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Author Topic: What's going on with QSC?  (Read 1563 times)

Scott Hibbard

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What's going on with QSC?
« on: August 16, 2022, 05:44:00 PM »

Dear Forum Members,

I went onto the QSC site today to look at some specs for an installation amp.  In doing so, I also peeked over at the live sound amplifiers just in case the install amp I was considering was out of stock.  The first thing that caught my eye was how many of the live sound models are no longer in production with no modern replacement.  The only amps they are making now (in the live sound cat) are GX, GXD, RMX and PL380.  Other than the PL380, the others are not serious touring amplifiers like the former Powerlight series, and none are 4 channel.  I was surprised to see the PLX and especially the PLD series (lightweight, multi-channel with DSP) were discontinued, and again no new model lines available as replacement. 

Granted supply chain has slowed most (if not all) of product development and production down for all.  But more so than any other manufacturer, it seems as if QSC's product development and supply (in the live sound space) has crawled to a halt.  It seems most of their attention is on the Q-SYS family of install products.

Anyone know what's happening?  At this point I'm leery to spec any QSC product at all.   

ScottH 
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Paul Mayer

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Re: What's going on with QSC?
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2022, 11:05:46 PM »

Dear Forum Members,

I went onto the QSC site today to look at some specs for an installation amp.  In doing so, I also peeked over at the live sound amplifiers just in case the install amp I was considering was out of stock.  The first thing that caught my eye was how many of the live sound models are no longer in production with no modern replacement.  The only amps they are making now (in the live sound cat) are GX, GXD, RMX and PL380.  Other than the PL380, the others are not serious touring amplifiers like the former Powerlight series, and none are 4 channel.  I was surprised to see the PLX and especially the PLD series (lightweight, multi-channel with DSP) were discontinued, and again no new model lines available as replacement. 

Granted supply chain has slowed most (if not all) of product development and production down for all.  But more so than any other manufacturer, it seems as if QSC's product development and supply (in the live sound space) has crawled to a halt.  It seems most of their attention is on the Q-SYS family of install products.

Anyone know what's happening?  At this point I'm leery to spec any QSC product at all.   

ScottH

QSC has been hit especially hard by supply chain issues.  Its been next to impossible to find some of the k-series stuff.  Even people tying to buy MI JBL lines like the SRX800 subs are having a lot of trouble ATM, even though I think their factory is in Mexico (its mostly the computer components).  I also think QSC is (smartly) trying to sell more active speakers rather than just amps.  They can make more money by building both the speaker and the built-in amp, plus I think there's less room for user error to mess it up.  I know not a lot of people here are always big fans of the K-series, but you have to at least admit it was very successful.  In may areas in Texas and California the K-series stuff is some of the most commonly found speakers in installations and rental fleets.

Since they still do installs at theaters and theme parks, I'm sure they still manufacture amps, but I do think a lot of their product line is getting replaced by the active stuff.  I wouldn't be surprised if they try to slim down their product line and make more amplifiers that can network and expand with one another to save costs.  My guess is they just aren't selling as many 4 channel amps.  Since the PL380 can network with Q-Sys, they may just assume users who want four channels would just buy two and network them.  Furthermore, the PL380 draws around 18A at 120V and 11A at 230V.  I think the number of users who need 4 channels in a 2U rackspace don't justify the cost to them of making the extra model, as my guess is many smaller productions who want to power subs and tops and such would just buy their active stuff.  I do wonder if they've actually discontinued the CXD stuff, or if they're just doing special order like Fulcrum does with their active.
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Brian Jojade

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Re: What's going on with QSC?
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2022, 11:19:14 PM »

I think a lot of what's at play is that there's a huge trend towards powered speakers in the portable arena.  Pretty much every manufacturer has powered options available. This has a direct result in reducing demand for touring power amps. There's still probably plenty of demand in the lower end space especially for those trying to keep older speakers running.

For install purposes, powered isn't anywhere near as attractive as the requirements for power installation at each speaker location can be cost prohibitive vs separate amps. There are likely a LOT more install amps sold than touring amps.  I know I personally have sold a heck of a lot more amps for installs than I've sold for mobile use in the last few years.

While the PLD was an interesting concept of an amp, the flexibility to change configurations is probably not something that many people did as often.  I know I bought a set for that reason, but once racked, they were just set to 2 channel mode most of the time.  The added complexity of the amp, and the lack of actual networking capability (they were usb only for some dumb reason) made them less practical than they needed to be.
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Brian Jojade

Matthew Knischewsky

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Re: What's going on with QSC?
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2022, 09:39:41 AM »

Rack mounted live sound amplifiers are not selling in the quantities that they once were.

Besides what's already been mentioned (supply chain issues, powered speakers), QSC has positioned themselves where they're competing with many other manufacturers across multiple product lines. Every loudspeaker manufacturer I can think of is now partnered up with an amplifier supplier- but none of them are with QSC except QSC themselves. And QSC speakers do not compete in the touring market, and most if not all of their MI products are powered. Also QSC was very late to the game with rack mount DSP power amplifiers and none of them are touring class. The PLD series is an expensive MI grade product in today's market. I really wanted to like PLD but the poor build quality and lack of a network port really limited it's usefulness IMO. They're "OK" but nowhere near the value that QSC used to be known for delivering with the PL, PLX, MX, EX series.

I'm speculating, but I think the majority of the "touring" grade amps were being sold to power legacy speaker systems. And that market dropped off drastically over the last 2.5 years but was likely already declining rapidly. Combine that with supply chain issues and we have the present situation.

QSC has always been an innovative company. Q-SYS is a great line and that's where their focus is now. But I too lament the discontinuation of many great power amplifier models with no direct replacement available.
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Robert Healey

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Re: What's going on with QSC?
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2022, 11:27:59 AM »

QSC recently split into Q-SYS and Live Sound divisions with a rebranding of all install products under Q-Sys.

The install market is significantly larger than live sound and QSC hasn't been quiet there. They pivoted to conferencing and were an early entrant into audio and video hardware certified for Microsoft Teams and Zoom. They also have decided to take on Shure and are releasing their own installation beamforming microphones.
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Scott Hibbard

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Re: What's going on with QSC?
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2022, 08:28:24 PM »

Dear Forum Members,

I went onto the QSC site today to look at some specs for an installation amp.  In doing so, I also peeked over at the live sound amplifiers just in case the install amp I was considering was out of stock.  The first thing that caught my eye was how many of the live sound models are no longer in production with no modern replacement.  The only amps they are making now (in the live sound cat) are GX, GXD, RMX and PL380.  Other than the PL380, the others are not serious touring amplifiers like the former Powerlight series, and none are 4 channel.  I was surprised to see the PLX and especially the PLD series (lightweight, multi-channel with DSP) were discontinued, and again no new model lines available as replacement. 

Granted supply chain has slowed most (if not all) of product development and production down for all.  But more so than any other manufacturer, it seems as if QSC's product development and supply (in the live sound space) has crawled to a halt.  It seems most of their attention is on the Q-SYS family of install products.

Anyone know what's happening?  At this point I'm leery to spec any QSC product at all.   

ScottH

Ive moved to Dynacord amps for my installs.  So far so good but had been using QSC for 20+ years.
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: What's going on with QSC?
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2022, 08:28:24 PM »


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