Active 12" PA Speaker Comparison
QSC K12 vs JBL PRX612 vs JBL PRX712 vs Mackie SRM450 vs Mackie SRM550 vs RCF ART 312-A MK3 vs Yamaha DSR112 vs Yamaha DXR12 vs Alto BLACK12 Black Series
At Buzz Speaker Hire Sydney we were looking to increase our hire stock range with some powerful and portable 12’’ speakers. We shortlisted the premium 12’’ speakers available in Sydney and performed an intensive full range test to decide which we would add to our rental portfolio.
Speakers tested and their Australian retail prices:
- Alto BLACK12 Black Series 12" $1099
- JBL PRX612 12’’ (Discontinued, old stock): $989
- JBL PRX712 12’’ $1099
- Mackie SRM450 12" $849
- Mackie SRM550 12’’ $999
- QSC K12 12’’ $1199
- RCF ART 312-A MK3 12’’ $942
- Yamaha DSR112 12’’ $1279
- Yamaha DXR12 12’’ $1079
The test was conducted in three stages; the input volume was at 0db for each stage:
- Speakers at 50%
- Speakers at 75%
- Speakers at 100%
The test was blind to make sure each speaker was judged impartially, not on perceived brand reputation, aesthetics or any other bias. We had three people judging each speaker for frequency response, volume output and clarity.
The top three speakers were the QSC K12, Yamaha DSR112 and the Yamaha DXR12. Once price was considered we we were also very impressed with the RCF ART 312-A MK3.
With all votes tallied the QSC K12 was the clear winner, being in first place for two of the judges and equal first for the third judge. The QSC K12 offered the best sound quality, was extremely clear in all frequencies and had amazing bass response. The volume output was exceptional and unlike many of the other speakers it maintained clarity even when pushed to maximum volume.
The biggest surprise was the relatively poor performance of the JBL PRX612 and JBL PRX712. After comparing results we had all judged them as very poor in bass response with muddy mid to high frequencies.
Out of curiosity we decided to put the QSC K12 head-to-head with the larger JBL PRX615 and JBL PRX715. We found the smaller 12’’ QSC K12 to have better low frequency response even compared to the larger 15’’ woofer on the JBLs. Given the popularity of the JBL offering we were very surprised. The JBL PRX715 was a clear improvement over the older generation JBL PRX615 and both JBLs did offer slightly more volume when pushed but the clarity and response of the QSC K12 through all frequencies was undeniably superior.
We judged the speakers purely on sound quality but as a bonus the QSC K12 offers some fantastic features missing on most of its competitors. Great input options – XLR, ¼ inch TRS Jack and RCA, an inbuilt two channel mixer, 7.5 degree pole mounted tilt (to aim the sound down at your audience), inbuilt limiter to reduce the risk of damage to the speakers, free 6 year warranty, custom tote bag to protect the speakers during transport and an attractive and professional appearance.
While discussing added features a special mention must go to the Alto BLACK12 Black Series. These speakers performed well in sound response, have solid construction and give the user the ability to manipulate DSP, speaker delay, polarity, filter and EQ settings from a smart phone or tablet via Bluetooth. You can set them up at an event and over the course of the night refine the sound from anywhere in the room.
We looked long and hard and believe we have the best prices in Sydney for all of our equipment. We offer a BEST PRICE GUARANTEE! If you can find a cheaper price we’ll beat it by 10%.
Click here to hire our QSC K12s