Road Test: Mackie DLM8 & DLM12S Compact System

Evaluating a loudspeaker and subwoofer package

The new Mackie DLM loudspeaker series is made up of DLM8 (8-in) and DLM12 (12-in) 2-way models joined by the DLM12S (12-in) subwoofer. Both 2-way models incorporate a Class D amplifier that provides up to 2,000 watts (peak) of acoustic power to a new transducer design that Mackie calls TruSource Technology, optimized by onboard digital processing.

TruSource incorporates the woofer with a 1.75-in compression driver in a coaxial configuration. It’s a unique take, using a newly developed single compact common-magnet design that can deliver high output while reducing the size and weight of the package.

The back of the cabinet hosts a push-button digital mixer with OLED screen at the rear of the cabinet. The mixer has two channels, each with volume, 3-band EQ, and effects control.

Built-in processing offers a multi-band feedback destroyer, six loudspeaker modes to voice the cabinet to various applications, three user memory location to store presets, and protection circuitry. There is also 300 ms of delay available.

Also included is a mic/line switch for channel 1, combination XLR/TRS connectors for channels 1 and 2, an additional pair of RCA inputs for channel 2, XLR “through” output, a switch to choose between the mix of both channels or just channel 1 for the through output’s source, and an IEC power connector and power switch. Channel 2 also lets you insert an instrument level (guitar) input, no DI box or switching needed.

The Mackie DLM12S sub and DLM8 2-way box. The series also includes the DLM12. (click to enlarge)

Both 2-way cabinets have a kickstand to tilt back about 50 degrees to serve as a floor monitor. Three M10 fly points are provided as well as a large built-in handle on the top of the cabinet. Enclosures are made of PC-ABS plastic with a powder coated 20-gauge steel grill. All of this is packed into a very small footprint, with the DLM8 measuring just 12.3 x 12.1 x 11.9 inches and weighing 22 pounds.

The DLM12S subwoofer has a 12-in cone woofer with 3-in voice coil driver in a ported enclosure. Frequency response is specified as 35 Hz to 135 Hz (at -10 dB). It’s also powered (again, Class D providing 2,000 watts peak) and appointed with a digital processor. Presets are included for use with the DLM tops, as well as other Mackie products. There’s also user-adjustable variable crossover and delay, which can be stored in memory.

Connections include dual XLR inputs for stereo or mono operation, two XLR full range outputs, and two high-pass outputs for connecting top boxes while using the built-in crossover. Switches include stereo/mono, polarity invert, and power.

A look at the mixer and I/O capability on the back of each DLM cabinet. (click to enlarge)

The cabinet is made of 15 mm poplar plywood, includes a pole-mount socket and side handles, and measures 17.9 x 16.4 x 20.8 inches. Owing to the wood enclosure, weight is 48 pounds.

Mackie recently sent me a DLM package for evaluation, including two DLM8s and two DLM12S subs, as well as a pair of SPM 300 pole mounts. The pole mounts are substantial, quite beefy and offering a height adjustment range of approximately 38 to 64 inches.

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I had been impressed with DLM when I heard it at NAMM in January, and was eager to try it out.