differences between stage boxes

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Hugh Hugh 1 month, 2 weeks ago.

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    Profile photo of boota

    so i’m looking at getting two or three 16×8 stageboxes for my church’s sq7. we are using the console for FOH and multitrack recording. are there any tangible differences in sonic quality or durability between the AB168 and the dx168 boxes? (also if we can keep this from becoming a 96 v 48 k flamewar i’d be thankful.)

    Profile photo of KeithJ A&H
    KeithJ A&H

    Hey @boota,

    A few things to consider, and putting aside the 48vs96 debate as requested:

    Regarding the build – the AB168 and DX168 use the same metalwork 🙂
    The DX168 uses dLive preamps – the analogue circuitry and conversion is of a higher level than the GLD/Qu AB168.
    You mention maybe 3 stageboxes. If using AB168’s this would be possible with the addition of an SLink option card and an extra Cat5e run. With DX168’s you would add a DX Hub at the stage end to achieve this.
    If you don’t need drops and plan to have all I/O in the same place, you could also check out the GX4816, this has the same technology as the DX168’s but in a 48×16 single 5U box.

    This document may be useful – (https://www.allen-heath.com/media/SLinkConnections_V1_4_0.pdf)

    I will let others chime in about their experiences on tangible differences in sonic quality.


    Profile photo of boota

    Thanks, so are the dx stageboxes incompatible with the option card or is it impossible to run the dx boxes on both the slink port and the slink option card at the same time?

    Profile photo of peterlanders

    See the document Keith linked to. Only two AB168s can be on a single SLink port, so for three you’d need an option card and a second cable run. DX168s *can* go on both, but he’s saying that’s not necessary: just need a DX hub on stage, so one run from the SQ to the stage instead of two.

    That linked document shows all the (many) possible stage box configurations.

    Profile photo of michei

    Hi Keith,

    a question: In the linked PDf there is the possibility to connect up to 128 channels via a DX Hub. But the SQ can only manage 48 channels, or am I wrong?

    with best thanks in advance


    Profile photo of Tobi

    SQ has 48 Channels for Input Processing, but using tie Limes it can at least Pass through more.

    Profile photo of Søren Steinmetz
    Søren Steinmetz

    As Tobi mentions.

    You can process 48 channels at any given time, how ever you can change between any of up to 128 physical inputs between scenes (just recall different preamps in the I/O )

    Profile photo of Hugh

    Keith & Michael have raised vital info for the OP.
    Keith has absolutely defined the very important generational differences in the subject stage boxes. Further study of these differences will highlight the optimization of the DX expansion stage boxes with the XCVI FPGA core processing in the SQ line: it really does make a big difference.

    Keith has also, in a different thread, carefully explained the overall primary properties of the FPGA processor. As Keith put it “SQ, Avantis and D-Live share very similar 24/96K processing: The processing width and speed of the various models are custom designed to manage specific I/O work loads”.
    And this is the bottom line in Michael’s question: All SQ processors are limited to 48 inputs, Avantis is limited to 64 inputs while the D-Live has a much larger capacity.

    The single most important SR and console operational factor that has to be determined in every case is to properly identify the number of I/Os you will need or want. Given todays digital processing it is far more important than the number of faders or the various other console bells and whistles.
    A very practical process to identify the appropriate number of I/Os is to prepare three different lists:
    1) the max number you could possibly ever need
    2) the number you should provide to handle various services
    3) The number of I/Os that are VITAL to sustain primary services.
    Consolidating these lists will be a direct path to identify what you really need. While I/O channel count in some contemporary services exceed 100, most of us can do very well with much less: Figuring this out is absolutely critical!

    Profile photo of Hugh

    After reading both of the posts from Tobi & Soren the use of tie lines and scene flipping needs some further discussion.

    1) I use a Waves card & tie lines to deliver pure pre-amp captures to my Digigrid/Waves system in my project studio.The SQ5 is a perfect artist custom cueing device that has absolutely no printed residue in the master tracks. Another consideration that supports the use of tie lines is the fact that FOH SR will generally require enhancements that probably are not necessary and in fact may be deleterious for ancillary program deliveries. For this and several other functional reasons I recommend isolating primary sanctuary I/O needs and the requisite gear for it’s appropriate SR from any of the many ancillary audio delivery chores today’s churches are trying to manage. Tie lines are a very good method to deliver pure pre amp capture for ancillary mixes with a different desk and management.

    2) Reading the massive number of theater folks that have vociferously complained over the past 5 years about the SQ scene management protocol, flipping scenes to access up to 128 inputs is probably not a very practical idea.

    Relating back to the OP’s initial post, all of the A&H 24/96K I/Os offer decent quality. However in terms of the sonic quality of the D-Live I/Os in the DX168, and especially the primes offered in a DX32 , offer superior world class clear detail and transparency. Electing to use the DX expansion stage boxes with any SQ desk over the 48K option is a no brainer. However most of todays pop music production does not need the circumspect transparency A&H’s Prime I/Os offer.

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