DAS Audio R8 & R10 - AudioTechnology
Grahame Harrison trumpets the virtues of the latest from DAS.
I’ve said it before, I’ll probably say it again and I’ll definitely say it this time: DAS makes exceptional speaker systems! Just like it took Australians seemingly forever to realise that there are more countries out there besides the UK and the USA, it’s taken them almost as long to recognise that there are many other high quality manufacturers of audio equipment besides the more familiar contenders.
I have reviewed DAS products in the past and I’m pleased to trumpet their existence once again – I’m always happy to extol the virtues of well-made products. Most retailers and installers (with virtually no exceptions) present products to customers that give them (the retailer) the greatest margin on a deal – often regardless of the product’s performance or specs. It therefore falls to this publication to present reviews that are unbiased appraisals of the gear. We don’t care if you give us free tickets to that U2 concert or ply us with various addictive substances, we’ll always present an honest critique. And so we move on to the new range of updated DAS speakers known as the Reference Series.
I was sent two models for review: the RF-8 and the RF-10. Both speakers are a visual treat, built from birch plywood with extremely strong steel grilles. The trapezoidal design is modern and efficient and there are Ancra flying points on each side and one on the rear of each box. A ‘witch’s hat’ pole adapter is fitted to the bottom for use with pole-mount subs or wall brackets. As you would expect, there are DAS wall brackets (AX Series), pole mounts (TRD series) and speaker stands (TRD) available for each model. The speakers come in two shades: black and white.
The RF-8 is a superb little blockbuster, weighing in at 10.2kg. Its quoted SPL is 93dB, but I think that might be conservative. The RF-8 has tight bass for an eight-inch woofer and a smooth high-frequency with excellent definition. The rated power handling is 150W RMS @ 8Ω and it can certainly take some stick – I drove the hell out of it and it didn’t distort. Frequency response is stated as 60Hz to 20kHz. This speaker box is very impressive and would be perfectly suited to installations and small sound reinforcement requirements. Contrary to the specification sheet, however, the RF-8 does not have carrying handles… not sure what the story is there.
Before proceeding, I must express my frustration with the DAS spec sheets. On the specs, DAS stubbornly refuses to state RMS power (but at least it’s now quoting the facts on the backing plates of the speakers themselves). DAS states that both boxes utilise an M-3 high-frequency driver but you can’t find a sniff of information about it anywhere on the DAS website. DAS has also really got to lift its game regarding the info that comes with the speaker itself… each box must have its own spec sheet included in its packaging.
Anyway, back to the speakers. The mighty RF-10 is sensational. Wonderful, huge bass with excellent top-end definition make this baby a potential competition exterminator. Featuring an 80° x 60° horn flare, an SPL of 97dB and 350W RMS power handling, it’s a great choice for a variety of applications. I flogged this box with power from an Inter-M L2400 amplifier and it didn’t bat an eyelid. The top-end is more ‘middly’ than its smaller brother but that’s probably a good thing if it’s being used strictly for music applications. In other words, it’s good for reinforcement in dance clubs and bars. The 10-inch woofer sounds big and the box is very well built.
I fed both these speakers a variety of music and they handled everything nicely. The Euro-dance of St. Germain did not intimidate either box. Spyro Gyra are revered for their beautifully-produced modern jazz and the DAS speakers appreciated the tight bass. Tex’s vocals and Don’s keyboards were distinctive and Jimmy Barnes’ daughter Mahalia proved that the DAS References are very comfortable with mellow grooves. Piano recordings were especially well represented. I once knew a bloke in the Brisbane area whose evaluation of speakers was almost entirely based on their ability to reproduce piano sounds. Mate, if you’re reading this review, wrap your ears around these babies, you’ll love ’em.
Finally, and most importantly… the pricing: the DAS speakers aren’t cheap. The RF-8 retails for $699 and the RF-10 for $1,100 apiece. In defence of DAS, the build quality is absolutely outstanding and the whole package is well worth the asking price.
• Magna Systems
Phone: (02) 9417 1111
• RF-8: $699; RF-10: $1100 apiece.