The development of better technologies for powered speakers over the years made setting up events with live sound a lot easier. When it comes to reliable, high quality, and high-performance audio products, one name that music industry professionals are familiar with is QSC. Today, we will compare two of the brand’s popular portable powered PA loudspeaker systems designed performances: the CP12 and K12 Active Loudspeakers. Since PA speakers are powerful and can get very loud, both of these speakers are not suitable for a small room and home use. If you’re looking for a sound system with an audio performance that fits that area, consider these products:
In summary, if you’re performing at a small to medium-size conference hall that requires a decent sound volume and range, the QSC CP12 is a great option. But if you’re setting an event in a bigger room, the QSC K12 delivers a louder and better sound quality. To help you choose which among the two models fits you best, we’ve created a full comparison of the two.
Let me tell you something right off the bat.
Room acoustics, particularly room dimensions and speaker positioning, will have an immense effect on sound quality.
The impact of the combination of these two is actually so strong that in most cases, it doesn't even make sense to utter a single word on sound quality without speaking of them.
This is why I'd hiiiiiiighly recommend you to check out this simple, 2D, online speaker placement calculator. I've had an Acoustics & Audio PhD build this tool specifically for this purpose. It's also completely free and mobile compatible. It's GOOOOLLLDDDDD.
ASAP Science made a video on the loudest and quietest rooms in the world. A mind blowing example of the importance of acoustics (time adjusted video).
Other parameters such as the age/materials of the building, the furniture & carpets in place, ceiling height, etc can and will, of course, have an effect on room acoustics, too. But much less.
Design and Build
The CP12 Powered Loudspeaker is designed in a simple black finish with a black powdered 18 gauge steel grille that looks stylish and rugged at the same time. It has a product dimension that measures 20.3 inches tall, 13.8 inches wide, and 12.7 inches deep. Because of the compact form of this PA loudspeaker, you can mount it on a pole, attach it to a wall or truss using a yoke mount, or use it as a floor monitor. It’s relatively smaller than other models, making it suitable for use in smaller stages or cluttered spaces.
The K12 Powered Loudspeaker also features a black matte finish with 18 Gauge black powder-coated steel grille. It measures 23.7 inches tall, 14 inches wide, and 12 inches deep. Since it’s bulkier than the QSC CP12, this model is only ideal as a stage monitor in large, spacious venue stages. You can also mount it on a speaker stand or hang it from a truss using the integrated suspension points.
Here is the User Manual for QSC CP Series.
The QSC CP12 features a 1000-Watt Class-D amplifier module that powers the 12-inch woofer and the 1.4-inch titanium compression driver. At the back panel of the speaker, there are three inputs and several easy-to-use switches. Both inputs A and B use combo XLR-1/4 inch connectors, while input C provides a stereo 3.5 mm TRS auxiliary input.
Input A functions as a Line input when dealing with a mixer that combines multiple input sources. Meanwhile, Input B provides a Microphone or Line switch option and a Microphone Boost button which adds an extra +25 dB of gain to the input. On the other hand, Line C is a connection line for portable audio devices such as MP3 players and mobile phones.
The QSC CP12 speaker has 6-way contour presets for commonly-used applications such as Speech, Floor Monitor, Default with External Subwoofer, and more. It includes two knobs, each with ten levels, to adjust Gain A+C and Gain B. For a surround sound experience, the speaker features an advanced DSP with intrinsic correction. It also has a DMT that matches the angle of the woofer and the horn to ensure a consistent frequency response throughout the entire venue area.
The QSC K12 loudspeaker also has a built-in 1000-Watt Class-D amplifier. It features a 12-inch woofer at the bottom and a 1.75-inch tweeter or diaphragm compression driver on top. The speaker’s back panel has more easy-to-use switches, inputs, output ports, and connectors than the CP12.
It comes with a combo XLR and ¼-inch TRS jack for Microphone or Line signals and a stereo RCS for portable audio device connections. There is also a dedicated XLR output to send mixed signals to other speakers. As for the control, the K12 has two knobs for Gain A and Gain B to balance the mix.
It also has 3-way Low-Frequency adjustments to enhance the deep part of the music and 2-way High-Frequency level selection. The QSC K12 speaker also features an integrated DSP technology and an extensive DSP. The front panel of the QSC K12 speaker has an LED light feature with three modes: power, limit, and off. Unlike the QSC CP12, this speaker has a small fan that cools the internals.
The QSC CP12 speaker weighs in at a light 30.3 lbs. It has an integrated handle on top for easy transport. This PA loudspeaker also comes with a polypropylene enclosure, which is an extremely durable material that can handle the rigors of the road.
The QSC K12 speaker is slightly heavier at 41 lbs. However, it has more handles than QSC CP12 located on the top and at the side. Although the QSC K12 speaker features an impact-resistant ABS, this material is less durable than the polypropylene casing of QSC CP12.
Despite its size, the QSC CP12 speaker is loud enough to cover a small to medium venue with up to 250 audiences. It pushes out 126 dB, which gives it decent volume. It also has a wide frequency range of 49 Hz to 20 kHz and a 75° coverage for an excellent bass rumble and treble end.
The QSC K12 loudspeaker performs better at larger venues since it produces a sound that can get up to 131 dB. The sound signature puts out a 75° radius of sound, but it plays at a slightly lesser range of 52 Hz to 18 kHz. Unlike the bass-boosted QSC CP12, this range gives it a smoother, fuller, and more clear sound.
You can also check the complete specifications of the K.2 Series Active Loudspeakers on the QSC website.
For small to medium-sized events, the QSC CP12 is an ideal PA loudspeaker sound system that doesn’t go over $500. It provides several features and a loud volume suitable for most performances.
The QSC K12, on the other hand, costs a premium price of almost $1000. It’s not an ideal option for an entry-level sound system since it’s designed mainly for large events.
Both loudspeakers deliver excellent sound performance and plenty of features suitable for events. They are deafeningly loud and cover a wide area. However, these PA loudspeakers are designed for varying venue sizes. Here’s our verdict on which is the best option for each specification.
Size and build - Winner: QSC CP12
Portability - Winner: QSC CP12
Frequency range - Winner: QSC K12
Sound quality in small to medium venues - Winner: QSC CP12
Sound quality in large venues - Winner: QSC K12
Price - Winner: QSC CP12