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This article was originally published in issue #42
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I was really pleased to find this horde waiting for me down in the Bassment! When TC Electronic said they were going to send us a brand new K-115 (the first 15" speakered model in the K-Line series) we decided to see if they would send us the entire range, minus the 1x12 version, for side by side comparisons. Not only did they say yes, but they sent us a head to drive them with, too. Read on!
The new cabinets are a fresh look with a flash of colour. They look great. I have to say that I really like the Tolex wrap around them - just enough style, a mix of the vintage with the modern to make them eye catching. Maybe a bit more exciting than the usual black monoliths looking menacing at the back of the stage. Looks aside, the specifications are welcoming too.
The cabinets are plywood, but the overall weight of each suggests to me that it isn’t 18mm birch ply as these are a nice easy lift - even the 4x10 weighs in at just 29Kg. All of the cabinets are rated at 400W and 8 Ohms except for the K-410 (4x10 ) which can handle 600W and all of them feature woofers and tweeters from an Italian company called Lavoce, of whom, we have to say we haven't previously heard.
I started my video review introduction plugged in to both the K-410 and the new K-115 cabinets which immediately delivered a very clean yet authoritative tone in the studio. On the subject of tone, TC also sent us a BH800 amplifier head to pair with the cabinets. It’s a great amplifier - we reviewed both it and the BH550 back in issue 31 and it received high praise for good reason. For this review we ‘set and left’ it so you had an opportunity to see each cabinet working with exactly the same level and tone control positions.
The K-410 has a great punch and clarity to it, showing no signs of breaking into a sweat when pushed. When soloed, the K-115 delivered some great lows. Overall, I liked how clear it sounded, despite the hint that maybe this cabinet was really intended to be ‘all about the bass’ as you will hear in the video - use headphones!
The 2x10 and 2x12 cabinets (K-210 and K-212 respectively) make for a brilliant vertical set up. You could of course run a pair of 2x10 cabinets or twelves stacked upon each other. There’s good reason for stacking drivers in a vertical arrangement, though the technicalities are outside the scope of this review, but other than the dispersion benefits of vertically aligned drivers, the thing I do like about the tall narrow speakers is that should you be a busy bassist playing all manner of venues, you know that you are going to be climbing up and down narrow stairwells and navigating tight backstage areas. Praise, for your knuckles will remain intact when dashing through those doorways!
The K-410 and K-115 are of course wider and I suppose to counter my claim about knuckles, none of these cabinets are really a handful anyway, given the nice big metal handles and lightweight design.
All of the cabinets will pair with each other - they are all rated at 8 Ohms as I mentioned above, so pairing with the BH800 will mean you can use two connected via the daisy chain Speakon connectors round the back. Or, of course there’s no reason why you can’t use just one - the drivers in these cabinets are sensitive enough for you to not fuss about needing a single 4 Ohm cabinet.
All of the cabinets except the K-115 feature a 1” titanium tweeter that has a nice ping to the top end. Even leaving my Dingwall Combustion EQ ‘flat’ for the whole review, there was a lovely zing coming from them. Note that if you like tweeter you can switch off, with the K-Line that isn't an option.
For low end, the K-410 and K-115 combination is a delight and was rewarded with smiles from myself and our very talented camera guy, Mike - who deserves a mention for sitting in front of over 150 of my bass gear reviews! What definitely stood out though is that there were no ‘boxy’ over tones or ‘muddiness’ in the bass tone. I also liked that it took less than 30 seconds to dial in a sound, and you will notice that the settings on the BH were only a little off flat!
Really, the problem facing buyers is going to be which to buy. They each have a slight tonal difference but all of them perform to a really high standard, so have a listen to our video, using the best headphones you can find (not your smartphone's speaker!) and then start planning your audition. Whichever you end up with, you are unlikely to go wrong with these well made, particularly stylish enclosures. They are even well priced - hence our high rating.