LD Systems DDQ 12 – Test Report by Beat Magazin

Active full-range PAs if you need to provide sound for a small- to medium-sized venue without complications.. Sophisticated systems promise not only plenty of volume, but also good sound, capacity, and roadworthiness. And the DDQ-12 even promises a lot more …

The stylish-looking black bass-reflex cabinet of the two-way active system is made of 15 millimetre birch multiplex. With the jaunty design of the sturdy front grille and the large, recessed transport handles, it makes a very solid impression. Thanks to this, the speaker system – which weighs in at a comparatively light 17 kilos – proves to be easy to handle. Another plus: on a speaker pole, the built-in mount makes it possible to adjust the vertical angle of the speaker by ± 14 degrees for expedient adaptation to the room and the task at hand. The designers also thought to give the cabinet a slanted side for use as a floor monitor and non-slip feet. The system features XLR signal input sockets, a ground-lift switch, and a subwoofer connector. The gain control sets the volume between -26 and +23 dB.

Fig. 1: In the test, it is up to the DDQ 12 to show that it can be not only loud, but clean too.

Inner workings

LD Systems loads the DDQ 12 with twelve-inch Faital Pro woofer and an asymmetrical HF driver by BMS with a dispersion angle of 80 by 50 degrees. The objective is not only good spatial sound distribution, but also dynamic and linear reproduction between 54 Hz and 20 kHz.

The chassis are driven by two Class-D power amplifiers per system. Each delivers a full 400 watts RMS. This even distribution of power to the treble and mid/low ranges is a little unusual, but makes perfect sense with a crossover frequency of 1.5 kHz. The HF driver really has its work cut out for it, but it also appears to have been designed to be up to the task. The maximum sound-level pressure is specified at a full 134 dB, whereby the non-load-dependent linear frequency response of the power amplifiers is intended to be an additional guarantee of reproduction with maximum fidelity even at high volumes.

Control centre

Audio fidelity is obviously the primary objective of the DDQ concept. Consequently, the built-in Sharc DSP with 24-bit/48-kHz converters and a dynamic range of 127 dB is not used only to provide various sound design presets. Rather, the DSP, which was programmed especially for this system, focuses first of all on reproducing the sound from the input signal without distortion and as authentically as possible. Secondly, it is designed to ensure reliable long-term operation by providing optimum protection for the high-quality chassis and power amplifiers at maximum load. This is accomplished on the one hand with processor-controlled coordination of crossover, delay, and EQ in conjunction with the volume, and on the other with a peak limiter that triggers with a look-ahead time of one millisecond and specifically prevents overmodulated signals from reaching the chassis. RMS limiters are also used to prevent overloading of the power amplifiers and speakers. Cooling elements and an extremely quiet fan should also ensure sufficient cooling when the active speakers are pushed to the limit for extended periods. That is exactly what we intend to do now.

Practical purism

There is a little hissing when the speakers are first switched on. We dial the gain on the speakers back to 0 dB and send some heavy pre-recorded bass from the mixing board, adding some mids and treble. The DDQ 12 produces an astoundingly dense bass foundation that is clearly defined even in the low frequencies. The horn also functions very harmoniously with finely resolved mids. The treble is not too sharp but has plenty of presence. We push the speakers to the limit, taking care to ensure that the input signal is not overdriven. The result? Nothing changes except for the volume. The sound remains extremely balanced and the active speakers really put the pedal to the metal. It quickly becomes apparent that LD Systems have succeeded in developing a PA speaker system that can be really loud while remaining clean and stress-free.

Now, however, we want to know what’s what and purposely overdrive the input signal. Again, nothing really happens, and that’s the really good news. Unperturbed in the background, the DSP very gently and precisely resolves each problem that occurs. There is no audible compression pumping, no treble cut. And the mids, too, stay where they are. We are genuinely impressed.


+ Extremely balanced sound
+ High-performance power amplifier
+ Precise control
+ High-quality components
+ First-rate workmanship
+ Fair price


The DDQ 12 by LD Systems is a thoroughly successful active PA speaker system that is definitely in a position to send a message in a densely populated market segment. With high-quality features, it is impressive not only because of its absolutely roadworthy workmanship, but above all because of its extremely clean, balanced sound, even at its performance limits. It offers extremely high quality and above-average sound for around 1000 Euros. The purist concept of rigorously tuning even an active PA speaker system for linear sound reproduction works perfectly and earns a clear recommendation to buy, even for sophisticated demands.

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Source: beat Magazin, Germany, June 2013

Author: Maya Consuelo Sternel

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