So its been a very, VERY long time since I posted that I would do a review of the QSC K series speakers. I’ve been putting it off, mainly because the demo was a little lame to be honest, and because we decided on a completely different setup in the end!
Let me tell you how the demo went none the less, and give you my basic opinions of the QSC’s
My first impression was that the bass, while very powerful, was not very solid and punchy. Don’t get me wrong, i’m not into the JBL plastic punch, and didn’t expect anything like that from the birch enclosures. (FYI, in general wood enclosures sound better than moulded plastic – Read more…)
I had a quick look at the way the system had been hooked by the shop, and then the revelation of the thunder bass hit. On the K-12’s there are 2 switchs at the back to control the LF and HF. The LF switch was set to Deep, and the K-sub also had the Deep setting ON. The K-12 should have been on EXT SUB, so I switched it, and the sub to the correct settings for the setup, and had another listen.
Now I was impressed, the bass was solid and punchy! The mids sounded good, warm but not muddy. It seems like there is some shaping of the response which is normal for PA applications. The highs were crisp without being too gritty. I prefer a slightly smoother top end than what the QSC’s gave. Think of what you hear from Ribbon tweeters, but to be honest, for compression drivers they sound good, and at the end of the day I am supposed to be comparing them with the HK’s!
Since my demo was not a real demo, I couldn’t listen to the QSC’s side by side with the HK and do an A/B comparison, I had to just try and remember what the HK sounds like. So my completely, insanely inaccurate opinion is that they sound as good, if not better than the HK system…
So let me tell you what else I like about the QSC’s:
-Wheels/castors on the sub, and the K-12’s are light for their size and power. The HK E.L.I.A.S. is much more bulky and the mid-highs are especially heavy. A lot of the H.K. stuff is really heavy, which is great if your setup is permanent. I’ve read a great article on how often weight=quality. Its not a law, but in the case of amplifiers, if they are heavy, its generally because they have big toroidal transformers which are much better than the lighter ‘digital’ amplifiers that use switch mode power supplies… anyway thats my opinion!
In our case, we have 9 sites of which only 1 is semi-permanent, so all of our systems are carried around a lot, so the weight and castor situation are a big thumbs up for the QSC’s
-More flexible configurations. The QSC system has lots of options for different scenarios, plugging a mic and guitar directly into a K-12 will do the job perfectly for smaller setups like when we have prayer meetings or other social events that just need some BG music and a mic to make announcements. The HK’s can’t really be used for much without having to setup a mixing console… The QSC’s also have a wealth of other features, remote gain control, a front LED that can has switchable modes to show signal limiting, just plain power, or off altogether. Also they can be used as floor monitors or mounted on a pole the list goes on!
-Looks! While this is very subjective, my opinion is that the QSC’s look much nicer than the HK’s and even though the looks have almost no bearing on the sound coming out of them, it does have a bearing on how people perceive the band and PA setup, so it is worth considering.
-Price… the retail price of the ELIAS system is around R62k while the QSC’s are… drum roll please!!! R55k!
So my conclusion is that the QSC’s are better on all fronts, in terms of what I was able to deduce from the demo. What I haven’t been able to decide on are several things that could actually swing the conclusion the other way:
Dispersion (Coverage). I listened to the QSC’s in a relatively small room with a low roof, so actually have no REAL picture of what their coverage is like compared to the HK’s
Fatigue. While the QSC system sounded great, I don’t know what I’ll be thinking of the sound after hearing it for an hour. A lot of cheaper speakers, Behringer, Alto and the like can often sound pretty good on first listen, but after 15 mins or so, they can start to sound brittle and harsh… fatigue! This is not because the sound of the system has changed, but that it has worn out your ears!
I only listened to the QSC’s for about 5mins, so really can’t give an opinion on that.
So thats it! now that I have got that out of the way, I should be able get more stuff up on the blog instead of procrastinating this pathetic review!!!
Well, its been several years since I wrote this post, and yet it still seems to be the most popular post on my blog according to the stats… now sure why! Anyway. The one thing I wanted to add is this.
When choosing a PA, one of the often overlooked ‘features’ of a system is durability, availability of spares and the provision of after-sales support. These are things that I can’t review easily and are subject to your location, but i’ll tell you this. At one of our sites, we used a hybrid of the HK E.L.I.A.S. system. (The subs, with Premium PRO 12A mid/highs)
This system worked well for about 5 years. Remember we only really used it for a few hours on a Sunday, and for a handful of events througout the year.
This was until a large event last year where one of the CD Horns on the Premium PRO 12A speakers blew. However, it was very easy, and pretty cheap to get a replacement coil and diaphragm that I replaced myself, and they have been working fine since then.
I haven’t had great experience with HK and spares in Johannesburg, and another system we owned became redundant when one of the mid/highs blew, and they cost more to repair than they were new!
Anyway, that is just our story!