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Title: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Dan Garrett on May 03, 2021, 01:30:22 pm
So my situation is as follows.

I currently have an all QSC system which I use for my band and occasionally for local shows for other bands as well.  I have:
 4 - K12.2 (2 for tops 2 for monitors)
 2 - K10.2 for monitors
 1 - KS118 sub

I want to add another sub.  I did not realize until recently that the K12.2 is not designed to be arrayed and having 2 per side will not really get me more SPL at the back, and can actually cause issues.  All the K12.2 will get moved to monitor duty soon.  I was going to get some KW152 or KW153, but having seen more experienced opinions on multiple sound forum sites I see that I would probably be better served by some SRX835 or SRX815 or SRX812 than by the KW153's at roughly the same price.  That of course got me thinking of the SRX818 subs.  I don't want to go with SRX828's because I don't want to buy a trailer at this time.  My old band had a pair and they are awesome but huge.  I am curious how the SRX818 and KS118 measure up.  Most of the answers I have seen to this question end up referencing the KW181 which is not the same sub.  I'd prefer not to "start over" on the subs if I don't have to. 

Has anyone actually compared the KS118 and the SRX818?

Also, I'm having a hard time deciding between the SRX835/SRX815/SRX812 to place over a single sub per side (at least for now) for rock band reinforcement.
 
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Bob Stone on May 03, 2021, 04:20:33 pm
So my situation is as follows.

I currently have an all QSC system which I use for my band and occasionally for local shows for other bands as well.  I have:
 4 - K12.2 (2 for tops 2 for monitors)
 2 - K10.2 for monitors
 1 - KS118 sub

I want to add another sub.  I did not realize until recently that the K12.2 is not designed to be arrayed and having 2 per side will not really get me more SPL at the back, and can actually cause issues.  All the K12.2 will get moved to monitor duty soon.  I was going to get some KW152 or KW153, but having seen more experienced opinions on multiple sound forum sites I see that I would probably be better served by some SRX835 or SRX815 or SRX812 than by the KW153's at roughly the same price.  That of course got me thinking of the SRX818 subs.  I don't want to go with SRX828's because I don't want to buy a trailer at this time.  My old band had a pair and they are awesome but huge.  I am curious how the SRX818 and KS118 measure up.  Most of the answers I have seen to this question end up referencing the KW181 which is not the same sub.  I'd prefer not to "start over" on the subs if I don't have to. 

Has anyone actually compared the KS118 and the SRX818?

Also, I'm having a hard time deciding between the SRX835/SRX815/SRX812 to place over a single sub per side (at least for now) for rock band reinforcement.

Without direct experience with the KS118 yet, have you considered renting/borrowing some of this equipment to try out? It's not so much which one is better than the other as much as will it do the job? If the KS118's do the job, then maybe it's not worth the cost to switch to all JBL, as you will lose money selling gear you already have to buy something else.

Also in general, a mid-high tier single 18" versus another is a more lateral move than a move up...you're going to pick up fractions, not double the performance.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Luke Geis on May 04, 2021, 12:06:43 am
I think the JBL SRX-800 systems are still the best you can get for the money. They leave you no excuse, that is for sure. I am not a fan of QSC speakers in any series they offer. They work, they make money, but beyond that..... meh at best.

I still think the SRX line is still a step up from ANY offering QSC has right now at the same price point. The KW series is LOOOOOOOOONG in the tooth and even the .2 varient of the K series is just a small step forward for it. No real change that makes it that much better.

The question for you is how important having all QSC is? The K12's work well for monitors, so you can have a total of 6 if you wanted. The one sub could be used for the drums monitoring. Or you can sell it to offset the cost of buying other stuff? Ultimately, you have to pick a budget and place value in what you have vs. what you are willing to afford to replace it. I think going to an SRX rig will get you much further, but it is going to cost you. If it is just a pair of subs, I think the SRX-818 is a very hard speaker to beat and it will work with the K12 tops.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Nils Erickson on May 04, 2021, 03:21:01 am
I agree with Luke, the SRX boxes are a big step up from all of the QSC options.  If you only have one sub, my .02 is this: don't worry about starting over (it is easy to sell off one sub, or save it for your drum monitor).  Get something scalable that can fit into what you plan to drive.  Single 18's are fine, and you may soon want more.  But you have to double what you have to make a difference, so don't rule out SRX828 if you can find a good way out transporting them; they are a really good value, especially right now.

As far as the tops, keep in mind how you will get them up.  An 835 is 95 lbs... you need two people to lift it, and there is no really good stand option (even though there is a pole cup, I mean that is just silly).  If you plan to do top/pole/sub, go with a smaller option. I would look at the 835 only if I intended to ground stack on a pair of 828 (or single on its side), on sound wings.  Otherwise you will be too low.

If I was buying SRX818, I would pair it with SRX812.  It is powerful and sounds great, and is compact.  You can add subs for bigger shows.  If you grow down the line, SRX812 can be a good monitor or front/side fill.  And, it is a sizable monetary gap to the next step up.

However, I think the real winner is 4xSRX828 and 4xSRX835, if you're looking at JBL.  Then you have a scalable system: one over one, or two over two.  If that fits in the van and you can move it without getting hurt, pull the trigger. If you are a single owner/operator without help for load in/out, get the small stuff.

Of course, if you providing for your band, maybe you already own enough stuff.  What you own already can handle a wedding, small event, or a small club.  Bigger than that and there will often be other sound providers anyway.  Taking the "next step" is bigger than a new set of speakers.  I do believe it is Tim M who has said repeatedly that the next step involves spending 2x what you have invested already, no matter the level you are at.  I have found this to be true, many times over.

Side note: I still have four SRX725, which I have had for many years.  They have been bullet proof, sound good, they get loud.  They have had a good return on investment, and been fun to mix on.  And, they still do the trick for some shows.  The most difficult thing with large speakers is how you deploy them.  Beyond that size, things get a lot more difficult.

Hope that helps you.

Cheers,
Nils
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Debbie Dunkley on May 04, 2021, 09:07:36 am
Another vote for the SRX series speakers.
You'll have to spend some money - sure but then you already have decided that you need make some changes to your system anyway and I believe the SRX set up is by far the best value for money system out there right now.
I'd do as has been suggested and re-purpose what you have ( K series for monitors etc) and sell on anything you can't use - then pull the trigger on an SRX set up and be done and be happy!( I LOVE spending other people's money - LOL)
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Mal Brown on May 04, 2021, 11:52:52 am
Personally i shy away from JBL over service issues I experienced a while back.  Actually experiencing one now.  Not mine but a product I recommended to my community Parks and Rec District.   Ok when it works, when it doesn't you may find yourself in your own.

I'm not a huge fan of the JBL overstated sound thing as well..  To my ear there is a baked in sound I tend to want to get rid of through EQ.   I haven't mixed on the latest generation though so maybe that isn't a thing any more.

I respected co-sound guy I am close to landed some th-mini (th-12? I'm not a Danley guy...)  He is pretty close to over the moon with them.

As far as tops go.  I have 153's over 2 or 4 181's.   It is a pretty healthy rig.  If I were changing things out for another 3 way box, I expect I would end up with the Yamaha DZR 3 way.  I have that box a listen at the last NAMM I attended and it would have to be in the mix for me.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Richard Penrose on May 04, 2021, 01:14:40 pm
I know a few guys who have used the JBL PRX/SRX boxes and had reliability issues and poor service support. I also know a few companies who have been using the KW153/KW181 rigs for years doing several shows a week and have had zero issues with any of them. I have a pair of KW181’s myself and they are solid, reliable and good sounding workhorses.

Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Scott Holtzman on May 04, 2021, 03:07:50 pm
I know a few guys who have used the JBL PRX/SRX boxes and had reliability issues and poor service support. I also know a few companies who have been using the KW153/KW181 rigs for years doing several shows a week and have had zero issues with any of them. I have a pair of KW181’s myself and they are solid, reliable and good sounding workhorses.


I have tons of QSC (well actually it's been slowly trickling away) and have some SRX/STX.  The JBL is a whole step up, especially the STX subs which are basically priced at giveaway right now, however I too had some infant mortality issues on the amp modules on the SRX. 


The QSC stuff has been beaten hard and put up wet and just keeps going.  Even more amazing is we have QSC HPR monitors and they have really done well over the years.



Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Mike Santarelli on May 05, 2021, 08:10:43 am
You may also want to look at something like the rcf nx32 or nx45 and the 8003 or even 8004 subs. 

I do own srx 835/828 and several rcf products. Unless you are looking at the 835 I’d take the nx32 or nx45 over an srx 812 or 815 without hesitation. 

The srx is a winner in its price point for sure but there is something about the way the rcf boxes project that I prefer. 

The easy solution is add more of what you have.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Luke Geis on May 05, 2021, 11:06:56 pm
I'm relatively certain that most of the bugs for the JBL SRX line have been worked out by now. I have had great luck with them I suppose. In a total of 9 units that I have either purchased or installed, only one has failed. The one that failed was the hardest working one that existed in a club that had live music 5 nights a week and DJ's the other two. It lasted three years before the amp module said it had enough. It made its ROI for sure.

I too really like the RCF offerings. They do come at a premium though. The literature they have is true and the speaker will do what it says it will do. But comparable speakers cost almost double what the SRX stuff does. Where you can find an SRX-812 for about $1k, it will cost about $1.8k to get a comparable RCF unit at retail costs.

The newer SRX stuff sounds damn good to me. It certainly isn't L'Acoustics, d&b, or RCF grade, but it is not far off. The processing in the speaker gives you no excuse to not get the desired outcome. It has 20 fully parametric filters and I believe you can make any of them you wish an all-pass filter too. It WILL NOT quite et to the stated volume spec they state, but it gets louder than it needs to for any gig that is appropriate to deploy it on. It also sounds really good all the way up to obvious signs of limiting, where it still sounds good while limiting.

If money is no object, then RCF is the next logical step up. If budget prevails, you can get no better than SRX for the $$.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Bob Stone on May 07, 2021, 04:23:00 pm
I agree with Luke, the SRX boxes are a big step up from all of the QSC options.  If you only have one sub, my .02 is this: don't worry about starting over (it is easy to sell off one sub, or save it for your drum monitor).  Get something scalable that can fit into what you plan to drive.  Single 18's are fine, and you may soon want more.  But you have to double what you have to make a difference, so don't rule out SRX828 if you can find a good way out transporting them; they are a really good value, especially right now.

As far as the tops, keep in mind how you will get them up.  An 835 is 95 lbs... you need two people to lift it, and there is no really good stand option (even though there is a pole cup, I mean that is just silly).  If you plan to do top/pole/sub, go with a smaller option. I would look at the 835 only if I intended to ground stack on a pair of 828 (or single on its side), on sound wings.  Otherwise you will be too low.

If I was buying SRX818, I would pair it with SRX812.  It is powerful and sounds great, and is compact.  You can add subs for bigger shows.  If you grow down the line, SRX812 can be a good monitor or front/side fill.  And, it is a sizable monetary gap to the next step up.

However, I think the real winner is 4xSRX828 and 4xSRX835, if you're looking at JBL.  Then you have a scalable system: one over one, or two over two.  If that fits in the van and you can move it without getting hurt, pull the trigger. If you are a single owner/operator without help for load in/out, get the small stuff.

Of course, if you providing for your band, maybe you already own enough stuff.  What you own already can handle a wedding, small event, or a small club.  Bigger than that and there will often be other sound providers anyway.  Taking the "next step" is bigger than a new set of speakers.  I do believe it is Tim M who has said repeatedly that the next step involves spending 2x what you have invested already, no matter the level you are at.  I have found this to be true, many times over.

Side note: I still have four SRX725, which I have had for many years.  They have been bullet proof, sound good, they get loud.  They have had a good return on investment, and been fun to mix on.  And, they still do the trick for some shows.  The most difficult thing with large speakers is how you deploy them.  Beyond that size, things get a lot more difficult.

Hope that helps you.

Cheers,
Nils

I disagree about the size of step. We're not talking double the performance, we're talking a db or two more useful output and marginally better sound.

If the guy was buying net new, then the SRX would be a good direction to go. Given his inventory already though, making the move to JBL over QSC is going to cost a lot more (total price spent before and now). Given the market for live sound is tough right now and the fact that the SRX setup isn't going to increase his ability to get shows (honestly almost any show the SRX speakers could do, the QSC's could do too), it's not worth the investment.

Now if he starts talking about moving actually up to say Danley's or even the SRX dual 18's or something that's substantially more output/capability, then that's a move worth making as it opens up the possible shows he could do.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Nils Erickson on May 08, 2021, 02:55:13 pm
I disagree about the size of step. We're not talking double the performance, we're talking a db or two more useful output and marginally better sound.

If the guy was buying net new, then the SRX would be a good direction to go. Given his inventory already though, making the move to JBL over QSC is going to cost a lot more (total price spent before and now). Given the market for live sound is tough right now and the fact that the SRX setup isn't going to increase his ability to get shows (honestly almost any show the SRX speakers could do, the QSC's could do too), it's not worth the investment.

Now if he starts talking about moving actually up to say Danley's or even the SRX dual 18's or something that's substantially more output/capability, then that's a move worth making as it opens up the possible shows he could do.
Fair enough, it is pretty subjective stuff we are talking about here...

As far as getting more shows, there is much more to it than the name of the system I think.   My experience is that some clients have cared what brand of speakers I had; many others just care about how the job gets done.  So, my advice would be to mix on what makes you happy and brings you business.  Maybe no "upgrade" is needed at all.  Sometimes getting more shows means being about to cross rent with another business in town to do bigger stuff or keep your gear working, so I suppose that is something to consider as well.

Over the years, I have owned JBL SRX, EAW, Danley, d&b, Meyer, QSC, Apogee.  All of them have been fun to mix on, some of them have met riders, some are good for rentals, all of them have been right for some gig, none of them have been right for every gig. 

Cheers,
Nils
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Luke Geis on May 09, 2021, 03:28:28 pm
I'm sort of bummed. I had a good post written up about why the SRX is actually a huge leap forward, but then the i-net crashed on me, again..... the long and short was this:

SRX = Wooden Box / QSC K series = Plastic
SRX = 3" compression driver / QSC 1/4"
SRX = Fully programable DSP / QSC K.2 = limited DSP parameters
SRX = 136db peak output ( in a wet dream ) / QSC = 132db ( also in a wet dream )
SRX = fairly linear output ( considering the price point ) / QSC = not very linear output ( despite it price point )
SRX = Compatible with JBL's flagship VTX line / QSC = not directly compatible with anything
SRX = networkable and remote controllable / QSC = not networkable or controllable remotely
SRX = F.I.R filters / QSC = no F.I.R filters

As you can see, even if you were to make a list of the things that the QSC K series was good at vs. the SRX, it wouldn't really help their case much. I believe and feel the SRX sounds and performs much better than the QSC K series in every way. The K series stuff is pretty expensive considering what it is competing against. There is only about a $300 difference in price between the SRX and the QSC lines, and the SRX is punching far above the QSC in terms of features and performance.

I think the SRX falls into what I call the Pro-sumer market. It is entry-level professional-grade stuff. The QSC K series to me is just consumer or MI grade. It is what 9 out of 10 bands will own happily because it was the best they could afford. That is not to say that it is worthless, unusable, or crap. The QSC K series is good and performs rather well actually. It provides excellent ROI, is accepted by just about any local band, is simple to use, and has good reliability. Having used both the QSC and the SRX MANY times to mix on, the SRX is just easier and more rewarding to work with.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Scott Holtzman on May 09, 2021, 06:20:31 pm
I'm sort of bummed. I had a good post written up about why the SRX is actually a huge leap forward, but then the i-net crashed on me, again..... the long and short was this:

SRX = Wooden Box / QSC K series = Plastic
SRX = 3" compression driver / QSC 1/4"
SRX = Fully programable DSP / QSC K.2 = limited DSP parameters
SRX = 136db peak output ( in a wet dream ) / QSC = 132db ( also in a wet dream )
SRX = fairly linear output ( considering the price point ) / QSC = not very linear output ( despite it price point )
SRX = Compatible with JBL's flagship VTX line / QSC = not directly compatible with anything
SRX = networkable and remote controllable / QSC = not networkable or controllable remotely
SRX = F.I.R filters / QSC = no F.I.R filters

As you can see, even if you were to make a list of the things that the QSC K series was good at vs. the SRX, it wouldn't really help their case much. I believe and feel the SRX sounds and performs much better than the QSC K series in every way. The K series stuff is pretty expensive considering what it is competing against. There is only about a $300 difference in price between the SRX and the QSC lines, and the SRX is punching far above the QSC in terms of features and performance.

I think the SRX falls into what I call the Pro-sumer market. It is entry-level professional-grade stuff. The QSC K series to me is just consumer or MI grade. It is what 9 out of 10 bands will own happily because it was the best they could afford. That is not to say that it is worthless, unusable, or crap. The QSC K series is good and performs rather well actually. It provides excellent ROI, is accepted by just about any local band, is simple to use, and has good reliability. Having used both the QSC and the SRX MANY times to mix on, the SRX is just easier and more rewarding to work with.


Sorry you lost your quote.  THe KS118 and KW181 are all wood sub.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Bob Stone on May 09, 2021, 10:44:12 pm
I'm sort of bummed. I had a good post written up about why the SRX is actually a huge leap forward, but then the i-net crashed on me, again..... the long and short was this:

SRX = Wooden Box / QSC K series = Plastic
SRX = 3" compression driver / QSC 1/4"
SRX = Fully programable DSP / QSC K.2 = limited DSP parameters
SRX = 136db peak output ( in a wet dream ) / QSC = 132db ( also in a wet dream )
SRX = fairly linear output ( considering the price point ) / QSC = not very linear output ( despite it price point )
SRX = Compatible with JBL's flagship VTX line / QSC = not directly compatible with anything
SRX = networkable and remote controllable / QSC = not networkable or controllable remotely
SRX = F.I.R filters / QSC = no F.I.R filters

As you can see, even if you were to make a list of the things that the QSC K series was good at vs. the SRX, it wouldn't really help their case much. I believe and feel the SRX sounds and performs much better than the QSC K series in every way. The K series stuff is pretty expensive considering what it is competing against. There is only about a $300 difference in price between the SRX and the QSC lines, and the SRX is punching far above the QSC in terms of features and performance.

I think the SRX falls into what I call the Pro-sumer market. It is entry-level professional-grade stuff. The QSC K series to me is just consumer or MI grade. It is what 9 out of 10 bands will own happily because it was the best they could afford. That is not to say that it is worthless, unusable, or crap. The QSC K series is good and performs rather well actually. It provides excellent ROI, is accepted by just about any local band, is simple to use, and has good reliability. Having used both the QSC and the SRX MANY times to mix on, the SRX is just easier and more rewarding to work with.

You're missing the point, will the OP get thousands of dollars more business by having the SRX boxes? Unlikely. As a business owner there should be a clear ROI before investing thousands more dollars into gear. If the new rig would let him get bigger shows or something then sure, but going from a couple single 18's to some other couple single 18's, he isn't gaining enough to open him up to new possibilities.

Nobody is arguing that the SRX boxes aren't better, just they aren't worth the money when the OP already has a similar rig.

Also, your math is wrong, a K12.2 is $800, a SRX812p is $1300...that's a $500 difference.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Scott Holtzman on May 09, 2021, 10:49:11 pm
You're missing the point, will the OP get thousands of dollars more business by having the SRX boxes? Unlikely. As a business owner there should be a clear ROI before investing thousands more dollars into gear. If the new rig would let him get bigger shows or something then sure, but going from a couple single 18's to some other couple single 18's, he isn't gaining enough to open him up to new possibilities.

Nobody is arguing that the SRX boxes aren't better, just they aren't worth the money when the OP already has a similar rig.

Also, your math is wrong, a K12.2 is $800, a SRX812p is $1300...that's a $500 difference.


Bob is exactly right, you may run across that odd customer who knows the models but a KW and and SRX/PRX are all the same "level" of speakers and would be interchangeable sent out.  If you have someone payone a premium for SRX that's a unicorn.

Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Luke Geis on May 11, 2021, 12:40:25 am
If you pay $1,300 for an SRX 812, you didn't shop enough. I got my 818's for that much, the 812's can be found for just over $1k if you look hard enough.

I won't argue about ROI and acceptance. We know that pretty much any local level act and organization will accept either one. I am proposing that for a little bit more, you get quite a bit more. I guess the shift in thinking I am talking about is at what point do you go from the just enough, to the value-added mindset? I also think the SRX can demand a little more money. I think the QSC K series is a $50 per box rental item. I charge $75 per box for my SRX's. That is on par with most companies in my area.

Yes, the KW range of QCS is wooden, also 100 years old, heavy as heck, and none of the features that the SRX has exist. It is also more expensive than the K series. So if the major question is will a client pay more for the SRX over that of anything QSC, that is dependent upon how you look at it. I say it is X price and my client either says yes or no. I don't really haggle. My business model is different in that I don't nickel a dime with line item after line item. I know a few in my area that charge less per line item, but will charge you for every single item that leaves the shop. I do more packaged pricing. You can't use a speaker without a stand. So my price includes most of the complimentary items you MUST have to utilize it. A microphone comes with a stand and cable, one price. I charge a little more for each item than most of those in my area, but you don't have a proposal that reads like a grocery list either. I guess what I am saying is where you value yourself and your business and how competitive you want to be is up to you. If you buy Harbinger grade equipment and can charge SRX prices for it, more power to you. But if you have QSC grade gear and charge Harbinger grade prices for it, well, that is up to you. Your ROI plan is not of importance once the item has been paid for. If you can move it enough that it is paid for in one month, it doesn't matter if it cost $2k or $100, you move it enough to get your ROI and anything beyond that is profit margins. If having a slightly better grade of gear doesn't demand more money, but can get you more, better, or both kinds of gigs, then an extra $1k in expense is easily worth it. What holds you back from commanding more money? Is it your level of talent, or your level of gear? Is it both? Will having better gear propel you? If a QSC K series speaker is where the knee exists for quality to price ratio, then NOTHING beyond that price point in gear will get you any further, quite literally.

Case in point; and perhaps it was just my attitude shift? I went from a JRX system to a PRX system. I thought my life had changed when I made that jump. I was instantly gratified with the ease and level of quality I was able to prduce. My pricing and quality of gig went up with that purchase. I then went up to SRX from the PRX. Again, it was an instantly gratifying move. And again my pricing and job quality went up. I was able to demand almost double what I used to for the same gig and there was no pushback from my clients. They couldn't, my work spoke for itself, and my equipment further made my work and the job that much better. I am not a big house, I am not the best sound engineer to walk this planet, I just picked my clients wisely, made smart business decisions, and could provide a service that exceeded most other companies with less effort. I was making a damn good income and it was only getting better ( before the pandemic.... ). I wasn't working my butt off and when I worked I was happy. Mostly because work wasn't work, it was place speaker here, plug it in, turn it on and off to the races; the client was happy, I was happy and I got paid! Was it the quality of the equipment or was it me? I think it was a bit of both. I was happier with my tools, which improved my attitude and the pace of deployment. I spent less time thinking and more time doing.

:) I can't wait till we are full swing again!!!
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Tim McCulloch on May 11, 2021, 01:02:16 am
{snip of other stuff}
If having a slightly better grade of gear doesn't demand more money, but can get you more, better, or both kinds of gigs, then an extra $1k in expense is easily worth it. What holds you back from commanding more money? Is it your level of talent, or your level of gear? Is it both? Will having better gear propel you? If a QSC K series speaker is where the knee exists for quality to price ratio, then NOTHING beyond that price point in gear will get you any further, quite literally.

Word.

Case in point; and perhaps it was just my attitude shift? I went from a JRX system to a PRX system. I thought my life had changed when I made that jump. I was instantly gratified with the ease and level of quality I was able to prduce. My pricing and quality of gig went up with that purchase. I then went up to SRX from the PRX. Again, it was an instantly gratifying move. And again my pricing and job quality went up. I was able to demand almost double what I used to for the same gig and there was no pushback from my clients. They couldn't, my work spoke for itself, and my equipment further made my work and the job that much better. I am not a big house, I am not the best sound engineer to walk this planet, I just picked my clients wisely, made smart business decisions, and could provide a service that exceeded most other companies with less effort. I was making a damn good income and it was only getting better ( before the pandemic.... ). I wasn't working my butt off and when I worked I was happy. Mostly because work wasn't work, it was place speaker here, plug it in, turn it on and off to the races; the client was happy, I was happy and I got paid! Was it the quality of the equipment or was it me? I think it was a bit of both. I was happier with my tools, which improved my attitude and the pace of deployment. I spent less time thinking and more time doing.

:) I can't wait till we are full swing again!!!
This is the 'incremental' upgrade path I mention occasionally.  It's the reason for "buy once, cry once" - to leapfrog that next incremental round of purchases.  In your case, you were able to turn the improvement into additional revenue and correctly identify that as a primary reason to make capital equipment purchases.  The "ear-opening" experience of moving up in the quality of equipment can be revelatory but I'd rather hear it on someone else's dime... ;)

Work is coming back.  Keep up the value and the prices will follow.  My shop is doing a one-off for a returning client at 2019 rates.  For some folks the year 2020 didn't stop the way it did for the events/meetings/theater industries.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Steve-White on May 11, 2021, 10:43:42 am
^^^ What he said and yes it's down to business philosophy.

In today's climate finding used SRX's shouldn't be a big deal, and frankly for someone going out for the dime the difference in cost -vs- gains in performance are a no-brainer to me.

Again, down to personal philosophy and that can be inserted into a circular argument with no beginning and no end.

Delivering quality to our customers is just that.  There's always a step up and a step down from every point.

I agree with Luke on the "Mental Aspects" of it as well.  When I go out on a job, and the gear is more than it takes, loaded for bear as I call it - it makes for a much easier time than dealing with "just enough" or I have to squeeze it for every drop to pull this off.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Bob Stone on May 12, 2021, 12:04:09 am
If you pay $1,300 for an SRX 812, you didn't shop enough. I got my 818's for that much, the 812's can be found for just over $1k if you look hard enough.

I won't argue about ROI and acceptance. We know that pretty much any local level act and organization will accept either one. I am proposing that for a little bit more, you get quite a bit more. I guess the shift in thinking I am talking about is at what point do you go from the just enough, to the value-added mindset? I also think the SRX can demand a little more money. I think the QSC K series is a $50 per box rental item. I charge $75 per box for my SRX's. That is on par with most companies in my area.

Yes, the KW range of QCS is wooden, also 100 years old, heavy as heck, and none of the features that the SRX has exist. It is also more expensive than the K series. So if the major question is will a client pay more for the SRX over that of anything QSC, that is dependent upon how you look at it. I say it is X price and my client either says yes or no. I don't really haggle. My business model is different in that I don't nickel a dime with line item after line item. I know a few in my area that charge less per line item, but will charge you for every single item that leaves the shop. I do more packaged pricing. You can't use a speaker without a stand. So my price includes most of the complimentary items you MUST have to utilize it. A microphone comes with a stand and cable, one price. I charge a little more for each item than most of those in my area, but you don't have a proposal that reads like a grocery list either. I guess what I am saying is where you value yourself and your business and how competitive you want to be is up to you. If you buy Harbinger grade equipment and can charge SRX prices for it, more power to you. But if you have QSC grade gear and charge Harbinger grade prices for it, well, that is up to you. Your ROI plan is not of importance once the item has been paid for. If you can move it enough that it is paid for in one month, it doesn't matter if it cost $2k or $100, you move it enough to get your ROI and anything beyond that is profit margins. If having a slightly better grade of gear doesn't demand more money, but can get you more, better, or both kinds of gigs, then an extra $1k in expense is easily worth it. What holds you back from commanding more money? Is it your level of talent, or your level of gear? Is it both? Will having better gear propel you? If a QSC K series speaker is where the knee exists for quality to price ratio, then NOTHING beyond that price point in gear will get you any further, quite literally.

Case in point; and perhaps it was just my attitude shift? I went from a JRX system to a PRX system. I thought my life had changed when I made that jump. I was instantly gratified with the ease and level of quality I was able to prduce. My pricing and quality of gig went up with that purchase. I then went up to SRX from the PRX. Again, it was an instantly gratifying move. And again my pricing and job quality went up. I was able to demand almost double what I used to for the same gig and there was no pushback from my clients. They couldn't, my work spoke for itself, and my equipment further made my work and the job that much better. I am not a big house, I am not the best sound engineer to walk this planet, I just picked my clients wisely, made smart business decisions, and could provide a service that exceeded most other companies with less effort. I was making a damn good income and it was only getting better ( before the pandemic.... ). I wasn't working my butt off and when I worked I was happy. Mostly because work wasn't work, it was place speaker here, plug it in, turn it on and off to the races; the client was happy, I was happy and I got paid! Was it the quality of the equipment or was it me? I think it was a bit of both. I was happier with my tools, which improved my attitude and the pace of deployment. I spent less time thinking and more time doing.

:) I can't wait till we are full swing again!!!

$1300 is regular retail price on all the major sites, it's a quick and easy and fair comparison for pricing. If you can knock a couple hundred off the SRX, you can probably do the same on the QSC's anyway, so moot point.

Ok, so you get more for renting out an SRX box...but if a QSC box goes out every weekend for $50 because it's more affordable to renters and the SRX goes out every other weekend for $75, I'll take the QSC in my inventory. This all comes back to the fact that the OP actually has a rig. If he didn't, yup, SRX all the way 100%...but since he does, he has to weigh a relatively minor investment (one new sub) versus a wholesale replacement of his inventory. With that calculus it just doesn't fly. We're also not talking a 10 year old Behringer speaker or even your JRX's, we're already into the good solid equipment part of the market.

Also, for the VAST majority of clients, they will see QSC or JBL and be perfectly satisfied. In fact, most clients won't even care what brand the speakers are as long as you show up with a relatively clean rig that works. The only people who care are the sound engineers and band members and people like you in a crowd, but they are rarely the ones paying the bills.

I stand by my statement, the SRX is not the wise move here. If the OP wants to invest in the next level, go get some TH118's, not just a slightly different run of the mill 18" box. You're making a very typical gear acquisition syndrome decision and not a business decision.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Scott Holtzman on May 12, 2021, 02:25:07 am


Also, for the VAST majority of clients, they will see QSC or JBL and be perfectly satisfied. In fact, most clients won't even care what brand the speakers are as long as you show up with a relatively clean rig that works. The only people who care are the sound engineers and band members and people like you in a crowd, but they are rarely the ones paying the bills.





This is exactly my point.  While there may be a client that would choose you because of the SRX over K or KW that won't be the client that rents consistently month after month.  You can gnash over the decision until it hurts but in the end having enough depth of inventory that you can cover your demand and have a few spares and provide excellent service, that's the success formula.  You can do it with EV, QSC, JBL, et al.  In the end you pick the vendor that treats you right.



Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Steve-White on May 12, 2021, 06:58:55 pm

This is exactly my point.  While there may be a client that would choose you because of the SRX over K or KW that won't be the client that rents consistently month after month.  You can gnash over the decision until it hurts but in the end having enough depth of inventory that you can cover your demand and have a few spares and provide excellent service, that's the success formula.  You can do it with EV, QSC, JBL, et al.  In the end you pick the vendor that treats you right.

This!

And for a single small operator another important part of the success formula is, in addition to your suppliers, forming alliances with others in the business that will work with you.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Scott Holtzman on May 13, 2021, 12:16:44 am
This!

And for a single small operator another important part of the success formula is, in addition to your suppliers, forming alliances with others in the business that will work with you.


Absolutely, no matter how much stuff (or how little) you have, you will rarely have all you need.  Having cross renting relationships is essential.

Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Luke Geis on May 13, 2021, 12:43:12 am
My market must be different than some of yours? The question I ask you ( because I had to ask myself ), is who determines what I charge?

Why wouldn't the SRX rig go out every week? Because it is $25 more per speaker at the pricing structure I have? Or because you won't rent it out for $50 a box like you would the QSC? If the client doesn't care, then why even show up with a QSC K series at all, why not a Behringer, or a Seismic Audio speaker? Don't answer that, it was rhetorical...

Going to my statement: " At what point do you go from just enough to value-added....". Forget about ROI, forget about acceptability; we are talking tools and shop here. If you have a market at all, you will make an ROI. It might take a couple of extra weekends, but you will make your money back if you can move your equipment. We all agree the SRX is better as a tool, and I don't think it is even arguable. None of your clients care about your ROI, your metric, or your reasoning for cost structure, they care whether they can get what they want at the price they want. But they don't tell you what to charge, they only agree to YOUR fee. You can charge whatever the heck you'd like, you may find that you take fewer gigs, but make the same money. What of your ROI and hours to income ratio then?

Consider this perhaps. You go out and buy an L'acoustics rig and you still have the same clientele you had before ( will pay less for QSC because it works and is affordable ), so do you completely alienate that clientele by pricing yourself out of their range and lose all your gigs? Or, do you ramp them in? Hey, I got this new system that is multitudes better than what I used to have, I will work with you on pricing for this one gig so I can utilize it and hopefully build a new customer base with it. If you have a system like that, you WILL GET CALLS EVENTUALLY. 

IT IS AT THIS POINT WHERE YOUR TALENT MUST EQUAL THE QUALITY OF YOUR TOOLS. If you duff the gig with your expensive tools, you won't sell it. This is why the majority of companies move mid-tier equipment. The talent and the tools match the price point of the client they acquire. This is in no way meant to be a knock on anyone, it is the economics of the system. I owned a JRX system after all... Now I play with people's d&b, L'Acoustics, Martin, JBL, and RCF systems! If you have good talent, it is much easier to sell your gear no matter what market you are playing in.

So going back to what is a better buy. That is 100% up to you and what you value. I purchased the SRX system as my next step because it was one step better than everyone else in my direct market was using. I didn't intend on increasing my pricing or doing crazy microeconomics on when my ROI will occur and potential gross returns, it was simply that was making enough to afford one step better than my competition, I think I can sell it and I think it will help sell me. Low and behold, it did. I did a few gigs, got instant results, and saw that I was undervalued. I increased my day rate, and my equipment rate, and didn't get any pushback. I didn't have my old clients going " well uh, you see, uh, your estimate was $350 more than last year, and uh.... well we can't afford it... Not saying you will get the same results, but if your client values YOU, then you can ask what YOU want.

We seem to keep going to what the client will pay and how busy you can keep yourself. Not taking into account the actual time spent making the $$$. If you do 1 gig for $10k, or 10 gigs for $1k, which one pays you the most? Don't answer that, another rhetorical... You don't want to work 6 gigs in a weekend if you can make the same money in 4 gigs. If you can demand in 4 gigs what you did in 6 before, you actually made more money. Scale that back up to 6 gigs again and you are now making double what you were before for the same number of gigs. I have some bands that I worked weddings for, they were good for about 1 show a month ( between my availability and their location ) When I said my new rate was going to be $250 more than my old rate, they couldn't argue when I said I will ramp them in. You get one gig at the old rate to see why I'm charging more. I still got the calls. It wasn't because I was the only game in town, it was because I was WORTH IT.

You don't ask your clients to pay you X amount, you tell them it is this much ( not in such gross terms ). The difference between I can do it for $500 if that works for you and my rate for that is $750, is actually $250 more in your pocket. If you ask, that leaves the impression that it is negotiable. If you say that it is this much... there isn't an impression that things are negotiable. Do you want to rent speakers at $50 forever and base your income off of how many of them you can move every week, or do you want speakers that are worth more and that you CAN demand more for and still move as many as you can every week? One makes more money than the other.

Again, if the QSC K series is where the knee for quality to price ratio exists, then why not use the next step down and charge the same then? Make even more money!!! If it is all about getting to your client's bottom line... why not bring yours down with it. I don't like that business model myself. I like having the best tool I can and acquiring a client that will pay for it. I make more, I work less and everyone is still happy :)

Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Russell Ault on May 13, 2021, 04:40:44 pm
{...}

There's a lot to think about here, but I think I might be able to help out with some confusion. A few posts ago you said:

{...} Your ROI plan is not of importance once the item has been paid for. If you can move it enough that it is paid for in one month, it doesn't matter if it cost $2k or $100, you move it enough to get your ROI and anything beyond that is profit margins. {...}

Strictly speaking, this is not correct. Technically, what you're describing here is not ROI, but payback period (PBP), and I think the distinction between the two explains a lot. In short, PBP looks at how long it takes for an asset to pay for its acquisition costs (which is basically what you're describing), while ROI looks at how much income an asset can generate relative to its acquisition costs.

By the sounds of what you've said, your business model is almost entirely service-oriented. This would mean the primary job of your assets is to maintain or increase the value of your services. You need to be sure that your assets aren't losing you money (which PBP will tell you), but beyond that your concern is with your entirely services, not with your assets. There's nothing inherently wrong with this approach, but (at least above a certain scale) it effectively leaves income on the table, which can be perfectly fine on a human level (but is a mortal sin from a business perspective).

The other business model in our industry (or, frankly, most industries) is a hybrid, being both service-orient and asset-oriented. When people like Scott Holtzman talk about ROI, they mean actual ROI, where the goal is wring as much income out of given capital expenditure as possible. This means everything from calculating potential revenues to predicting the capital loss upon disposition. Mathematically-speaking, decreasing the size of the outlay without decreasing the size of the generative income inherently mean greater ROI. (Strangely, from an ROI perspective, PBP is almost immaterial, except to the extent that interest and/or opportunity cost put downward pressure on ROI.) To my mind, the biggest problem with this approach is that, from an individual's perspective, an ROI calculation would suggest that this whole industry isn't a good investment and never has been (but I suppose there are people who open restaurants, too). :P

I'm not going to argue in favour of one approach or the other as both have their pros and cons, particularly at different scales, but I think (hope?) that the distinction between PBP and ROI may help to clear up some of the confusion.

-Russ
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Bob Stone on May 13, 2021, 08:41:30 pm
My market must be different than some of yours? The question I ask you ( because I had to ask myself ), is who determines what I charge?

Why wouldn't the SRX rig go out every week? Because it is $25 more per speaker at the pricing structure I have? Or because you won't rent it out for $50 a box like you would the QSC? If the client doesn't care, then why even show up with a QSC K series at all, why not a Behringer, or a Seismic Audio speaker? Don't answer that, it was rhetorical...

Going to my statement: " At what point do you go from just enough to value-added....". Forget about ROI, forget about acceptability; we are talking tools and shop here. If you have a market at all, you will make an ROI. It might take a couple of extra weekends, but you will make your money back if you can move your equipment. We all agree the SRX is better as a tool, and I don't think it is even arguable. None of your clients care about your ROI, your metric, or your reasoning for cost structure, they care whether they can get what they want at the price they want. But they don't tell you what to charge, they only agree to YOUR fee. You can charge whatever the heck you'd like, you may find that you take fewer gigs, but make the same money. What of your ROI and hours to income ratio then?

Consider this perhaps. You go out and buy an L'acoustics rig and you still have the same clientele you had before ( will pay less for QSC because it works and is affordable ), so do you completely alienate that clientele by pricing yourself out of their range and lose all your gigs? Or, do you ramp them in? Hey, I got this new system that is multitudes better than what I used to have, I will work with you on pricing for this one gig so I can utilize it and hopefully build a new customer base with it. If you have a system like that, you WILL GET CALLS EVENTUALLY. 

IT IS AT THIS POINT WHERE YOUR TALENT MUST EQUAL THE QUALITY OF YOUR TOOLS. If you duff the gig with your expensive tools, you won't sell it. This is why the majority of companies move mid-tier equipment. The talent and the tools match the price point of the client they acquire. This is in no way meant to be a knock on anyone, it is the economics of the system. I owned a JRX system after all... Now I play with people's d&b, L'Acoustics, Martin, JBL, and RCF systems! If you have good talent, it is much easier to sell your gear no matter what market you are playing in.

So going back to what is a better buy. That is 100% up to you and what you value. I purchased the SRX system as my next step because it was one step better than everyone else in my direct market was using. I didn't intend on increasing my pricing or doing crazy microeconomics on when my ROI will occur and potential gross returns, it was simply that was making enough to afford one step better than my competition, I think I can sell it and I think it will help sell me. Low and behold, it did. I did a few gigs, got instant results, and saw that I was undervalued. I increased my day rate, and my equipment rate, and didn't get any pushback. I didn't have my old clients going " well uh, you see, uh, your estimate was $350 more than last year, and uh.... well we can't afford it... Not saying you will get the same results, but if your client values YOU, then you can ask what YOU want.

We seem to keep going to what the client will pay and how busy you can keep yourself. Not taking into account the actual time spent making the $$$. If you do 1 gig for $10k, or 10 gigs for $1k, which one pays you the most? Don't answer that, another rhetorical... You don't want to work 6 gigs in a weekend if you can make the same money in 4 gigs. If you can demand in 4 gigs what you did in 6 before, you actually made more money. Scale that back up to 6 gigs again and you are now making double what you were before for the same number of gigs. I have some bands that I worked weddings for, they were good for about 1 show a month ( between my availability and their location ) When I said my new rate was going to be $250 more than my old rate, they couldn't argue when I said I will ramp them in. You get one gig at the old rate to see why I'm charging more. I still got the calls. It wasn't because I was the only game in town, it was because I was WORTH IT.

You don't ask your clients to pay you X amount, you tell them it is this much ( not in such gross terms ). The difference between I can do it for $500 if that works for you and my rate for that is $750, is actually $250 more in your pocket. If you ask, that leaves the impression that it is negotiable. If you say that it is this much... there isn't an impression that things are negotiable. Do you want to rent speakers at $50 forever and base your income off of how many of them you can move every week, or do you want speakers that are worth more and that you CAN demand more for and still move as many as you can every week? One makes more money than the other.

Again, if the QSC K series is where the knee for quality to price ratio exists, then why not use the next step down and charge the same then? Make even more money!!! If it is all about getting to your client's bottom line... why not bring yours down with it. I don't like that business model myself. I like having the best tool I can and acquiring a client that will pay for it. I make more, I work less and everyone is still happy :)

You mistake a few things:

1) That the SRX is THAT MUCH better than the K series. It's fractionally better but almost no one will notice and more importantly it doesn't allow you to get gigs that you otherwise couldn't get with the K series (in reference to OP's single 12's over single 18's setup).

2) That the OP doesn't already own a bunch of paid for gear that selling and buying something else will cost him far more than just adding one more box.

3) That by your math, everyone should throw away their rigs, run out and buy the L'Acoustics or Meyer or whatever other top tier box because clearly doing so and that alone will make them oodles more money with far less work. This just isn't how it works, especially if we're talking any decent 12" two way on a stick.

It would also be fun to live in your world where the client would actually care about the difference between a K12.2 and an SRX812p...I suspect someone's rejecting reality and substituting it with their own here. If I showed up to run FOH for a show or was doing a corporate talking head gig or was DJing a wedding or whatever other live sound scenario it might be and was presented with either of those boxes, I would have no issues with either one and I doubt you can find any real sound engineer that would.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Scott Holtzman on May 13, 2021, 09:18:08 pm
There's a lot to think about here, but I think I might be able to help out with some confusion. A few posts ago you said:

Strictly speaking, this is not correct. Technically, what you're describing here is not ROI, but payback period (PBP), and I think the distinction between the two explains a lot. In short, PBP looks at how long it takes for an asset to pay for its acquisition costs (which is basically what you're describing), while ROI looks at how much income an asset can generate relative to its acquisition costs.

By the sounds of what you've said, your business model is almost entirely service-oriented. This would mean the primary job of your assets is to maintain or increase the value of your services. You need to be sure that your assets aren't losing you money (which PBP will tell you), but beyond that your concern is with your entirely services, not with your assets. There's nothing inherently wrong with this approach, but (at least above a certain scale) it effectively leaves income on the table, which can be perfectly fine on a human level (but is a mortal sin from a business perspective).

The other business model in our industry (or, frankly, most industries) is a hybrid, being both service-orient and asset-oriented. When people like Scott Holtzman talk about ROI, they mean actual ROI, where the goal is wring as much income out of given capital expenditure as possible. This means everything from calculating potential revenues to predicting the capital loss upon disposition. Mathematically-speaking, decreasing the size of the outlay without decreasing the size of the generative income inherently mean greater ROI. (Strangely, from an ROI perspective, PBP is almost immaterial, except to the extent that interest and/or opportunity cost put downward pressure on ROI.) To my mind, the biggest problem with this approach is that, from an individual's perspective, an ROI calculation would suggest that this whole industry isn't a good investment and never has been (but I suppose there are people who open restaurants, too). :P

I'm not going to argue in favour of one approach or the other as both have their pros and cons, particularly at different scales, but I think (hope?) that the distinction between PBP and ROI may help to clear up some of the confusion.

-Russ


Russ is exactly right, QSC has great ROI I bet I have KW112 that have been our 300 times.  That's 12k return on the investment and they hold up very well.  The JBL's have had a few problems and I have so few compared to the QSC it's not a fair comparison.  The people that rent them are very happy with either speaker.  I have 8 DSR112's in that same rental category, not one had broke yet so they will do well I am sure.  If I am grabbing a 12" point and shoot I grab the DSR if that tells you anything. 



Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Steve-White on May 13, 2021, 09:53:33 pm
So my situation is as follows.

I currently have an all QSC system which I use for my band and occasionally for local shows for other bands as well.  I have:
 4 - K12.2 (2 for tops 2 for monitors)
 2 - K10.2 for monitors
 1 - KS118 sub..................

Me thinks the thread has taken on a life of it's own.  The OP and thread started with sound for a band and sound service as a system.  Not sure how things trailed off into over the counter equipment rentals.  Some do equipment rentals and that's ok, there's a market for it.  I don't, only contractor for sound service, turn key - no equipment rentals.  Optimal solutions would weight different aspects for each usage profile.

If I were to rent gear out over the counter, it would be in good operating condition, but would be beater grade - simple, reliable, plug in turn on and decent sound.  For my contract work, I want the good stuff.

Maybe I missed the fork in the road.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Russell Ault on May 13, 2021, 10:23:22 pm
You mistake a few things:

1) That the SRX is THAT MUCH better than the K series. It's fractionally better but almost no one will notice and more importantly it doesn't allow you to get gigs that you otherwise couldn't get with the K series (in reference to OP's single 12's over single 18's setup).

2) That the OP doesn't already own a bunch of paid for gear that selling and buying something else will cost him far more than just adding one more box.

3) That by your math, everyone should throw away their rigs, run out and buy the L'Acoustics or Meyer or whatever other top tier box because clearly doing so and that alone will make them oodles more money with far less work. This just isn't how it works, especially if we're talking any decent 12" two way on a stick.

It would also be fun to live in your world where the client would actually care about the difference between a K12.2 and an SRX812p...I suspect someone's rejecting reality and substituting it with their own here. If I showed up to run FOH for a show or was doing a corporate talking head gig or was DJing a wedding or whatever other live sound scenario it might be and was presented with either of those boxes, I would have no issues with either one and I doubt you can find any real sound engineer that would.

Isn't this a bit harsh? Let's face it, if all we cared about was ROI, none of us would be here: we'd have put our time and money into better valued, better paying, more stable careers/industries.

Asset-focused business models don't scale down particularly well. My freelancer sole proprietorship has never given any thought towards maximizing the ROI on my c-wrench, or my laptop, or even my Smaart license. Ideally I can manage these outlays in such a way as to ensure a reasonable PBP, but at the end of the day they are merely the tools I need to enable me to comfortably do the job I want to be doing at the level I'm capable of doing it at. I can (and sometime do) work with less, but having good tools always makes for a better day at the office.

My understanding is that Luke has done nothing more than expand on this basic approach: his PA is part of his "toolbox". He insists on bringing SRX to his gigs for the same reason that I insist on bring custom-moulded, filtered earplugs to all of mine: it makes for a better (easier, more comfortable, etc.) day at the office, and I can afford the outlay.

Asset-focused business models also tend to require a certain level of staffing. Managing ROI requires additional bookkeeping; maximizing ROI basically requires offering dry rentals, which means either doing a lot more of the "not coiling cables and pushing faders" work (which a lot of us don't particularly enjoy to begin with) or hiring someone to do it for your (which really doesn't scale down well).

Once a business grows to be a certain size I'm sure that ROI starts to become very import, but below that threshold (whatever it is) the concept is almost meaningless. Many of the things one has to do to maximize ROI aren't even possible at a small scale, at which point maximizing the personal comfort in (and, for that matter, enjoyment of) one's work—within the bounds of affordability (i.e. whether or not it is economically justifiable)—makes quite a bit more sense to me.

-Russ

ETA:

Me thinks the thread has taken on a life of it's own.  The OP and thread started with sound for a band and sound service as a system.  Not sure how things trailed off into over the counter equipment rentals.  Some do equipment rentals and that's ok, there's a market for it.  I don't, only contractor for sound service, turn key - no equipment rentals.  Optimal solutions would weight different aspects for each usage profile.

If I were to rent gear out over the counter, it would be in good operating condition, but would be beater grade - simple, reliable, plug in turn on and decent sound.  For my contract work, I want the good stuff.

Maybe I missed the fork in the road.

It's all about perspective. The more business-savvy among the forum's members (i.e. the ones trying to maximize ROI) tend to assume that every sound provider also does dry rentals because maximizing asset utilization is key to maximizing ROI (and therefore not doing dry rentals is leaving money on the table). For them, dry rentals are truly integral to the business of "doing sound", and therefore it isn't a topic swerve at all.

Whether or not that's true for the OP is likely something we'll never figure out given that he's only made the one post. (As an aside, perhaps we should add something to the forum's rules mentioning that e-mail notifications don't work?)
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Bob Stone on May 13, 2021, 10:52:11 pm
Russ, that is fair to say there's some level of enjoyment/comfort/pleasure for ones self in owning nice(r) gear. Some things I would deem necessary, like ear plugs, as an investment into the length of one's career...it can extend to speakers to some degree, but having used a dozen different QSC and JBL boxes over the years, I can't say I see it (or more so hear it) in this case.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Russell Ault on May 13, 2021, 11:08:13 pm
{...} Some things I would deem necessary, like ear plugs, as an investment into the length of one's career...it can extend to speakers to some degree, but having used a dozen different QSC and JBL boxes over the years, I can't say I see it (or more so hear it) in this case.

Ah, I should have been clearer: the upgrade is that I carry custom moulds instead of disposable foam.

{...} but having used a dozen different QSC and JBL boxes over the years, I can't say I see it (or more so hear it) in this case.

That's totally fair, but that's also really getting into a "Ford vs. Chevy" sort of thing; heck, I've talked to people who dislike mixing on Meyer PAs (I believe the phrase used was "they're too technical"). I think Luke's point is that SRX does something for him (and clearly others too, given that he's not the only one who owns them) that K-series doesn't, and his advice to the OP in this regard is valid because the same may well be true for the OP too (or it might not; we just don't know).

I just don't think it's fair to say that SRX is a bad business decision, because not ever business model requires maximizing ROI to be successful (especially when the only shareholder also happens to be the only employee).

-Russ
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Scott Holtzman on May 14, 2021, 12:57:42 am
Isn't this a bit harsh? Let's face it, if all we cared about was ROI, none of us would be here: we'd have put our time and money into better valued, better paying, more stable careers/industries.

Asset-focused business models don't scale down particularly well. My freelancer sole proprietorship has never given any thought towards maximizing the ROI on my c-wrench, or my laptop, or even my Smaart license. Ideally I can manage these outlays in such a way as to ensure a reasonable PBP, but at the end of the day they are merely the tools I need to enable me to comfortably do the job I want to be doing at the level I'm capable of doing it at. I can (and sometime do) work with less, but having good tools always makes for a better day at the office.

My understanding is that Luke has done nothing more than expand on this basic approach: his PA is part of his "toolbox". He insists on bringing SRX to his gigs for the same reason that I insist on bring custom-moulded, filtered earplugs to all of mine: it makes for a better (easier, more comfortable, etc.) day at the office, and I can afford the outlay.

Asset-focused business models also tend to require a certain level of staffing. Managing ROI requires additional bookkeeping; maximizing ROI basically requires offering dry rentals, which means either doing a lot more of the "not coiling cables and pushing faders" work (which a lot of us don't particularly enjoy to begin with) or hiring someone to do it for your (which really doesn't scale down well).

Once a business grows to be a certain size I'm sure that ROI starts to become very import, but below that threshold (whatever it is) the concept is almost meaningless. Many of the things one has to do to maximize ROI aren't even possible at a small scale, at which point maximizing the personal comfort in (and, for that matter, enjoyment of) one's work—within the bounds of affordability (i.e. whether or not it is economically justifiable)—makes quite a bit more sense to me.

-Russ

ETA:

It's all about perspective. The more business-savvy among the forum's members (i.e. the ones trying to maximize ROI) tend to assume that every sound provider also does dry rentals because maximizing asset utilization is key to maximizing ROI (and therefore not doing dry rentals is leaving money on the table). For them, dry rentals are truly integral to the business of "doing sound", and therefore it isn't a topic swerve at all.

Whether or not that's true for the OP is likely something we'll never figure out given that he's only made the one post. (As an aside, perhaps we should add something to the forum's rules mentioning that e-mail notifications don't work?)


I would go so far that a single operator running a rig and providing for bands in bars is not truly a business, it's a hobby that earns a bit of revenue to offset the outlay it takes to run those gigs.  His customers are not participating in the local market place, beyond whatever musicians cliques exist in that market.  Here we have 2 or 3 cliques and each one has a few sound guys that trust each other to an extent and they kill themselves on weekends, schlepping the gear, running the gig only to do it again.  It is truly a labor of love I think.  What else can you think when you work 10 hours with $10,000 worth of tools and $300 is the top pay rate?


Those same acts know who the business operators are and we know them because they play on our stages at festivals, fundraisers, sometimes weddings (though the wedding band guys are starting to stay out of the bars) they also know that we won't come out for even double of what they are paying and other than the fact that we bring 2 people essentially we provide the same product as the trunk slammers because there are some truly talented ones that have been doing this there whole life.  There are also a handful of folks that do this full time and they have get weddings and privates, they are more annoying than anything else as you will quote a wedding for $2500 and they will come in and do it for $500.00.  That's why I try and focus on stuff they don't have and would have to pay dearly for, uplights, pinspots, pipe and drape and staging. 


I think we always end up having these conversations when someone comes in that has been grinding over this gear or that and more than anything needs some emotional validation that they are spending their money on the right gear.  Truth being is if you own one system it should be something you like to run, that sounds good enough you don't have to work to make it sound well.  If I was to own one system and run it I would have SM-80's and TH-118.  They are way above the regular 12" point and shoot and would make me smile every time I turn it up.  Of course they should do that, with proper amplification they are 3 orders of magnitude more money.  They feel like it too when you run them.


One more spot on ROI.  Sometimes you have to buy stuff that doesn't have great ROI because you have to have it.  Several times I had to drive 500 miles to cross rent lifts because the ones I rent were out.  I said screw that and bought a pair of lifts.  They are still not paid out after 2 years but they are mine, maintained perfectly and never overloaded.  You just have to balance it out and know that some things you are buying because you need them and can afford them and you want to be seen as full service.  We used to have Wegner staging (still do actually).  It was OK, got the job done but I couldn't cross rent and walking across it vs. a Stageright deck is day and night.  When I had the opportunity I bought StageRight because I could and that was where we wanted to be.  Sometimes it's expensive to play in certain sandboxes.



Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Tim McCulloch on May 14, 2021, 01:01:22 am
And if you get +3dB "real world" output from Device X, compared to device Y, my preference would be to purchase Device X... but if I didn't, and I had any amount of inventory of Device Y or Z, and unless theyare absolute junk, staying in the same family makes more sense.

I like working with good tools.  Over the decades I can tell you that getting good sound from good gear is far easier that making good sound from lesser gear.  Loudspeakers and wireless mics are both "you don't get what you don't pay for" items.  Being frugal can make for a frustrating gig.

We have a little SRX in our inventory and for the most part, I like mixing on it.  I'll have an SRX-835 rig out tomorrow with SRX-712m passives for delays & fills.  :)  Gig related to university commencement exercises.

Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Luke Geis on May 14, 2021, 04:44:13 pm
I have a particularly different business model than most people here.

Mine is 50% income from freelance and 50% income from my own gigs. I make more money doing my own gigs, but I don't want to deal with a warehouse, scaling to demands, and having employees. I cherry-pick my clients. I.E. I only work with the ones I want to for both freelancing and my own productions. To say that ROI or PBP is important to me is an understatement. I cannot lose money on the gear. I am only one man, so I can at most do 1 show on any given day. Where I perhaps differ in my purchasing decisions is that I want the best that I can get with the money I have to work with. Despite the ROI or PBP. As far as I am concerned, once a piece of equipment is paid for, it is no longer an expense and is only making money from then on out. 

You could say I am a service-based company, I don't do dry hire/rentals. I focus on quality first, from the gear to my talent. I have come to learn that my tools really are an extension of me. I want to be seen as one of the best, and to me, having the same quality of tool as everyone else doesn't really set you apart.

Could I make more money with QSC K series stuff? I don't think so. It goes for about $50 a box where I am at and every company in town has them... I make a $25 premium with my SRX stuff, and I spend less time tuning and tweaking to get the sound I want, it's practically turn-key, plug it in and go. I spend less time setting up, my clients are happy and I make more $$ per box, and my higher than average day rate ( for my area ) is justified.

I would say that anyone who comes here asking/providing for help on a purchase decision should be at least be receptive to every available option and opinion as to why X product and purchase decision is X, Y, or Z. I learn new stuff every day and if I find a product and learn about a business tactic that aligns better with my goals, I am down to accept, acknowledge and implement.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Russell Ault on May 15, 2021, 01:41:23 am
{...}To say that ROI or PBP is important to me is an understatement. I cannot lose money on the gear. I am only one man, so I can at most do 1 show on any given day. Where I perhaps differ in my purchasing decisions is that I want the best that I can get with the money I have to work with. Despite the ROI or PBP. As far as I am concerned, once a piece of equipment is paid for, it is no longer an expense and is only making money from then on out.{...} (emphasis added)

Sorry to nitpick, Luke, but just to be clear, what you're describing is not ROI; it's closer to PBP. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with taking a PBP approach to assets (especially for the smallest of small businesses), but I feel like the terminology difference is really important in this conversation.

-Russ
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Bob Stone on May 15, 2021, 12:29:40 pm
I have a particularly different business model than most people here.

Mine is 50% income from freelance and 50% income from my own gigs. I make more money doing my own gigs, but I don't want to deal with a warehouse, scaling to demands, and having employees. I cherry-pick my clients. I.E. I only work with the ones I want to for both freelancing and my own productions. To say that ROI or PBP is important to me is an understatement. I cannot lose money on the gear. I am only one man, so I can at most do 1 show on any given day. Where I perhaps differ in my purchasing decisions is that I want the best that I can get with the money I have to work with. Despite the ROI or PBP. As far as I am concerned, once a piece of equipment is paid for, it is no longer an expense and is only making money from then on out. 

You could say I am a service-based company, I don't do dry hire/rentals. I focus on quality first, from the gear to my talent. I have come to learn that my tools really are an extension of me. I want to be seen as one of the best, and to me, having the same quality of tool as everyone else doesn't really set you apart.

Could I make more money with QSC K series stuff? I don't think so. It goes for about $50 a box where I am at and every company in town has them... I make a $25 premium with my SRX stuff, and I spend less time tuning and tweaking to get the sound I want, it's practically turn-key, plug it in and go. I spend less time setting up, my clients are happy and I make more $$ per box, and my higher than average day rate ( for my area ) is justified.

I would say that anyone who comes here asking/providing for help on a purchase decision should be at least be receptive to every available option and opinion as to why X product and purchase decision is X, Y, or Z. I learn new stuff every day and if I find a product and learn about a business tactic that aligns better with my goals, I am down to accept, acknowledge and implement.


You keep ignoring the point....do you really think the OP should sell off a complete QSC rig to buy SRX boxes rather than just adding one more matching sub? Everyone has agreed the SRX is better and buying new when you have nothing it's probably worth it if you can afford it in your market (as you clearly can) but it's downright stupid to sell off gear for a lateral move. If he's upgrading, he should actually upgrade.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Debbie Dunkley on May 15, 2021, 03:56:00 pm
I think it depends how you read the OP post.

His first sentence tells us he wants to add a sub.
Then he tells us he is moving his K12's to monitor duty soon and... " I was going to get some KW152 or KW153, but having seen more experienced opinions on multiple sound forum sites I see that I would probably be better served by some SRX835 or SRX815 or SRX812 than by the KW153's at roughly the same price"....
I take that as he was going to spend money on sub(s) and tops anyway, so why not get the SRX?

BTW - where'd he go??
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Steve-White on May 15, 2021, 06:30:59 pm
^^^ Yes, where did he go?

Maybe he didn't know to come back manually to check for responses since the email notifications don't work or are disabled.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Debbie Dunkley on May 15, 2021, 07:13:21 pm
^^^ Yes, where did he go?

Maybe he didn't know to come back manually to check for responses since the email notifications don't work or are disabled.

I joined years ago and have NEVER had an email notification even though my settings are correct to receive them and always have been. I just check in every now and then.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Bill Hornibrook on May 15, 2021, 07:50:35 pm

I take that as he was going to spend money on sub(s) and tops anyway, so why not get the SRX?

Based on Luke's post that you can get 812s for around 1K and 818s for 1.3k these days, yeah really! In fact after reading that, I'm seriously considering it myself.

Regarding the OP, he said it's for his band and occasionally others. But it's been interesting reading everyone's thoughts on ROI and stuff anyway.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Steve-White on May 15, 2021, 07:53:27 pm
Based on Luke's post that you can get 812s for around 1K and 818s for 1.3k these days, yeah really! In fact after reading that, I'm seriously considering it myself.

Reading the OP, he said it's for his band and occasionally others. But it's been interesting reading everyone's thoughts on ROI and stuff anyway.

Reading other's perspectives, viewpoints and opinions usually makes for some good reading for sure.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Luke Geis on May 15, 2021, 08:55:47 pm
My big point was that you can't get much better than the SRX line without spending double the money. The features, the performance, A wooden box... et all. You can't really get a better speaker without spending considerably more. RCF may be the next best thing with their NX line. Almost double the cost at retail. A QSC K12.2 costs $800 on ( on the high end, I see them for $750 new and I'm sure you can snag them for $700 new perhaps through the right dealer ) most online stores. The SRX, if you find people on this forum, and even through Northern Lights and Sound, you can get right about the price I mentioned. Shipping is a big? mark these days!!! Shipping has gone up, so finding one at that price with reasonable shipping may be hard.

I don't think the OP has an ROI or PBP to worry about. It is more about what he can afford; I believe. If you have QSC K12.2 money, then for what it costs to buy another K12.2, you can acquire a better tool. Will it make him more money? Will it get him more gigs? Will it make his life easier? Will it make his clients happier? I propose yes to all of those. I think it will make his life easier, improving his performance and talent, which will lead to happier clients that will spread the word increasing his gig count, which will lead to more money. Will having more of what he has do the same thing? Also yes, perhaps to all of those things. I can tell a difference between a K12 and an SRX. For me, the SRX is my choice given the market and options. I don't have d&b, L'acoustics, and Martin money moving for me yet, but boy if I did... One more year like I had in 2019, I would be all over an L' Acoustics rig!!!! The SRX rig made enough of a difference to me to really consider tripling down on the cost to get the real next best thing.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Mike Santarelli on May 15, 2021, 10:16:31 pm
For what it’s worth I have seen street prices for the  RCF nx very close to what you can find “good deals” on srx for.  In fact I know someone who picked up nx32a for less than the best deals I could find on the srx812p.

Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Heath Eldridge on May 16, 2021, 08:52:29 am
For what it’s worth I have seen street prices for the  RCF nx very close to what you can find “good deals” on srx for.  In fact I know someone who picked up nx32a for less than the best deals I could find on the srx812p.

Also depends where he is.

In Australia RCF HD 32a is considerably cheaper than SRX. I don’t think you can get NX. KW is cheaper than SRX but based on these comments is too close to consider.

I got a good deal on my RCF TT22as but I paid about the same as an SRX 812 would cost now.

I’ve literally never seen a band run SRX tops here but I’d like to hear them.

Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Luke Geis on May 16, 2021, 07:14:35 pm
In the states, RCF is pretty spensive! An NX45 retails around the $1,800 mark. It can be found cheaper than that through certain dealers, but what is weird is the NX32 is priced really well here. You can get the NX32 for about the price of an SRX-812. While I do believe the NX32 is a better speaker all around, it is not feature-laden like the SRX line and I think performance-wise, they are pretty much equal. I own an octet of RCF NX12SMA's and they are stellar boxes. They cost me a little bit more than the SRX-812's though.

The big problem with RCF is that while they have stuff that is inexpensive, the complimentary sub is usually where you eat any potential savings. If you can get the NX32, what is going to hurt is getting a set of 8004, or 9004 subs to match it! The subs are easily twice the cost of most similar models. An 8004 will set you back nearly $3k, while the 9004 will set you back about $4k! Certainly better subs than most any option from the usual suspects, but it is the pinch point for going to RCF I think.

Taking a look now at current SRX sub prices and it seems that the 818 single 18" model has gone up a little bit. I don't recall them being quite as expensive as they are now. I may just now have been paying attention to retail prices though at the time I picked mine up. I was dealing with NSL and other dealers at the time to work out pricing. I got mine for about $1,400 each with shipping and a cover. That was nearly 2 years ago though.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Heath Eldridge on May 17, 2021, 03:05:37 am
In the states, RCF is pretty spensive! An NX45 retails around the $1,800 mark. It can be found cheaper than that through certain dealers, but what is weird is the NX32 is priced really well here. You can get the NX32 for about the price of an SRX-812. While I do believe the NX32 is a better speaker all around, it is not feature-laden like the SRX line and I think performance-wise, they are pretty much equal. I own an octet of RCF NX12SMA's and they are stellar boxes. They cost me a little bit more than the SRX-812's though.

The big problem with RCF is that while they have stuff that is inexpensive, the complimentary sub is usually where you eat any potential savings. If you can get the NX32, what is going to hurt is getting a set of 8004, or 9004 subs to match it! The subs are easily twice the cost of most similar models. An 8004 will set you back nearly $3k, while the 9004 will set you back about $4k! Certainly better subs than most any option from the usual suspects, but it is the pinch point for going to RCF I think.

Taking a look now at current SRX sub prices and it seems that the 818 single 18" model has gone up a little bit. I don't recall them being quite as expensive as they are now. I may just now have been paying attention to retail prices though at the time I picked mine up. I was dealing with NSL and other dealers at the time to work out pricing. I got mine for about $1,400 each with shipping and a cover. That was nearly 2 years ago though.

The RCF subs price ok here but the good ones like the ones you mention are heavy.

I did a one man gig up stairs today using one of my pairs of sub 705. Couldn’t have done that with 8004s. SRX... maybe in a pinch.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Mike Pyle on May 17, 2021, 10:19:11 am
Taking a look now at current SRX sub prices and it seems that the 818 single 18" model has gone up a little bit.

SRX models have had a couple of minor price increases. Harman Professional recently also sent notice that starting in mid June a 5% temporary surcharge will be added to invoices across ALL lines in response to transportation & component cost increases due to supply chain disruption. They didn't specify if that would affect MAP or MSRP pricing.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Scott Bolt on May 18, 2021, 06:51:46 pm
Quite the flurry of input here ;).

Considering the OP's original equipment list, and his stated future plans, I would recommend:

1)  Sell the KSUB and buy 1-2 QSC KW181's to go with the current set of QSC speakers.  This will run you either 1.5K or 3K.  This is by far the least expensive option and is a very good rig.  Anyone that can't make this rig sound good needs to work on their mixing chops IMO.

2)  If the OP wants to overhaul/replace his FOH, sure, I agree that the SRX system is a better choice than the QSC system; however, it is much more expensive.

Just to put things into a bit of perspective here, I have heard QSC systems that sounded outstanding and I have heard SRX systems that I found it hard to understand how anyone could make them sound so bad.  The chops on the mixing board makes all the difference IME.

Now, I will agree that I have heard QSC K12's sound relatively bad on many more occasions than I have heard SRX sound bad.  Furthermore, the SRX will go louder and still sound good while the QSC system will become harsh at higher SPL.

If it were my band and gear, I would likely stick with the QSC's.... or at least I believe I would.  There is always that irrational moment when something happens to you for the umpteeth time and when you get home at the end of the night you don't even unload the trailer but instead run straight to the computer and order something new in your fit of rage ;).

.... or maybe I am the only one that has done this!
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Steve-White on May 18, 2021, 07:08:52 pm
^^^  Naw, you're not the only one that's done a fit of rage buy or two.

My last one was an Air Compressor.  Been using a 5HP & 2HP Quincy's in tandem and was running down to ~50 working PSI sandblasting the 5 aluminum wheels from the Jeep.  Ordered a new 10HP Emax rig, then discovered the 1/8" nozzle on the blaster gun was worn to almost 3/16" - which explains why "it used to work".

Oh well, I wanted the quieter 10HP Emax anyway and it'll run a 3/16" nozzle in the blaster gun.  :)

That's the latest one of many...  :)
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Debbie Dunkley on May 18, 2021, 08:13:22 pm
Quite the flurry of input here ;).

Considering the OP's original equipment list, and his stated future plans, I would recommend:

1)  Sell the KSUB and buy 1-2 QSC KW181's to go with the current set of QSC speakers.  This will run you either 1.5K or 3K.  This is by far the least expensive option and is a very good rig.  Anyone that can't make this rig sound good needs to work on their mixing chops IMO.

2)  If the OP wants to overhaul/replace his FOH, sure, I agree that the SRX system is a better choice than the QSC system; however, it is much more expensive.

Just to put things into a bit of perspective here, I have heard QSC systems that sounded outstanding and I have heard SRX systems that I found it hard to understand how anyone could make them sound so bad.  The chops on the mixing board makes all the difference IME.

Now, I will agree that I have heard QSC K12's sound relatively bad on many more occasions than I have heard SRX sound bad.  Furthermore, the SRX will go louder and still sound good while the QSC system will become harsh at higher SPL.

If it were my band and gear, I would likely stick with the QSC's.... or at least I believe I would.  There is always that irrational moment when something happens to you for the umpteeth time and when you get home at the end of the night you don't even unload the trailer but instead run straight to the computer and order something new in your fit of rage ;).

.... or maybe I am the only one that has done this!

No.... no you are not Scott.... ;)
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Debbie Dunkley on May 18, 2021, 08:26:16 pm
I really like the sound of the KW181 but I am NOT a fan of the K or KW series tops. Don't know why - I've heard KW setups sounding pretty good yet there is something about the sound I just don't like. I don't hear enough clarity or definition and boy do they sound harsh and tinny at high volumes WAY before they should. But I really like the KW181.
In fact a few years ago when I was looking for my first powered system, I would have purchased KW181's for subs as I had used them and enjoyed them but becasue I chose against the QSC tops (for the reasons I just gave), I picked up some PRX612's instead that to my ear sounded so much better.
However, the tops didn't have the HP built in at the time and nor did the KW sub and I wasn't going to mess with external crossovers - my whole point of going powered was to simplify - so I got myself some PRX subs instead and really enjoyed them so it worked out.
So I'd put the SRX tops quite a bit higher on the totem pole than the QSC 'equivalent' as I always saw the K/KW series as the equivalent of the JBL PRX series NOT the SRX series.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Jay Marr on May 18, 2021, 08:39:09 pm
No.... no you are not Scott.... ;)

Hahaha...guilty as well.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Steve-White on May 18, 2021, 10:37:09 pm
No.... no you are not Scott.... ;)

I've noticed that TAS & GAS are synonymous in many cases.

And no, Scott/Debbie you are not alone.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Bob Stone on May 19, 2021, 09:58:20 am
Quite the flurry of input here ;).

Considering the OP's original equipment list, and his stated future plans, I would recommend:

1)  Sell the KSUB and buy 1-2 QSC KW181's to go with the current set of QSC speakers.  This will run you either 1.5K or 3K.  This is by far the least expensive option and is a very good rig.  Anyone that can't make this rig sound good needs to work on their mixing chops IMO.

2)  If the OP wants to overhaul/replace his FOH, sure, I agree that the SRX system is a better choice than the QSC system; however, it is much more expensive.

Just to put things into a bit of perspective here, I have heard QSC systems that sounded outstanding and I have heard SRX systems that I found it hard to understand how anyone could make them sound so bad.  The chops on the mixing board makes all the difference IME.

Now, I will agree that I have heard QSC K12's sound relatively bad on many more occasions than I have heard SRX sound bad.  Furthermore, the SRX will go louder and still sound good while the QSC system will become harsh at higher SPL.

If it were my band and gear, I would likely stick with the QSC's.... or at least I believe I would.  There is always that irrational moment when something happens to you for the umpteeth time and when you get home at the end of the night you don't even unload the trailer but instead run straight to the computer and order something new in your fit of rage ;).

.... or maybe I am the only one that has done this!

Just a point of note here, the op said he had a KS118 which is the new ".2" version that replaces the KW181...he does not have the absolutely awful K-Sub. So a second KS118 would be the right choice.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Scott Bolt on May 19, 2021, 06:58:53 pm
Just a point of note here, the op said he had a KS118 which is the new ".2" version that replaces the KW181...he does not have the absolutely awful K-Sub. So a second KS118 would be the right choice.
Good point.  By far the least expensive update is a 2nd KS118 then.

The K-Sub is definitely NOT a good sounding sub (at least to my ears).

Still, if the OP is in the market for a new FOH and intends to demote the K12's to monitor duty, then he could sell the single KS118, demote the K12's, and purchase the SRX tops and subs.

More money, but it would indeed sound better I expect.

In order for the comparison to be fair, the "cheap upgrade" would need to include a pair of monitor speakers as well.

So the decision then becomes:

1)  Buy another KS118 and 2 more K12's

OR

2)  Sell the KS118, buy 2 SRX812p and 2 SRX818p.

Still some daylight between the 2 options in price; however, there is also some daylight between the 2 options in quality (my opinion).  The question really becomes how much the OP wants to upgrade vs spend money :)
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Scott Holtzman on May 19, 2021, 10:36:11 pm
No.... no you are not Scott.... ;)


Oh not me Scott, lol


I have a new opinion, so one of the clubs we take care of the system at ordered four of the KS181.  As an owner of both SRX and KS I can tell you these have just as much usable output as the SRX and they are the total opposite of the KW181.  In fact I am going to repaint all of my KW181's and replace them with the KS, it is that big a difference.  They dig low, they are musical, as I said the exact opposite of KW's one note wonders (well not that bad).  I think using the new KS's with your existing tops would get you where you need to be without blowing a whole lotta dough.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Luke Geis on May 20, 2021, 12:01:29 am
Admittedly I have not heard the newer KS181 ( KS118 or whatever it's called ), but I have worked with the newer K12.2's. The K12.2's were not significant if any of a step up from the originals in terms of overall quality of sound. The specs don't support that they would be either. A couple extra db and some basic EQ and crossover options are about it. I didn't like the KW181 because it was to me, a " one-note wonder ". Perhaps not that bad as mentioned, but it didn't go appreciably low, and it was loud at a particularly small range of frequencies compared to the rest of what it produced. I always felt the need to tune it, and by the time it was reeled in, there just wasn't much volume anymore.

There is something to be said when you can turn on a PA and it sounds more or less spot on right out the gate. I am not a low-frequency fiend, so I prefer a smooth, even response from my subbage, even if it isn't all that loud. The sub still needs to get loud though. The SRX818 for me fills those boxes. It gets low enough, is smooth and even, and gets loud enough with very little work. So if the new QSC KS118 does that, it is certainly a good contender then.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Scott Holtzman on May 20, 2021, 12:24:02 am
Admittedly I have not heard the newer KS181 ( KS118 or whatever it's called ), but I have worked with the newer K12.2's. The K12.2's were not significant if any of a step up from the originals in terms of overall quality of sound. The specs don't support that they would be either. A couple extra db and some basic EQ and crossover options are about it. I didn't like the KW181 because it was to me, a " one-note wonder ". Perhaps not that bad as mentioned, but it didn't go appreciably low, and it was loud at a particularly small range of frequencies compared to the rest of what it produced. I always felt the need to tune it, and by the time it was reeled in, there just wasn't much volume anymore.

There is something to be said when you can turn on a PA and it sounds more or less spot on right out the gate. I am not a low-frequency fiend, so I prefer a smooth, even response from my subbage, even if it isn't all that loud. The sub still needs to get loud though. The SRX818 for me fills those boxes. It gets low enough, is smooth and even, and gets loud enough with very little work. So if the new QSC KS118 does that, it is certainly a good contender then.


Like,. I expected nothing when I stopped by to audition these speakers, my tech was raving.  Keep in mind I own a pair of SRX818 I bought them to see what everyone was raving about. 


Additionally I have 6 STX828's so I am very familiar with the JBL capabilities.  I know the STC are a range up but they use the same class driver they are just a bit bigger and take more power. 


The QSC stuff is very reliable, it does what it does consistently and they hold an important place in our rental portfolio.  I can't ever remember a customer complaint. 


I was blown away by the new KS, I was expecting nothing.  The icing on the cake was the form factor, they are much easier to handle than the SRX.  I am still best down from my COVID recovery yet I was still able to stack them with ease.


They are worth checking out.  I hope QSC updates the KW line to keep up with the KS .


 
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Nils Erickson on May 21, 2021, 04:28:57 am
QSC K series has been a reliable money maker for me.  But I almost never spec it on a job, it is used as a matter of affordability or convenience, or when someone requests it.  Strangely, it doesn't rent for a lot less than speakers that cost 5x more.  And, I have better passive speakers that I rent for about the same.  My SRX and my K10s rent for a similar price, but have different customers.  Few people pick up a dual 15" passive speaker in their Honda, and few people run a festival with K10s.  But people will rent K10s regularly for decent money, so why not own it?  A great alternate speaker can be rented for $50 more.  I spec it on nearly every job.  It rents much more often, I love to mix on it, clients comment on it, my other engineers love to mix on it.  People seek out the brand, and it in turn leads to bigger overall jobs with specific requirement.  Specific requirements cost more money.

I think it is silly to think that people don't notice the difference.  Yeah, some don't and will never care.  But some care very much and will pay a premium.  If you yourself can't tell, don't buy it.  I had a new client call me today, concerned about intelligibility for a mass in a gym.  He was elated when I told him we could bring in either d&b or Meyer.  He knew them by name and model.  Anyone could have suggested K10s for half or a third of the money.  It was about quality.  But on an order, loudspeakers are only part of the whole package; if the entire order ends up being a couple hundred bucks more or less, the speaker cost plays a smaller role.  As a business grows, it makes sense to me to be able to offer things in different price ranges, so I can accommodate different budgets and people who know and appreciate quality.  One thing I know is that I am not going to lose money because I don't also own the cheap speaker that other people will quote on their jobs.

For the OP, with one system, over time I would argue the cost difference can be minimal, get what you like.  Like Tim said, work is easier with good tools (or something like that, sorry Tim).  I'll stick with my original argument that SRX, or many other things, will be a substantial upgrade... but not necessarily required as six pages of posts have said very well.

One more thing- it is really interesting to read these posts and get an understanding for what other people's markets are like, and what works for you all.  I know my strategy would not work well everywhere, so perhaps being savvy about your business and market is more important that the speaker brand.

Cheers,
Nils
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Scott Holtzman on May 21, 2021, 05:17:22 am
QSC K series has been a reliable money maker for me.  But I almost never spec it on a job, it is used as a matter of affordability or convenience, or when someone requests it.  Strangely, it doesn't rent for a lot less than speakers that cost 5x more.  And, I have better passive speakers that I rent for about the same.  My SRX and my K10s rent for a similar price, but have different customers.  Few people pick up a dual 15" passive speaker in their Honda, and few people run a festival with K10s.  But people will rent K10s regularly for decent money, so why not own it?  A great alternate speaker can be rented for $50 more.  I spec it on nearly every job.  It rents much more often, I love to mix on it, clients comment on it, my other engineers love to mix on it.  People seek out the brand, and it in turn leads to bigger overall jobs with specific requirement.  Specific requirements cost more money.

I think it is silly to think that people don't notice the difference.  Yeah, some don't and will never care.  But some care very much and will pay a premium.  If you yourself can't tell, don't buy it.  I had a new client call me today, concerned about intelligibility for a mass in a gym.  He was elated when I told him we could bring in either d&b or Meyer.  He knew them by name and model.  Anyone could have suggested K10s for half or a third of the money.  It was about quality.  But on an order, loudspeakers are only part of the whole package; if the entire order ends up being a couple hundred bucks more or less, the speaker cost plays a smaller role.  As a business grows, it makes sense to me to be able to offer things in different price ranges, so I can accommodate different budgets and people who know and appreciate quality.  One thing I know is that I am not going to lose money because I don't also own the cheap speaker that other people will quote on their jobs.

For the OP, with one system, over time I would argue the cost difference can be minimal, get what you like.  Like Tim said, work is easier with good tools (or something like that, sorry Tim).  I'll stick with my original argument that SRX, or many other things, will be a substantial upgrade... but not necessarily required as six pages of posts have said very well.

One more thing- it is really interesting to read these posts and get an understanding for what other people's markets are like, and what works for you all.  I know my strategy would not work well everywhere, so perhaps being savvy about your business and market is more important that the speaker brand.

Cheers,
Nils


Nils, I want to be clear that the QSC is bread and butter rentals.  Small corporate breakout rooms, pre-event space that type of thing.  The KW112 over KW181's is the standard cover band rig.  We have a few local engineers that don't want to own and we rent them a club rig as a package, the aforementioned mains, we have a variety of monitors to choose from, an x32 rack in a fly rack with a UPS and quality AP + a couple of light bars and a mic package with 57's 58's kick drum mic they can choose from an Audix, Shure or Sennheiser.  The drums get the 604's.  We can't do the gig for less than $500 but I rent this rig out to frequent fliers for $250, when things were hopping we had 5 or 6 of these out over a regular weekend.


For the gym gig you spoke of we have 12 box KH Projector rig, it is all horn loaded and would put the sound where we need it.  It's an older PA but we keep it immaculately maintained and it is a huge step up from the bar rigs. 


We have the SRX system and that goes out for small outdoor gigs, pro DJ's just anywhere we need a bit more performance. 


The next system up is VRX932LA's properly processed and powered.  We have JBL STX-828's to go out with these, we have six but have never sent more than four.  We can do two on crank stands or send out the lifts.  These are very popular with the I have to have a line array crowd, especially corporate work. 


Lastly we have 16 FBT Mus 210's a powered dual 10" Italian made B&C loaded line array element that is a nice system, very honest and it gets the job done.   We have trolleys and flyware and can deploy in a variety of configs.  We have customers that insist on ground stacking them when the HK rig would do a better job but we have to fill the order.  We got rid of the MSL-4's but kept our 650R2 subs, we have 12 of them and they are so honest and a wonderful sounding sub, especially considering their age.  We have the Meyer processing and those were passive, we use Yamaha 7000 amps, way too much amp but hey we have headroom and the Meyer protection in the processors is wonderful.  Nobody asks us the age of the Meyers, we keep them clean and painted, my partner is amazing at reconing the drivers and we have a stash of the Meyer kits and plenty of ferrofluid on hand.  The FBT/Meyer system is not competing with 8th day down the road but it's an affordable line array that serves a great niche we are happy to be in. 


We have lots of odds and ends too, some EV QRX a Turbosound column rig so lots of gear to fill orders.  They all have a place and it works for us, everyone has a different plan, markets and needs.


I want to share this with you, we have been doing a "mini-tour" so far 14 dates all within 100 miles of the shop for a comedy tour that are is performing in AAA ballparks.  We are using ground carts with the FBT's and Shure QLXD wireless.  After the first 7 gigs, our initial contract we were offered more dates and I received this from the client, it warmed my heart. 


 
Quote
Scott and Keith,
[/size]Wanted to send a quick message to say Justin and Matt were everything I could have asked for and more. Punctual, professional, quick problem solvers, respectful of the turf, and most importantly…good hangs. Thanks to your team for making us look good and for being so easy to work with.
[/size]

[/size]
[/size]I don't see any mention of the gear, they expected us to bring the right rig for the gig (thanks Tim) it was our project management, communication and staff that earned the accolades.  This kind of feedback makes it easy to hit the ground running. 
[/size]
[/size]That's my little story. 
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Nils Erickson on May 21, 2021, 11:41:42 am

  They all have a place and it works for us, everyone has a different plan, markets and needs.


Bingo, this right here.  Well done Scott, it sounds like your business has really grown over the last several years.
Title: Re: Looking for experienced opinions on KS118 and SRX818
Post by: Josiah_berry on May 25, 2021, 11:03:55 pm
Hello everyone.

As an owner of both the JBL SRX728s and QSC KS118, I can tell you that the KS118 is in a whole other league compared to the KW181s. It is louder and goes lower while staying clean and full. I have several years of experience with all 3 of these subs. 2 of the new KS118s are easily louder than one 728s, though the 728 gets lower (to be expected, as when you go low you give up some volume due to physics), and sounds a little better. So that's still my A rig sub, and I also have 10 them so my A rig is quite scalable.

That all said, the KS118 blew me away. It gets used for EDM DJs all the time as a D rig rental and they can't believe that 1 of them obliterates a bar like it does. It has been a good money maker, as my larger A, B, and C rigs gets rented less often. Right now, the 728 is the A through C rig sub with tops/quantity of them changing depending on the rig.

As for tops, I agree with most folks on here. I don't like QSC tops. I have EV ETX-15Ps and QRX112s that I use for monitors and/or my main PA/delays depending on what the gig needs are. I also have the passive SRX835s, and they are outstanding. My next step up is some Danley SH46s.

To answer the original question, go with the KS118 for now. I get compliments at almost every gig I run from both band members, DJs, and the audience. At the end of the day, over 90% of the audience doesn't care as long as it sounds good and is tuned properly.