Denon DJ Axis 12 / 12S
Speakers – manufacturers are forever trying to find ways to make them sound better, look different and be easier to transport. And for mobile DJs, this latter point is one of incredible importance. With this in mind, Denon DJ’s first foray into the world of professional audio – the newly launched Axis Series – may be of interest to the readers of Pro Mobile.
The arrival of this new speaker series may not be what you were expecting from Denon DJ, a company known for its CD players, DJ mixers, controllers and accessories. But, having been acquired by inMusic (Numark), it seems the brand is in fairly safe hands and is ready to expand. inMusic has a good history with Alto speakers, which offer great value pound-for-pound, so there’s no reason why Denon DJ shouldn’t follow suit with the higher-end Axis Series.
The new series comprises three products – the Axis 8, Axis 12 and Axis 12S. The Axis 8 and 12 are both two-way coaxial speakers – with 8” and 12” drivers, respectively – while the Axis 12S is a 12” powered subwoofer, but for this review I looked exclusively at an Axis 12 system, complete with the 12S sub.
Starting off on purely aesthetic terms, I think the speakers themselves look great. The Denon DJ engineers have gone for a modern look with clean lines and gentle curves; with a matt black finish and black grilles, the speakers have an air of understated sophistication. However, the most striking aspect of the two top enclosures is their shape. Rather than the traditional rectangular front, they are square, which leads us to what is found inside the units.
Both the Axis 12 and Axis 8 make use of a coaxial driver (where the tweeter is mounted in front of the woofer on the same axis), which enables a better quality of sound from a more compact unit. This technology is common in professional studio monitors, but isn’t often seen put to use in portable PA systems (although Mackie’s DLM series is one other notable example). The Axis 12 and 8 also both feature 1000W class-D bi-amplification with precision internal DSP designed to provide a high-power but portable audio solution that is well-suited to DJs on the road.
Partly down to the square enclosure design resulting from the coaxial driver, you’ll find that the Axis 12 speakers are surprisingly compact, to the point where you could probably stack one on top of another in the back of your hatchback. Easy to pack, easy to stack – this really is a portable PA system, great for the needs of the mobile DJ. I also found the speakers – including the sub – easy to lift and move around thanks to their low weight (the top box weighs 16.99kg, while the sub is 21.26kg – significantly lighter than a few similar models on the market) and the comfortable recessed carry handles.
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 76, Pages 76 - 78.