Powered speakers are quickly becoming the standard in recording studios around the world. Many newer companies that had never manufactured speakers previously are now producing powered studio speakers. As expected, the technology has flown over into the world of live sound. D.A.S. Audio, of Valencia, Spain, manufactures the DS-15A.
The DS-15A is a biamped, two-way speaker. The two drivers within this powerful speaker are a 15″ low frequency and a constant directivity high frequency horn driver. The amplifiers supply 150 W RMS for the LF driver and 50 W RMS for the HF driver. Rated distortion at these rated outputs is a respectable 0.01 percent at 8 ohms.
The amplifier is built onto the rear input panel on the inside of the speaker enclosure. This panel is chock full of goodies for a speaker of this caliber. Two balanced input connectors are XLR and 1/4″ TRS. Next to the XLR jack is a small mic gain adjustment screw, recessed within the panel.
A signal and an overload LED allow input gain to be monitored. There are three rubber-coated volume knobs for level, mic and line level adjustments. Taking the DS-15A up another notch is a balanced 1/4″ output and a 1/4″ insert connection. The on/off switch and the easily extractable fuse are all designed away from the input and output section of the rear panel.
When powered up, a small red LED lights up behind the front speaker grill, letting the operator know there is AC power to the speaker. This is a nifty feature, but if necessary, a little black tape could cover this up in a dark room.
Weighing in at a mere 51.5 lb., these boxes are easy to handle. The DS-15A speakers measure 26.8″ high, 17.4″ wide and 14.2″ deep. The speakers are made of durable, mineral-loaded polypropylene and come in white or black. Power cords and some cool D.A.S. stickers are included.
At two different events, the D.A.S. speakers were used in two different configurations – once as a front fill speaker and the other event as rear-room delay speakers. At both events, a KT 31-band graphic EQ was used to shape the sound of the D.A.S. speakers.
Additionally, the speakers were placed on tripod speaker stands that kept the direct sound away from guests. High mids seem more prevalent when listening to familiar recorded material. Low end was rich and full from about 200 Hz and down.
The strong point of these speakers is their vocal range. Vocal reproduction from podium microphones sounded accurate and tonally correct. When used as front fill, I found the side angles worked great and they would work quite well for stage monitors in a pinch.
The cabinets’ weight made them easy to move around to find the perfect spot to cover the first few rows of chairs. Even with the horn turned sideways, it still covered the house well. After sliding the speakers behind the stage skirting, the sound was still dynamic and clear. At higher volume levels, with music playback, I did notice the speaker grills vibrating.
As delay speakers, these powered boxes performed exactly as hoped. The vocal range shined to cover the rear of a large room. After time-aligning the speakers to the mains, a few dips around 630 Hz, 1 kHz and 2.5 kHz made the podium microphone sound natural. In both uses, being able to power up the D.A.S. speakers with nearby AC outlets was a major convenience.
Live sound companies and audiovisual companies would find these speakers a great convenience at numerous functions. Setup time is greatly reduced by only having to run an input cable to each speaker panel and placing the speakers near an AC outlet.
Contact:D.A.S./Sennheiser at 860-434-5220.