Audio rack for church modernization: Qu- 16 vs Pac?

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Mike C Mike C 3 weeks, 2 days ago.

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  • #98521
    Profile photo of wdennis
    wdennis
    Participant

    Hi all,

    Involved in redoing the audio rack for a church; I’m the general IT & A/V head [volunteer], and learning as I go 🙂 (Professionally, I’m a IT Systems/Network Administrator for many decades now, so learning new tech is part of my life… not deep in A/V up til recently, but have been in bands and not completely new to live sound mixing.)

    Anyhow, we currently have a 24RU rack with 17″ internal usable depth, that we want to reuse. The mixer/amps are old tech, and are out of inputs; we now want to expand the system and do some adds & changes ourselves (previously no tech volunteers were available, so staff relied on commercial VAR to do add/moves/changes.) So, having gotten the go-ahead on a redo, we’ve engaged a good local A/V VAR, who has spec’d an “ALLEN & HEATH Pro 16-Channel Digital Soundboard w/Rack Mount” along with a suitable Crown power amp.

    Looking into what model this could be, I’m guessing we’re probably looking at a Qu-16 mixer, or possibly a Qu-Pac. Having experience planning racks before (network equipment, not audio tho) I started making a plan on how each of these units could fit into the existing rack, around the equipment we are not going to replace (and don’t really want to move.) These are attached as pics ending _1 (Qu-16) and _2 (Qu-Pac).

    It looks like the Qu-16 rackmounts with the control surface facing out, taking 11RU. Knowing that we need space up top for the input/output wiring, I have left 4RU (all I had around what’s staying & not moving) for that. It that typically enough? If we went with the Qu-Pac unit, we’d have more space than that to use for this (5-6 RU) as well as keeping some other existing stuff in the rack that I’d have to lose with mounting a Qu-16. As we don’t plan to do any live mixing during a service (except for possibly some tweaks, and maybe some per-service setup before kickoff), do you think we’ll really miss the faders? Anything else that I’ll miss with going with the Qu-Pac vs the Qu-16? We’ll also most probably go with a remote AR84 via dSnake up in the choir loft for mic’ing, I think the Qu-Pac would represent those as additional channels vs the local/remote assignment on Qu-16, correct?

    Thanks for your responses!

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    #98524
    Profile photo of volounteer
    volounteer
    Participant

    @wdennis

    its just me but my experience with racks in the past, and our Qu recently and its racked associates,
    says put the Qu on a table next to the rack. and do not put the Qu in the rack.

    Qu on table facing stage, rack to right for easy access if/when needed.
    changes happpen. so much easier when the Qu is in the open than buried in a rack.

    do you record from the Qu? Do you play back CDs or other sources during the show?
    We have ours on the rack to the right where it is easy to control them.

    will you be sending mixes to video or other users?
    easier for us to do that from the table than from behind the rack.

    And are you sure the 16 will be enough? for how long?
    consider a Qu24 if you are at all close to needing more.

    Has your VAR done other churches nearby.
    Talk to them for any advice to help you make the right decisions on the details.

    #98525
    Profile photo of wdennis
    wdennis
    Participant

    All of the existing audio equipment as well as the speaker wires, etc are already in the cabinet. Don’t want to try to terminate all this outside the cabinet; also really no space for a table where the existing audio cabinet is. So, whatever we get is going to end up being rackmounted in the cabinet.

    We don’t need to record or play external sources from the cabinet; one of current the system outputs is a mono XLR send to the back of the church that goes into our webcasting system via a Focusrite Scarlett audio interface. Eventually, we’ll use a send from the Focusrite as another input to the sanctuary sound system to get the pre-recorded sources audio from the webcast to play locally (once we can have folks in the sanctuary again.)

    #98526
    Profile photo of Mike C
    Mike C
    Participant

    I have both a QU16 and QU Pac, a few things to keep in mind.

    The QU Pac with a stage box will get you up to 32 input channels, basically it’s a QU 32 with out the mixer surface.

    The QU 16 even with a remote stage box will still be a 16 channel mixer, actually with either mixer using a stage box you
    can assign the stereo inputs to be mic inputs and create a couple extra mic channels if needed.

    The QU16 does not have audio subgroups, the QU PAC like the QU32 has four sub groups that if needed can be switched
    to mix mode if you need more mixes/auxes.

    For rack mounting you would need to leave room above a QU16 to access the connections, the QU Pac rack mounted has all the
    connections on the back, you would want to leave a space or two open under the QU Pac for ventilation, that’s were the vents are.

    I have no problem mixing with an iPad when using the QU Pac or for that matter the QU 16.
    Actually for the most part I like the menus on the iPad app better then same menus on the QU surfaces.

    For simple dedicated control the QU series has a control app called Q Control where specific level and mixer control functions
    can be set to screen control icons. The QU Pac includes that function on the main control screen, I have a few functions always
    set up on mine, ST3 level for quick control of playback level from the QU Drive and the main LR level.
    All the functions of the QU can be controlled on the front panel of the QU Pac.
    There is also the mix control app called QU You as well as the main mix control app QU Pad.

    If you get a chance download the QU apps to an iPad and run them in the demo mode.

    The QU’s can playback and record to the USB QU drive and the USB B connection will let you directly connect the mixer to a computer for
    streaming audio to a computer or audio playback from a computer.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    #98534
    Profile photo of MarkPAman
    MarkPAman
    Participant

    Well, I was getting ready to write a long post as I read the question, but I think Mike’s covered all the technical stuff! 🙂

    I did own a Qu-16 (now sold to a friend after buying an SQ) and still own a Qu-Pac. When I had both, I often chose the Pac over the 16 anyway, as the group and matrix are often really useful*. For all but the most hectic shows, I find mixing on an iPad (or sometimes two) is fine – with good use of 3 custom layers some tasks can actually be quicker.

    So, I’d choose the Qu-Pac, maybe using the money saved to buy larger stage box if there’s any chance of the AR84 ever being too small – or just a really nice stand to hold the iPad!

    * I’ve often thought a 19inch “Qu-16+” with the 32/Pac/SB core in it would sell well…..

    #98543
    Profile photo of Mike C
    Mike C
    Participant

    Mark

    Good point on the matrix’s, forgot to mention that.

    I’ve used two iPads before as as well to create a larger surface and sometimes
    when using the QU16 I’ll still have the app open next to me to act as
    a surface extension and or to have a different menu open.

    Also regardless of the mixer I would look at the AB168 stage box over the AR84, the cost
    is not all that much different and when you least expect it the additional inputs and outputs may save the day.

    #98550
    Profile photo of wdennis
    wdennis
    Participant

    Thanks all! Decided today to go with the Qu-Pac in the rack, with Qu-Pad control. Sounds like a great solution for us, as we won’t need to do much active mixing during the service, but have the control to make tweaks from the back of the sanctuary where our webcasting booth is when needed.

    Now, another question — as the front of the Qu-Pac is slanted, can anyone tell me how far out the bottom of the Qu-Pac protrudes past the rack ears? There’s a front door on the rack; there’s about 3/4″ from the front rail to the face of the cabinet, with another 3/4″ clearance within the door (so about 1.5″ with the door shut.) Will I be able to shut the door with the Qu-Pac installed? I’ve looked at the dimensions sheet and can’t tell from that where the racks ears mount on the side.

    Also, I didn’t see anything on the A&H Qu-Pad page on which model(s) of iPad work best for that app, which no doubt needs some processing power.
    Have a 16GB A1395 (“iPad 2”, WiFi-only) available to use, but prolly too old to to the job I’m guessing…

    #98555
    Profile photo of Mike C
    Mike C
    Participant

    I’ll measure my racked QU Pac and let you know.

    My iPads are all the Air2 models and work fine.
    Download the app on your iPad,if it down loads, installs and
    runs the demo mode you should be ok.

    #98557
    Profile photo of Giga
    Giga
    Participant

    Fwiw: the bottom lip on my Qu-SB protrudes 4 cm in front of the (original A&H) rackears. I’ve moved the rackrail somewhat to the back so I can leave everything plugged in while in transport.

    I also use an Ipad air, but also a Pro and even my older (5-6 year maybe ?) Ipad mini 2d gen works fine. Your biggest concern is a healthy WiFi signal. For that I’m using Apple airports but others have had good results with other brands/types.

    Good luck !

    Giga

    #98585
    Profile photo of MarkPAman
    MarkPAman
    Participant

    The iPad 2 will still run the app, as will the first iPad mini. I use both.

    #98589
    Profile photo of Mike C
    Mike C
    Participant

    Now, another question — as the front of the Qu-Pac is slanted, can anyone tell me how far out the bottom of the Qu-Pac protrudes past the rack ears? There’s a front door on the rack; there’s about 3/4″ from the front rail to the face of the cabinet, with another 3/4″ clearance within the door (so about 1.5″ with the door shut.) Will I be able to shut the door with the Qu-Pac installed? I’ve looked at the dimensions sheet and can’t tell from that where the racks ears mount on the side.

    Just measured my QU Pac and the bottom edge protrudes 1 5/8 inches in front the rack rail, about what Giga measured on the QUSB.

    Hopefully you can move the rack rails back some.

    If you want to get another iPad at some point go to the Apple website, scroll to the bottom of the home page and look at the refurbished and clearance section, for time to time iPads are available for a decent price, that’s where I got all of mine from.
    They come with new batteries,case and are packed like new.

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