Strother Bullins on Peavey DM 112 Powered Speaker System

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Most of us involved in live sound pursuits have become quite familiar with Peavey loudspeakers over the years. In my experience, they are, in general, physically overbuilt (in a good way), constructed to withstand the rigors of rehearsal, club and DIY touring applications and beyond. Meanwhile, Peavey loudspeakers are historically affordable to musician or budget-restricted end users, allowing them access to world-class capable sound reinforcement without a paying a premium.

Peavey’s Dark Matter 112, or simply DM 112, is a ubiquitous kind of portable PA (PPA) product, attractively priced at $299 street, each. For pro audio types that need a standard-sized, two way powered speaker in relatively lightweight polypropylene cabinetry, the DM 112 ideally fits the bill. Key features and specifications include a 12-inch woofer with 1-1/2-inch voice coil and 32 oz. magnet; DX 14 1.4-inch titanium diaphragm dynamic compression tweeter; a sculpted frequency response of 68 Hz – 19 kHz, +/- 6 dB; a maximum SPL of 124 dB peak; a sound dispersion of 110 degrees horizontal by 80 degrees vertical; and a mic/ line XLR/TRS combo input and XLR output for additional loudspeaker linking or for use with a sub. The DM 112 isn’t the loudest powered 12-inch in PPA, but it’s sufficiently powered, balanced-sounding, and easy to use.

Peavey shipped this stereo DM 112 review package with a DM 115 Sub pair ($599 street, each), featuring 800 W of peak power, traditional wood cabinetry and heavy-duty handles, and useful KOSMOS subharmonic generator-based DSP technology built-in. It’s relatively compact and easy to carry for those gigs where a sub is needed. That, and the KOSMOS technology is superb for bass-intensive musical styles—a thrilling feature for DJ and EDM types.

Speaking of power, the biamplified DM 112 is sufficiently juiced—at 410 W peak for LF, 250 W for HF—and also includes intuitive DSP parameters dialed in via a multifunction push-to-select rotary knob on its rear panel. These include 10 EQ-based presets based on musical style and speaker positioning—for example, EDM and floor monitor, respectively. There are also open presets for users to program their own. Other parameters include millisecond delay adjustment and polarity flip, allowing the DM 112 to be very applicable in installed applications, as well as bass and treble adjustment, allowing +/- 6 dB boosts or cuts within the aforementioned presets for wide-ranging EQ curves. As such, the DM 112 is, out of the box, a very adaptable speaker.

How does the DM 112 sound? Quite good for a wide range of gigs, I must say. Along with traditional acoustic and miked amp-type situations, I traveled around with the DM 112 for auditions at house-of-worship, small venue/coffee house, wedding DJ/KJ, and club-type settings in both main speaker and monitor/wedge placements. While affordable powered PPA products can sometimes be a bit harsh from the vocal frequency range and higher—e.g., while in use for naturalistic, acousticoriented live music—the DM 112’s DX 14 tweeter is very kind to HF content—not harsh and apparently accurate.

I have only one small quibble with the DM 112. Compared to similar sized/styled PPA cabinets, it’s a bit hard to carry due to the design of its integral handles; there’s just no easy way to grip them as you would more traditional handles. Though I never dropped the speakers, I felt as though my hands might slip out of the polypropylene “slots,” as there’s not much to grip. That said, for installation applications, the sleek “handle-less” look of the DM 112 is a clear positive.

All this noted, I would recommend the DM 112 to any user wooed by its $299 street price point. For the money, it’s a well-built, uniquely capable and powerful full-range powered speaker that boasts DSP functionality usually found in far more expensive products.

Strother Bullins is Technology Editor for NewBay Media’s AV/Pro Audio Group. sbullins@nbmedia.com

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