable performance and great sound at a very fair price. For those wanting deeper lows, the DXS15s would likely be a better choice. As many of you know, I liked the DXR tops so much, I recently purchased a pair of DXR8s. I still want a set of the DXR15s however for full range use when I don't want to bring a sub. Maybe next year :-) Good job Yamaha!

    Al - Party-Time! DJ Services
    KV2 KX12s - Yamaha DXR15s, RCF ART 310A , Yamaha DXR8 - Yamaha DXS12 subs, Wharfedale Titan 12 actives, Yamaha MG12/4 mixer X 2, Peavey PV10 mixer, Yorkville PGM8 mixer - Many Sony MD players (home and portable), Shure cordless microphone and a variety of LED lighting effects.

  • #2
    Al;
    Now would be a good time to ready the dog house for winter! Your going to be cold out there!

    Comment


    • #3
      Al;
      Now would be a good time to ready the dog house for winter! Your going to be cold out there!


      Funny :-) Although the DXS12s performs very well, I will be keeping my LS720P for now...
      KV2 KX12s - Yamaha DXR15s, RCF ART 310A , Yamaha DXR8 - Yamaha DXS12 subs, Wharfedale Titan 12 actives, Yamaha MG12/4 mixer X 2, Peavey PV10 mixer, Yorkville PGM8 mixer - Many Sony MD players (home and portable), Shure cordless microphone and a variety of LED lighting effects.

      Comment


      • #4


        Uploaded with ImageShack.us
        KV2 KX12s - Yamaha DXR15s, RCF ART 310A , Yamaha DXR8 - Yamaha DXS12 subs, Wharfedale Titan 12 actives, Yamaha MG12/4 mixer X 2, Peavey PV10 mixer, Yorkville PGM8 mixer - Many Sony MD players (home and portable), Shure cordless microphone and a variety of LED lighting effects.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hey Al while you have it there put on Ester Dean's "Drop It Low" and see if it will hit those low "E"s (42hz) that run through the entire track.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hey Al while you have it there put on Ester Dean's "Drop It Low" and see if it will hit those low "E"s (42hz) that run through the entire track.


            I actually looped one part of Flo Rida's ''Good feeling" on my dual SD player where there is a low frequency sweep that goes lower and lower (but only lasts about 1 second) and you can actually hear this sweep for slightly longer on the 720P :

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OnnDqH6Wj8

            From 17 to 18

            Like I said, the 720P does go lower, but you can only expect so much from a 12'' bandpass sub. Yamaha did a great job getting this sub to perform as well as it does. The Xtended LF is the only setting I liked. The others had the more typical bandpass thumpy sound. Another good song to test lower frequency extension is ''Low'' again by Flo Rida. Deadmau5's ''The veldt'' also brought out the differences in deep response between the two subs. I was really surprised the DXS12 performed as well as it did. I had not been overly impressed in store. In my studio, I turn my sub (under my desk) and shooting towards my wall which makes a noticeable difference in output. Out in the open, most subs don't perform nearly as well as when wall/corner/boundary loaded.

            Al
            KV2 KX12s - Yamaha DXR15s, RCF ART 310A , Yamaha DXR8 - Yamaha DXS12 subs, Wharfedale Titan 12 actives, Yamaha MG12/4 mixer X 2, Peavey PV10 mixer, Yorkville PGM8 mixer - Many Sony MD players (home and portable), Shure cordless microphone and a variety of LED lighting effects.

            Comment


            • #7
              I just got home from a small gig. Tired and lazy. To tired to look up the specs. Does this sub have a full range out or a high passed signal to the input of a top mid/high box?
              I dont want to work, just beat on my drum all day!

              Comment


              • #8
                I just got home from a small gig. Tired and lazy. To tired to look up the specs. Does this sub have a full range out or a high passed signal to the input of a top mid/high box?


                I thought Al addressed that pretty well -

                Ins and outs are XLR and the outs are thrus (and not hi-passed) most likely since the DXR cabs all have selectable HP filters that can be set to match the low pass frequency settings on the DXS subs.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I actually looped one part of Flo Rida's ''Good feeling" on my dual SD player where there is a low frequency sweep that goes lower and lower (but only lasts about 1 second) and you can actually hear this sweep for slightly longer on the 720P :

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OnnDqH6Wj8

                  From 17 to 18

                  Like I said, the 720P does go lower, but you can only expect so much from a 12'' bandpass sub. Yamaha did a great job getting this sub to perform as well as it does. The Xtended LF is the only setting I liked. The others had the more typical bandpass thumpy sound. Another good song to test lower frequency extension is ''Low'' again by Flo Rida. Deadmau5's ''The veldt'' also brought out the differences in deep response between the two subs. I was really surprised the DXS12 performed as well as it did. I had not been overly impressed in store. In my studio, I turn my sub (under my desk) and shooting towards my wall which makes a noticeable difference in output. Out in the open, most subs don't perform nearly as well as when wall/corner/boundary loaded.

                  Al


                  Is that how you evaluated this sub - in your studio? I hope you took it out in the open. A small room will make any sub sound much better than it will in a club.

                  I'm very familiar with "Good Feeling" but I really prefer playing tracks with static sine-y notes of known value instead of moving drops when auditioning subs. "Low" is a good one. How did that sub handle the low "Eb"s (39hz)? Did it hit them solidly? How did they compare to the high "Eb"s (78hz)? The track bounces back between the two. Were they approximately the same level?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Is that how you evaluated this sub - in your studio? I hope you took it out in the open. A small room will make any sub sound much better than it will in a club.

                    I'm very familiar with "Good Feeling" but I really prefer playing tracks with static sine-y notes of known value instead of moving drops when auditioning subs. "Low" is a good one. How did that sub handle the low "Eb"s (39hz)? Did it hit them solidly? How did they compare to the high "Eb"s (78hz)? The track bounces back between the two. Were they approximately the same level?


                    I only had the sub last night and had to bring it back today during my lunch. I simply wanted to see how it did overall for a 12'' bandpass sub and how it compared to my 720P. I had it set to the Extended LF setting pretty much the entire time, since it was weak down low in the other 2 settings. By weak, I mean it was more of a thumper than anything else. With the extended LF activated, it didn't exactly shake the house - but it did add some low frequencies that small tops like the DXR8 and 10 do not reproduce all that well once up on stands. You didn't feel the deeper ''Eb'' on low very much, but my 720P doesn't do all that much better to be honest at that low a frequency. It is a good song to see just how ''low'' a sub will go. I tested in my studio because of the limited time I had with the sub, and I placed it EXACTLY like I place my 720P who's sound and capability I am more than familiar with. With the Deadmau5 song, you really felt the deeper kick hit from the 720P. For a 12'' 699$ bandpass sub though, the little Yamaha did very well. Neither of these subs will shake a room by themselves like an LS801P set to deep will - but given their price point and size, you really can't expect them to. You want deeper, louder bass : you need a bigger cabinet, more woofer and more power...

                    Al
                    KV2 KX12s - Yamaha DXR15s, RCF ART 310A , Yamaha DXR8 - Yamaha DXS12 subs, Wharfedale Titan 12 actives, Yamaha MG12/4 mixer X 2, Peavey PV10 mixer, Yorkville PGM8 mixer - Many Sony MD players (home and portable), Shure cordless microphone and a variety of LED lighting effects.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It is a good song to see just how ''low'' a sub will go.
                      Al


                      Oh I've got better ones than that

                      Al I know that you're doing this out of love of gear and the goodness of your own heart, but what you just put up (the fact that the listening room was your small studio and the conditions that you conducted your listening tests) paints a much more realistic picture of what that sub can do than your original review. I'm glad you added it - even though I'm not in the market for a small sub like this.

                      You listen to so much stuff that I do respect your opinion when it comes to budget powered speakers. If you can get your hands on an M-Audio GSR12 I'd be curious as to what you think compared to everything else you've got around there. I still haven't ordered mine and at their current price they won't last forever...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Here's a link to my video review of the DXS12. Pretty much a repeat of the written review, but with some visual. It was fairly late though, and I had some trouble structuring my thoughts - so it's not quite as fluent as usual...

                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bc8EA5pokcY

                        Al
                        KV2 KX12s - Yamaha DXR15s, RCF ART 310A , Yamaha DXR8 - Yamaha DXS12 subs, Wharfedale Titan 12 actives, Yamaha MG12/4 mixer X 2, Peavey PV10 mixer, Yorkville PGM8 mixer - Many Sony MD players (home and portable), Shure cordless microphone and a variety of LED lighting effects.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Al- thanks as always for the review!

                          If you get the chance, it would be worthwhile to review the DXS15. At only about 10 pounds and $100 more, it's a no-brainer upgrade, esp. since it hits a sweet point of weight, small size and price point. Maybe when you borrow it from your dealer it can be at a time you've got a gig?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Al- thanks as always for the review!

                            If you get the chance, it would be worthwhile to review the DXS15. At only about 10 pounds and $100 more, it's a no-brainer upgrade, esp. since it hits a sweet point of weight, small size and price point. Maybe when you borrow it from your dealer it can be at a time you've got a gig?


                            Good idea. I'll see what I can do and will certainly post my results. If the DXS12 was able to come very close to the performance of my 720P, I figure the DXS15 will likely slightly outperform it.

                            Al
                            KV2 KX12s - Yamaha DXR15s, RCF ART 310A , Yamaha DXR8 - Yamaha DXS12 subs, Wharfedale Titan 12 actives, Yamaha MG12/4 mixer X 2, Peavey PV10 mixer, Yorkville PGM8 mixer - Many Sony MD players (home and portable), Shure cordless microphone and a variety of LED lighting effects.

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