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Powered speaker saga - with a happy ending


TommyRude
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I know there are some extensive threads on this specific topic, sharing my situation.

 

I had 2 QSC K10s.  A while back, my car was broken into and they took one.  Why they only took one, who knows.  Stolen from the Tenderloin area of San Francisco, lots of crazies around there.  So, I had only one.  Side story - stolen out of the back of my suv, the broken glass was everywhere, into those little tiny cubes - including some that managed to shower into the little speaker jack holes and into the body of the speaker... GREAT!!  I managed to get those out painstakingly.  Moral of the story - do not leave anything in your car when in the Tenderloin.  Even better, do not park your car anywhere in the Tenderloin!

 

Back on topic - I liked the K10s, but they are heavy, so I decided to lighten up and scale down to the k8.2s.  All the discussion in the prior threads was super helpful.  Perusing those threads, I decided to go with the EV ZAX1s.  8" and only 19lbs, yes!  So I got them, excitedly unbox, plug them in, they sound great!  All good right?  NO.  Although they sounded great - 2 major problems from my perspective.  1) the hole for the speaker stand is not ideal - the hole is towards the back on the unit.  Putting them on a shorty stand, the entire thing is unbalanced and very easily tips over/forward - NOT GOOD!  The alternative, put them on a small footstool, which works.  2) The handle.  The design is far from ideal.  It's kind of a recessed slot, hard to hang onto, easy to drop.  NO GOOD!  So, too bad, they sounded great.

 

So, back to the original plan - get the QSC K8.2s.  Easy peasy, just go and order them right?  NOPE.  Back ordered at Sweetwater, Guitar Center, Musician's Friend, EVERYWHERE.  Assuming it's the covid exacerbated supply chain issue.  So I went to the QSC website - they have a "Buy Online" section, which lists out all the locations with links - very handy!  But the same story - going through all the links, same story, out of stock, back ordered everywhere.  But ONE place showed that they had them in stock.  Only ONE. (IDJNow)  I called them to make sure, and sure enough they had them.  They were surprised they had them as well.  SCORED!

 

Here's a pic of the ZXA1 - the recessed handle.  I can't find a pic of the pole hole..

ZXA1_rear-trans.png&width=298&height=460

 

 

 

Some music I've recorded and played over the years with a few different bands

Tommy Rude Soundcloud

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I find that the DJ supply stores often have great inventory and competitive prices on certain items.  KPODJ is another.

 

The other outfit that's starting to impress me with good inventory is Adorama.  I'm buying a bunch of geeky AV-type stuff, they always have it and it gets here fast.  Like digicams that no one else has.  And guitar pedals -- ?

 

Congrats on the K8.2s.  I got mine when they first came out, and have never regretted purchasing them.

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Life is too short to be playing bad music.

 

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Yeah, the handle on the EV is an annoyance. Though largely ameliorated if you transport them in a suitable carry bag. (In fact, the carry bag for the QSC K8 series fits perfectly.) As for the balance on a tripod, I haven't run into that. Maybe it depends on the particular tripod stand, and how far out you can put its feet? I have used it on both short and full-height stands, though. But the K8.2 is great, too... enjoy!

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Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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I have experience with the QSC backorder situation as well.  Back in November, one of my K8.2s blew an amp module.  Even though it was four years old, it still had two years of warranty and I took it to my local QSC authorized repair shop.  I was informed by the tech that it would be April before he had the amp module and it is still sitting there in the shop.  I knew they were not available at any of the dealers, but I searched and found one from an Ebay dealer in a sealed box for $699!  I bought that (I play in stereo on stage) and sometime soon will have 3 of them.  The price has since gone up to $819 MAP.

 

-dj

iMac i7 12.6.1

Studio One 5.5.2

Nord Stage 3

Nord Wave 2

Nektar T4

Drawmer DL 241

Focusrite ISA Two

Focusrite Clarett 8 Pre

 

 

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I tend to like big audio systems, simply because a balanced sound will in optima forma not come from somewhere else. Of course i'ts fun to have a small system sound pretty great, and in the direction of that hobby I like the JBL Charge 5 when it works on my corrected HiFI tracks: that sounds like a real stereo from the 80s sometimes, pretty fun for a small battery powered watertight box.

 

My own mid-sized powered monitors have proven to work for presentations and some music reproductions, but small speakers and only 2-way isn't great even if it is really clean. Unfortunately the way a lot of digital has been put together, low has suffered and DAC reconstruction errors have been (unrightfully) promoted to feature status. All (relatively small) powered products suffer from a number of flaws stemming from their size and type of amplification, which  is a bit sad.

 

Tommy. what is that heavy music behind your soundcloud link ?

 

Theo V

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Thanks guys, bands I was in back in the day. None made it big, but was great fun and I was lucky to play and collaborate with some great musicians, writers, singers. This was late 80s, early 90s, right before grunge hit and this style basically disappeared overnight.  

 

Drawback, fyi - one of the songs you mention (Always) was all on a D-50.  Another song (When you Love Someone) was a challenge to pull off live, for certain riffs I used a Roland sampler with floppy discs, that was touch and go!

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Some music I've recorded and played over the years with a few different bands

Tommy Rude Soundcloud

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I'm actually going to sell my pair of QSC K10s that I've had for 7 years.   I decided that for the improvement and money I'm going to replace them with a pair of RCF ART 910s.  I have also looked at the K8.2 and the K10.2, but they have just had signfiicant price increases during the supply chain problems.   I think that RCF would still be a nice improvement over the original K10 set I have, even if they don't have all of the DSP and features of the K10.2/K8.2.  I do think that RCF is pricing to be very competitive in the US now. 

 

Also, as far as an 8 inch pair for practice at home and small gigs, I'm going to add a set of Alto TS-308s.   Not making this a competition with QSC but those little Alto TS speakers are clear, loud, light and cheap.  Much better than what you would expect in a speaker in the $250 price range for sure.

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Yamaha U1 Upright, Roland Fantom 8, Yamaha YC88, Nord Stage 3C, Nord Wave 2, Viscount Legend Live, Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 Mk2, Arturia V Collection 8, Komplete 13 Ultimate

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UPDATE:  Maybe not so happy ending yet.  I received the K8.2s, set 'em up, fired up the rig and WHOA....  nothing near how nice the ZAX1's sounded?!?  Very boomy / muddy, weak highs.  Tried with multiple patches - some better than others, but AP suffering.  I definitely need to experiment with the various settings (what they call "voicings"), but out of the box, using the default settings, there is no comparison to the EVs.  GLAD I haven't yet returned the EVs!  In the case I can't get comfortable with the QSCs, I'll stick with the EVs and deal with the issues I mentioned earlier (handle / pole hole).  In the end, the sound quality by far outweighs any other factors in this decision.

Some music I've recorded and played over the years with a few different bands

Tommy Rude Soundcloud

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Interesting observation, Tommy. When I first put the K8.2 up against the ZXa1, I thought both were good but the QSC was better (and both were better than the earlier K8). The QSC also clearly has other advantages (higher max SPL, more input flexibility, internal fan to avoid possible thermal issues e.g. on outdoor gigs, possibly preferable dispersion characteristics), but I also felt the QSC had the sonic edge. But then I more recently--and only very briefly--had the opportunity to hear them side-by-side again, and this time I thought the EV was better! It may have to do with their relative placements both times, these were not scientific tests, they were not necessarily set up at identical heights, at identical distances from me, etc. So honestly, I'm not sure which I think sounds better. But they're both good speakers, and I'll be curious what you determine when you can spend a bit more time with the QSCs.

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Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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1 hour ago, TommyRude said:

UPDATE:  Maybe not so happy ending yet.  I received the K8.2s, set 'em up, fired up the rig and WHOA....  nothing near how nice the ZAX1's sounded?!?  Very boomy / muddy, weak highs.  Tried with multiple patches - some better than others, but AP suffering.  I definitely need to experiment with the various settings (what they call "voicings"), but out of the box, using the default settings, there is no comparison to the EVs.  GLAD I haven't yet returned the EVs!  In the case I can't get comfortable with the QSCs, I'll stick with the EVs and deal with the issues I mentioned earlier (handle / pole hole).  In the end, the sound quality by far outweighs any other factors in this decision.

Exactly what I found with the QSC's.  No way suitable for full range keyboard and Hammond clones.  When you push them the sound becomes honky.  I never understood why they have so many fans and why people pay ridiculous prices for them.  I have been using EV's for years.  No comparison. The EV's are superior, lightweight, and about half the price ($450!).  I now gig with a pair of EV ZLX-12 (bought them years ago when they first came out for $250 a piece). Full range for my Hammond work even when pushed (and I never have to push them, even in a loud classic rock band). The QSC's struggle and pathetically die when pushed... and they need to be pushed for the gigs I play. 

 

Screen Shot 2022-03-04 at 9.20.38 AM.png

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'55 and '59 B3's, Leslies 147, 122, 21H, Motif XS7, Mellotrons M300 and M400, Wurlitzer 200, Gibson G101, Vox Continental, Mojo
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12 minutes ago, HammondDave said:

Exactly what I found with the QSC's.  No way suitable for full range keyboard and Hammond clones.  When you push them the sound becomes honky.  I never understood why they have so many fans and why people pay ridiculous prices for them.  I have been using EV's for years...I now gig with a pair of EV ZLX-12. Full range for my Hammond work even when pushed

 

 

Also picking up from my previous post... I actually never compared the speakers using organ. The first time I compared them, it was only with piano, which I think is the toughest to get right in timbre, but is probably not as demanding as organ in the "when pushed" department, since the organ sound can be more "unrelenting." I don't remember what sound(s) I was using in the brief recent comparison, but it wasn't organ.

 

Though also, the EV you're using has a 12" woofer, and we're talking about 8s. So if we're talking about the full bottom of an organ, I'd pretty much expect the 12" EV to outperform the others in that particular aspect. (Heck, the Leslie 122 had a 15!) When comparing 8" to 8" (ZXa1 to K8.2), I wonder if that particular EV-to-QSC full range (specifically, full bottom) distinction still holds. Neither is going to shake the walls with bass pedals.

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Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Let the shootout begin!  (actually it will have to wait - we're heading out for the weekend)

I'll experiment with various patches, AP, B3, Synth et al, with the Nord, Mainstage, and any other stuff that hits my brain at the moment.  Note that in my original setup, I had the speakers on small footstools (not these chairs I'm showing) - I'll want to replicate the actual planned use as much as possible.

evqsc-shootout.jpeg

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Some music I've recorded and played over the years with a few different bands

Tommy Rude Soundcloud

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10 minutes ago, TommyRude said:

Let the shootout begin!  (actually it will have to wait - we're heading out for the weekend)

I'll experiment with various patches, AP, B3, Synth et al, with the Nord, Mainstage, and any other stuff that hits my brain at the moment.  Note that in my original setup, I had the speakers on small footstools (not these chairs I'm showing) - I'll want to replicate the actual planned use as much as possible.

evqsc-shootout.jpeg

SWEET!  Looking forward to your report.

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'55 and '59 B3's, Leslies 147, 122, 21H, Motif XS7, Mellotrons M300 and M400, Wurlitzer 200, Gibson G101, Vox Continental, Mojo
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So I just tried it for a quick second - and realized that when I switch between setups, I have to trudge around,, walk over, unplug, plug, trudge back, and in those short moments I forgot what it sounded like!  hahaha... I guess I'll have to find a way to have a more instant A/B switcharoo to make this more efficient.

Some music I've recorded and played over the years with a few different bands

Tommy Rude Soundcloud

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Yes. If you were comparing them in mono, you could connect one to each side of a mixer and pan from one side to the other. Stereo is trickier, but you might be able to do do something if you have a mixer that has multiple stereo outs (a stereo monitor send, or stereo submixes with their own outputs). Otherwise, if you don't mind a little investment, this 4x1 stereo switcher will do the job for $13, assuming you have a bunch of RCA-to-1/4" cables/adapters. I've used it for similar purpose.

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Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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This is quite interesting. Many years ago I had the original QSC 10s and was very happy with them. Due to many positive reports here about how good the EV zx-a1’s were for acoustic piano, and my idea of getting smaller/lighter speakers, I bought an EV for comparison.  I was not impressed at all with it. Not even close the the QSC’s. Also, I had some problem with cutting out, buzz, etc, can’t remember exactly, but an internet search revealed this was a common issue, and I returned it. Maybe be got a bad one?   
 

I had retired from doing gigs in 2010 after well over 30 yrs of playing out and shortly after sold my QSC’s. Fast forward to about 3 years ago I got the itch to gig again. Due to so many positive reviews, I purchased the 8.2s. To my ears they sound harsher and with less definition than my memory of the 10s. Also, even in some moderately loud rehearsals the 8.2s are getting warm with reduced output. Not reliable. The old 10s were rock solid for years. 
 

A bit OT, but I’ve noticed as I have gotten older, I swear I hear sounds differently on different days. Some days things (organ, piano, synth) just don’t sound the same. Makes doing comparison tests difficult. Getting old sucks…
 

But looking forward to your comparison though! 

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Yamaha C2, Yamaha MODX7, Hammond SK1, Hammond XK-5 Heritage Pro System, Korg Kronos 2 61, Yamaha CP4, Kurzweil PC4-7, Nord Stage 3 73, Nord Wave 2, QSC 8.2, Motion Sound KP 210S,  Key Largo, etc…yeah I have too much…

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Oh…just a thought. I think I see a Key Largo in the picture above?  Go stereo with one set using the mains out and the other monitor out. You should then be able to quickly switch from one pair to the other. No? 

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Yamaha C2, Yamaha MODX7, Hammond SK1, Hammond XK-5 Heritage Pro System, Korg Kronos 2 61, Yamaha CP4, Kurzweil PC4-7, Nord Stage 3 73, Nord Wave 2, QSC 8.2, Motion Sound KP 210S,  Key Largo, etc…yeah I have too much…

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A mono vs. mono sound test might be a more direct way for your brain to assess the sound quality.

Part of the magic of stereo sound is its ability to make everything sound so much better .... even if the speakers themselves are not great. I experienced this with a low-quality stereo LP player product that I bought used as a teenager.

So if you can only figure out a way to do an A / B test that uses only a single speaker at a time, that might actually be a good way to do it.

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Hookie, the K10 is a bit of a different animal, so it is not necessarily surprising that you like it better than either of the 8s.

 

Harmonizer, with the Nord having a reputation for not being as strong as some other pianos for mono (despite a mono button that is specifically supposed to optimize the pianos for mono use), using that mono sound source may indeed be useful as you say, though it may not yield a conclusion as to which of two good speakers is better, but rather, which is less disappointing. ;-)

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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FWIW, my "benchmark" for any powered speaker is unprocessed APs.  If they can't do that well, I won't be interested.  However ...

 

Other players may have other benchmarks.  That's one of the things that makes making speaker comparisons hard -- not everyone is looking for the same thing.  There's a long list of questions (how will you use it, what material, what sort of venues, etc.) before I can make an informed opinion.

 

Or I just tell them to buy a pair of K8.2s and put them on poles.  Lots of people are happy with that, ditto with ZXA1s and similar.  Now that I'm using IEMs more frequently, there's less need to drag thousands of watts with me to every gig.

Life is too short to be playing bad music.

 

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4 hours ago, AnotherScott said:

Yes. If you were comparing them in mono, you could connect one to each side of a mixer and pan from one side to the other. Stereo is trickier, but you might be able to do do something if you have a mixer that has multiple stereo outs (a stereo monitor send, or stereo submixes with their own outputs). Otherwise, if you don't mind a little investment, this 4x1 stereo switcher will do the job for $13, assuming you have a bunch of RCA-to-1/4" cables/adapters. I've used it for similar purpose.

Hey I just remembered, I have an XAir gathering some dust, hook that up, crank up the iPad, bing bang bong

Some music I've recorded and played over the years with a few different bands

Tommy Rude Soundcloud

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30 minutes ago, zxcvbnm098 said:

This is all very interesting as I am considering getting some 8" PPA speakers in the near future. 

 

My overall thought though is I wonder with NAMM only 3 months away what might be introduced by both (and more) companies in this size?

true true Mike... I'm sure cooler / better / lighter sound is coming!

Some music I've recorded and played over the years with a few different bands

Tommy Rude Soundcloud

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On 3/4/2022 at 9:19 PM, hookie said:

Oh…just a thought. I think I see a Key Largo in the picture above?  Go stereo with one set using the mains out and the other monitor out. You should then be able to quickly switch from one pair to the other. No? 

Actually, the monitor and the main from Key Largo is ( or are ?, was sick that day at school)not identical. There is lower output on the monitor send.

 

(Following this thread with interest, got a pair of K8.2 after all the great reviews here, but have not been to happy with them. There is something wrong in the heigh mid register - thin and sticky)

/Bjørn - old gearjunkie, still with lot of GAS
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11 minutes ago, TommyRude said:

I'm sure cooler / better / lighter sound is coming!

 

Speakers are a pretty basic technology, big changes come pretty slowly. There was a big advance with Class D amplifiers, in terms of getting high power from a lightweight amplifier. The more recent advance has been in DSP, I guess more digital processing is what we'll see next.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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48 minutes ago, bjosko said:

Actually, the monitor and the main from Key Largo is ( or are ?, was sick that day at school)not identical. There is lower output on the monitor send.

 

(Following this thread with interest, got a pair of K8.2 after all the great reviews here, but have not been to happy with them. There is something wrong in the heigh mid register - thin and sticky)

yeah... forgot to respond to hookie - - yes, it is a key largo.  I could do that - - but noting that the monitor inputs are 1/4" and the main inputs are XLRs, so would be comparing with diff cables (not sure if that would make a huge difference)

Some music I've recorded and played over the years with a few different bands

Tommy Rude Soundcloud

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