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Best Powered Speaker on the Market for its Size!!!
on April 3, 2014
Being a mobile DJ for 26 years and having used several sets of passive speakers in that time, I wanted to make sure I did my “homework” before I made the leap into powered speakers. My criteria for the powered speakers was that they:
- needed to be under 45 lbs.
- have enough power to do a mid-to-large event
- sound good when cranked up
- have the features I needed (flexible inputs, daisy chaining, etc.).
- have a good reputation (quality and warranty)
After compiling a list of prospective models, I took a weekend and listened to the models side-by-side (luckily, my local Guitar Center had just about all of them on display for me to test). For each speaker comparison, I:
- set all EQ to flat in the source, mixer, and on the speaker itself.
- made sure the level was compensated so that the loudness (DB output) to my ears would be the same when I switched between the speakers.
- positioned myself in the same position and distance from each speaker
- played the same source material in each (and varied the source material as necessary to get a balanced feel for what the speaker could do).
- played the speakers at varying volume levels
I tried all the top brands and models: Mackie SRM450v2, EV (SXA100+, EV ELX112P), JBL (EON515XT, PRX612M), Yamaha (MS400, DXR12), Behringer (VP1220D, B112D, B912Neo), QSC K12, and Peavey Impulse 12D.
During the testing, for any two given speakers, I would pick a “better sounding” speaker and use that speaker in my next comparison. After I reached the QSC K12 in my testing, I liked the sound so much that I used that as my “reference” speaker from that point on and went back and compared it against all of the speakers I was testing. It was after this extensive exercise that I determined that the QSC K12, hands down, was the winner (it was also the most expensive, but I wanted to find the best).
The reasons I chose the QSC K12:
- The sound was the most balanced and natural sounding of any PA speaker I have heard (powered or not). At mid-to-high volumes, most Pro sound speakers have a tendency to overemphasize the high-end and upper midrange frequencies, which are the precisely the ones that cause “ear fatigue” when you are exposed to them for any length of time. On the K12s, you can particularly note the difference when playing Jazz and Big Band music (for example, Frank Sinatra’s vocals had more of a “megaphone/honky” quality to it on the other speakers).
- The bass was clean and tight, especially when enabling the “deep” switch setting on back. No other speakers (with the exception of the Yamaha MS400) could match its bass response at any volume in this mode.
- It was made in the USA and backed up with a 6 year warranty
A few weeks after I bought the K12s, I decided to put them to a test at my next DJ event (a mid-size wedding of 175 people) that was held in a converted airplane hangar. As you can imagine, the environment was not well-suited for acoustics (30 foot ceiling, cement floor, glass on the entire back wall). However, these speakers turned out to be ideal in such a “live” environment. Because of their natural sound, they did not generate the ”ear fatigue” that would normally occur with other speakers in this setting. They were also slightly less prone to feedback than what I am used to.
Needless to say, I would highly recommend these speakers to anyone who wants the most natural sound from a “turnkey” sound system (i.e., one where you don’t have to contend with separate speakers, amps, equalizers, phase correction, etc.).