Most Basic Setup using an Expander

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of IraBob IraBob 1 month, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #96505
    Profile photo of IraBob
    IraBob
    Participant

    Hello,
    I’m new here.
    I’m old, which means I have limited I/O and a much reduced sample rate.
    I’m fairly new to audio networking concepts.
    So please pardon this extremely basic question:

    I’d like to start with a very simple setup for some live streaming of performances which also includes (multitrack) recording. I’d like to use an SQ-5 and a remote I/O box (AKA stagebox or expander), or 2, at 96Khz, for approx 32 inputs and 4 monitor or IEM mixes.

    The SQ system supports 3 different types of protocols for creating this very basic setup. Between the SLink, the DX and the Dante methods, which is the simplest and least expensive way to get started producing a high quality result, while I also educate myself in the world of networked audio?

    I anticipate that a response might include the question of “Well, it depends on where do you see yourself going with this in 2 years”? My answer would be Keeping It Simple is probably my Prime Directive.

    Many thanks for any insights you’re willing to share with an old curmudgeon.

    #96507
    Profile photo of Andre S
    Andre S
    Participant

    Hi IraBob,

    welcome to the forum.

    Well, it depends on where you…just kidding 😉

    I would go with slink.
    For 32 inputs you could buy 1 GX4816 (€3411) 48in/24outs -> the all in one box solution but most expensive!
    or 2 AB168 (€966/each) 32in/16out
    or 2 DX168 (€1169/each) 32in/16out
    or 1 AB168 (€966) plus 1 AR2412 (€922) 40in/20out
    or 1 AB168/DX168/AR2412 and the In/Outs of your SQ5 (if you have a lot of XLR cables left or some analog snakes).

    You can record at 48 or 96 kHz no matter what kind of stagebox you use, because the SLink port is doing the samplerate conversion. The SQ itself is processing things internally at 96kHz anyway. The samplerate for recording can be set individually.

    Next, I would get an SSD an use SQs “SQ Drive”. That´s the USB port on top of the mixer.

    To summarize what I would do and money is an issue:
    1 SQ5 (€2400)
    1 AR2412 (€922)
    1 AB168 (€966)
    1 SSD 1TB (about €100)
    1 long cat5e running from FOH to Stagebox 1 (€80)
    1 shorter cat5e running from stagebox 1 to stagbox 2 (€25)
    = €4493

    If you use the In/Outs on the back of your SQ you can save €966 be leaving out the AB168.
    And I would highly recommand getting a case for your SQ (€220)

    I looked up all prices at THOMANN. Not because I particularly like them, but it´s easy and quick to look up prices.

    The streaming part:
    If you use the USB B port on the back of your SQ, you can´t use the SQ Drive to multitrack record. You can´t use USB B and SQ Drive at the same time. Solution:
    1) Don´t connect the mixer via USB B to the videomixer. The videomixer, that you probably have, has hopefully audio inputs. Then use a matrix out or aux of the SQ to make a mix for the stream.
    2) If you have to connect the mixer via USB B to the streaming computer, you could get a waves card for the SQ expansion slot. This card will let you record up to 64 channels of multitrack rec.

    SHope that helps a bit.

    Btw.: I have a lot of tipps and tricks for the SQ mixer videos on my channel. Maybe you´ll find some help there, too.
    SQ Mixer tutorials

    #96508
    Profile photo of IraBob
    IraBob
    Participant

    Thank you, Andre, for a great answer and your humor!. The videos that you’ve produced are a wonderful resource, and I’ll be studying them carefully.

    Please allow me to ask for some clarity on one of your answers.
    I know that streamed audio doesn’t need to be mixed or recorded at a 96kHz sample rate. But one of the main advantages of the A&H systems is their ability to operate at 96kHz, as opposed to, let’s say, the M32. For those clients expecting the higher sample rate, would I need one of the expanders that can operate at 96k, such as any of the DX (or DT) units? If I used any of the AB or AR units like those you mentioned, would I lose the ability to mix and record at 96kHz?

    Also, about streaming options:
    I would create a 2-channel matrix out to give the streaming techs, as you suggested; I wouldn’t use the USB port on the back of the SQ for the audio out. So that frees up the SQ Drive to do a multitrack recording, without having to get into a Waves card (or, I would assume, Dante and the Virtual Sound Card). So I’m sure you’ve made a video about the SQ Drive 😉 so I will search that out and study it.

    Cheers.

    #96513
    Profile photo of MarkPAman
    MarkPAman
    Participant

    The SQ itself always runs at 96kHz and can record at this rate to USB B (32 channels) or SQ Drive (16 Channel)*.

    The Slink port can convert incoming signals from 48kHz to 96kHz, and outgoing from 96kHz to 48kHz, but all boxes you use must run at the same rate – you can’t mix sample rates on one port.

    If the 48kHz initial rate is acceptable to you, the an AR2412 with an AR84 is probably the very cheapest way of getting 32 remote inputs.

    * SQ Drive can do up to 32 channels, but at only 48kHz

    #96514
    Profile photo of Andre S
    Andre S
    Participant

    Hi IraBob

    good call from MarkPAman (as always). I forgot about the AR0804 (€633). You´ll get 8in and 4 out. The one thing I don´t like about the AR0804 is the price. It´s 1/3 of the inputs of the AR2312 but 2/3 of the price.

    Most clients I´ve encountered have no problems with 48kHz files! And it makes recording saver due to the lower bandwith required.

    Cheers,
    André

    #96516
    Profile photo of SteffenR
    SteffenR
    Participant

    @irabob

    just some additional information on the I/O expander systems available for SQ

    https://www.allen-heath.com/media/SLinkConnections_V1_5_0.pdf
    https://www.allen-heath.com/media/DX-GX-System-Guide-ISS_4.pdf

    Keith product manager from A&H did some nice videos as well

    #96525
    Profile photo of IraBob
    IraBob
    Participant

    Thanks to all of you for these great answers. I still feel I’m not understanding an important (to me) piece of info.

    Andre – I, like you, deal with string ensembles, jazz groups and other “non-pop” performances. Some of these folks are seeking out the higher sample rate setups for their streamings or recordings, and I’d like to take full advantage of the SQ’s ability to work at 96kHz.

    Setting aside cost for the moment, as far as the expanders that have been mentioned here, I would assume that the highest quality recordings would be attained by using one of the 96kHz boxes – the DXs (or DTs). Is that correct, or am I not understanding something about SRC and how the SQ operates? If there wasn’t a difference in quality, I’d wonder why A&H would bother to sell them, and at a higher cost.

    I’m still looking for simplicity, but the extra cost of going with a DX (or DT) would be a justified investment for me.

    Lots of training videos to watch! A great community here.

    Cheers.

    #96526
    Profile photo of Andre S
    Andre S
    Participant

    Hi IraBob,

    there is a quality difference in the stageboxes. I quote Keith Johnson here: “The DX168 uses dLive preamps – the analogue circuitry and conversion is of a higher level than the GLD/Qu AB168:”

    And he goes on: “This document may be useful – (https://www.allen-heath.com/media/SLinkConnections_V1_4_0.pdf)”

    Cheers

    #96527
    Profile photo of IraBob
    IraBob
    Participant

    Hi Andre,
    Thanks for the attachment. Those diagrams are very helpful.
    The SLink looks to be quite versatile, and I think I can get exactly what I’m looking for – including simplicity – with Slink and an DX168 or a DX32. No hubs, no switches, no laptops running Dante Controller. A case for the SQ, a case for all my mics, and a case for cables makes for a very transportable system. And it will allow me to expand if my needs grow and my brain gets bigger so that I can comprehend Dante.

    On to the videos…!!!

    Regards,
    Ira

    #96632
    Profile photo of IraBob
    IraBob
    Participant

    Hi Andre,
    I’m up to number 28 in your videos and I have a question.
    #28 deals with “From Rider to Scene”, and you show how to use the MixPad app to do a lot of pre-show prep. Please forgive me, but there are some basic things that I think you left out:

    1. Let’s assume that my mixer is stored away, and I just want to do this pre-show prep offline.
    a. Is it possible to create a scene and save it, for uploading to the desk later? Would I use the MixPad app to do that, or is there a Windows program to create a scene offline, like the Yamaha Studio Manager and Editor software?
    b. If it’s possible to create a scene offline, how do you then upload that scene to the desk?

    2. Your early videos show your desk already labeled. But you didn’t show the basic job of labeling the console, if I’m not mistaken. Is it possible to plug in a USB keyboard and do the typing on it, rather than using the screen?

    Thanks. I didn’t want to leave these questions on your YouTube page. I hope you don’t mind.

    #96634
    Profile photo of Søren Steinmetz
    Søren Steinmetz
    Participant

    On Windows you can use the SQ MixPad program, both online with the console and offline creating shows/patches.
    If you have a USB key from the desk, you can insert that in your computer and set that as your working directory in the program, that way saving a show on the USB.

    I tend to have an extra USB key besides my normal SSD disk for the console, simply to make shows offline, and/or save a show from a clients console to “de bug” at home later.

    #96635
    Profile photo of IraBob
    IraBob
    Participant

    Great Soren! Thanks.
    Does the SQ allow for a USB keyboard to do all the labeling?

    #96645
    Profile photo of KeithJ A&H
    KeithJ A&H
    Moderator

    @irabob

    Does the SQ allow for a USB keyboard to do all the labeling?

    Unlike GLD, dLive and Avantis, SQ and Qu do not contain an SBC (Single Board Computer) for control purposes.
    [note that none of our consoles use a ‘computer’ for the actual audio processing, just control of the processing hardware]
    It’s this SBC that can allow the connection of a standard USB keyboard to some of our consoles for naming and a couple of other things.
    The USB-A (Qu-Drive/SQ-Drive) connection on Qu and SQ on the other hand is a hardware (chip) solution purely for data storage and transfer, be that audio or shows/scenes/libraries.

    So it’s not possible directly.
    However, personally I find the quickest way to label lots of channels is through SQ-MixPad, where you can use a keyboard if it can be connected to the device (e.g. BT keyboard with an iPad even).

    There are two methods for transferring shows/scenes/libraries between SQ-MixPad and the console.
    Either using a USB drive as Søren points out, or using Sync to push/pull data.
    For more information, check out the SQ-MixPad Help which you can see by either touching/clicking the ‘?’ on the ‘Choose Unit’ page, or from the main menu in the top left when MixPad is running.

    Cheers,
    Keith.

    #96650
    Profile photo of IraBob
    IraBob
    Participant

    Thanks to Keith and Soren. Of course, I had seen the MixPad app on the SQ product page but I didn’t discover til now that you’ve provided it for multiple platforms. Great! And sorry to ask a question that I should have answered for myself.

    Keith, I will try those labeling methods that you’ve suggested. Cheers.

    [Suggestion for Andre: Would you care to make a video of Keith’s idea? – “…the quickest way to label lots of channels is through SQ-MixPad, where you can use a keyboard if it can be connected to the device (e.g. BT keyboard with an iPad even).”

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