Review: Presonus AIR-15

The Presonus AIR-15 is a bi-amplified 2-way PA speaker for DJ/KJ/band use. It uses a simple, menu-driven DSP input module to allow for specific placement and application requirements. There’s a long-throw 15 inch neodymium woofer and a large-diaphragm horn tweeter in a lightweight composite cabinet. The woofer is driven by a 500 watt Class D amplifier, while the tweeter enjoys a 200 watt Class AB amp that is smooth as silk. The combination provides for very high maximum SPL levels, sufficient for large halls or even outdoor gigs, yet is very listenable without inflicting audible fatigue.

As with all PA speakers, these work best on stands… and the higher up, the better. However, the cabinet design also allows for stage monitor placement and simple controls on the back allow the performer to adjust the presentation for their needs. Bass and treble controls are easily accessed via the intuitive DSP menu, and you can even filter out the low bass with a built-in high-pass crossover. The main inputs are both XLR and TRS 1/4 with separate gain controls for each, and there’s an auxiliary 1/8 stereo input available for direct input from an ipod or similar source. These are all combined into an XLR output to feed to a subwoofer or for daisy-chaining… which means you can use as many of these speakers as you want from a single source.

Frequency response is shown as 47-20 Khz which is sufficient for virtually any musical genre, and max SPL is rated at 124 db. Biamplification allows for high volume levels without straining either the drivers or the electronics. The HF amp can run a bit warm, but there’s protection built into the circuitry which will lower the input signal when needed to prevent overheating. The bass amp never seems to clip or even get warm, regardless of how hard you drive the system. This is the optimal design for a 2-way because a large Class D amp is an almost limitless beast, while an AB amp is smooth and listenable at virtually any volume level.

Black metal grill and a molded composite cabinet, will hold up well to the occasional bumps and abrasions of setup and break down.  Pictures below show one of mine after using it for a year:

I have owned 3 of these for over a year now and have used them for many different parties and bar gigs. They’re equally at home in small venues, large halls and outside. I’ve also rented them out to fellow DJs for house and hip-hop gigs, and their feedback has always been glowingly positive. Quite frankly, they’re probably the best mid-priced full range powered loudspeaker available today. While I hesitate to call any PA speaker “audiophile”, these are about as close as you will find to a high-end home speaker in terms of flat response, bandwidth and accuracy. They are named “AIR” for good reason: they sound almost airy, compared with most PA speakers. If you are fortunate enough to get a set, you will be very happy with them… and with a 6-year warranty, you will be happy with them for a long time.

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