Looking at SQ, some noob questions

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of moebius moebius 2 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #80366
    Profile photo of moebius
    moebius
    Participant

    In the market for a new digital mixer to replace my two dated 02Rs, so I´ve got some newbie questions:

    – Serious hobbyist, but no business attached. No Mics, synths only. Line signals, but with analog gems: I want to get the analog touch into the DAW at optimum quality. Electronic Music, dance, techno, ambient with a ton of fx, modulations and permanent changes in the sound sculpture. Does it make sense to look at a console that is optimized for live use? If that is the case of course.

    – Are the ins and outs freely assignable? So that I can start using channels by function (“Kick, Snare, Hihat”) instead of device connected (“Synth 1, Sampler 1, DAW channel 17”)? I currently have all sound sources on the desk, but would only need a selection of them per song… It would be much nicer to just work on the function instead of remembering which device/fader is handling, say, the bassline in that part of the song. You get the idea.

    – As scenes seem to include routing settings, how fast can they be switched and is there any impact on audio? I make heavy use of scene changes, as in : bar 1-16 scene a, bar 17-20 scene b, bar 21-24 scene a again etc. triggered via MIDI sequencer or launchpad pro. I need scene changes to be spot on and be able to switch at least per bar with a solid timing and no outages/artefacts. While switching parameters is not a concern, I´m not so sure about routing. So when ch1 is my bassline and this is from an analog synth during the verse but should be replaced by a vsti via dante during the breaks, will that work?

    – When switching scenes, how do the effects (insert and bus) behave? Will a delay be cut off and be replaced or will it keep delaying, but not process new material (I guess most likely not, maybe on the bus).

    – Got some 48kHz outboards like fireworx and others. Would you prefer to a) run at 96kHz and replace those boxes by newer models/DAW plugins or b) stay at 48kHz and throw in some of those ADAT/spdif/AES connected boxes to take some load off the DAW? I´m aware of the SQ internal effects 😉

    – Extending for more channels could mean a second SQ or stageboxes (but in studio use). Pros Cons except the obvious (more faders)?

    – Overall, which DAW is integrated best? I wouldn´t mind getting my head around a 3rd program (plus license), if the integration is so much better for a certain software than for Reaper and Live, which I currently use. Wouldn´t mind to add Cubase for example.

    – How well can you handle DAW plugins with the SQ hardware? I´ve seen the MIDI layers but wonder if that makes for a real good integration. Not a showstopper, I could always opt in for a “real” controller sitting next to the SQ, but it would be nice to be able to choose.

    Lots of Q, hope I find some answers here :).

    #80388
    Profile photo of KeithJ A&H
    KeithJ A&H
    Moderator

    Hi moebius ( @fr777 ),

    Probably best to answer these individually…

    – Serious hobbyist, but no business attached. No Mics, synths only. Line signals, but with analog gems: I want to get the analog touch into the DAW at optimum quality. Electronic Music, dance, techno, ambient with a ton of fx, modulations and permanent changes in the sound sculpture. Does it make sense to look at a console that is optimized for live use? If that is the case of course.

    The SQ is optimized for audio and custom workflow. Yes, there are many of them being used in live situations, but they’re also being used as everything from matrix mixers in stadiums to studio centrepieces. From what you say here, I think you’d appreciate the high end processing and fidelity benefits of the XCVI core, and the fact that everything is assignable individually (channel strips, soft keys etc…).

    – Are the ins and outs freely assignable? So that I can start using channels by function (“Kick, Snare, Hihat”) instead of device connected (“Synth 1, Sampler 1, DAW channel 17”)? I currently have all sound sources on the desk, but would only need a selection of them per song… It would be much nicer to just work on the function instead of remembering which device/fader is handling, say, the bassline in that part of the song. You get the idea.

    Yes, all inputs and outputs are freely assignable.

    – As scenes seem to include routing settings, how fast can they be switched and is there any impact on audio? I make heavy use of scene changes, as in : bar 1-16 scene a, bar 17-20 scene b, bar 21-24 scene a again etc. triggered via MIDI sequencer or launchpad pro. I need scene changes to be spot on and be able to switch at least per bar with a solid timing and no outages/artefacts. While switching parameters is not a concern, I´m not so sure about routing. So when ch1 is my bassline and this is from an analog synth during the verse but should be replaced by a vsti via dante during the breaks, will that work?

    Only mixer configuration settings have an effect on audio, as the core is reconfigured. Everything you see that can be changed in a scene change has no effect on audio, and switches instantly. So yes, what you describe here can be carried out easily.

    – When switching scenes, how do the effects (insert and bus) behave? Will a delay be cut off and be replaced or will it keep delaying, but not process new material (I guess most likely not, maybe on the bus).

    The FX engines work in the same way as external units – so if your parameters are the same, they will continue to process the audio (so delays would continue). If parameters are changed, then this would be the equivalent of changing them instantly. If an entire FX unit is changed, then the processing from the first unit will stop, the new unit will be loaded, and the processing will start again. Obviously it is not possible for one engine to run two effects units simultaneously, because then it would make more sense to have two units! (there are 8 in the SQ btw).

    – Got some 48kHz outboards like fireworx and others. Would you prefer to a) run at 96kHz and replace those boxes by newer models/DAW plugins or b) stay at 48kHz and throw in some of those ADAT/spdif/AES connected boxes to take some load off the DAW? I´m aware of the SQ internal effects 😉

    If you’d prefer to use external units, the SQ features an AES output, but there are no ADAT or spdif options at the moment, so the best option would be to hook them up using inserts on mixes (analogue i/o).

    – Extending for more channels could mean a second SQ or stageboxes (but in studio use). Pros Cons except the obvious (more faders)?

    All SQ models feature the same core, that can handle up to 48 input channels, so unless you need more than this, the best option would be to add in some DX168’s (originally designed for the flagship dLive series!).

    – Overall, which DAW is integrated best? I wouldn´t mind getting my head around a 3rd program (plus license), if the integration is so much better for a certain software than for Reaper and Live, which I currently use. Wouldn´t mind to add Cubase for example.

    The SQ audio interface works with any DAW that supports ASIO, and our DAW Control Driver converts the MIDI channel strip messages into standard MCU or HUI messages for control. So there is not a DAW that is integrated better than any other (I actually use mine with Reaper and Live…). There are Soft Key options for bank up/down, as well as MMC 🙂 All of this is sent using MIDI over USB or MIDI over TCP/IP.

    – How well can you handle DAW plugins with the SQ hardware? I´ve seen the MIDI layers but wonder if that makes for a real good integration. Not a showstopper, I could always opt in for a “real” controller sitting next to the SQ, but it would be nice to be able to choose.

    The MIDI channel strips that you mention send standard CC messages from the fader and note on/off’s from the keys, so yes, this is one way of controlling things. However, the Soft Rotaries on SQ-6 and SQ-7 can also be used to send absolute or incremental values, which can then be mapped to whatever controls you like, so one of these might be a better option. (and you could choose to change what they do per-scene!)

    Hope this helps!
    Cheers,
    Keith.

    #80397
    Profile photo of moebius
    moebius
    Participant

    Hi Keith,

    many thanks for the fast reply, which is also spot on. One normally doesn´t get this quality of answer in such a short time, note taken. Didn´t I see you on TV :D? Just kidding, I like that Allen & Heath “have a face” and also that the pics on the corp home page are not stock photos, but the real deal. Gives the company a certain groove and I like that.

    I plan the whole studio rebuild around DANTE, so I´m still a bit undecided whether I would use the DS168, as this would block my path to a second faderbox (SQ-5/6) with direct connection. But then again, would 2 mixers need to be directly connected or couldn´t I just make use of two SQ mixers with DANTE and simply have them as two “sort of separated” 48ch I/O in case I want that many channels. Not sure I´m going to be there next week, but a setup of 2 consoles with DS168 cross connected via DANTE may be the growth option I can look at.

    If the DS168 had direct DANTE connection, that´d be awesome, but I guess there is a reason why direct mixer connection is preferred. On the other hand, speaking of the digital I/O with older boxes, I will either decomission them or go for a DANTE/ADAT/SPDIF/AES bridge like ferrofish or some of the red boxes. Happy mix and merge in DANTE world.

    I guess the SQ will then get three roles:
    – Recording outboard gear with direct monitoring pre-DAW (better than a rack of 19″ ADCs and latency)
    – Deluxe controller overkill for DAW mixdown (but then again, let´s compare Ableton summing to SQ summing and see if there is a difference)
    – Depending on quality and flexibility move the DAW more to a tape recorder role and make use of the SQ FX, this will at least take load from the DAW CPU and may sport other benefits

    Cheers,
    Oliver

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