There will come a time in your career when you are looking to improve your performance capabilities. It’s often at this stage where you need to look at your existing speaker setup and make some upgrades. With so much choice out there it can be difficult to select the best powered PA speakers that deliver. In this review, we check out the new generation QSC K12.2.
The K12.2 is the QSC 12 inch powered speakers from their new and updated range. With a host of upgrades and a notable exclusion. It aims to give the professional musician or DJ a robust and lightweight speaker. But does it deliver? Let’s find out.
There is a lot to cover when it comes to the QSC 12.2 so let’s dive into the details of this new model.
By far the first thing to consider with powered speakers is the sound quality. In this area, the QSC K 12.2 is a monster.
The mids and highs are clear and cover a 75-degree axisymetric field. This means that you get an even distribution of sound that can fill small and medium-sized venues. You can extend this to large venues with the addition of a complementary speaker or by adding a subwoofer.
The low-end thump is hefty. Even more so when you switch to “Dance” mode. This makes them an ideal loudspeaker for the working mobile DJ.
The other noticeable aspect is the lack of ear fatigue. I’ve sat through many performances where the sound quality of the loudspeaker begins to irritate my ears. With these, I haven’t come across that issue.
QSC has the working professional in mind. The speaker is solid and well protected. An impact-resistant ABS core helps protect the speaker. A front grille with a cloth lining is also present for further protection. High-quality aluminum handles are also a good addition.
The QSC K12.2 is a durable speaker with high-quality components.
As with all speakers it is best to treat them with care. There have been reports of some people dropping them during setup and the speaker still functioning. I wouldn’t recommend you test this but it is a testament to the durable design mentality behind these speakers.
QSC has managed to develop a durable and long-lasting speaker while still keeping the weight down. The addition of an extended 6-year warranty upon registration also gives extra confidence that they will last.
The QSC 12.2 has a 2000 Watt Class-D amplifier module with a 12-inch low-frequency transducer. There is a 1.4-inch titanium diaphragm compression driver for the high frequencies.
The frequency response is solid at 50Hz – 20 kHz. This gives you ample coverage of the frequencies that a normal human can hear.
The QSC K12.2 is lightweight considering it is a 12-inch speaker.
Backing this up is a loud 126 dB at 1 meter. Even at distance, the sound travels well. You’ll still get plenty of volume at the back end of a hall. Having such a high dB rating also means you do not have to push the speakers to full power to get solid loudness.
A super quiet fan will keep the speaker cool without sounding like a hovercraft is trying to take off.
One of the more impressive specs is the weight. At 17.7kg (39 lbs) they are lightweight compared to other speakers. This makes it easier to transport as well as mount on stands.
The K12.2 QSC has added a selection of functional and useful tuning options.
There is an onboard LCD screen you can navigate using a dedicated dial and two extra buttons. It’s simple to use meaning you won’t need to reference the manual every time you want to make a change. It allows you to select from a range of presets like “Dance” for increased bass.
The QSC K12.2 offers excellent granular control over the output.
You can also fine-tune these to your personal preference or situation. For example, you can change the delay if you have several speakers set up throughout a hall. One notable change is the removal of the “Deep Bass” preset that was present in the previous generation.
This preset helped ramp up the lower end. While you can still fiddle with the settings yourself it was a handy feature that isn’t present in this model.
Another good feature is the ability to save Scenes. You can then load the same Scene if you are ever playing in the same location. This saves time when setting up for a gig. You can lock these settings as well to prevent others from fiddling with your preset.
There is also a 3 channel mixer for those that don’t already have a dedicated mixer board. While basic it does do what you need.
Having the option to balance the mic input with an instrument without a dedicated mixer is a nice touch for those on a tighter budget.
The QSC K12.2 is clean and professional in appearance. Loudspeakers are not about design aesthetics but it’s still nice to have an attractive speaker.
You can use the K12.2 as both the main output or in a floor monitor position thanks to its angular design. This gives you heaps of flexibility when it comes to incorporating these into your sound setup.
The QSC K12.2 is a clean and professional-looking speaker with mounting options.
Plenty of mounting options are also available. You can pole mount them in both forward-facing and a 7.5 degree down tilt. This is especially handy if you find yourself having to set up on a stage overlooking the dance floor.
M10 mounting options are also available if you want to set these up in a flown configuration. This adds to your range of choices when setting up.
The QSC K12.2 is similar in size to other 12-inch powered speakers. The rugged ABS enclosure strikes a good balance between durability without adding too much weight to the unit.
The QSC also offers mounting options making it a versatile 12-inch speaker.
The QSC K 12.2 is a perfect size for a solo speaker. The angular design also allows you to use it as a floor monitor.
A solid selection of connection options is available to suit a variety of applications.
The first two connections are combo jacks that support XLR and TRS. This allows you to connect a range of equipment. These are also XLR outputs to link to other speakers. The first input is for a mic line in or line sensitivity. The second is for line sensitivity or for high-Z which is ideal for instruments. Mix output is also via one XLR connection
Combo jacks that support XLR and TRS are available on the K12.2.
All the XLR connections and the power socket are lockable to prevent accidental unplugging. The speaker doesn’t come with cables so you’ll need to pick up an XLR male to female cable. I’d recommend at least a 25ft cable even if you think you may not need that much length. Having extra length up your sleeve can save you hassles if you find yourself playing at an awkwardly laid-out venue.
An extra 3.5mm TRS input is also available allowing you to plug in other devices like your phone.
The QCS K12.2 is on the higher end of the price scale compared to other brands in the same space. But, the quality of the speaker does offer outstanding value for money. You can spend double on similar speakers and still not have the same level of sound quality that the K12.2 puts out.
Even a solo speaker is a great starting point and in some cases even better than buying a pair of cheaper speakers. But, if you are on a tight budget you may need to settle for an alternative. Luckily, there are still some good speakers out there for less.
What Others Have To Say
It’s hard to find anyone with anything bad to say about the QSC K12.2 speakers. The main complaint comes from the higher price point. Despite this, there are many happy customers.
The Importance of Clarity
Before we dive into the review it’s worth covering how much of an impact clarity has on your performance.
Even the best artist can sound horrible if the clarity is poor. Vocals can become hollow or squeaky. Instruments can lose their musicality. You want to deliver outstanding performances which can lead to further bookings and rave reviews.
One of the challenges is you’re often not able to prepare and test the environment beforehand. In some instances, you may have a short amount of time to set up and run a quick soundcheck. This is where having a solid and dependable set of powered speakers can make your life easier.
If your speakers have good built-in tuning options or presets you can quickly cycle through to find the ideal setting for the venue. If you do have the time run through a quick soundcheck and walk around the venue. This gives you a chance to see if your levels are appropriate and clear.
Understanding the type of events and venues you’ll play at helps you select the right speakers.
Be mindful of the type of gig as well. Is the venue intimate and aimed at a casual crowd to relax and talk? Go for lower volume and clear crisp unobtrusive sound. Is it a rowdy house party? Push the volume as much as possible without losing clarity. You want the bass to be rich and deep. You also want the highs and mids to still get a chance to shine.
Selecting a good powered speaker will help you deliver a quality experience. This will make the patrons and the person that booked you happy. Plus there is nothing like hearing how much people loved your performance.
There is plenty of choice in the speaker space. Here are some other options to consider.
Bose F1 Review
If you need something more flexible and have a larger budget the Bose F1 is an excellent choice. Offering unique and innovative features it also packs a serious punch.
- Exclusive Flexible Array that can handle a variety of gigs.
- Meaty low end for solid bass performance.
- Not suited to cover large venues.
EV ETX 10P Review
Electro-Voice offers a premium range of loudspeakers with the ETX series. The 10-inch model features sublime audio quality along with premium features.
- Rich tonality across the full frequency range with superb clarity.
- Robust and durable materials including a thick plywood cabinet and tough grille.
- This loudspeaker is heavy and not the most comfortable to move around.
Yamaha DBR10 Review
Another well-established brand is Yamaha. The DBR range is a good alternative. While it may be a bit lacking in sound quality it is more affordable.
- Solid construction and lightweight.
- RCA input option for extra flexibility.
- The mids and highs are more pronounced than the low end.
Should You Buy?
While the QSC K12.2 is on the pricier side it is an outstanding powered speaker. If you’re a DJ looking to improve your mobile setup you’ll love the thick low end and tuning options. If you’re part of a band you’ll appreciate the range of inputs and clarity. They are lightweight and offer an attractive design. It’s hard not to recommend the K12.2 to anyone looking for a dependable powered speaker.