August 28, 2012

Mackie DLM Speakers: A Report from Seattle

When most of us think of Seattle we think of great coffee, endless rain storms, and of course the birthplace of grunge rock. For someone who has never been to Seattle before, I was expecting a fresh brewed cup of rain with Soundgarden playing in the background. While baggage claim did provide the Superunknown soundtrack I had always wanted, the real purpose of this trip was to witness the announcement of Mackie’s newest line of portable PA speakers. The DLM Series of powered loudspeakers are the second big announcement from Mackie this year following on the heels of their new iPad controlled mixing console the DL1608. Both products were on full display at the Barboza club in downtown Seattle where John Boudreau, Vice President of the Mackie Brand Group, unveiled the speakers, gave a rundown of their features, and let the whole room full of dealers, distributors, and the press listen to their sound. With special appearances from Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket and The Presidents of the United States of America, we not only got a chance to hear how these speakers sounded in a practical application, but also a chance to take in that true 90s Seattle sound. The unveiling brought all of us up to speed on what the Mackie DLM Series speakers have to offer.

Here is what Mackie wants you to know about their new speakers:

The two loudspeakers in the series are the DLM8 and the DLM12, the numbers denote their respective size. The subwoofer is the DLM12S and believe me when I tell you that this little sub can put out some serious bass. With 2000 watts of power behind these speakers they are probably one of loudest systems I have heard at this size. Don’t be scared by how much power these speakers are putting out because they are ultra efficient, have heat dispersion technology, and a protection system for the internal wiring. The big thing Mackie was touting about the DLM series was their TruSource speaker technology.

The most common speaker design creates interference between speakers.

They have custom transducers, digital signal processing (DSP), and probably one of the best features was the care they took in the vertical alignment of the sound waves. Traditionally in 2 way systems the drivers are vertically displaced which means that the sound waves don’t align properly and you get a sound that lacks congruity. With the TruSource drivers, the high and low frequency signals have been placed within the same speaker making it more transparent and an optimal sound.

The DLM series has both high and low frequencies emit from the same speaker, creating a more transparent sound.

While having an onboard mixer built into a loudspeaker is nothing new, Mackie’s digital mixer is quite handy featuring all the functionality of a basic mixing console but with the ease of use of a car stereo EQ. The DL2 digital mixer features a 3 band EQ and 16 different FX. While this speaker set is seemingly built for the novice or rather a simple solution to a portable PA, the internal mixer has some cool advanced features like preset EQs, a feedback eliminator, alignment delay, and the ability to store your own presets.  The back of the speaker features two combination XLR/TRS inputs (one for line and one for instrument), two stereo RCA inputs, and a jack for thru line. The DLM12S subwoofer also has built in mixing capabilities as well as a built in crossover.

EQ so easy to use even the drummer can set it up.

The construction of the DLM series is quite handy as well featuring a compact size which is almost ⅓ smaller than traditional powered loudspeakers. The speakers are versatile in that they can be flown or wall mounted. One of my favorite features was the sleek kickstand they installed on the back, giving the speakers the ability to perform as a monitor in a pinch.

Mackie angled speaker

The kickstand they installed gives the speakers the ability to be setup on the fly.

So what does all this mean for you the musician? Mackie has been known for making some great sounding speakers but this is really the first time they have combined that technology with a truly portable system that takes all the hassle out of lugging around heavy PA equipment. Everyone from the solo acoustic performer to the mobile DJ is going to love the power that these speakers put out. The general consensus among those in attendance was that we all wished we had a PA system like this when we were starting our garage band, or when we used to pick up one off gigs to get guitar string money. The great thing about a company like Mackie is that all parties involved in the development of the DLM line are musicians, engineers, producers, and more generally actively working in the music industry in some capacity. To me that makes a big difference when considering what product to buy. Although to some it may be just a speaker, to the guys at Mackie it felt to me as if this was a labor of love. They had a vision of a way to create a powerful portable PA speaker and they certainly delivered on that.

There will be a follow up to this blog which will include photos and video of the event in Seattle. For now I just wanted to give you guys a taste of what’s in store from Mackie and their DLM Series powered loudspeakers.

Tell us what you think of the DLM speakers. Are you a DJ looking for a PA system? What kinds of things do you look for in speakers? What more do you want to know about the DLM Series? Any questions you have, post them below.



  1. [...] you want to find out more information about the DLM Series, check out the blog we posted after the [...]