Loud, clean and powerful are keywords for both vocal and keyboard amplification, so it was with little apprehension that I used the QSC K12 as my keyboard monitoring rig over the weekend at one of my casino performances.


By Jim Presley

Rated a 1000 watts of power, the K12 certainly had enough juice to be heard above the drums, the guitarist’s rig and the roar of the audience (okay, maybe not a roar…but the sound of throng of people partying, the noise of the bar, the slot machines and gaming table at full throttle).


The 12 inch woofer/high frequency cabinet’s design is such that it can function as a floor wedge monitor, and it has a pole mount (that can tilt!) on the end (or bottom, depending how it is positioned) so it can be used as a standard P.A. cabinet.  The benefits of such a design is immediately apparent, as for a smaller gig the K12’s can be used for house sound…and at larger gig’s where a P.A. is provided, the K12 can serve as addition floor monitors or personal amplification; such as my use of the system for keyboards.



The K12 has a small, but functional, 2 channel pre-amp built into the back panel.  The input of each channel is a combo XLR/1/4” jack, accepting either a mic cable or standard guitar cord.  There’s a XLR through jack for each as well, allowing the input to be linked to another K12 or to another sound system such as a house P.A.  There is also a post gain combined line out, that volume is dependent on the volume control setting for the two inputs.


QSC K12 Control Panel

 Back control panel of the QSC K12.

There’s a pair of tone control switches that affect both channels, one for the highs and another for the lows.  Each has a normal and boost setting, but the bass switch also has an “EXT SUB” position for when the cabinet is used with an external sub-woofer and the K12 focuses it energy on reproducing only the mid and high frequencies.


There is also a pair of standard RCA input jacks for the use of an iPod or other external source.  These jacks share the 2nd channel’s volume control for gain.


Of course, an external mixer can be used for more inputs and tonal control, but for many singer/guitarists (or keyboard players) they’ll find the built-in controls useful for a variety of smaller gigs and rehearsals.


For amplification of keys I found that the low frequency switch in its flat position still had plenty of punch and bloom for the left hand bass note, while I like the slight boost on the top with high frequency switch in the “Vocal Boost” position.  This worked extremely well with the grand piano patches I use.  The other half of my time is playing B-3/Hammond settings, which also sounds robust using the K12.


Jim Presley on stage. 

Jim Presley on stage.


At 41 pounds, the QSC K12 is not all that heavy, especially considering the 1000 watts of power.  The list price is $999.00, but it streets for about $150 or so less than that.  Given it’s versatility it could function as several pieces of gear…and sound great doing it.


Read about the QSC K12 being used as a Bass amp here.

Read about the QSC K12 being used as a Guitar amp here.

Originally posted 2012-12-12 19:25:31.