Thursday, July 22, 2010

QSC K8 Powered Loudspeakers

Remember the good old days, when you wanted the largest speakers you could find, because bigger was better? QSC’s K8 loudspeakers prove that this theory is as dead as Chief Gates.

The QSC K8 speakers are a miracle of modern engineering and technology. The come in at a mere 27 pounds each, including an integrated 1000-watt (2000 watt peak) power amp. An on-board variable-speed cooling fan is included as well.

The amplifier is a class D (lightweight!) unit, with 500 watts going to the 8-inch driver, and 500 watts to the 1 ¾-inch driver. It has a variable power supply from 100 to 240 volts, and US and Euro spec connectors are both included.

The enclosure is small: only 17-inches tall by 11-inches wide by 10-inches deep. It is made of ABS plastic, and there is a heavy-duty steel speaker grill. A recessed aluminum handle is built into the top.

There are plenty of input options, including combination XLR/1/4” sockets, as well as RCA jacks, in case you would like to hook up an iPod or CD player without using a mixing board. There are also line and mix level XL outputs if you wish to hook up more speakers or a subwoofer. There is a great subwoofer option, the Ksub, which I will be writing about in my next blog post.

There are also quite a few controls on the back of these speakers. You get two gain controls, as well as two digital signal processing options for low frequency (Ext Sub/Norm/DEEP) and high frequency (Flat and Vocal Boost).

For mounting the speakers, there are a couple of cool options. The standard-size speaker stand socket in the bottom actually tilts up to 7.5-degrees so you can adjust the speaker angle. Also, there are threaded sockets on the top and sides of the speakers so they are easier to mount with cables, should you decide to hand them from the ceiling (or a truss, or a tree...).

QSC stand behind their products with a 6-year warranty, which is the best I have seen on any power speakers. Just make sure that you register them with QSC, or you are S.O.L.

So, on paper these speakers look like the best thing since canned beer. They have a frequency range of 61 Hz to 20 kHz, and a peak output of 127 dB. And the real world it all comes together and these things actually work. They have small drivers, so they are little light on bass performance, but they are clear and punchy, and can be as loud as a steel foundry that is stamping out the gates of Hell. They are very even across the frequency range, and I have not found any hot spots. They are the real deal.

The list price for the QSC K8 is $759 each, with a street price of $649. But, with their sound, size, weight, power capability and warranty, they are worth every penny.

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