Road Test: The New Yamaha DXS15mkII

Evaluating – in the shop and in the field – a recently released powered subwoofer platform.

The new DXS15mkII is a portable, powered subwoofer with a 15-inch cone driver housed in a plywood cabinet that includes a class D amplifier stated to supply up to 1,020 watts of audio power (peak) and 800 watts continuous. Maximum SPL is specified as 135 dB, and response extends down to 40 Hz.

The 12-inch DXS12mkII, released at the same time, delivers similar specs, just a bit less in terms of stated max SPL (134 dB) and low-frequency response (42 Hz). The DXS Series also includes an 18-inch model that originated the new technologies and features found on these next-generation “mkII” models, innovations that have enhanced performance while also shedding a few pounds of overall weight.

The DXS15mkII offers a bandpass enclosure designed to enhance low-end impact. Essentially the woofer is mounted inside a dual-chambered box (one chamber sealed, the other ported), with the output emerging from the ported side. The class D amplifier, which is convection cooled, is joined by onboard DSP that includes EQ voicings, crossover, cardioid mode, and protection.

The unit measures 24.1 x 18.9 x 24.2 inches (HxWxD) and weighs 79 pounds. There’s a steel handle on each side, pole sockets on top, stacking rubber feet with recessed sockets and mounting sockets on the back for optional castors.

The back panel of the DXS15mkII equipped with the optional castors for easier, along with a more detailed view of the control panel.

The front of the sub offers an LED to indicate power and limiting, which can be disabled at the preference of the user. The control panel on the back sports XLR inputs and outputs, a Thru/High-Pass output switch, Level knob with peak indicator, and switches for crossover and other DSP functions, cardioid mode, polarity and the aforementioned LED disable. Choices for crossover frequency include 80, 100, and 120 Hz, with three selectable DSP voicings of Normal, Boost and Xtended Low Frequency. A power switch and locking IEC connector for the power cord complete the connections and controls.

Getting Started

Taking the DXS15mkII out of the shipping box upon its arrival at my shop, the first thing that caught my eye when I unwrapped the packing plastic was the dual pole mount. There’s both a pole cup and an M20 screw hole, so both “drop in” and “screw on” poles can be used. Great flexibility! I also liked the tough, durable feel of the enclosure’s polyurea finish.

I found it easy to move the sub via the large, comfortable steel handles on each side. While wheels are always nice, at only 79 pounds it was not hard at all to position, especially with the assist of a hand truck. Still, I’d advise investing in the optional SPW-1 wheel kit, and I would also invest in the optional SPCVR cover to provide a bit of added protection to keep the sub looking as sharp as possible, and actually allows use without removal.

The DXS15mkII can be integrated into a system in various ways: as a single sub with a pair of tops; as a sub per side under tops; or deployed in pairs (or more) of subs in a cardioid configuration via engagement of the Cardioid switch. With only a single unit, I didn’t have an opportunity test the cardioid mode.

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