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Author Topic: QSC KW181 Subs  (Read 7411 times)

Rob Spence

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QSC KW181 Subs
« on: November 28, 2010, 02:53:00 am »

I needed subs for my "B" rig. I was using a pair of my Growlers with an IT6K but they took up a bunch of space and I needed to hook up the amp and haul extra speaker cables... You might have seen other threads where I talked about my goals of making the "B" rig weigh less and take up less room while not compromising on the sound quality.

So, after way too much research and waiting I purchased a pair of KW181s from Sweetwater.  While many people were waiting for their dealers to get more in stock, Sweetwater had em and shipped them 3 day freight for me. I am still waiting for the covers though.

Well, the smaller size and eliminating an amp made some good difference in the pack of the car - the "B" rig rides in a Dodge Caravan. They are very easy to lift into the car (we have a plywood floor) and roll into place. The handles are very well placed.

Tonight they went out for their first gig. I am happy!
The gig was a birthday party for a special gal and they hired a hall and a band I work for. Four vocalists with a backline of drums (sweet sounding), bass, guitar and keys.
The music was 70s and 80s soul, rock etc - all great for dancing.

I ran the subs aux fed. I may move to the mono channel one of these days after the great discussion in the lounge.
I stacked the pair on one side with a K12 on top. A second K12 was on a stand on the other side.

They really did good! I was being conservative as I do with this band but the guy that put on the party (for his sister) asked me to turn it up so they could feel it further back in the hall Smile
So, I did. I had a good thump going and some serious bass. I measured the SPL on my rat shack meter about 30ft back at slow response at 106 dBC and 96 dBA. The mains meter was at about -20 on my LS9 so I felt like I had lots more gas in the tank.

I don't intend to get rid of the Growlers as they are my main subs for my "A" rig powered by a PL6.

All in all, I am very happy with the KW181s!!
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Rob Spence
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Caleb Dick

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Re: QSC KW181 Subs
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2010, 12:34:15 pm »

1:1 ratio with K10's makes a great little system.
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Caleb Dick
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Russel Murton

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Re: QSC KW181 Subs
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2010, 10:00:41 am »

I've used my pair of KW181's three times now with great results.

Gig #1
Genre: Metal
Crowd: 100-150
Venue: Hall at a club, 400 capacity aprox

Gig #2
Genre: Soft Rock/pop
Crowd: 100
Venue: Function room at a pub, 150 capacity approx

Gig #3
Genre: Industrial Metal
Venue: Same as #1

Overall they had plenty of output for all shows, covering kick and bass guitar aswell as synths and playback material for #3 delivering chest pounding bass right where it counts. The RMS level is great on these subs, playback material will really get them going. Kick drum gets a decent thump going on, with enough peak power to keep up with fast double kicks, definition is great of the gated compressed kick drum with a D6 and trigger sources. The playback drums were equally represented, with dynamics showing the full extent of the ability of the subs.

I had them centre coupled for gigs 1 and 3 and tops on subs for 2. Aux fed for 1 and 3 and LR for 2. I felt I should've run them aux fed for 2 aswell as the BE was HPF'ing a lot to get the rumble out.

Side note, I used the included pole with the matching tops just to see how stable it is, I would strap it and they are fine, perfect height, you need two people to get the top up, I tried the sideway and walk it up trick but I couldn't pull it off.

I liked centre coupled more than split. I tried on their sides and flat and felt no difference with the ports on the ground compared to sideways. May be a difference upfront though with more port coupling. Want to try 4 centre coupled in the future.

Great inputs on the back, cables are great, power switch is easy to find in the dark.

Casters are top notch, although it can feel a little awkward tipping them off their casters at first until you get a feel for it.

I A/B'ed them between normal and DEEP mode, I found lower RMS frequency responce but the same output level and the same level of distortion at high volume. You do get some but it is pretty minimal.

It is pretty hard to hit the limiters on the subs I have found, in some cases I've had plenty of headroom and the right amount of sub level. You don't find that too often in the smaller end of the market.

Keen to get the covers asap.

For an active midrange subwoofer these things have some serious output, stay pretty damn clean and go very low. I'd be surprised if any other competitor really beats this sub by much, JBL618XLF/HD1801/Yammie DSR etc, they all sound quite similar with their own particular selling points breaking them apart. I.e. some will go louder but not sound as good, others will be lighter but no casters, inputs won't be as good, not as many features. There are always trade offs and I found the KW181 best fit my needs with the casters, cover, good input panel, great sound, decent volume, small size, medium weight and easy coupling were what sold me on it over JBL etc which may be louder or clearer but not as reliable or as many user friendly features.

The matching three way tops aren't too shabby either.

I plan on getting 6 of these in total, 4 by new years, 6 later on down the track aswell as another pair of tops.
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