Connecting 500 Series Modules – Rack to SQ-6

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of KeithJ A&H KeithJ A&H 1 week, 2 days ago.

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
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  • #112028
    Profile photo of Riker
    Riker
    Participant

    Hello, I have purchased a Wes Audio Titan 500 Series Rack which I will be populating with various analog modules such as AMS Neve 1073LB, Wes Audio Mimas, Hyperion, Dionne, Rhea.

    The Titan connects to my computer via USB to remote control the Wes Audio modules, but the audio is sent in and out using analog cables to the audio interface inputs and outputs.

    I need to understand how best to connect up to 10 analog modules from my Titan rack to the SQ-6 so that I can do the following:

    1. Track vocals, bass, guitars, drums etc.. through the analog modules (Preamps, EQ, Compressor)
    2. Use the analog modules during mixing stage of recorded tracks in my DAW (Using Studio One Pro 6)

    I would rather not have to purchase another interface such as a Focusrite Red16 Line or Appolo X16 to get 1/4″ inputs and outputs for external analog gear if I can use my SQ-6 for this purpose.

    Is this possible ? and if yes, how would I hook things up and how would I configure the routing / I/O, processing tab etc.. in an efficient way?

    Sorry about the loaded question, but I have yet to find anything, anywhere on the internet about how to do setup and configure this use case scenario.
    Thank you
    Stephane

    #112031
    Profile photo of Tobi
    Tobi
    Participant

    Hi Stephane,
    why not use local I/O of the SQ to connect?

    Best Regards,
    Tobias

    #112039
    Profile photo of Riker
    Riker
    Participant

    Hi,

    Do I understand correctly that I can use any of the 24 XLR Microphone Preamps and the 14 XLR Outputs in the same exact way I would use 1/4″ TRS Line Inputs and Line Outputs such as those found on Focusrite Red16Line, Appolo X16 or even things like FerroFish A32 etc ?

    I am concerned about the fact that the SQ-6 inputs are Microphone Preamps and not simply Line level inputs which confuses me about how to properly connect external hardware, such as Preamps, to them. I did actually try to do that with an external Focusrite ISA Two preamp I own and to make it work I had to use it as an “insert” and it didnt sound right, like a “doubled preamps” or the signal going through too many processing stages even if the SQ-6 local input preamp gain was set to zero and processing ie. comp, eq, gate were off.

    Should I be using Tie Lines instead ? to remove any and all processing ? I just want to know the cleanest, straightest path to using external hardware, such as 500 series modules, to track and also to mix after tracking.

    Cheers,
    Stephane

    #112044
    Profile photo of KeithJ A&H
    KeithJ A&H
    Moderator

    Hi Stephane,

    Like TRS Jack connections, XLR connections are balanced with positive/hot, negative/cold and ground/earth connections and XLR <-> TRS cables and looms are readily available.
    XLR connections are used for both microphone and line level signals. With the SQ for example, the only difference between the XLR outputs and TRS Jack outputs is the connector itself.
    With the inputs, the XLR sockets do have a microphone preamp per socket, which can be set to 0dB to not add any preamp gain and a -20dB pad can be used if the input is still too hot.
    The XLR inputs on SQ or any of our expanders can therefore be used with mic or line level signal.
    The TRS line inputs on the other hand do not have a preamp (as an aside, TRS sockets are not often used where phantom power can be applied).

    You can see the specs of the SQ local inputs here – https://www.allen-heath.com/media/SQ_ReferenceGuide_V1_5_0.pdf#page=111&zoom=auto,-361,37

    So your options for line level inputs are:
    – connect to the XLR inputs, setting gain to 0dB and using pad if required
    – connect to the XLR inputs via DI boxes, though this would be using the internal preamps and is extra layers of ‘stuff’
    – connect to TRS inputs which are line level only
    – connect to an external Dante, Waves or MADI line level interface and then connect these signals into the SQ using an option card

    Tie Lines are digital patches from any input socket to any output socket which don’t use any processing channels, so they can be used with any of the methods above but they will not circumvent the connection/socket/preamp/ADC.

    I’d recommend testing the XLR and TRS inputs as there will be a slight sonic difference between running through a preamp and a line level input (with no preamp), but it’ll minimal, especially with no gain.
    If you’re using external preamps for colour and your goal is not super transparency, you may find you prefer the sound through the preamp.
    If super transparency is the goal, then the dLive preamps and conversion in the DX expanders are technically better, and to the extreme, there are also the PRIME modules for the DX32.

    But in short, yes, you can use line level signals with the XLR inputs, turn the gain down and make sure phantom power is off!

    Cheers,
    Keith.

    #112051
    Profile photo of Riker
    Riker
    Participant

    Thank you so much Keith ! This clears things up significantly for me !

    I will use the SQ-6 Local Inputs with Zero gain and no 48V on the preamp for my 10 different modules (preamps, compressors, EQ etc.) and see how that sounds !

    Cheers,

    Stephane

    #112091
    Profile photo of Riker
    Riker
    Participant

    Just a quick follow up question: Can I use a AB168 connected to S-Link between my microphone and my external preamp? If yes, how would that be connected?

    This is the scenario that I am trying to connect:

    Vocal Booth – Microphone – AB168 Input 1 – S-Link via Cat 7 shielded cable to Control Room S-Link port on SQ6 – External Preamp into Local Input 1

    After some head scratching and mostly guessing I/O screen patching, I got a signal on the Focusrite Preamp but I could not apply 48V from there, only from the S-Link Input on the SQ-6. I was able to record from the Focusrite input in my DAW, but it did not sound quite right and not sure I connected / patched it properly.

    Thank you so much.
    Stephane

    #112096
    Profile photo of KeithJ A&H
    KeithJ A&H
    Moderator

    Hi Stephane,

    It is possible to use channel inserts with analogue I/O, which would enable you to take input sources from the AB168 into an SQ processing channel then use the insert to send out from an SQ local output to any equipment before returning on an SQ local input.
    Like all digital expanders though, the AB168 has built-in preamps, required to raise mic level to a nominal line level before conversion to digital and then transmission of the signal to the desk.

    So if you used inserts, your signal path would be:
    Mic -> AB168 preamp -> ADC -> SQ -> DAC -> local output -> external preamp (working with a line level input) -> local input (XLR or Jack as described in my previous post) -> ADC -> USB/Dante
    Which again, may be fine if you just want to add some colour with the external preamp, but is not really a short signal path and includes multiple AD/DA conversion steps.

    A more common way to set something like this up would be to connect the mic to any external preamp you’d like to use, apply gain there to bring the mic signal up to line level, then run the line level output from the preamp into any expander input or local input on the SQ. This would be:
    Mic -> external preamp (working with a mic level signal) -> local or expander input (working with a line level signal) -> ADC -> SQ -> USB/Dante

    Hope this helps 🙂
    Keith

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