LD Systems Dave 8 Roadie – Competitive – Test report by KR home-studio magazine
The follow-up to the Maui model with a Class D amplifier is the Dave 8 Roadie, and it is an improvement on its well thought out predecessor. This model comes in a different design. LD Systems offers a diverse range of portable sound systems at competitive prices, ranging from 400 to 2,400 euros (excl. accessories). They are anything but expensive and can be suited to any budget.
The company, which was founded in the UK, was bought out by its German subsidiary. The company specialises in the production, wholesale and distribution of parts for the construction of flight cases. Adam Hall GmbH, which is represented around the world, also sells a large number of well-known brands (including LD Systems), with more than 5,000 testimonials covering sound, lighting, design, accessories, racks and more.
No, this does not mean that you get two systems for the price of one. It refers to a system with two satellite speakers and a subwoofer, which uses two channels. This mobile sound system type is becoming more popular as it doesn’t require much space and it’s easy to install: just a few cables are necessary as the satellites connect directly to the subwoofer. In addition to the bass speaker, the system includes three amplifiers and an extremely user-friendly mixer (Figure 1).
Even a newbie can connect all of the units and ensure sound quality. Thanks to the relatively small amount of floor space used up by the system, as well as the sound quality in home application, the Dave 8 Roadie is suited to studio monitoring purposes, even if that isn’t its intended use. The subwoofer measures 252 x 430 x 434 mm and weights less than 21 kg. The individual satellites can be easily positioned thanks to their compact size: 150 x 350 x 170 mm, 4.2 kg.
LD Systems doesn’t leave users out in the rain after set up (especially handy since the system is not waterproof!): The manufacturer offers a wide range of optional accessories, such as stands for the satellite speakers (Figure 2) and wall brackets for attaching the system to the wall on a permanent basis …
We can only praise the robustness of this system, which does not result in any disturbing vibrations, thanks to the shape of the subwoofer, which is equipped with a double bass reflex port. This is good for the integrated amplifier, which dislikes vibrations, especially on some of its components, such as capacitors (the same applies to active studio monitors).
The particular dynamics of the robust design is found on the satellites. These are equipped with a very stable pre-stressed grid that protects the transducer, which means that no vibrations are created that could interfere with the sound.
Watts and SPL
The Dave 8 Roadie sound system differs from the previously reviewed Maui model. However, its effective value (True RMS, the only value of significance) is comparable. The construction of the sound system is, however, aimed at a different type of use.
LD Systems is now using a Class AB power amplifier, which also explains why a large heat sink can be found on the back of the subwoofer in which the three power amplifiers are integrated. The 8-inch woofers (203 mm) are supplied with 150 watts for the low registers in mono via a power block.
The audio signal is broadcast in stereo from the top of the satellite pair and the two amplifiers, each with 100 watts of power, and both belonging to Class AB.
The transducers benefit from the balanced power, and continuously achieve a sound pressure level of 117 dB SP with peaks at 123 dB SPL in the frequency range of 45 Hz to 19 kHz. This system comprises of no fewer than seven transducers in total. These have been specially developed for the sound system and have an RMS total output of 350 watts. The manufacturer knows its craft: The speakers have been developed according to strict specifications and demonstrate resistance at elevated SPL.
We should also mention the large-diameter coil and the free air convection: 38.1 mm for the bass speaker and 25.4 mm for the four woofers and both tweeters. All coils are iron core in order to be competitive. The woofer speakers are equipped with a 10 cm diameter membrane, which is strongly reminiscent of those used in the Maui model, although it is 30% larger.
However, when compared to the Maui bass speaker, they responded at a lower frequency, namely at around 100 Hz, at which point the subwoofer yields to the satellites. Two woofers and a tweeter are built into each loudspeaker. The woofers have a rather solid membrane made from a composite material, which aids the functioning of the piston diaphragm and avoids distortions. The diaphragm is convex via edge mounting and thus responds to the centring of the coil by the Spider.
There is a tweeter located between the two woofer transducers, in an arrangement termed D’Appolito. This arrangement provides a uniform dispersion of the sound of the woofer and the tweeter controls the direction of the dispersion.
In this way, the total energy emitted by the trio is concentrated on a 60-degree cone. In order to obtain higher precision, the tweeter was reset, which explains why its diaphragm, which is located in a funnel, is located far behind the box on which the woofers are installed. The manufacturer has aligned the drivers of the three speakers. In order to use the sound system for monitoring purposes, the two satellites must be placed in the middle of the listening area to ensure a coherent sound.
A small mixer is located to the right of the subwoofer heat sink. That’s why the Dave 8 Roadie has two stereo inputs. One of them is provided with a pair of unsymmetrical RCA jacks and two symmetrical combo inputs with combined XLR/jack sockets.
The other functions at a higher input level and receives its analogue signal, for example, from an external player. This connector can be also used for an instrument, such as a guitar… The combo jack can be used for dynamic microphones.
Each of these three inputs has a potentiometer. The general noise level at output is controlled using a potentiometer. This is followed by a second adjustment depending on the outputted volume of the subwoofer. In order to prevent phase cancellations when amplifying an instrument (guitar or keyboard), the manufacturer has added an inverter for absolute phase (0°/180°): That’s always a good idea!
And finally, the power connectors for connecting the satellites and the subwoofer are adapted to the famous Speakon by Neutrik to comply with the applicable standards. This compact system is naturally equipped with electronic protection measures to prevent thermal instability, as well as element failure.
A red LED will light up in the event of a fault. And although the Dave 8 Roadie has an automatic limiter, the risk of acoustic feedback should be avoided for the health of the audience.
+ Compact and lightweight
+ total output
+ sound quality
+ competitive price
This sound system with three speakers is only suitable for stand-alone operation as it cannot be extended with outputs for recording. It can be used to amplify an instrument, vocals, or the like, thanks to its universal inputs. However, it can also be used for private as well as monitoring purposes, thanks to the playback quality.
Source: KR home-studio magazine, April 2015, France: http://www.kr-homestudio.fr/
Author: Philippe David
Further information about the Systems Dave 8 Roadie can be found at the following link:
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