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Real World Gear: Compact 2-Way Loudspeakers

The latest developments in 2-way loudspeakers and a look at recent models.

For decades, compact 2-way loudspeakers have been a pillar of professional audio, capable of serving as mains, monitors, side fills, center fills, near fills, front fills and delays. In many cases they can be carried by a single person via convenient handles and quickly ground stacked, flown, or placed on a stand, where they’re capable of handling reinforcement all by themselves or joined by subwoofers in applications requiring additional low-end reinforcement.

Many of the enclosures are trapezoidal in shape, with some able to be put into tightly packed horizontal arrays and others better suited for “exploded” clusters. Still others can be stacked or flown into line and/or column arrays. Several offer a modified cabinet shape that also allows them to be placed on their side and used as floor monitors. And speaking of cabinets, they’re constructed of ABS/polymers/plastics as well as wood.

Increasingly, compact 2-way loudspeakers are offered in self-powered versions (usually class D amplification) joined by digital signal processing. Many are also outfitted with facilities for further tailoring output to specific applications. Additional EQ control may be present, while others provide at least rudimentary mixing capability, with level controls, mic/line switches, and EQ on XLR or combo (XLR, 1/4-inch) inputs. More models will accept (Audinate) Dante digital audio input along with analog audio signal.

This genre of loudspeakers has also benefitted from advances in driver technology, signal processing, and amplification. Transducer innovations have in many cases trickled down from touring products. Many have lightweight magnetic structures using neodymium magnets, rugged cone and spider materials, and robust voice coil designs.

High-frequency horns are frequently rotatable and offer improved directivity. Larger format compression drivers deliver greater power handling capacity. Several designs are coaxial, another trend in this genre, along with incorporating 8- or 10-inch woofers as well as the traditional 12- and 15-inch models.

Our tour of recent models that follows is intended, by design, to present the “state of the market” in terms of options. But for each type of model presented here, understand that there are several similar models from the same and other sources, so further homework is strongly recommended.

Spotlight Listing

QSC CP Series

CP Series

High performance, superior quality and lasting reliability. These are the hallmarks of the QSC brand and the reason why millions of professionals the world-over have come to trust QSC to help them confidently deliver superior experiences and memorable performances.

The CP Series follows in that same tradition while also offering an ultra-compact form factor and class-leading value. Inside, CP is equipped with a highly efficient, 1000-watt power amplifier, matching transducers and advanced DSP, delivering performance beyond expectations for a loudspeaker of this size.

Because of its compact size, CP is remarkably lightweight, making it easy to load, carry, lift and deploy in a wide range of portable and installed applications. CP Series compact powered loudspeakers are protected by a global 6-year warranty.

Technology Focus: Six selectable application-based EQ contour presets; proprietary Directivity Matched Transition (DMT) designed to provide consistent frequency response across the entire coverage area.

Of Note: QSC recently introduced the ultra-compact KS112 subwoofer, incorporating a 12-inch long-excursion woofer driven by a 2,000-watt class D amplifier module.

Key Specs (CP12):
Dispersion: 75 degrees axisymetric
Components: 1.4-in compression driver, 12-in cone driver
Frequency Response: 49 Hz – 20 kHz
Maximum SPL (peak): 126 dB
Power Handling: Onboard amplifier provides 800 watts LF, 200 watts HF (both peak)
Connectors: Dual XLR-1/4-in combo (mic/line input and hi-z/line input), 3.5 mm TRS (stereo input), and XLR/M (mix output)
Positioning/Rigging: 2x M8 threaded insert (for yoke mount attachment only)
Dimensions (h x w x d): 20.3 x 13.8 x 12.7 in
Weight: 30.3 lbs

Spotlight Listing

QSC K.2 Series

K.2 Series

The K.2 Series is the next generation of the company’s K Family line of powered loudspeakers. It’s comprised of the 8-inch K8.2, 10-inch K10.2 and 12-inch K12.2 full-range loudspeakers equipped with a 2,000-watt power module carefully matched to woofers and compression drivers.

Proprietary DMT (Directivity-Matched Transition) ensures smooth coverage across the entire listening area, while onboard DSP provides Intrinsic Correction voicing and advanced system management to further optimize performance. A library of preset contours is provided for applications such as stage monitor, dance music, instrument amplification, handheld microphone and more.

All three models can be operated as either main PA or as a floor monitor. Each model can also be flown, wall- or truss-mounted, or placed on a pole, either straight-firing or with a 7.5-degree down-tilt utilizing the new dual pole cup.

Technology Focus: Storable scenes recall user-configurable settings such as input type, delay, EQ, cross-over and selected contour via the loudspeakers’ LCD screen and control panel.

Of Note: QSC also just introduced the KS118 subwoofer, incorporating an 18-inch long-excursion woofer driven by a 3,600-watt class D amplifier module. It can be run in omnidirectional or cardioid direct radiation modes.

Key Specs (12.2):
Dispersion: 75 degrees axisymetric
Components: 1.4-in titanium compression driver, 12-in cone driver
Frequency Response: 45 Hz – 20 kHz
Maximum SPL (peak): 132 dB
Power Handling: Onboard amplifier provides 1,800 watts LF, 225 watts HF (both peak)
Connectors: Dual XLR-1/4-in combo (mic/line input and hi-z/line input), 3.5 mm TRS (stereo input), dual XLR/M (loop-thru output), and XLR/M (mix output)
Positioning/Rigging: Dual 2 M10 threaded inserts plus pull-back, 2-position pole mount
Dimensions (h x w x d): 23.7 x 14 x 13.8 in
Weight: 39 lbs

Standard Listings

L-Acoustics X12

Dispersion (h x v): 60 x 90 degrees, ellipsoidal
Components: 3-in neodymium compression driver, 12-in neodymium cone driver
Frequency Response:
59 Hz – 20 kHz
Maximum SPL (peak): 136 dB
Power Handling: Controlled and amplified by LA4X/LA8
Connectors: SpeakON (Both IN and LINK)
Positioning/Rigging: Pole mount, M10 threaded inserts, wide range of mounting accessories available
Dimensions (h x w x d): 19.5 x 16.9 x 14.8 in
Weight: 44.1 lbs

K-array KF210

Dispersion (h x v): 90 x 90 degrees
Components: 3-in compression driver, 2 x 10-in neodymium cones
Frequency Response: 40 Hz – 19 kHz
Maximum SPL (peak): 123 dB
Power Handling: 320 watts (Kommander-KA14, KA24 and KA84 amplifiers recommended)
Connectors: 4-pin Euroblock
Positioning/Rigging: Wall brackets included, wide range of mounting accessories offered
Dimensions (h x w x d): 19.7 x 11.1 x 5.9 in
Weight: 26.5 lbs

1 SOUND Panorama MS34

Dispersion (h x v): 100 degrees conical
Components: 4-in coaxial w/1-in compression driver, 2 x 4-in cones, 2 x 3.5-in cones (rear mounted)
Frequency Response: 95 Hz – 18 kHz
Maximum SPL (peak): 114 dB
Power Handling: 90 + 90 watts AES / 180 + 180 watts continuous at 16 ohms
Connectors: 2 x NL4
Positioning/Rigging: Two M6 points, U-bracket for wall, truss, mic stand, ceiling
Dimensions (h x w x d): 13.5 x 5.5 x 7.5 in
Weight: 9.4 lbs

Pioneer Pro Audio XPRS10

Dispersion (h x v): 90 x 60 degrees
Components: 1.75-in neodymium compression driver, 10-in ferrite cone
Frequency Response:
55 Hz – 20 kHz
Maximum SPL (peak): 134 dB
Power Handling: Powersoft amplification onboard, 2,400 watts peak
Connectors: Input – 2 x XLR/TRS combo (balanced), 2 x RCA; Output – 2 x XLR (balanced) plus mixed output XLR (balanced)
Positioning/Rigging: 35 mm pole mount, 12 M10 points
Dimensions (h x w x d): 20.5 x 12.6 x 14.7 in
Weight: 41.6 lbs

Adamson CS10P

Dispersion (h x v): 70 x 40 or 100 x 50 degrees
Components: NH3 3-indiaphragm compression driver, 2 x ND10-LM 10-in Kevlar neodymium cone drivers
Frequency Response: 60 Hz – 18 kHz
Maximum SPL (peak): 139 dB
Power Handling: Accompanying power/DSP package includes 2-channel class D with 2,400 watts total output
Connectors: 2 x etherCON analog, 2 x XLR, powerCON TRUE1 network
Positioning/Rigging: Pole mount and integrated rigging system
Dimensions (h x w x d): 29.3 x 12.8 x 17.5 in
Weight: 66.2 lbs
Notes: Employs redundant MILAN scheme with ability to daisy-chain networked audio between multiple sources

d&b audiotechnik E12

Dispersion: 80 or 110 x 50 degrees (h x v), rotatable
Components: 1.3-in neodymium compression driver, 12-in neodymium cone driver
Frequency Response: 50 Hz – 18 kHz
Maximum SPL (peak): 134 dB
Power Handling: 300/1,600 watts (RMS/peak); several d&b amplifiers recommended
Connectors: Dual NLT4; optional 2 x EP5 or 2 x NL4
Positioning/Rigging: Pole mount, M10 threaded inserts, range of accessories
Dimensions (h x w x d): 22.8 x 13.8 x 13.2 in
Weight: 35 lbs
Notes: Amplifiers with DSP provide comprehensive management and more

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