Road Test: The New Yamaha DXS15mkII

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

In the shop and accompanied by a compact 12-inch loudspeaker and mixer, I hooked up the subwoofer for a listen. All controls are clearly marked and I had the entire system set up in minutes. Running a few test tracks through this rig provided an impressed result. With a bass-heavy track, I checked out the cabinet voicings. Normal mode was well balanced while Boost mode added more thump. Xtended LF mode provided more overall low-end energy.

While I was running though this initial evaluation, my neighbor in the shop next door took a break from grinding some metal parts and came over to check out the music. While not an audio professional, he was impressed with the amount of bass being dished out by this single, compact sub (as was I). Satisfied that the cabinet was working correctly, it was time to take it out for a few shows.

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First we went to a corporate presentation in a smaller ballroom that’s normally handled with smaller 2-way mains joined by smaller subs or a single 15-inch sub. Most of the programming is speech, but we do reinforce music for video presentations as well as walk in/out tracks, so there’s a call for low-end presence.

The DXS15mkII was placed to one side of the stage in a standard left/right configuration, with the M20 screw on pole supporting the top box and a standard loudspeaker stand for the other top box. The subwoofer performed quite well, surpassing what we usually attain in terms of filling the room with plenty of low-end energy. It’s more than enough for any application of this type, including supporting a live band.

Next up was a local church, where the youth ministry was hosting an outdoor barbeque event supported by a DJ. We deployed the same system as the previous event, and the DJ expressed skepticism about using a single subwoofer as opposed to his usual dual front-loaded 15-inch subs.

But just one song into the event, he was a convert. The attendees were delighted as well, with non-stop dancing to bass-heavy tracks supported by plenty of, well, bass, all evening. The sub didn’t get hot under a continuous workload that went on for hours, and the properly executed bandpass design definitely produced enough thump.

The three members of the Yamaha DXS Series. Left to right: DXS18, DXS15mkII and DXS12mkII.

On the final stop, the DXS15mkII was deployed to provide the low end for drum fill monitoring on an outdoor stage with a live band. We placed the sub on its side, topped by a coaxial monitor wedge, and it proved to be the perfect height for delivering output right at the drummer’s head level. He ended up quite happy, telling me after the show that is was the first time in a long time that he’d had enough kick drum in his monitor. This also had me noting that this sub will work quite well in most stage fill situations, especially if used in pairs in cardioid mode.

The bottom line is that the DXS15mkII is an overall excellent compact subwoofer, capable of generating plenty of output for most portable applications. I love the dual pole cup feature as well as how easy it would be to set up a cardioid configuration with a push of the button.

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It also looks good, is easy to move around, and is available at an attractive price. Regional providers, rental houses, live bands, DJs and churches should all take note. The DXS Series should definitely be on the checklist of quality options when it comes to portable bass.

U.S. MAP: $899.99

Find out more about the DXS15mkII here.