Dependability, and moving from Mackie DL to A&H CQ

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Scott Scott 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

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    Profile photo of John

    Hi there,

    New forum member here, and long time user of Mackie DL32R (and 1608 before that). Frustrated by intermittent channel failures on the DL32R over the years, and suffering from a bit of PTSD after a trainwreck at a gig on Saturday where the DL32R main bus failed in our 3rd song and left me scrambling for a work around. (We managed to get a mix out of an aux bus into the the house PA, but it was an excruciating 30 minute pause with a bunch of halloween revelers waiting around listening to a spotify playlist).

    It was the final straw, and we’re looking for a new mixer. Searching has led me here the the CQ.

    The CQ-20B or 18T seem to tick all the boxes we needed from the DL32R (we need around 16 input channels, 5 aux mixes for IEM, onboard multitrack recording and virtual soundcheck, iOS apps for remote control. Comp/gate/eq per channel, and a couple reverb).

    Has anyone made the move from Mackie to A&H that can comment on the transition? At first glance, the iPad/iPhone apps look more mature and feature complete on the Mackie, but I’m assuming they’ll improve for CQ. (e.g. Mute groups, and VCA groups?)

    And can you guys comment on Allen & Heath’s record for durability and dependability? I know CQ is a new line so we can’t really speak to it yet, but how about previous qu-sb, etc. After all this hassle with Mackie, we’re looking for something rock solid!


    Profile photo of mfusa

    I’ve been using AH products for the past 10 years starting with GLD then SQ and now picked up a CQ-20 for smaller gigs. I really haven’t used Mackie mixers all that much so can’t give a good comparison from that standpoint.

    As you said, it’s a new product so time will tell on the reliability of the platform and enhancements in the app. It seems likely that MixingStation will be released to support CQ so there will likely be an independent app if you like that over the AH provide app. I haven’t used my CQ for a show yet but have done some virtual sound checks and played around with it a bit. I feel the app is at least “good enough” right now especially when compared to say the Behringer/XR small form factor apps. Likely they’ll continue to make improvements to it. Right now we are all still waiting for some key features and enhancements (like DCAs and Mute Groups) so hopefully those come along.

    In my experience reliability and Allen Heath tend to go hand in hand. I’ve had a GLD-112 for 10 years, an SQ-5 for 4 years, and help support some other folks with QU series systems and have had pretty good reliability with them all (except some inconvenient SSD/boot issues with my GLD series early on).

    I have my CQ-20T rack mounted and I’m a little concerned about how hot it gets. So far it’s never had a hiccup but I can feel the heat coming out of the front jacks and that’s just in a 68 degree indoor location never mind a summer outdoor show with it sitting on the stage. Time will tell I guess.

    Overall, if I had to prophesize, I think this is going to become the gold standard small format mixer over the next couple years. I believe this product line will be the one most everyone flocks to when looking for a ~$1000 digital mixer.

    Profile photo of BigMerv

    Only Mackie gear I owned was the DL1608 and it was a great little mixer for it’s time – if not revolutionary!
    You’re in safe hands now with A&H and you’ll soon realise you’ve taken a significant step forward!

    Profile photo of Lee7

    Like @bigmerv, the only Mackie mixer I have owned was the 1640i 16 channel board.

    Since January 2014, I have been the owner of the QU-16 and later on the QU-SB, both of which I still use alongside my CQ-20b.

    In my opinion, the QU-SB is easier and quicker to navigate when using the A&H Mix-App. It also offers more features such as mute groups, DCA’s, and EQ on FX return, among others. Despite being 10 years old, the QU series has matured exceptionally well over time. As @mfusa rightly points out, I hope the CQ will also evolve into something better with time. However, there are some areas that need improvement, such as speeding up the app and implementing mute groups and EQ on the FX return. I find the plate reverbs on the CQ to be superior to those on the QU, but I would like the ability to add pre-delay, which is currently not possible.

    For multiband gigs like the one I am doing this weekend, which includes three bands on Friday night, solo acts and duos on Saturday afternoon, and three more bands on Saturday evening, I’m not sure if I would choose the CQ over the QU-SB. Most of them will only require a quick line-check.

    So the ability to get the mix you want fast is my priority. I would find the CQ a bit cumbersome in that regard, but I also don’t know the app layout as good as I do with the QU, even after several shows. 🙂

    When it comes to exceptional customer service, as well as a combination of quality and reliability, there are few options that can surpass the offerings of A&H.

    Profile photo of robbocurry

    Like Lee & Big Merv, I had a DL1608 and was a beta tester for their app. I’ve been using A&H for over 20 years and never had a breakdown!
    I bought into the QU series and have had multiple units all giving flawless performance. In reality they were a significant step up from the DL I had, albeit a bit more expensive.
    As Lee said, a QU-SB or a QU-PAC have (IMHO) a better app for control presently than the CQ – an easier transition from your DL perhaps?
    They’re a lot less cumbersome than a DL32 as well!!
    The just launched CQ series is awesome sounding and has loads of potential software wise – it’s on its first iteration so many more great things to come.
    A&H actively interact here unlike Mackie who closed their forum down:/
    I think you’ll be very satisfied with any of the rackmounted QU or CQ units.

    Profile photo of John

    Thanks for the encouragement! Definitely leaning towards buying the cq-20b.
    Has there been any feedback from A&H about the heat that @mfusa mentioned? I also intend to rack-mount in a road case, and want to be confident the heat won’t be an issue. Maybe I should post this question separately in the troubleshooting forum.

    Profile photo of robbocurry

    Hey John, I realise the CQ20 is a different unit but I’ve owned, used and installed at least 8 QU-PACs since launch. Mine were always rackmounted in SKB shallow racks and never had one fail.
    They cool by convection – no active fan in them.
    The CQ range all have fans, I think A&H have it covered!

    Profile photo of John

    @robbocurry – I was interested to see that on the QU-SB page (, they make a big point about it being silent and fanless:
    “Silence is a precious commodity in the live or studio environment, which is why nobody wants those moments of stillness ruined by whirring coming from the mix position. Qu’s sleek profile generates optimal airflow through the mixer, eliminating the need for any fans.”

    It’s actually not totally clear to me whether CQ-20B is *replacing* QU-SB, or if they’ll coexist in the product lineup. I know they have some minor differences, but they seem to target the same niche. QU-SB is more proven and has a good track record— maybe I should be considering that rather than CQ-20B. Would still need an external wifi router, but otherwise, covers the same bases, if I’m reading it right!

    Profile photo of robbocurry

    Hey John,
    If you’re going to be doing bigger shows at some stage, the QU-SB or QU-PAC will give you the channel expansion option that the CQ can’t.

    I like the effects better on the CQ but there’s not much in it, the QU series has been solid for me.
    There’s not much between them sound wise but the QU series, although older, is still quite a bit more expensive.

    If the CQ covers the bases input/output wise, I’d probably pick it over the SB for the sheer fact that it’s newer and cheaper!

    Profile photo of Lee7


    Over the past decade, the QU series has maintained a flawless track record of reliability, which continues to hold true. However, with the introduction of the CQ, my SB has taken a secondary role and is now primarily used for larger shows.

    When it comes to adaptability, the QU-SB takes the lead over the CQ. However, due to its compact size and superior effects, the CQ emerges as the preferred choice.

    Recently, I was hired to provide PA Hire for a music weekend with a 60s theme, featuring a total of 9 acts over two days. While it would have been possible to utilise the CQ, it would have posed some challenges since I required approximately 24 channels. I would have had to prioritise which channels to exclude. Additionally, the inconvenience of maneuvering the CQ Mixapp would have made executing the event smoothly more difficult. On the other hand, the QU Mixapp is incredibly user-friendly and efficient.

    So it is a case of Horses for Courses, you need to decide which product will fit your needs the best. The CQ can only get better.

    Profile photo of Scott

    To me, A&H


    “Dependability”. I have been using their consoles since the late 1990s. I still have a couple analog consoles from the period which work flawlessly (GL2400, GL3300). I have older digital consoles (GLD80/GLD112) which are still in use, as well a couple of the original Qu’s when they first came out. I also have a couple SQs and a dLive which get used very regularly. I consult area churches and have GLD and Avantis consoles in those locations, which experience very regular use without issue. Some of those church consoles are in use almost daily.

    I just added a couple of CQs and I am confident that they will work as well as their siblings, based on my past experience with Allen & Heath. I would say that moving to A&H is a very safe move, and that you will probably be back to buy more at some point. 🙂

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