Direct outs as channel inserts?

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

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    Profile photo of wlinder

    OK, be kind. 🙂

    I’m coming from the analog world (most recently a Zed 428), and we have an Aviom system that uses channel inserts to get the input signal into the Aviom transmitter and then into the mixer. I know in the newfangled digital mixers that there is little need for channel inserts, since most effects are onboard. I was told that the direct outs of the SQ-6 could support that function (XLR F out to 1/4 TRS to feed each of the 12 Input jacks of the Aviom channels). However, I am having trouble figuring out how the routing would work for that.

    Here’s what we have; The SQ-6 has 14 direct outs. We’re using #11 (Left Main) as the output to our mains (Yeah, I know. Please don’t chastise me for being mono), and #12 (Right Main) as the output to our subs. That leaves me with 12 direct outs to feed the Aviom system. SO how do I route the channels I need to both the main LR bus and the direct outs? In the output routing, I only see Aux outs 1-8. Do I need to reduce the groups to 0 and increase the auxes to 8? Or is there a nbetter way?

    Sorry if this is a beginner question. As many of you know, analog to digital can come with a bit of a learning curve. 🙂

    Profile photo of Terry

    I remember my transition from analog to digital. Vaguely, since it was a long time ago, and I’m old now, but I remember it . . .

    You are going to become very familiar with ALL the ways the SQ (or almost any digital mixer) can make this process both easier and harder at the same time. The main thing to keep in mind is that there are multiple ways to patch both inputs and outputs on the SQ and it’s easy to get tripped up. Each physical output port (A&H calls them sockets) can only have one source assigned to it. Usually this is a Mix of some kind (L/R, Aux, Matrix, etc.) but it can also be a single processing channel via Direct out or Insert out.

    Assuming you only have 12 sources that need to go into the Aviom, there are a couple of ways to handle this.

    The first is to use Direct Outs for those channels, and assign each one to an output socket. (Note that you do not have to use outputs 11&12 as the L/R, that’s just the A&H default because the SQ5 only has 12 sockets.) As you stated this will require a bunch of XLRF->TRS cables. By using a Direct out you have the choice of where in the signal path you want it to come from – this can be anywhere from immediately after the Pre-amp to right after the channel delay, and can be set up as either Pre or Post Fader, and Pre or Post Mute.

    The second way is the way you were doing it on the analog desk and tapping the channel insert. I’m not at my SQ5 right not, and cannot see how to set this up using the MixPad app, so cannot give you a lot of detail. I will say that this method will ONLY work if you are using a digital stage box, because the desk has no dedicated insert points, unlike the ZED 428. You will need to assign the channel insert out to an output socket, then bring the signal back in via an input socket. Without knowing exactly what the Aviom analog I/O is, I can’t tell you what cabling you’ll need.

    Either of the above methods will need a bunch of extra cabling.

    If you need to get more than 12 individual channels into the Aviom, you’ll need to be a little more creative. You can still have the key channels that everyone wants to hear a little differently set up individually, while also grouping other channels. Creating a Drums group or a Keyboards group comes to mind. For this you can use either a Group, or an Aux and there are good and bad points to using either. I would use groups and NOT send those groups to your main L/R mix (I know you run in mono, more about that below). The desk ships with 8 Auxes and 4 Groups, but you can reconfigure it in any combination of 12 total buses. Unless you are running a variety of stage mixes in addition to the Avioms, you really won’t need that many.

    Something to look at moving forward is the A&H ME system. It’s basically their answer to the Aviom, but the ME-1 can take up to 40 input “channels”, while the ME-500 can handle 16. Channel routing is built into the SQ I/O page, and there is no special hardware interface required. For larger systems you can use most off the shelf POE/POE+ data switches, unless you need the ability to access Dante or MADI audio sources.

    Since you are running your PA in mono you might want to create a mono Matrix and send your L/R mix to it. That Matrix would then be send to the output socket currently getting your L channel. For your subs, use either a second mono Matrix (driven by the L/R mix) or a post-fade mono Aux with only those channels producing low frequencies assigned to it. This will clean up your signal flow and give you the ability to EQ each part separately.


    Profile photo of wlinder


    Thanks so much for your detailed response!! You pointed me in the right direction. I looked at a bunch of options on routing and here is what I ended up doing:

    I have two sets of floor wedges – one for for those not on Avioms, who forgot their in-ears, etc. and one that feeds our drum headphones, since he’s in a cage. I have those going out A and B
    Our mains I have going out through the Main L direct out. I have our sub going through our Main R direct out since it has a built-in crossover. That leaves me with 12 direct outs (since I have an SQ-6). For the Aviom I used Tie Lines to route the channels to the direct outputs. I have a eight-channel XLR F to 1/4 TRS snake and four single XLR F to 1/4 TRS cables to round everything out.

    My big issue was in how I was going to control volume to each of the direct outputs. I already had the auxes going through mix 1 and 2, so that left me with mix buttons 3-12, so I was kinda stumped. You pointed me to look and i found that Tie Lines would do what I wanted – which is to basically shoot the signal from the XLR input straight out. So I *think* I have it working. My next resort was to use the Dante card to feed the Aviom system through an A-Net distributor, like the A800. If I ever need more than 12 channels, I’ll likely go that route, unless we get a great donation to buy the ME system. 🙂

    This wasn’t totally my first foray into digital. I set up an X-Air system for one of our church plants, and when COVID hit and we were meeting outdoors a lot, I bought an X-32 Rack and a Midas 16-channel stage box. Like you mentioned, it has indeed made our life easier. And harder. 🙂

    Thanks again!

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