With the Axis series, consisting of the 12-inch subwoofer the Axis 12S and the 8- or 12-inch tops Axis 8 or Axis 12, Denon DJ is entering the field of compact active PA. A good move as this segment of the DJ & PA industry is booming; weddings, birthdays and more advanced events all now require a well thought out, venue appropriate sound system.
The Axis system from Denon DJ comprises of three active speakers. The subwoofer, the Axis 12S, has a 12-inch diaphragm, run by a 3-inch voice coil.
The ‘tops’, the Axis 8 and 12, can be operated alone and feature a special coaxial design feature. The coaxial design has the full-range speaker and tweeter sitting on (sharing) an axis. This generally provides minimisation of time and phase differences, between the two drivers, resulting in clearer stereo imaging.
All speakers, except the 12S sub, are powered by a 1000-watt Class-D amplifier and feature a simple mixing and connection sub-section. An additional mixer is not necessarily required.
Whether the subwoofer is utilised, depends on the intended use and location, a small house party would be perfectly served by a well-placed pair of Axis 8 units which, after all, cover a frequency range of 60Hz - 22 kHz. For a small dance at the clubhouse, however, the subwoofer 12S increases the fun factor considerably, here the frequency range is extended down to 35 Hz. When it comes to a full-fledged party however, it should suit the more popular pairing of 12 inch tops and Sub.
The Axis 8 & 12 units, feature indentations on top, which allow for secure stacking of multiple boxes in a stable fashion without unnecessary vibrations.
Denon DJ has put some thought into the needs of a mobile DJ with this system even on the back of the units they have recessed the ports and controls, which prevents damage to the unit during the touring routine. However, the chic, matte paint on the smooth surfaced Case is likely to prove vulnerable to scratches.
All speakers were safely packed in cardboard boxes with customized Styrofoam plates, also supplied was the appliance plug and multilingual Manual.
Cases or covers for each speaker and the distance bar to connect the head with the sub were not included.
Even when removing the units out of the package its immediately apparent that the handles are very well placed on the unit. With the Sub this sitting sideways there is a single, recessed handle on the top with plenty of space for large hands. Thus this already compact and lightweight system can easily be carried alone. The design is pleasantly simple and the individual components work well. The simple blue LED is discreet and in keeping with the units’ elegant, understated look.
Starting with the Sub: The Axis 12S subwoofer provides two input channels that are either filtered through a high-pass filter (cut-off frequency 80/140 Hz) or an unfiltered full-range output (with optional stereo or mono summed) to forward the signal to the satellite (Axis8/12) Speaker/s. This allows you to do a stereo install with only one subwoofer & two full range units. The volume of the subwoofer is adjustable via potentiometer and a phase inverter helps eliminate problems with bad phasing.
Denon DJ have put thought into how the AXIS system will could be used at smaller events, where there may be no mixing console available; on the connection panel of the full range loudspeaker Input 1 is switchable between line and microphone gain whilst input 2 allows jack and XLR as well as stereo RCA sockets. By means of a push button, the signal of the first input or a mono mix of both channels is output at line level at the additional ‘Thru’ XLR output.
Identical on both Axis models, the ventilation system fans are securely screwed into the chassis recess. The units are clearly temperature controlled, however the fans were never excessively active during testing even when the speakers were turned up.
On first hearing, impressions of the system were amazing the unprocessed line signal from the main line out of mixer (Pioneer CDJ-2000NXS2 + DJM-S9). The Axis speakers provide a very brilliant and modern sound: Extremely powerful bass, strong pulse and strong Mids. It’s like the system is pre equalised or doing some kind of dynamic equalisation? Either way the signal processing on this system is very impressive.
All musical styles seem to benefit from these speakers’ aural interpretation; from House through to Jazz, pop, rock productions the speakers make it consistently fun, the Denon listen at work.
The system can provide small to medium sized rooms with amazing volume reserves and a very "mature" sound.
An experienced engineer should - depending on the circumstances and the accompanying audio material - probably even reduce gain a little rather than push it. That’s how much power is on tap’ In practice you should rarely have to activate the boost switch on tops.
Activating the boost mode sets an EQ pattern with the same characteristics of a typical loudness curve with slightly extended bass and treble, and mid-range frequencies lowered several decibels at quiet listening levels.
A final test with a dynamic microphone shows that the mic preamp works very well. Presenters at fairs, markets or seminars can perform with only one Axis speaker without too much effort.
Denon DJs Axis System (8, 12 & 12S) is a compelling, easily transportable small-PA system. It offers a very modern sound that is fresh, clear and heavy, even without user intervention. This system would especially suit audio-technical laymen who have no time for, or experience with, advanced speaker installations. The flexibility of the modules allows for combinations that fit many applications: from voice amplification for presenters with an Axis 8 or the small combo of two Axis 8 plus the Axis 12S sub right for a full blown house party or two Axis 12 and Sub (12S) in smaller clubs - anything is possible. The price of the components is appropriate in view of their stellar performance.
Concise, contemporary sound, Portable and flexible, Integrated Microphone Amplifier
Specifications Axis 8
Specifications Axis 12
Specifications Axis 12S
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