Yamaha's newest powered speakers not only offer excellent sound and portability, but their optional Dante connectivity makes them a cinch to set up.
A new line in self-powered PA speakers always interests me, and as I already have several Yamaha speakers in my inventory I was very keen to get my hands on a pair of their most recent additions.
Yamaha already market two powered 10–inch models — the DBR10 and the DXR10 — and I own and regularly use a number of these little workhorses for all kinds of live work, both as mains and monitors. They don't produce a 10–inch model in their (previously) most expensive range, the DSR series, so the 'top dog' in the 10–inch format has hitherto been the DXR10 — currently at MkII, although mine are all the original type and any reference to them here should take account of this. I like 10–inch speakers (good ones, anyway), as they tend to have enough bottom-end clout to be used on their own for smaller events, and can also handle the middle and top end of larger systems when using subwoofers. A local sound company that I have worked with on outdoor gigs uses a high-end rig consisting of four 18–inch powered subs and just two 10–inch full–range cabinets, and they regularly put this up for outdoor carnival-type jobs.
The DZR range represents a ground-breaking step forward for portable powered units as, quite apart from their performance, the entire range is available, as an option, with Dante connectivity, in the form of RJ45–type Ethernet ports that not only carry control information but all the audio as well. Thus, in a nutshell, you can daisy-chain the entire PA system together without using a single audio cable between mixer and loudspeakers, provided you're using a compatible digital console. So there's the headline, but the other main features include: plywood cabinets, rotatable horn assembly, latest–generation FIR filtering with DSP crossover and 96kHz internal processing, and comprehensive access to DSP parameters via a clear LCD screen.
The DZR10 reviewed here is the smallest in the DZR range, with 12– and 15-inch two-way, full–range units available, as well as a three-way model with a 15–inch woofer and 8–inch mid-range driver, plus tweeter. There are no DZR-badged subwoofers, but the range includes and is designed to fully integrate with the DXSXLF units, available in 15– or 18–inch form. Like the DZR range, the DXSXLF subwoofers are also available with Dante compatibility, those models being distinguished in name by a 'D' suffix. Apart from the digital connectivity and control, the D models are exactly the same in terms of construction and audio performance as the non-Dante versions. I like the idea of Dante being a separate option as, although it may come to pass one...