Sunday, June 3, 2012

QSC K12 Powered Speaker Review


When I go to clubs and shows I still see oodles of JBL speakers, but the past few years I have started to see a lot more of the QSC K series loudspeakers. I am a fan of these self-powered units, and currently am using two Ksubs, 4 K8s and 2 K12s. We are going to look at my K12 speakers today.

The QSC K12 speakers are one of the miracles of modern engineering and technology, combining the speaker and amplifier into a tidy and lightweight package. The come in at a surprising 41 pounds each, including an integrated 1000-watt (2000 watt peak) power amp and an on-board variable-speed cooling fan keeps the temperatures under control.

The amplifier is a class D (efficient, cheap and small) assembly, with 500 watts going to the 12-inch driver, and 500 watts to the 1 ¾-inchhigh frequency driver. It has a variable power supply from 100 to 240 volts, and both US and Euro spec connectors are included.

Though this is the biggest of the K-series, the enclosure is still relatively small: 24-inches tall by 14-inches wide by 14-inches deep. It is made of ABS plastic, and there is a heavy-duty steel speaker grill. Recessed aluminum handles are built into the top and the side, and the cabinet is shaped so it can be put on its side to be used as a stage monitor. QSC also provide threaded sockets all over these speakers so they can be used in permanent installations with truss clamps or cables. O, for portable use there is a standard-size speaker stand socket in the bottom that tilts up to 7.5-degrees so you can adjust the speaker angle

There are plenty of input options, including combination XLR / 1/4” sockets, as well as RCA jack 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 XLR outputs if you wish to hook up more speakers or a subwoofer. There is a great subwoofer option, the Ksub, which I have written about before.

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).

These specs and features are all first rate, and they have a frequency range of 48 Hz to 20 kHz, and a deafening peak output of 131 dB. This all comes together in the real world as a package that really works. The bigger drivers fill in gaps that my K8s cannot, and they are still clear and punchy, and can be louder than any guitarist I have found. They are very even across the frequency range, and I have not found any hot spots.

These are quality-made speakers, and QSC stand behind the K Series with a 6-year transferrable 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. I never register any products, but I make an exception with QSC because their warranty is that good.

The list price for the QSC K12 powered loudspeakers is $999 each, with a street price of $849. On occasion they go on sale, or B-stock units become available, which gets the price about 100 bucks cheaper, so that is the time to buy. But, even at their normal price, with their sound, size, weight, power capability and warranty, they are worth every penny.



  1. Wow they are awesome I do have the 2-K12 QSC speakers and as I am a mobile dj it is pretty convenient for a dj like me to handled the equipment all alone by myself.
    It is the real value for money & one can really rock a party of 150 pax. I will gone in for one K subs soon.
    Keep rockin
    Cheers-Dj Naz Ferns (Bahrain)

  2. Have you tried this as a bass amp? Just seems more than up to the task...


  3. Just using one of these as a bass amp sounds pretty thin to me. My 2-cents worth...