QU-16 Gain Staging

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This topic contains 20 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Alrod Alrod 5 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #53486
    Profile photo of Alrod
    Alrod
    Participant

    This is a two part question:

    1. How are you guys gain staging in general (which method seems to work the best)

    2. I have a T.C. Electronics D-two running into ST2 In. I can’t get the levels to go much past the halfway point on the unit itself. With PFL engaged for gain staging, the levels on the QU-16 run at about -6. Any ideas on how to get the levels up?

    I am asking because there is some hiss that I believe can be lowered based on my experience with other mixers. I also run a Lexicon PCM 90 and had no problems with gain staging on it. The D-Two on the other hand is not cooperating. I had the unit checked out and it is ok.

    Thanks,
    Al

    #53487
    Profile photo of GCumbee
    GCumbee
    Participant

    Does the D two have a gain switch? Like a -10 +4. Check that.

    #53488
    Profile photo of Alrod
    Alrod
    Participant

    Hi,
    That was one of the first things I looked at. There is no -10 +4 gain switch. It does have the following though:

    Out Range
    Sets the maximum gain range of the analog Output stage.
    Range: 2dBu, 8dBu, 14dBu and 20dBu.

    Out level
    Range: 0 to Off (-100dB) in 1dB increments. Controlling the overall digital/analog Output level.

    #53489
    Profile photo of GCumbee
    GCumbee
    Participant

    Are you going into it unbalanced? If so you’re losing a little bit there. Probably just have to hit it harder assuming your upstream levels and preamps are set correctly.

    #53490
    Profile photo of [XAP]Bob
    [XAP]Bob
    Participant

    So you have a unit which is outputting a low level, possibly with some hiss in that analog stage?

    I’d suggest that the out-level should be set to 0dB (I.e no output attenuation)
    Then tweak the out-range up until you get a sane signal level.

    If you are at 20dBu and 0dB already then I’d need to look at what the box does 😉

    -6dB input is just about tolerable in a live setting, assuming you don’t end up with a much lower signal much of the time

    #53498
    Profile photo of Alrod
    Alrod
    Participant

    Thanks everyone for their responses thus far. Here is what I did and things are a little better, but I am not sure if this is the “correct” way of doing things (I am fairly new to digital boards). Instead of leaving the D-Two at 100% mix, I set the fader for mix 7/8 at zero and lowered the mix until I got the amount of reverb I wanted.

    Is this right. There reason I ask is because on boards with dedicated aux sends, I would always leave the reverb/delay mix levels at 100%. Is the QU different? Please forgive my ignorance.

    #53499
    Profile photo of GCumbee
    GCumbee
    Participant

    No different if you are using it in a send/receive method like you would on any console. Only time you would use it at less than 100% mix is when you are inserting it on a channel which is obviously pretty impossible on a QU.

    #53500
    Profile photo of Alrod
    Alrod
    Participant

    Thanks, I did some tweaking and think I may have figured it out. Here is how I have the unit set up:

    – Delay Unit L/R Balanced out puts to ST2 Ins
    – Delay Unit L/R Balanced Inputs to 7/8 Mixed Outputs
    – 7/8 Mix Master set to 0

    ^^^ Is this right?

    Initially had the ST2 fader set to 0. I think this is where I had it wrong. I turned the delay unit mix back to 100% and then lowered the ST2 fader down to about -40. The gains are now healthy on the delay unit as well as on the QU-16 hitting around +6 at peak.

    Does this seem about right. Again I apologized for my ignorance. I am feeling a bit like an idiot.

    #53501
    Profile photo of GCumbee
    GCumbee
    Participant

    That sounds about right. You don’t want your effect to be as loud as your primary or dry signal. It’s to be mixed in to a desired level.

    Question. Are you just married to these FX units? Do you not like what you hear on the internal FX units?

    #53502
    Profile photo of Alrod
    Alrod
    Participant

    Cool, I just didn’t realize that the ST faders were for mixing in the levels. Good to know!

    Am I married to the my outboard effects? Absolutely!!! The QU-16 effects aren’t bad, I just like the TC Electronics D-Two and the Lexicon PCM 90 better. They have a certain analog type warmth about them that works magic on vocals and acoustic guitar. If A&H ever incorporates 3rd party plugins into the QU series I would probably use the Lexicon PCM native or the Relabs XL480 for reverbs and then the SoundToys EchoBoy for delay. Those plugins replaced the two hardware units mentioned above in My DAW for recording, which is why I now use them for live gigs.

    I use Ultimate Ears Reference IEMs and love to hear the lush effect of my units. If I were using regular monitors it probably wouldn’t matter as much (it would probably still matter though, just not as much). I am pretty anal about what I am hearing when I play even though the audience may not.

    #53526
    Profile photo of Dr. J
    Dr. J
    Participant

    I use outboard delay and reverb as well. There is a definite analog warmth to them as you say Alrod. I cannot go without them either. The Qu effects need refinement in my opinion. That could be the next single best improvement they can make for the next update.
    The Stereo 2tap delay needs a “Right Offset” otherwise there is no stereo imaging. You can tap in the delay tempo if you want but then have to manually offset the ms of one side to produce the stereo image… Not ideal.

    The reverbs are too bright with metallic flutter and that is even after I roll off the high end.

    I think the Qu effects are ok for a lot of music but not Big 80’s music. I mix for a lot of 80-90’s bands and they prefer the effects to sound close to their albums as possible. So Big snare verb and vocal delay/reverb is called for. So far – I can only achieve that with outboard effects….

    Trust me – I would love to downsize but simply cannot do it until the board effects have improvement.

    #53527
    Profile photo of Dr. J
    Dr. J
    Participant

    Alrod – I would leave the MIX knob at 100% on the actual effect unit. Once you start lowering that – you will create a alienish flange type of sound. Keep the knob at 100% and control the amount of effect on your board faders.

    #53543
    Profile photo of Dick Rees
    Dick Rees
    Participant

    Friends…

    The Qu offers you the ability to patch in the reverb/delay of your choice. I think this is fine and lets you choose EXACTLY what you want.

    Expecting ANY manufacturer to include your personal requirements in such a compact, fuctional, affordable unit is impractical. The increased cost makes it a totally different deal.

    Using a Mix send and a line return is absolutely fine. If you desire more, upgrade to a more expensive console from A&H or any of the other fine makers and quit b****ing about not getting sprinkles on your icing.

    BTW…

    I have been able to edit the Qu ‘verbs to come close to my M-2000 presets. If you spend the time it takes to know what the adjustable parameters do you can make significant “improvement” in the Qu presets and store them.

    Rant over and quit your complaining

    #53545
    Profile photo of Alrod
    Alrod
    Participant

    @Dr. J

    Thanks. I did wind up sitting the mix knob back to 100%. What I was doing wrong was I used the ‘Mix 7-8 master’ as the blend fader rather than the ‘ST2’ fader. Once I set the ‘Mix 7-8 master’ to 0, my levels went up. My gain structure is where it needs to be now.

    #53546
    Profile photo of GCumbee
    GCumbee
    Participant

    I agree with Dick though. Some changes in the parameters on various pages really help the internal FX. Especially diffusion.

    I have and still do own some very expensive fx outboard units from my studio days. While I still remember them as wonderful I think I can make the internals plenty good enough. But, to each his own. One of the big pluses of digital consoles is the convenience of onboard fx. If they were just awful that would be a different story but I don’t think they are.

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