Monday, February 24, 2014

QSC K10 Powered PA Speakers Review


My favorite sports bar just re-did their sound system, and I notice that they went with QSC K series loudspeakers. I am a fan of these self-powered units, and currently am using two KSubs, two K10s and two K12s. We are going to look at my K10 speakers today, and they are the best-performing speakers in their price range.

QSC K10 speakers a miracle of modern engineering and technology, combining the speaker and amplifier into a tidy and lightweight package. The come in at an amazing 32 pounds each, including an integrated 1000-watt (2000 watt peak) power amp and an on-board variable-speed cooling fan that keeps the temperatures under control.

The amplifier is a class D (efficient, cheap and small) assembly, with 500 watts going to the 10-inch driver, and 500 watts to the 1 ¾-inch high frequency driver. It has a variable power supply from 100 to 240 volts, and both US and Euro spec connectors are included (there is an IEC spec socket on the back).

Though this is the middle-size speaker of the K-series, the enclosure is small: 21-inches tall by 13-inches wide by 12-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, like the K12 (the K8 is not shaped like this). QSC also provide threaded sockets all over these speakers so they can be used in permanent installations with truss clamps or cables. Or, 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).

The specifications are impressive with a frequency range of 56 Hz to 20 kHz, and a deafening peak output of 129 dB. This all comes together in the real world as a package that really works. The bigger drivers fill in gaps that my old K8s could not, 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.

I mostly use my K10s as floor monitors in conjunction with my K12s as house speakers. They replaced my Mackie Thumps, both of which crapped out within a year of purchase. The QSCs are rock-solid, and I cannot imagine wanting anything more than what they can provide.

Unlike the Thumps, these are quality-made speakers, and QSC stand behind the K Series with a 6-year transferable 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 K10 powered loudspeakers is $899 each, with a street price of $749. 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. Mahalo!

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