Truly pro-grade portable PA, DSR Series loudspeakers sound “absolutely awesome” and are built to last.

To me, the DSR Series of powered loudspeakers from Yamaha Pro Audio embodies the word “overbuilt.” Sure, something overbuilt could be thought of as “more than enough” and, compared to many of its portable PA competition, the DSR Series’ DSR112 two-way, biamplified, 12-inch enclosure will regularly be plenty capable for the gig at hand. It is on the higher end of price range in its product category, too.

But there’s security using a pair of stage monitors that, regardless of the gig, were consciously overbuilt to perform better than the vast majority of its competition. It’s obvious that Yamaha has done just that with its DSR Series.

Features

For this review, Yamaha sent Pro Audio Review a DSR112 full-range speaker pair along with one DSR118W powered subwoofer. Together, these three speakers comprise a portable PA powerhouse.

Available for approximately $900 each, the DSR112 features a 12-inch cone woofer and 2-inch, titanium-diaphragm, compression, high-frequency driver. Output power is a whopping 1300W via Class-D amplification, with 850W for lows and 450W for highs. Frequency response is 55 Hz to 20 kHz (-10 dB) and the crossover point is 1.7 kHz; Yamaha’s trademarked FIR-X tuning feature is a linear-phase filter, providing “smooth frequency response without phase cancellation around the crossover point,” explains the company.

Maximum output level is 134 dB SPL (1m, on axis). Inputs include balanced XLR and balanced TRS, while output is available via balanced XLR (THRU jack). The rear control panel features these I/O options plus rotary level control; Mic/Line Input switch; Limit, Protection and Power LE Ds; as well as front-grille LE D (lit when the power is on), HPF and D-Contour on/ off switches (more on D-Contour below). M10 rigging points and a 35mm pole socket are included. Cabinet dimensions are approximately 15 x 25 x 14.5 inches and weight is 47 lbs.

The DSR118W is an 18-inch powered subwoofer, bassreflex type, with 800W of output power, also via Class-D amplification, for around $1k street. Frequency response is 40 Hz to 130 Hz (-10 dB) with a maximum output level of 132 dB SPL. Inputs include two (L/R) balanced XLR, while output is available via balanced XLR (parallel connection with input). The rear control panel features the I/O options plus rotary level control; Limit, Protection and Power LE Ds; a polarity flip switch as well as front-grille LED, HPF and D-Contour on/off switches. A top-mounted, 35mm pole socket is included. Cabinet dimensions are approximately 20.5 x 25 x 23 inches and weight is 93 lbs. (Yes, moving the DSR118W is a two-man job).

Luckily both models’ cabinets are equipped with Yamaha’s new ergonomically correct deep-pocket handles, quite possibly the most comfortable, user-friendly handles on any speaker I’ve personally lugged over the years. Also, Yamaha thoughtfully coated these wooden cabinet exteriors with LINE-X (generally known as spray-on coating for pickup truck beds). I find this an important selling point, especially as portable PA cabinets are increasingly made of lightweight (yet often easily scratched) injection-molded polypropylene.

 
Top: the Yamaha DSR112.
Bottom: the DSR112’s rear control panel.
 
Additionally, the DSR Series is packed full of new Yamaha digital technologies, including Integral Digital Tuning (IDT), Intelligent Dynamic Control (IDC) and comprehensive DSP protection circuitry. IDT is a combination of processing technologies, including the aforementioned FIR-X tuning, 48-bit internal processing, and discrete AD/DA converters “with superior S/N ratio and dynamic range,” explains Yamaha promotional materials.

The IDC’s D-Contour feature is a multiband dynamic processor that calculates the most ideal EQ adjustments per frequency band, “resulting in maximum SPL while maintaining musicality.” According to Yamaha, these “intelligent” adjustments are designed to act much like auditory responses of the human ear, thus the DSR’s performance sounds more “natural, clear and powerful, regardless of volume.” Other than the physical brawn I’ve already raved about, this truly impressive openness and clarity bowled over all the musicians that shared a stage with them, especially when the DSR112 were used in a stereo stage monitor configuration.

In Use

I had the opportunity to use the DSR112 and DSR118W on a variety of multi-musician and band gigs, most often with the fullrange cabinets serving as stage monitors. In that particular application, the DSR112 excelled, perhaps more so than any other less-than-$1k-street powered speaker I’ve ever loaded in and out of a gig. The most common comment from onstage musicians was something to the effect of, “Wow, it’s so clear!” Used together on the same stage with other similarly sized wedges, the DSR112s made otherwise great speakers sound average, causing many in earshot to have a new favorite in small powered loudspeakers.

Used as mains with high-pass filter engaged and the DSR118W in the signal chain, I was able to fill a medium-sized venue with top-to-bottom clarity, precise punch and a notably low noise floor. We pushed the system hard, and it never sagged or demonstrated any sonic limitations, at least to my ears.

Summary

These DSR Series speakers are not just another good product by Yamaha. They are absolutely awesome, no B.S., pro-grade powered stage monitors from Yamaha, yet priced very reasonably for all they are. So, I must admit: it really stung to send them back to Yamaha postreview, especially the DSR112 pair. They are truly of the caliber of fine things I have used during my life that performs precisely as I think it should — or even better.

Prices: $1,349 and $1,499 list (DSR112 and DSR118W, respectively)
Contact: Yamaha Pro Audio | yamahaproaudio.com