Large 15-inch loudspeakers are among the most effective options for mobile DJs. They are also great for bands and solo performers that play small to medium-sized gigs frequently. In this review, we check out the PreSonus AIR15 to see if this loudspeaker is worth picking up.
The PreSonus AIR15 is an extremely capable loudspeaker with some excellent features. Below are the quick pros and cons before we dive into the detailed review.
A powerful and dependable loudspeaker is a must for any performer. Thankfully there are plenty of excellent options available. Below we check out the PreSonus AIR15 in more detail to see what it has to offer.
Straight away the most impressive feature of the PreSonus AIR15 is the superb sound quality. This is a speaker that can compete with more expensive options. From top to bottom the highlight is the impressive clarity on display.
The high end offers up precision and definition. It leans slightly bright but there isn’t a hint of tinniness present. Hi-hats and symbols are crisp and satisfying without dominating.
The bi-amped design produces excellent sound.
The mids are equally impressive. Plenty of balance and depth. Great tonality that delivers excellent depth to melodic compositions and vocal performances.
The low end is also satisfying with plenty of reach and warmth. The 15-inch woofer offers plenty of punch. The kicks are satisfying and the sub-bass is lush and full.
Excellent at all volume levels the PreSonus AIR15 is one of the clearest 15-inch loudspeakers available today.
There is also plenty of attention to detail when it comes to the build quality of the PreSonus AIR15. The H-PP molded cabinet is durable and robust. The front grille is equally tough and dependable.
The connection points and LCD screen are also high-quality. The carry handles are secure and well-executed. I also like the durable feet for when the speaker is in the monitor position.
The AIR15 features a hardwearing cabinet and tough grille.
Transporting your gear is often where most of the wear and tear occurs. It’s important to have a well-built speaker that can handle frequent use. These are up to that task.
Additionally, this loudspeaker comes with a long 6-year warranty. This highlights how much confidence PreSonus has in their gear. It adds peace of mind that is worth factoring in when buying professional gear.
On the specs front, the PreSonus AIR15 offers an impressive 1,200W of bi-amped power. This bi-amp design offers a dedicated amp for the low-frequency drive and the high-frequency driver. 900W of Class D power amplification for the woofer. 300W of Class A/B power for the tweeter. This design allows for more accurate tuning of the amp. It goes a long way to explaining why this speaker sounds so good.
The PreSonus AIR15 is a relatively lightweight 15-inch loudspeaker.
Despite the generous power rating, these are still not as powerful as some other 15-inch options available. Topping out at a max SPL of 124dB. For smaller venues as a single speaker, these are still loud. But if you do play larger venues you’ll need at least a pair to help fill the space.
The PreSonus AIR15 has a frequency range of 40Hz-20khz (-10 dB). There is plenty of meatiness in the low end and ample room for clear highs. Delivery is consistent across the full range without distortion.
At 46.3 lbs. (21 kg) the AIR15 is comparable in weight to some of its competitors. These are relatively easy to transport and set up. Most solo performers shouldn’t have any trouble. Years of using a variety of speakers have given me a distinct love for lighter units. Nothing worse than a back-breaking setup flow. At this weight, your back doesn’t have to take a beating.
The PreSonus AIR15 also offers some excellent tuning features.
The onboard EQ controls are effective and simple to use. You’ll have access to adjusting the treble and bass. But the standout EQ option is the selection of presets. These five options all work as intended. DJ is the default option and is perfect for music. FOH for front-of-house applications. Enhance warms up the mids for a smoother response. Monitor adjusts output when the loudspeaker is in a horizontal monitor position. Finally the Speech preset adds extra clarity for spoken performances.
The LCD screen is bright and easy to navigate.
I love well-executed presets. It takes the guesswork and hassles out of setting up. I’ve come across other loudspeakers with poor presets. This results in having to manually find your sweet spots for various performance types. With the PreSonus AIR15, you won’t experience this issue.
There are also a few more handy options up your sleeve. There are three Locate options. Stand, Suspend, and Bracket. These adjust output based on how you have mounted the speaker. Once again these work well.
If you dislike having to manually tune your loudspeaker you’ll love the PreSonus AIR15. But if you do enjoy fiddling with settings you may feel restricted.
The PreSonus AIR15 is an attractive speaker. It offers a unique and eye-catching design while maintaining a high level of professionalism. There is always a certain limitation when it comes to loudspeakers. But PreSonus has incorporated enough design flair to give the PreSonus a sense of identity.
The AIR15 looks just as good in the monitor position.
The inward curved front grille is my favorite feature. It looks sleek and gives the speaker a sleek look. Plus as an added benefit it is less likely to take bumps and dings. The PreSonus logo is not over the top and doesn’t detract from the appearance. Likewise, the LED light is small and discreet. You can also opt to turn this light off in the Settings menu.
The angular edges also accommodate for monitor placement. The tough feet keep things secure and prevent undue contact with the ground. And it looks just as stylish in this position.
From an appearance perspective, I think PreSonus has nailed it. Modern and refined with just enough pizzaz to make it stand out from the hoard of square black boxes available today.
15-inch loudspeakers are large by nature and the PreSonus AIR15 is no different. At 30.6″ (778mm) high it is a beast of a speaker. Not ideal for cramped locations. But this is unavoidable when you are dealing with a 15-inch woofer.
The PreSonus AIR15 is a large loudspeaker.
The PreSonus AIR15 also features M10 fly points for installation. There are two on the top and one on the back. A standard pole mount 1.37″ socket is also available.
The PreSonus AIR15 keeps things simple in the connection department but with a twist.
First up is a two-channel mixer that grants you access to two inputs. Both of these are XLR-1/4″ combo jacks. This is enough to handle most DJ setups and is ideal for solo performers.
The PreSonus AIR15 features a convenient AUX-IN option.
But if you are a band you’ll need several speakers. If you are looking for a more all-in-one solution you’d be better off looking into PA systems with a larger range of connections.
An XLR mix-out option is also available for sending a balanced signal to other connected AIR loudspeakers.
So far this is all straightforward fair for loudspeakers but PreSonus has opted to go one step further. The addition of an AUX input option is a great inclusion. It’s also an option that many loudspeakers don’t offer. This opens up some additional flexibility to connect media devices. This is perfect for playing a warm-up setlist. It can also save you in a pinch if your gear fails. It’s a thoughtful addition I wish more manufacturers would embrace.
The PreSonus AIR15 is a mid-tier loudspeaker with a reasonable price point. There are cheaper 15-inch loudspeakers out there. But the cheaper you go the more you’ll notice the drop-off in quality. Both in sound and materials. At this price point, the AIR15 is excellent value for money. It delivers fantastic sound and is exceptionally durable.
The PreSonus AIR15 is a popular 15-inch loudspeaker. The sound quality is often among the most noted qualities. Both professional and casual users also like the appearance and functionality. Plenty of solid 4 and 5 star reviews for this affordably priced speaker.
Eliminating Hum Or Buzz
One of the common complaints I’ll see online is that a speaker is producing hum or buzz. In many cases, this isn’t an issue with the speaker. Here are some quick tips for you to eliminate unwanted hum or buzz.
Check The Cables – Progressively remove any input or output cables to see if you can isolate if any cables may be causing the issue. If you do isolate a cable that seems to be the culprit try replacing it with a different cable. Ideally, aim for the highest quality cables you can afford.
Switch To Balanced Cables – Another excellent way to eliminate buzz or hum is to always use balanced connections. These cables offer greater resistance to interference. Plus they will produce better sound delivery.
High-quality cables are an important part of any speaker setup.
Try Different Outlets – Sometimes the problem isn’t your cables. It could be the connection point itself. Test your speaker with different outlets to see if this is what is causing your issue.
Avoid Crossing Cables – Where possible always try to avoid your cabling crossing over with other electrical cables. This is a common way that interference can creep into your audio.
In most cases, the above will be enough to eliminate any issues. If you are still experiencing problems there is a possibility that you have a defective speaker. This is where having access to excellent after-sales support is crucial. Buy from a reputable dealer and a trusted brand for maximum confidence.
There are plenty of options available if you are looking to buy a 15-inch loudspeaker. Here are three alternatives worth considering.
Yamaha DBR15 Review
Yamaha is another well-respected brand that consistently delivers fantastic products. The DBR15 is an affordable and capable 15-inch powered loudspeaker.
- Excellent sound profile and clarity.
- High max SPL of 132dB for maximum volume output.
- Doesn’t feature as many tuning options as the AIR15.
Mackie SRM215 Review
The Mackie SRM215 is a premium quality loudspeaker. It features a range of innovative and useful features. It is one of the best 15-inch loudspeakers available today.
- Refined sound with plenty of power. Max SPL of 136dB.
- Attractive and stylish design with extensive tuning options.
- Very expensive compared to the PreSonus AIR15.
Read our full Mackie SRM215 review for more detailed information.
EV ZLX 15BT Review
The ZLX range of loudspeakers from Electro-Voice is another good choice. It’s a smart and attractive speaker that is capable of handling smaller venues with ease.
- Excellent sound delivery with good dispersion and clarity.
- Bluetooth functionality for extra flexibility.
- Much like the AIR15, it has a lower Max SPL than similar-sized speakers.
Should You Buy?
There is a lot to like about the PreSonus AIR15. The fantastic sound quality is the real highlight. Clear, well-defined with plenty of warmth and kick. While it may not be as loud as others it is a great option for smaller venues. Adding a subwoofer elevates it further.
I also love the easy-to-use tuning features. It is perfect for beginners. When you also factor in the smart design and tough build it becomes even more enticing. If you want a dependable and great-sounding 15-inch loudspeaker the AIR15 is a great option.