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Thread: REVIEW: QSC K10 - VS - Bose L1 Model 2

  1. #1
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    REVIEW: QSC K10 - VS - Bose L1 Model 2

    At the local Guitar Center store, I spent the better part of a couple hours comparing the QSC K8, K10 and Bose L1, Model 2 speakers. The K8 was quickly ruled out of competition since it didn't sound anywhere close to the Bose or K10. The K8 sounded flat, even at moderate volumes, and I could hear the 8" woofer straining at very loud levels. Even though the K8 & K10 uses the exact same compression driver for the highs, the baffle is different, and it shows in overall clarity and depth of the K10 over the K8. Simply put...the K8 was NO competition.

    I entered the shootout with a VERY open mind & excitement for the Bose...after all, the sheer number of DJ's in love with the Bose AND the number of guests & clients raving about them simply can't be wrong!!!!

    My review
    QSC K10 (without Ksub). K10 set at both Normal and DEEP settings. The K10 was on a tripod, with the horn set at about 6 feet high. The K10's clarity was surprising as soon as I heard it. No matter what the volume, the highs to bass was perfectly seemless. When the PA dept. manager cranked it up, the sound was almost painful to hear, but it was never strained and the clarity of music never suffered. Though the manager did not have any bass booming booty songs popular for parties the variety of songs did have plenty of low bass signals to provide a full spectrum of audio. Unlike many pro PA speakers I've used and heard in my many years of DJing, the compression horn was never harsh, even at LOUD volumes. It simply gave the music a depth and clarity I've never EVER heard before in such a small package. In either NORMAL or DEEP settings, I could not hear the woofer bottom out or reach its limits. There was another K10 sitting on the floor and I picked it up and man-handled it to see how it felt in my hands. Though the 32lbs is a bit more than my intended goals of lightening my equipment load weight, it still felt very good in my one hand. I was able to pick it up and curl it (as if uisng barbells) without much effort with one hand. Picking it up over my head with 2 hands is effortless as well.
    The manager wanted me to hear the K12 and hooked it up for me. Yes, it DID sound really really good, but the difference in sound quality between the K10 & K12 was minimal....unlike the difference between the K8 & K10. The K12's 12" woofer did provide a bit more warmth to the music, as expected. Due to its size and qwest for down-sizing, the K12 was not in consideration.

    K10 WITH the Ksub: FUH-GETTA-BOUTIT....MAN, the bass was deeep and smoooth from the Ksub. I thought, though, that it was too much for the K10, and a K12 would be a better companion. But...the manager did have the Ksub cranked. For a more balanced sound with the K10, the Ksub should be tamed by turning the gain level down. Had it not been for the 74lb weight, I would have bought 2 as well, but I MUST limit my individual equipment weight to around 50lbs since there are several venues here that have no elevators and a long flight of stairs. The Ksub also sits pretty deep...seemed too bulky to be easily carried by one person. Also, this is NOT a subwoofer as the name may imply, but an extremely good woofer. Though there was no booty bass to use as a test, I am guessing that its specs of 44hz @ -10db would show that the LOOOW sub-bass notes will not be reproduced by the Ksub. An example is my current 15" (Eminence Kappa 15LF) woofers in custom 4.5 c.f cabinets are designed for an F3 of 40hz.

    BOSE L1, Model 2 (with just one bass module)
    I simply have yet to find ANY pro PA speaker that is as pleasing to the eye as the Bose L1 system. It looks so dang elegant and unassuming as it sits there, almost looking more like a room decoration than a DJ speaker. Next to the Model 2 was a Model 1...my jaw dropped at how large the base of the Model 1 was. I would assume it would be pretty bulky to load in & out. The manager tinkered around with the Tone Match module to get the best sound from the decent sized room (not sure what the final settng was..never got to see the setting). The exact same songs were played as the QSC tests. The first thing you notice from the sound is the classic "wall of sound" that line arrays are famous for. No matter where I stood at an angle to the L1, the sound appeared the same. It finally lost it's impact when I was about 8 feet from it and to it's side. I'm sure that's due to the articulated drivers of the Model 2 allowing an even wider soundstage than the Model 1 (whose drivers all face forward).
    I have read up on the Bose L1 extensively prior to this test. I was actually very excited to FINALLY hear them and give them a test drive. I was aware that the L1's have a upper frequency rating of 12khz, unlike the typical 16khz for "normal" PA speakers. Obviously, this is due to the small full range driver limitations, which nearly all line arrays using the single driver design suffers from.
    Although the fullness of the sound was extremely impressive, I did notice the lack of highs in the music. The upper frequenciy range of a tweeter help to provide a crispiness and "open depth of the music program. The L1 didn't provide that. The best analogy would be to cover your tweeter with a thick cloth and give it a listen. You'll notice the crispiness of the highs will be muted, though not lost. This was the case with the L1. The sound was Very GOOD...just not Amazing. I did mention to the manager that almost every DJ I talked with said the best setup is 2 L1 sticks and 4 bass modules. He agreed but said he only had the single bass module hooked up. The manager didn't crank it up as loud as the QSC's, but even at the louder levels, the sound didn't seem bad at all. They were definately better than the K8's.
    Setup of the L1 was a breeze. The line array was in 2 sections, and the top section simply slid into the bottom...no need for a connection. A modular connector automatically makes the connection. VERY NICE!!!

    We went back to the K10. Once again, you immediately notice the clarity of the highs compared to both the QSC K8 & the Bose L1, Model 2. As for the lows, the QSC K10, by itself had a very similar sound as the L1's bass reproduction with just one bass module. Overall, the sound of the K10 versus the L1, Model 2 was quite similar, EXCEPT for much better highs of the K10.

    My guess is that two Ksubs will provide noticeably more bass than 4 Bose bass modules, but the Ksubs are much heavier and bulkier.

  2. #2
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    I second the K10, great speaker and lost of in/out options. But the EV ELX112P has got me very curious, it even has a great mix panel like the K.

    Wish someone would a/b them or the K12 for a same woofer size shootout.

    The Yamaha DSR112 has very limited in/out.

  3. #3
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    The manager also wanted me to hear the new JBL PRX 12" powered speaker. Ran out of time for a demo, but even if I loved it a 12" is too large for my equipment goals so never mind. I did take a look at the back and it only has one input and a feed through out, and a couple knobs. I also did not see any cooling fans on the back, so that has me wondering how it would hold up in the heat of summer at an outdoor event.

  4. #4
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    I love my K12's. Absolutely love them.

    I do like the look of the Bose for a clean look for certain situations. I'd love to have the budget to have both systems.

  5. #5
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    I have both setups...and love both of them. you won't be disappointed whichever route you take. I would decide based on what type of function you most use it for.

    For weddings: Bose
    For all others: QSC

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  7. #6
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    I bought some k12's last fall. i've never been happier. i use them with powered carvin 18" subs. amazing combo
    DJ Mad Maxx: Your Professional Wedding Disc Jockey
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  8. #7
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    K10 or K12 for ceremony use for about 120 people or less? Would like to use just one.

  9. #8
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    Discodenny: If you're going to use one speaker, I would go for the one with the larger angle of dispersion. That would be the K10 over the K12.

    JOE A. DELFIN (JAMMIN'DOWN JD)

    Mobile DJ/Event Planner, ChicagoPremiereDJs | Broadcast Consultant, JamTraxx Media

  10. #9
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    I have 2 K12s plus KSub. I am sure we are not unique, but ceremony music is becoming more and more of an add on.

  11. #10
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    If you are sinply trying to fill a need for a ceremony system, call Cap Capello, get a Bose Compact and you will absolutely not regret it. A wireless signal from and out-of-sight position board and proper planning make the system flawless and almost invisible...with the right trees or ceremonial fixtures, it is almost impossible to spot unless you are looking for it.

    I have used my Bose Compact for several ceremonies (from 50 to 100 attendees, indoors and out) and cannot imagine an easier or more functionally appropriate system.

    Reception systems are another matter and have been debated to death...so let's not do that here.
    Rocky 'djrox' Bourg
    Father/Husband/Son/Brother/American

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by djrox View Post
    If you are sinply trying to fill a need for a ceremony system, call Cap Capello, get a Bose Compact and you will absolutely not regret it. A wireless signal from and out-of-sight position board and proper planning make the system flawless and almost invisible...with the right trees or ceremonial fixtures, it is almost impossible to spot unless you are looking for it.

    I have used my Bose Compact for several ceremonies (from 50 to 100 attendees, indoors and out) and cannot imagine an easier or more functionally appropriate system.

    Reception systems are another matter and have been debated to death...so let's not do that here.
    Rocky, I would agree that the sheer beauty of the Bose Compact makes it an ideal PA for the elegance a wedding ceremony requires. Considering my test run of the L1 Model 2 seems to hint that they are best suited for pristine vocal reproduction, I'd say it's a win-win for ceremonies.

  13. #12
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    I think the K-series sound incredible, with that said the L1 system is a completely different beast and cannot be compared side by side with a speaker on a stick without using a separate board or separate setting for each speaker.

    The L1 is a line array system that has to be tweaked to get the perfect sound out of it, once you take the time to do this there is no "Speaker"in its market that can come close to the sound .

    I enjoy both my L1's and also all my other speakers, in fact it was very hard for me to sell my JBL prx15's..
    Jake Klein
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  14. #13
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    The issue I have with the K10 is the throw. Being conical the horn doesn't project well.

  15. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockingdj View Post
    The issue I have with the K10 is the throw. Being conical the horn doesn't project well.
    I've had no troubles covering typical rooms with K12s (I think the horn is similar), or U15s, or Ramsas that use conical shaped horns.
    If you have big spaces that need really deep projection, a lightweight K-box probably isn't the right fit.

  16. #15
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    With the K Series-- the deeper the throw, the narrower the dispersion. Pretty simple.
    K8 = shortest throw, widest dispersion
    K12 = farthest throw, narrowest dispersion
    The K10 sits in the middle.

    JOE A. DELFIN (JAMMIN'DOWN JD)

    Mobile DJ/Event Planner, ChicagoPremiereDJs | Broadcast Consultant, JamTraxx Media

  17. #16
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    Good review. You were comparing a $700 speaker with one at 2k, so who gives the better value? You could have saved me 5 minutes in reading time by saying "QSC sound good!" (in a caveman voice)

    I own a pair of the K-12's, I own a pair of the Bose L1's and I own a pair of the KW152's...I'm going to keep the Bose, but sell one of the pairs of QSC's.

    My main usage is for weddings and the Bose provide the look (image) and sound I like to project. I don't use the Bose subs though. I found that one JBL 18" PRX sub put out much more thump than 4 of the Bose units. (and I likes thump!)

    I purchased the K-12's last summer to use for satellite purposes...an extra speaker in the outer room or for ceremonies, but now I find myself using them for events that require more 'water pressure' than the Bose can give me. They're OK by themselves, but combined with that JBL sub, the K-12's sound pretty sweet!!

    I picked up the KW152's in December. They have a much bolder look, being a little taller. And give you just a little more of all the things that are good in the smaller speaker. You could use these without a sub and get away with it. They're just a little too heavy for this old timer...so I think they're the one's that are going. (They're just 64 lbs! I remember carrying my Yamaha speakers at 96 lbs. up flights of stairs...that was 25 years ago though)

    I'm drooling over the KW181 sub right now. Trying to justify the expenditure.

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