Pre amp differences between SQ5 VxS DX168

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of SteffenR SteffenR 1 month, 1 week ago.

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  • #99482
    Profile photo of Hugh
    Hugh
    Participant

    Given the fact that we have been on a one year “time out” I have managed to use my new SQ5/DX168 combo twice for live SR FOH and monitoring work. However I have used the giging time out for a bunch of studio video work. To this end all of my mic inputs have been provided by the DX168 stage box and I have developed a very repeatable, dependable gain structure protocol for the tube mics I deploy. Yesterday my DX stage box was set up for an afternoon shoot so I decided to use the SQ5 input #1 with my favorite Flea 47 next mic for a quick video from my control room. I knew from the get go the DX168 was D-Live gear and probably some what higher quality than the SQ pres and converters but what I discovered yesterday really surprised me;

    1) I run the gain structure for the Flea47 on my guitar/vocal simultaneous capture @ 23 DBs with the DX168. The SQ5 had to be brought down to 11 DBs to stay in the acceptable range for the peak meters.
    2) The opto compressor reflected much hotter input and out put with the same settings I had deployed with the DX even after reducing the gain to the 10/11 DB range.
    3) I keep one of my KV2 EX10 wedges on the back wall of my control room: it is apx 20 ft from the control desk and has been calibrated to function very well from AUX #1 on the SQ when I am working with the DX168 pres. The SQ #1 channel was never close to the sonic wedge delivery I was getting all the time with the DX?

    I had previously believed a marginal difference existed between the DX168 VxS SQ5 pres & converters: based on my experience yesterday the difference is much more than marginal. This event has not reduced my very high opinion of the SQ 5 however it has modified my thoughts pursuant to high channel count needs when sonic quality is very important. Today my recommendation for any one that needs 32 or 48 high quality inputs is to buy two or three DX168 stage boxes and use an SQ5 as a cat 6 connected controller instead of an SQ6 or 7 that will need lots of copper snakes while producing a lower Sonic quality capture.
    I have a huge amount of respect for Keith and the A&H teck team and would greatly appreciate their input relevant to this matter. Based on my discovery yesterday my previous “world class” description of the SQ5/DX168 combo will now need to include a caveat “when the DXi68 stage boxes are used exclusively.
    Hugh

    #99521
    Profile photo of Chris
    Chris
    Participant

    Why would you need copper snakes with the sq6 or 7? The dx works with them as well and you get more flexibility with the extra faders, soft keys, and soft rotaries.

    #99546
    Profile photo of Hugh
    Hugh
    Participant

    Unless the SQ is positioned on stage a snake is generally required to deliver inputs to the SQ when it is located in a mix position out in the venue.
    My point was to use the high quality pres and converters in the DX168 inputs that can be ideally located close to the mics on stage and restrict the SQ to control only that can be managed with a single cat6 cable for remote mixing either out in the venue or on stage.
    Matching the performance quality of the various components in any given system is a real good idea. My concerns pursuant to the pre quality differences between a D-live DX168 VxS the SQ were based on a high quality KV2 near field, point source FOH stacks & wedges amplifying a Flea47 next mic. The subject differences would be far less obvious or significant if a hot back line, SM58s and a MI FOH and wedge monitoring were deployed.
    Hugh

    #99549
    Profile photo of Brian
    Brian
    Participant

    Not to add flame to the fire, but the total latency time for a signal through the console is different depending on if the input is plugged into the digital box or a local input. At least this is what I have found on my Avantis.

    I initially though Allen and Heath compensated for this because they advertise how their consoles are latency aware, but that is clearly for the audio signal chain once it is inside the console (which makes sense). Now keep in mind that the different in latency between the two input types was only .21ms, but I was surprised to see the difference at all.

    I now understand why the literature always says the consoles have a latency of <.70ms because that time does fluctuate with the input type.

    On my Avantis, total latency from local input through the console and out was 0.41ms. Total latency from a DX168 stagebox connected via the SLink connector, through the console and out was 0.63ms.

    #99590
    Profile photo of WaihekeSoundie
    WaihekeSoundie
    Participant

    Thanks for this observation Hugh.
    Is this just a gain staging change or are you saying that the DX preamps / converters have a lower noise floor or better freq response or some other characteristic that makes them preferable?

    Andy

    #99609
    Profile photo of Hugh
    Hugh
    Participant

    My opinions expressed in this thread are based ultimately on my perception of sound coming out of my KV2 EX10 wedge monitor. I do not possess electrical engineering analysis skills so my scientific measurement efforts are restricted to reading console LEDs and peak meters: however The KV2 gear I bought 15 years ago is a pretty good, consistent near field point source tool to evaluate sound from my system. To this end The pres and converters offered with the DX168 are much better that the SQ’s so I now route all inputs to the DX and most of my outputs from the DX as well. The primary differences are 1) a lower noise floor 2) cleaner definition 3) capable of higher DB out put with out artifacts. In short it sounds better so it is better.

    Please understand my comments are not in any way intended to be a slam against the SQ: they are meant to clarify a “best use practice” for an outstanding, small form, desk controller for world class D-Live components. World class sonic processing of this magnitude for the price point they are offered with the SQ5 and DX168 stage boxes is an unbelievable value opportunity!
    Given the real world marketing circumstances it is a given that discriminating buyers will need to read between the lines to fully comprehend the “best use practice” that are openly discussed on this thread.
    Hugh

    #99752
    Profile photo of Chris
    Chris
    Participant

    But what I’m saying is that all the sq boards can use the dx, so no you don’t need old style analog snakes to use the sq 6 or 7, you can use them the same way as as the sq5, but when more surface controls at hand. Your first post make is sound like you cannot use the dx with the sq 6 or 7

    #99771
    Profile photo of Hugh
    Hugh
    Participant

    Lets clear the air around this issue: The primary difference between the “surface controls at hand” with a SQ5 VxS SQ7 is with the SQ5 there are 16 channels available in each of three layers assessable by touching layer buttons A or B or C. The MSRP price point of anSQ7 is $6,000. as opposed to $3,000. for a sq5. That $3,000. difference is enough to buy 3 DX168s for stage deployment of input & outputs that would provide superior sonic quality for all 48 channels back to your SQ mixer (regardless of whether it is a SQ5 or 6 or 7) with a single cat6 cable.
    Most SQ6 or SQ7 desks will be located out in the venue and that reality raises the necessity of deploying an analog snake to use the SQs inputs: Cat6 works for digital not analog transfer. This fact begs the question of whether or not the SQ7s additional 16 faders is worth an additional $3,000. + an additional $1,000. for a DX168 to get you up to 48 channels. IMO it is an investment of $4,000. unnecessarily!
    I run my SQ5 from the stage and do small trims with an I-pad from out in the venue.
    Hugh

    #99775
    Profile photo of SteffenR
    SteffenR
    Participant

    every strip can represent every channel on every layer…
    there is no fixed structure (needed)

    so 6 layers with 16/24/32 strips…
    and it’s possible to patch 128 networked inputs or outputs (64 on SLink, 64 on I/O Port) additional to the local sockets and the USB connection

    and most important… what works for one could be a limitation for others
    and limitations for one can be unimportant for others

    it’s a personal decision not more, not less

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