Over the years, I have encountered a good number of folks in the sound reinforcement trade who, when queried, scoff at the name Peavey. Strangely, I have had a hard time getting exact reasons as to why such prejudicial treatment is directed toward the company. In fact, my own personal experience with Peavey professional products has been largely positive. Other than a cheap guitar amp back in the 1970s, I have used their equipment with great results for years. In particular, its latest generation power amps have proved to be both reliable and competent – despite my grueling regimen of more than 200 jobs a year with frequently tough use. Therefore, testing Peavey’s flagship QW series of enclosures was a real curiosity for me and I was eager to examine and use the QW 118 sub and the QW 2 mid/high cabinet submitted for this review.
Product PointsApplications: Live Sound, Installation
QW 2 – Two-way; 15-inch woofer; four-inch titanium tweeter;
QW 118 – 18-inch Low Rider woofer
Price: $949 (QW118), $1,379 (QW2)
Contact: Peavey Electronics at 601-483-5365, Web Site.
The QW series is targeted directly at the pro user/installer. These cabinets are intended to be cleaner looking, louder, more articulate sounding and flyable compared to other speakers in the Peavey line. The QW 2 is a full-range trapezoidal cabinet that features Peavey’s Pro Rider 15-inch woofer and a high-frequency section with the 44XT four-inch titanium diaphragm compression driver coupled to a CD horn which employs Peavey’s Quadratic Throat Waveguide technology. The enclosure has a claimed frequency response of 52 Hz – 18 kHz (±3 dB), a continuous power handling capacity of 800 watts, and a max SPL of 126 dB SPL (1 meter, full range peak). This 8-ohm cabinet has an internal passive crossover that is centered at 1.2 kHz and the low frequency is offset at 0.27ms. The cabinet, which is constructed of 18mm Baltic birch, weighs in at 98 pounds loaded and measures 33.38 inches high by 21.13 inches wide (front) by 22.59 inches deep. It features a sturdy metal grille, a stand cup for pole-mounting, and it is covered with Peavey’s Hammer Head spray finish. A variety of Neutrik Speakon connectors adorn the connector plate (two for parallel full range and two for biamp operation).
The QW 118 subwoofer cabinet features a single 18-inch Low Rider woofer that is front- loaded. It features the same cabinet material and construction features as the QW 2 while weighing 86 pounds and measuring 28.5 inches high by 21 inches wide by 26.75 inches tall. The box has a claimed power handling of 800 watts (continuous). The 8-ohm box is purported to have a frequency response of 47 Hz Ð 125 Hz, and a max SPL of 133 dB. It also comes with a well-adorned input plate that facilitates using the box in two, three or four-way systems.
I used the QW cabinets in a wide range of situations over a period of several months but one of the things I liked about them was realized before I even heard the cabinets. The QW’s factory input plate allowed me to run a single four-conductor cable from the amp rack (where it was split into high and low connections) to the cabinet (where it terminated in an NL4). Once plugged into the biamp inputs, I could take an NL2 jumper from the sub to the top box (or vice-versa) allowing me to run both tops and bottoms on one cable from the amp rack. It’s not a big deal but it is two less 50-foot cables to deal with at the end of the night and it makes for a cleaner stage.
Whether it was supporting a duo in a synagogue or a full band in a hotel ballroom, the QW 2 and 118 were very impressive, soliciting accolades for both sonic prowess and sleek looks. I powered both the QW 2s and the QW 118s with QSC amps that dished out 750 watts per side at 8 ohms (each cabinet tied to an amp channel) and they repaid me with gobs of clean, articulate sound (although I would have preferred more headroom for the subs). I was especially impressed with the sound of the sub. It delivered an enormous amount of thump considering its small size and modest weight. The QW 118 sounds as tight and punchy as any single-driver, front-loaded cabinet I have heard.
The QW 2 was very impressive too. It handled high SPLs very well and delivered clean, brilliant sound — especially beyond 30 feet. In fact, it seemed like the QW 2s were more appropriate for larger crowds (100-500) than smaller intimate ones (less than 100) where I thought they tended to sound a bit harsh for low volume, close proximity situations. The horn design in these cabinets is exceptional at delivering focused, intelligible sound for good distances over a reasonable horizontal coverage area. For the most part, I didn’t send the QW 2s anything above 120Hz when used with the subs. However, in those instances where they were used full-range, they delivered excellent low-end punch while maintaining the previously mentioned level of mid/high articulation.
As a duo, the QWs allowed me to go into situations where previously I would have reached for “a bigger stick” speaker wise. They are very robust and can be pushed hard while still maintaining their capacity for high quality sound. At one event, I was doing sound for Craig Taubman and his band (made up of players from LA, NY and Nashville). The crowd was in the 250-person range and the room had a pretty high level of absorption. The QWs delivered a powerful, dynamic sound that made for a great show. Kick drum and toms thundered while Craig’s vocals and acoustic guitar shimmered. At the end of the night, all were happy — including me.
While I only encountered one remark about the Peavey brand while using these cabinets, it seems a shame that they would be treated as anything but high-quality professional boxes. In fact, covering the logo with black gaffer’s tape squelched any further negative criticisms during the review term. These are superb cabinets that deserve a listen if you are a small/medium SR provider, worship house or installer. They sound great and throw hard when needed. With performance and features like this, the name on the front should be of little consequence.