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Mackie DLM Series Powered Loudspeakers

October 22, 2012
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 Fig. 1. Left to right—DLM12S, DLM12, and DLM8.
 
 
 Fig. 2. DLM12 control panel (same as DLM8).
 
 
Mackie rolled out their DLM Series with a launch event, so we could get some actual “hands-on” experience with the products. My overriding takeaway: Mackie is underscoring the rapid rise of portable P.A. systems by emphasizing a product line (see Figure 1) that’s clearly designed for the increasingly commonplace small- and mid-size venues.
 
The Series consists of the DLM8 (MSRP $879.99) and DLM12 (MSRP $1,059.99) full-range powered speakers, with 8" and 12" speakers, respectively, and 1.75" compression driver, and the DLM12S subwoofer (MSRP $1,249.99) with a 12" speaker. Each has a 2,000-watt Class D power amp, and the DLM8 and DLM12 both feature coaxial, vertically-aligned speakers. This configuration provides a more coherent sound, while minimizing interference between the two drivers. They share a common magnet, which simplifies the design and also reduces weight. The DLM8 is 22 lbs., the DLM12 31 lbs., and the DLM12S 48 lbs. The sub is in a wooden enclosure, while the others use polycarbonate ABS plastic. The DLM8 and DLM12 have “kickstands” that angle the speakers at 50 degrees for monitoring applications.
 
The powered speakers include an onboard digital mixer, the DL2 (see Figure 2). It offers two inputs, one with combo jack and mic/line switch, the other with combo jack for instrument or line; and two RCA phono jacks. (I didn’t see any phantom-power capabilities.) A Thru jack carries the signal from input 1 or a mix of the two inputs. Each input has a level control, 3-band EQ, and send control for one of the 16 onboard effects. Six speaker-voicing options include a multiband feedback reducer, speaker/overload protection, three storable presets, and switchable 300ms delay for balcony placement and such.
 
The sub connections (all XLR) are two line-level ins, two full-range outs for sidefills and the like, and two high-pass outs for direct connection to DLM loudspeakers (with presets voiced for DLM and SRM-series full-range speakers). However, the DLM12S is intended for use with other systems too, so the digital crossover controls are exposed. It also folds in speaker protection, three presets, and switchable 300ms delay. All units in the series have bright, readable OLED displays.
 
Mackie set up a demo in a club and played a variety of material including Brandi Carlile, AC/DC, and some dubstep to give the subs a workout. Also, singer/songwriter Glen Phillips (formerly with Toad the Wet Sprocket) did a live acoustic set. I immediately noticed two sonic signatures: First, the sound is clean. I’m sure they weren’t pushing anywhere near 2,000 watts, but the substantial reserve power may have been the reason the transients sounded well-defined, and the bass had authority. Second, the response was even. The highs were present but not “screechy,” and there was minimal “boxiness” as the mids had no significant peaks or dips. The bass slides on the dubstep were telling, as there were no “response holes” during the slides; the bass is tight, too, as evidenced by the kick on the AC/DC cut. I also had a chance to A/B the DLMs against some competitive speakers, and again, the response’s evenness was apparent.
 
We’ll be getting review units in as soon as possible for a thorough review, but this is a product line worth watching. Meanwhile, there’s more information at mackie.com/DLM.

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