Qu-24 & blind users

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Mort Mort 7 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #41064
    Profile photo of Audiophiler
    Audiophiler
    Participant

    Hello everybody, this is my first post in this community.
    I’m a blind classical pianist and audio fan. After years of long and successful operation on analog mixers, I’m looking for a high quality, last generation, compact digital console for my home studio.
    I’m evaluating many options. Allen & Heath Qu-24, Behringer X32, Yamaha 01V96i, Soundcraft Si Expression 2, PreSonus Studiolive 24.4.2AI.
    Behringer is too large (no 24-channels console in their catalogue) and it seems too “digital” in its user interface (menus, submenus, multifunction keys and rotary encoders…..). Yamaha seems not so professional-oriented, and it is not so user-friendly, too. I quickly discarded both.
    All other three devices seem good, maybe Allen & Heath is the best. But…. Well, sometimes going digital is not so easy for a blind user because most consoles are “visual-based”, so main problem in Qu-24 is TOUCH SCREEN!
    Soundcraft has touch screen, too. Compared to A&H, Soundcraft seems a little bit less advanced (less input channels, no Parametric EQ, no direct hard disk recording). Discarded.
    Last option would be PreSonus. Probably it is the most easy-to-use, analog-like, machine in my list. All controls are there, very few menu operation and only for initial setup and not in daily usage, but maybe it has no headphones out (not sure) and it’s more expensive than A&H, and I suspect that A&H is more advanced.
    Finally, my choice will be between Qu-24 and Studiolive 24.4.2AI.
    So, this is my questions:
    1) Any opinion from a general point of view about mentioned mixers?
    2) Any opinion from possible blind person in this board? Any blind member here?
    3) What about accessible interface in Qu series’ touch screen display? Well, I believe it is not so difficult as it could seem. Obviously an important engineering and developing work is needed, but it can be implemented with a major firmware upgrade, no new hardware required. You know, during last years Apple opened a new era in this direction (iphone, ipad…..).
    I think the same idea could be a good starting point: a good software-based voice synthesizer and a customized touch screen user interface. Obviously this audio feedback must be routed only through headphones or monitor out, not main out!!!! Do you imagine a soft Chopin’s Nocturne suddenly “overdubbed” by an electronic voice guidance in main speakers? ahahaha!!!!
    Last week I had a nice conversation (email and phone) about these issues with Allen & Heath italian distributor GRISBY / Eko Music Group: http://www.grisbymusic.it or http://www.ekomusicgroup.com but obviously we agreed that only manufacturer can add this feature in its products.
    From a marketing point of view, I believe it could be a very new feature not available in any other mixing console yet, and it would provide a very important service for many audio engineers/technicians/users in every part of the world.
    What do you think? Any opinion is very appreciated. Thank you.

    #41106
    Profile photo of dpdan
    dpdan
    Participant

    Hello,
    I don’t have anything to add except that I wanted you to know that your topic here has been read,
    but I am thinking that the folks here who are not blind don’t know what to say to help you. I am also not familiar with the “text to speech” features that the iPad may have. There is a section on this forum for asking for future feature requests and one of the requests that I posted was the ability for the QuPad app to mirror what is on the touch screen that is on the mixer.

    I believe this feature request alone would solve your problems of the touch screen since then everything could be on the iPad.

    I trust Nicola from Allen & Heath will post here with any suggestions that can help you enjoy the QU mixer.
    Have a wonderful day!
    Dan

    #41110
    Profile photo of Audiophiler
    Audiophiler
    Participant

    Hello Dan, thank you for your reply. Yes I understand this is a specific topic, but maybe Allen & Heath could be interesting to evaluate this problem to help many persons (not just me!). Well, I forgot to say that I tested Qu-pad (demo mode) on my iPad2/VoiceOver, but unfortunately the app is not accessible, too. Well, if this app will be updated adding accessibility, and if your request for a total mirroring will be satisfied, probably the problem would be solved. A blind user could use normal control like faders, muting, soloing directly on mixer surface and all control where touch screen is needed could be moved on ipad. Only Qu-24 initial network setup would require assistance by a sighted person, but after that all options would be available via surface or ipad. Dan, I believe your reply was so useful! Hoping Nicola will evaluate all this. Thank you.
    Marco

    #41149
    Profile photo of dpdan
    dpdan
    Participant

    God bless you Marco!

    Dan

    #41151
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    Hello Marco.
    Sometimes it is difficult to know whether to speak up or keep quiet and sometimes lately I probably should have been quiet.
    However, I may have something to add to help?
    I have worked, operated, supplied the equipment and multi-tracked to ADAT, a musical show quite some years ago, here in New Zealand for the Blind Institute here in Auckland.
    It was a success and the Institute transferred the data to a Yamaha hard disk and went on to mix down the recording.
    Interestingly it was a Allen-Heath Wizard 16 channel desk.
    I have since worked with a few blind musicians and it is always a slightly different experience.

    I have a few questions for you.
    Are you saying that you operate a desk as in live sound?
    What software do you use and do you, multi=track or record live off or from your current desk to 2 track in your Mac?

    I’m on the receiving end of listening to my partner on her iPad use text to voice to listen back what she has written. (it is an Australian accented voice) I was, well when I first heard the iPad reading back, I thought WOW! how cool is that!? My Partner is a writer of children’s’ books. Jampot Books.
    we are currently recording for all of the 12 books.

    I’ll try to get to the point.
    I Google’d “voice to midi commands” and got results, that some guys had experimented with this although they were using Windows XP and Windows7.
    The DAW software they were using was called Reaper.
    There was NOT a lot of information but there was a few different posts.
    I use Reaper myself with the Allen-Heath range of desks with MAC and it maybe worth thinking about. Bi-directional midi.
    Reaper is open source and will run the QU desk.
    So maybe, there might be someone already persuing this as there is a huge amount of people writing software scripts for Reaper.
    Reaper is part of the Cocko’s Confederated.

    Marco, as another thought on this, have you thought checking out the ZED R16 desk?
    That has a dedicated DAW control and can be used as a live sound desk and has manual channel strips with click push down buttons but no subgroups and no moving faders. (And quite a few midi faders)
    I have used this desk both as live sound and recording, and both at the same time and also used the reverb’s from Mac in live sound.

    Just some thoughts or options for you Marco.

    All the Best and I hope I didn’t over over stay my thoughts.
    dave NZ

    #41182
    Profile photo of Audiophiler
    Audiophiler
    Participant

    Hello Dave, very interesting! So, yes, iPad iPhone and all last-generation Apple computer has an extension called VoiceOver built in the operating system, no addition tools must be installed. Speaking accent is depending not only by language, but also by country selection. For example, if you select UK as general country in your iPad, you will hear a different voice than USA, New Zealand and so on. All Apple’s apps and many third-party apps are VoiceOver compliant, but other do not, and this is the case of Allen & Heath app. In this situation VoiceOver does not work and you are not able to use the app without viewing the screen.
    I never used mixers in live situation, I always used them in my little home studio for recording (mainly 2-track stereo recordings). I heard about Reaper. As I know, Cakewalk has a similar extension thanks to an american developer, but I would prefer a consolle totally useable on my own from its top panel, and unfortunately it’s not possible yet in A&H Qu series mixers. However, I didn’t see the consolle you mentioned, very useful suggestion! Now I will check. Thank you again.

    #41260
    Profile photo of Mort
    Mort
    Participant

    Hi,

    I´m new to this forum too and that´s because I recently sold my Presonus Studiolive 24.4.2 mixer an purchased a Qu-24. I used the Presonus mixer for more than three years (both live and in recording sessions) and after a couple of months with the Qu-24 I think I can answer to the first question of your initial post. I am from Germany, so bear with my english please.

    I like both mixers but they are very different and it really depends on what you want to do with it. The Presonus mixer is in my experience 70% a live mixer and only 30% a studio mixer while the Qu-24 is more or less really 50/50. Since you said that you use the mixer only for recording sessions I think the Qu might be the better choice for your individual situation.

    I think one of the main differences between the two boards is that you can use the Qu-24 as a DAW Control which you can´t do with the Studiolive. Especially the fact, that the Studiolive is not equipped with motorized faders makes it quite difficult to use it in a mixdown session. On the other hand the Studiolive comes with a massive bundle of free software like the Capture recording software (great program, very reliable, very easy to use!), Virtual Studiolive, Studio One DAW, iPad App, Rational Acoustic´s Smaart Suite etc. On the other hand the Qu hast the option to directly record on an external usb drive which is really great for live recordings when you don´t have to record more than 18 tracks at the same time which is, unfortunately, often the case. If you want to record more than 18 tracks at the same time you have to use a computer. So up to 18 tracks the Qu has an advantage, because with the Presonus you have to use a computer in any case for recordings.

    I can only imagine the problems a blind person might have with a mixing desk but I think the Presonus is the less suitable. The Preamps of the Presonus are analog, so they cannot be recalled and have to be adjusted every time you change a scene. And, as I mentioned before, the faders are not motorized. There actually is a recall option for the fader positions, but this feature works with an optical indicator using the led chains and you have to bring the faders in position by hand.

    On the other hand the Presonus mixer is open to external gear. Unlike the Qu every channel has a insert jack and you have two “classic” auxes to use external effects which is important, because the internal effects in the Presonus mixer are only reverbs and delays. To use other effects like chorus etc. you have to use an external effect engine. Unfortunately even in the new A.I. series this has not changed. I never understood this because with all its dsp power this must be a peace of cake…

    Well, a I said before, I like both mixers and I would love to have them both, but unfortunately I can´t afford that.

    I finally decided to sell the Presonus mixer and bought the Qu-24. But that´s mainly because I was tired of carrying old fashioned copper multicores. I use my mixer mainly as a live console and so I wanted an digital stagebox with cat5 ethercon cable. Early this year I visited the Musikmesse in Frankfurt/Germany which is the biggest fair for musical equipment in Europe. At the Presonus booth I asked the guys about their plans about a digital stagebox but I only got lot of “err” and “well” but no straight answer. They even could not tell me if it is possible to use a 3rd party stagebox via the announced Dante-card…

    All in all I still think for me it was the right decision to part with the Presonus and go on with the Qu-24, but again, I think it depends on what you want to do with it.

    I hope this helped a bit.

    Cheers from Germany,

    Martin

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