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QSC KS Series Subwoofers: A Review

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                I have used a variety of equipment in my history as a mobile DJ and audio technician.  I will say out of all the subwoofers I have used with my equipment QSC has some of the best.  In this article I will be going over the KS Series of subwoofers, the pros, cons, as well as the sizes to use in different situations.  These subwoofers are highly configurable, as well as user friendly. 

Construction and Features

                There are three different models of the KS series subwoofers.  The first is the KS112 which has a single 12-inch driver as well as a 2000-watt class-d amplifier.  It features an ultra-compact design that gives a professional appearance as well as the ability to use in a horizontal or vertical configuration.  The second is the KS212 which is the first in its class single box active cardioid subwoofer.  This unit features a 3600-watt class-d amplifier as well as dual 12-inch drivers.  It also features the same compact design as the KS112 and can be deployed in a horizontal or vertical configuration.  The KS118 is the largest option in the KS Series.  It has a great low frequency performance as well as an 18-inch driver and 3600-watt class-d amplifier.  The driver is set up in a direct radiating configuration whereas the smaller models use a 6th order bandpass design.  All the models feature dual M20 speaker pole fittings to mount a speaker pole above the sub box. 

                All in all, these subs are well built and durable.  The design of the boxes stands up to the rigorous lifestyle of a mobile entertainer.  The digital amplifier offers an amazing crossover performance that, while designed to operate with the K.2 and CP series and other QSC speakers, is compatible with any top cabinets you have.  You have a large range of gain levels to adjust your output for the room you are in.  When paired with my Electro-Voice ZLX-15P speakers it sounds AMAZING, but the best sound was when I paired them with a pair of QSC CP10 speakers.  This shows that they are specifically designed to operate the most efficiently with other QSC equipment. 

Real World Usage

                I used these speakers in many different situations that my DJ business had encountered during 2020.  Unfortunately, COVID-19 put a damper on how many events I was able to test these at.  I do believe that the testing I was able to do was sufficient to give my honest opinion of them.  These subs took a beating, and it did not even phase them.  I had many events that ended up taking them to their limits and there was no clipping or even excessive heat coming from the amplifier.  They also took a lot of hits during load ins and load outs.  The covers helped minimize any damage that may occur due to this, but the well-designed box does not get damaged easy even if you do not have the covers on.  The sound out of these was great.  You can really tell a difference between using just a pair of speakers and pairing them with a quality sub.  They are also priced reasonably so any DJ business that budgets their business properly can afford them. 

Conclusion

                All in all, I believe these subs are a great buy for any mobile DJ.  QSC really amazes me with every product I review for them as the quality is some of the best I have seen in the industry.  I encourage other DJs and entertainers out there to pick up a set of these and try them out.  Do not take my word for it, but these subs would be an amazing investment for any DJ to use at events.  Employing a three-way setup is the best way to not only provide the best quality sound but also prolong the life of your equipment.  You can find these speakers at all your major equipment retailers but I recommend NLFX Professional.  Follow the links below to find them.

The KS112

https://www.nlfxpro.com/ks112-12-inch-subwoofer/

The KS212C

https://www.nlfxpro.com/kc212c-cardioid-subwoofer/

The KS118

https://www.nlfxpro.com/ks118-18-inch-subwoofer/

All images are copyright of QSC.com and NLFXProfessional.com

The Power You Possess (and probably don’t even know it)

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By Jessica McKelvey

Have you ever caught someone looking at you? Or, has someone caught you looking at them?

I’m referring to that time you were at a red light, looked at the car next to you, only to have the person look back. Maybe you were in the checkout line, bored, and looking around at people. Situation aside, the result was the same: one person started it, the other person felt it and looked back.

The reason this happens is the same for all of us- but more powerful in some versus others.

It’s energy.

Think I’m crazy? I promise you I’m not. Everything around us is constructed of energy. Think about it- scientifically all matter is made of atoms, biologically with living organisms, and so much more.

Some humans are more in tune with energy than others. It’s called being an empath, which is different than empathy. Empathy is putting yourself in someone’s shoes, whereas being an empath is another level of giving and receiving energy. You have a stronger connection to either people, places, or things.

I’m learning that a lot of DJs are empaths. It makes sense; we are in the business of energy. We create positive vibes at events through music and interactions.

There are different types of empaths. We won’t be diving deeply into that, and you can independently explore to find out which area you are the strongest in. Use this knowledge to your advantage and elevate your brand and performance. I’ve found myself attracting  clients with the same empathic vibes, which creates such a harmonious working relationship.

If you do identify as an empath, I strongly encourage you to educate yourself. For now, follow these suggestions to capitalize on your new-found superpower:

  • Separate energy- Be aware that you are sensitive to energies. Not everything you feel is technically your own. I used to get anxious for no good reason, and finally realized I was picking up on something else that was happening. An example of this may be if the parents of a wedding couple do not get along. I make sure to ask about family dynamics before an event now.
  • Overwhelm- Picking up on so many energies and emotions can be overwhelming. If you feel overwhelmed, take a moment and reset. Music affects empaths differently by triggering a response in the reward part of your brain. Put on your headphones, drown out your surroundings for just a moment, and get into the music.
  • Look at small groups in the crowd. This way, you can hone in on their energy and what will make them move. Looking at the entire group can overstimulate you.
  • Trust your instincts. They are STRONG.

Realizing that I am an empath has brought my world into focus. Experiences I had in school now make sense to me. Social interactions are less daunting and I understand why I sometimes felt like I was on the outside.

I’m not saying that people who aren’t empaths are less than those that are; that is NOT my message. We’ve all been gifted superpowers. But, for those of us that are, recognizing that this is your superpower will elevate your personal and professional life. What’s even more astonishing  is that when you realize you’re an empath and begin to educate yourself, the connection gets stronger and efficacious.

Follow this link, and find out if you are indeed an empath-and please reach out to me if you’d like to talk further!

https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-an-empath

GET THIS BOOK NOW-Empath: A Complete Guide for Developing Your Gift and Finding Your Sense of Self by Judy Dyer

Having Great Parties Outside in the Summertime

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Summer is just around the corner. In the summertime, use the opportunity to make a difference between a good time and a great time at any and every outdoor party… Weddings, picnics or pool parties. To approach each outdoor party with confidence, be prepared for anything and everything Mother Nature main part. The lower few guidelines to help in mind to keep the good times rolling at your outdoor parties.

  • Summarize your car and make sure that the radiator is full of antifreeze and you have extra on hand.
  • Always make sure it’s written in your contract and when you speak to your client before the event that if you are outside you are under some type of a tent or cover to protect you and your equipment from the Sun and any outdoor elements.
  • Since you can’t always count on a client to have a tent it would be a good idea to have an extra pop up handy just in case you need it. Tarps and or blankets are also a good idea to help cover your equipment in case it rains or to protect your equipment from the Sun. These tarps or blankets can also help cover your equipment to hide it when it’s carried in your vehicle.
  • If you are using vinyl and you are outside, never have your turntables and or the vinyl in direct sunlight it only takes a few minutes in 80-plus degree heat to melt and warp your vinyl.
  • Watch the wind outside if using a turntable which can blow your turn arms or any other type of paper for business cards that are on your table.
  • Bring an extra shirt or change of clothes when you begin to feel the effects of the heat and you may sweat a lot. A towel or Sports towel that becomes cold when you wet it is also a good idea to help keep you cool. It is also a great idea to carry a small fan that you can point at yourself to keep you cool.
  • Rain or pool water should be regarded with special care and of course, never stand in water while using your microphone or touching your equipment. The minute it starts to rain you should immediately shut down and unplug everything and get to safety.

The Post-COVID World: DJ Recovery

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In my previous article (“Post-Pandemic Rebuilding”), our beloved DJ industry is in recovery mode.  Many have chosen to retire; many were forced to close.  It’s been tough for the economy overall, with some 100,000 businesses shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is estimated that more than 60% will remain closed.  If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a survivor.  You’ve managed to hang on, maybe even found creative ways to earn a bit of cash via virtual performances, etc., but as we DJs and the world at large re-emerge from our quarantine and the economic gears slowly begin to turn, all of us may find that we have a whole lot of work to do and a lot less resources (a.k.a. “cashflow”) with which to get the job done.

GETTING THE WORD OUT

My last piece focused on rebuilding your business and how our post-pandemic world might change the way we do things.  I’m going to assume that you are either ready or close to being ready to once again enter the fray of public performance, but after more than a year of being inactive, referrals – usually the most effective promotion we have – aren’t what they used to be.  Reviews have gotten stale.  Even social media isn’t garnering the interest that it once did.  (For most of us, it’s less a client-building platform and more of a self-entertainment, idea sharing pursuit.)  What’s needed is a jumpstart for the promising season ahead of us.

New clients are going to have to be generated the “old-fashioned way,” via ad campaigns.  We’ve all been here before and, like me, you may have thought that we were done with buying ads.  Your next thought may be, “How in the heck, after months of little-to-no income can I afford a new campaign”?  The simplest answer should be the most obvious: EVERYONE is hurting.  This means we all need each other, now more than ever.  We can take a tip from our radio brethren and turn this seemingly dire situation into an opportunity.  It’s called…..

THE CO-OP

Co-op advertising is old… to the point of ancient.  The big companies do it constantly.  Simply put, businesses who offer different things to the same pool of buyers can combine their advertising budgets to push both (or more) businesses forward for less money.  Who can ever forget that McDonald’s serves Coca-Cola?  These two juggernauts have been leveraging the power of co-op advertising long before it was a necessity for them!  In fact, when your business co-ops with another, you can also benefit from any public perception of quality that they have cultivated (and vice-versa).

Wedding DJs may already have an extensive referral list, which may include photographers, videographers, photo booth suppliers (if you don’t do this yourself), caterers, venues and on and on.  Remember: these businesses have also been mostly shut down!  An offer to co-op is likely to be welcomed as a lifeline.  The first thing to do, then, is to make a list of what type of campaign you’d like to mount; which bridal shows, guides, public events, direct mail, online, podcasts/broadcasts and other advertising areas you’ve always wanted to see your business represented.  It also couldn’t hurt to get some quotes, just to have hard numbers at the ready.

Next, approach your potential partner(s) and pitch the idea of a unified ad campaign featuring both (or all three…. four?) of your businesses.  Maybe you’re great at ad layouts and copywriting.  If not, perhaps these partners are!  Maybe they have access to professionals they’ve used in the past.  In any case, propose that you combine your budgets and your reach to mutually maximize your sales.

This type of partnership can also maximize a resource you both already have: your mailing lists.  The email and snail mail lists of all partners, sending the same ads, multiply your reach exponentially.  All parties are spending less and getting more.  Not only is this good for getting the word out, but you’ll build on your relationship with the vendor(s) within your co-op that could last a lifetime!

JUST ONE MORE THING….

There have been countless articles and online arguments about DJs featuring their gear when clients don’t know or care what you use.  And this is true… normally.  But things have changed here just a bit, too.  The brands and dealers of equipment and music production software have also taken a big hit and want all of the exposure they can get!  If you have a line of gear you use that you love to rave about, why not get paid for it?  Like the Coke/McDonald’s union, a photo of you using your [fill in the blank] gear might just be enough for them to sponsor you… in cash.  If you’re a high-profile DJ who also gives seminars, coaches or is an author (ahem!), use those credentials to “sell” the idea; let them know that your industry colleagues will see their logo whenever they see your face.

So what are you waiting for?  Get those contracts together and get in touch before your competition does.  If we all pull together, we can all rise from the ashes of COVID even stronger than before.  Until next time, safe spinnin’!

Podcast Equipment For DJs

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People come up to me and ask about various setups…so I decided to share with all you Podcast enthusiasts out there.  Here is a versatile yet portable setup that I recommend, and yes… travel friendly.

For starters…not everyone is interested in shelling out $1000 for an Apollo audio interface, so here is a budget friendly solution.  You cannot go wrong with a Focusrite Scarlett 212 audio interface ($170 US) this 2-channel device enables an artist to connect microphones, musical instruments, DJ Lines, etc. into a computer via USB on either Mac or PC.  This travel friendly device has an air mode, which allows for brighter tones.  And when paired up with a Cloudlifter CL-1 ($150 US), Mic Activator, you open the possibility to increase +25dB of gain, as it eliminates the hiss and crackles when pushed.  This allows the mic preamp to work more efficiently.

I also recommend connecting a 5’ XLR cable between the CL-1 and 2i2, and another 15’ XLR from the scarlett to the microphone of your choice.  Choose an XLR cable with a lifetime warranty (Mogami Gold, Livewire Elite, Hosa Edge series, etc.), this way, you can get an immediate replacement from your music shop without any hesitation. As for mic of choice, I recommend the Shure sm7b mic ($399 US), cardioid dynamic style, which has been used in recordings such as Michael Jackson’s vocals, broadcasting and many popular Podcast shows.  The sm7b promotes smooth warm vocals, which creates a more engaged listening experience.  Oftentimes, I connect the mic using a Rode PSA1 desk mount, and for other projects, I may connect using an Ultimate PRO-R-T-T telescoping boom stand ($80 US); The Hercules MS401B Transformer tilt ($80 US), is a nice option as well.  Yet either mic stand is fully collapsible, which serves its purpose as part of a travel friendly podcast kit.

Trust Your Gut

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“You have to trust your gut.” – Unknown.

 

Sometimes the best thing you can do for your business and, more importantly, your peace of mind is to pass on an opportunity.

I was looking back on my earlier years in this fun and exciting DJ life. There was a common trend: I took any gig I could get. I was still building our reputation and was learning the ins and outs. Okay, great, Mike, but where on earth is this going? Glad you asked.

Another common trend was events that I took that I just didn’t have a great feeling about had a few things in common:

  1. Underpaid Too time-consuming (very needy clients)
  2. Client nickel and dime me on every little thing (discount or wanting a price reduction because now they didn’t need X they asked for)
  3. The client did not respect my time or what I had to offer.
  4. They kept expecting more, “well you have it so just bring it”

Listen to your gut; if something doesn’t feel right, then don’t take the gig.

Recently I had a potential client who I passed on entirely.

Some important details about this client:

  1. Venue/lodging with food and beverage provided by the establishment is around 38-40K
  2. They would email at 11 pm at night, and by 5:30 am, less than 24 hrs, they would want to know why I haven’t gotten back to them yet. Maybe they worked 3rd shift (who knows, never got that far)
  3. The client wanted to video conference at strange times, and never with their full attention. “I hope it’s okay that we will be exercising on our new stationary bikes during this meeting.” “We will be planting our garden during this meeting. Hopefully that won’t be too distracting for you.”

First and foremost, if they can’t respect YOU with their full attention: WHAT YOU DO IS NOT THAT IMPORTANT TO THEM. Or YOU SPECIFICALLY, the potential client does not RESPECT.

Think about this. Their exercise routine was more important to them than YOU, the DJ is to their event. Or your value was equal to some fresh tomatoes that may or may not come to fruition.

My gut told me to pass. I can’t tell you how many times deep down inside my gut has told me to pass on an event it was correct.

Just a few things that I have seen from other Djs on events I have passed on include:

  1. The DJ received bad reviews
  2. DJ complaining how much of a PITA the client was
  3. The event ended up being a complete train wreck
  4. The DJ was threatened to be sued
  5. The client canceled late, and the DJ held a new open date they could no longer fill.

Some may say I am not flexible enough. The truth is I am ultra-flexible and attentive to my clients’ needs. However, one thing is very different. Those clients respect and value what I am providing for them.

Ultimately I can’t tell you what events are right for you, but if your gut tells you something is wrong or not right with the scenario. RUN!

I want to point out that sometimes your gut is wrong. It isn’t worth my sanity or reputation for the needle in the haystack that it turns out your gut feeling was wrong.