With their industry-leading K.2 series and KW series, QSC has set the standard for lightweight powered PA loudspeakers. In this buying guide, you can compare K.2 and KW speakers to find the speakers that will be the best fit for your venue or portable PA system.
QSC K.2 Series: Ideal instrument amplification or portable PA
The K.2 series includes the K12.2, K10.2, and K8.2 full-range 2-way powered speakers. QSC also offers the KS112, KS118, and KS212C powered subwoofers.
Get a quick overview of the K.2 series in this video from QSC:
K Stands for Kilowatts: 2000+ Watts Peak Power, 1000 Watts Continuous Power These speakers' built-in Class D power amps employ QSC's Guardrail limiter to prevent destructive clipping distortion and woofer over-excursion, while a virtually silent internal fan turns on when the amp senses high temperatures -- making K.2 speakers ruly robust. These speakers deliver 2000+ watts peak power, 1000 watts continuous power.
What's New in K.2?
As the second generation of QSC's hugely popular K Series, the K.2 Series improves on QSC's standard-setting powered speakers, with updates including...
- More power, higher headroom: True 2025-watt peak (1800 watts LF + 225 watts HF)
- More output: 2-3 dB higher SPL, deeper bass due to complex excursion limiting, and improved voice clarity with flat phase response
- 3-channel onboard mixing with individual gain control
- New rear LCD screen: Easy access to DSP presets and custom settings
- Built-in presets: Dance Music, Stage Monitor, Vocal Monitor, Acoustic Guitar, Bass Guitar, Handheld Mic, Headworn Mic, etc.
- Saveable Scenes: Adjust and save your preset, crossover, delay, EQ, and input A and B sources
- 55-degree-angled corner: All three models can be used as floor monitor wedges
- 3.5mm (1/8") Aux Input with independent gain
- Selectable Hi-Z (high-impedance) input for passive instruments
- Updated styling: Smoother lines, new cloth lining under grille, less obtrusive M10 fasteners, improved center of gravity for pole-mounting with addition of second pole cup
QSC K12.2 full-range 2-way powered speaker
The largest speaker in the K.2 series, the K12.2 weighs 39 pounds and stands 23.7" tall, 14" wide and 13.8" deep. It's loaded with a 12" woofer for the LF driver, and the same 1.4" titanium diaphragm compression driver found on all K.2 full-range speakers. The K12.2 is designed to disperse sound evenly across a 75-degree axisymmetric coverage angle.
The successor to the best-selling QSC K12, the K12.2 is a great choice for portable PA systems. A single K12.2 is also a "secret weapon" for onstage instrument amplification, replacing conventional amps for keyboardists, bassists and guitarists.
The K12.2 delivers a frequency response of 50 Hz - 20 kHz, with a peak 132 dB SPL and continuous 126 dB SPL at 1 meter.
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QSC K10.2 full-range 2-way powered speaker
Loaded with a 10" woofer, the K10.2 is 20.4" tall, 12.6" wide and 11.8" deep. Its compact size makes it a good choice for formal venues/events where your PA needs to fill the room without disrupting the aesthetics of the space, and at only 32 pounds, the K10.2 is easy for one person to set up on a pole.
Even sound dispersion over a 90-degree coverage angle means your K10.2 speakers can be close to the audience without leaving out folks on the sides -- making them excellent PA mains for small venues. And with its angled back corner, the K10.2 makes a great floor monitor.
The K10.2 puts out a frequency response of 56 Hz - 20 KHz, and is rated for a max peak 130 dB SPL, continuous 124 dB SPL.
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QSC K8.2 full-range 2-way powered speaker
The smallest member of the K.2 series, the K8.2 weighs in at just 27 pounds and stands 17.7" tall, 11 wide and 10.6" deep. Like its larger siblings, the K8.2 has a tilt-back corner for floor monitor applications. It delivers even coverage over a very wide 105-degree angle, making efficient use of its 2000 watts.
The K8.2 delivers a frequency response of 49 Hz - 20 KHz, employing switchable DEEP processing for impressive bass response despite its small size -- making it a great choice for a super-portable grab-and-go PA speaker or instrument amp. It's rated for a max peak 128 dB SPL, continuous 122 dB SPL.
Beyond its incredible sound and solid build quality, the K8.2's most impressive spec may be its price-to-performance ratio that rivals nearly any small powered speaker.
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QSC KS Series Subwoofers
Because bass frequencies move much more air than high frequencies, they require larger speaker cones, driven by high-wattage amplifiers. That's why at least one dedicated subwoofer is key in building a great-sounding portable PA system.
The QSC KS112 powered subwoofer delivers 2000 watts peak power with a single 12" woofer. Only 24.5" tall x 15.5" wide x 24.25" deep, the KS112 can sit on its long side to fit under a stage riser in a small club or bar installation. Or you can pole-mount any K.2 speaker atop the KS112 in a sub-satellite configuration. The QSC KS112 weighs 62.6 lbs and comes with 4 quiet casters and ergonomic handles for easy transport. This compact subwoofer is ideal for DJ setups, music playback in small bars, or mobile PAs that need easy-to-transport powered subs.
The QSC KS118 powered subwoofer delivers 3600 watts peak power through an 18" woofer. This very-high-output sub has comfortable handles and four low-noise casters to ease transportation, making it the perfect choice for larger clubs, performance venues, and mobile entertainment for outdoor events that need plenty of power. The KS118 measures 25.2" x 20.5" x 30.9" inches and weighs 104 lbs, with an M20 threaded pole-mount socket that's ideal for mounting a K.2 speaker on top.
Want to aim your bass? Step up to the QSC KS212C K Cardioid subwoofer. This powered sub delivers 3,600 watts peak power, with two 12" drivers in an ingenious cardioid design that delivers 15 dB more output from the front of the cabinet. At 24.5" tall, 15.5" wide, and 33.5" deep, it's modestly sized and weighs 88.5 lbs, and includes four quiet casters. The KS212C has two M20 threaded sockets (one on top, one on the side) for pole-mounting a K.2 speaker, and a speaker pole is included.
The K8.2, K10.2, and K12.2 all have an XLR line output that's perfect for sending a post-gain mono-summed signal to a subwoofer such as the KS112, KS118, or KS212C.
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QSC KW Series: Longer throws, deeper lows for large venues
The KW series includes the KW122 and KW152 full-range 2-way and KW153 full-range 3-way speaker.
Tour-Ready Wood Enclosures. The "W" in "KW" stands for wood. QSC's KW series speaker enclosures are made of machined birch plywood with aluminum handles -- an upgrade to the K.2 series enclosures, which are made from high-impact ABS molded plastic. While wood is heavier, it simply sounds better. The full-range speakers feature 35mm Tilt-Direct pole-mount cups for angling your speakers toward the audience, four-position mic/line gain knobs, M10 rigging points, and rugged enclosures with handles and steel grilles built to stand the test of time.
Consistent Coverage for Large Venues. KW series speakers are made to be splayed. While K.2 series speakers project sound in a cone-shaped pattern, KWs project an axis-symmetric pattern with a more square cross-section. In plain English, K.2 speakers work best as standalone speakers, while KWs lend themselves to being grouped in a cluster of 2 or more speakers, because the square pattern edges match up with each other -- helping to blanket a large venue in consistent sound.
DEEP Mode: Bigger Bass Output, Less Distortion. To get impressive bass output, all K.2s and KWs give you the option of DEEP: Digital Extension and Excursion Processing. Enter DEEP mode via the LCD screen or flip the DEEP switch, and this virtually transparent limiter kicks in to increase the average output of bass frequencies. Much more than just a low-frequency EQ boost, DEEP employs sophisticated DSP to identify and limit brief low-frequency transients while preventing distortion.
Easy Application-Specific EQ Settings. KW series full-range speakers let you control high frequencies with application-specific EQ settings. "Flat" mode is best for full-range music, and "Vocal Boost" is useful increased intelligibility and presence for speech/vocal-only reinforcement. In addition, QSC's Intrinsic Correction EQ implements FIR linear phase filters to adjust the speaker's response, helping deliver consistent sound over the entire audience.
QSC KW122 full-range 2-way powered speaker
While the KW122 and K12.2 are both 2-way 12" speakers with a 75-degree coverage angle and 2000 watts peak power, the models have key differences. To accommodate the KW122's larger tweeter horn, its birch wood cabinet is 26 inches tall and weighs in at 49 pounds.
The KW122 can simultaneously accept mic, line, and stereo RCA inputs, mix all 3 inputs within the speaker, and and then send output to a second daisy-chained KW122. If you're installing a PA that will be fed by multiple mixers, the ability to connect all those inputs is a big plus.
When you need coverage wider than 75 degrees, KW122s work especially well when grouped in a cluster. Even if you're starting out with a single pair of KW122s, these speakers make an excellent starting point for a PA that you plan to expand in the future.
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QSC KW152 full-range 2-way powered speaker
Like all the KW speakers on this page, the KW152 is rated for 2000 watts peak and 1000 watts of continuous power -- but that power is spread over a narrower 60-degree coverage angle. KW152s are "long-throw" speakers: they're built to be farther away from the audience, in larger venues.
Two or more KW152s can be mounted together to cover a 120-degree or wider angle, with minimal overlap -- unlike short- or medium-throw speakers whose wider dispersion patterns would cause comb filtering. The KW152s are excellent "building blocks" of vertical arrays or clusters in large venues, where high SPL is needed at a long distance. A single KW152 also makes an excellent side-fill or drum-fill monitor on stage: the 60-degree pattern lets you aim the speaker precisely where musicians need to hear it, resulting in higher gain before feedback.
Enclosed in birch cabinets, KW152 speakers weigh 64 pounds. Thanks to their powerful 15" drivers, KW152s reach down to 47 Hz, with a max SPL of 133 dB. Flip the External Sub switch to engage a 100 Hz high-pass filter and use your 1000 watts even more efficiently.
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QSC KW153 full-range 3-way powered speaker
The only three-way loudspeaker in the family, the QSC KW153 has dedicated drivers for high, mid, and low frequencies: a 1.75" HF compression driver, a 6.5" midrange cone, and a 15" woofer for the lows. The KW153's 15-inch woofer cone digs down to a thunderous 35 Hz (think "dinosaur footsteps" low), while the dedicated midrange horn reinforces the real star of your mix: the vocals and instrumental solos.
When you're working with a frequency response this wide (35 Hz to 18 KHz), physics prevents the loudspeaker's coverage pattern from being contained to an extremely narrow angle. Still, the KW153 disperses sound over a well-contained 75-degree coverage angle, which makes them a great candidate for cluster applications.
So what kind of application requires a rock star of a loudspeaker like the KW153? Think big venues. KW153s make killer main PA speakers in high-SPL, long-throw applications. Pair them with QSC KS subs in the corners of dance clubs. Set them up as side-fills on large stages. With these speakers in your rig, there aren't many gigs you can't handle. Each KW153 weighs 87 pounds, with handles placed at just the right height to make them portable.
Need another great reason to upgrade to KW153s? Since these speakers boast a frequency response all the way down to 35 Hz, you're that much less likely to require dedicated subs.
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