Qu-Drive Compatible USB Device Database

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This topic contains 460 replies, has 106 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Lee7 Lee7 1 week, 3 days ago.

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  • #99530
    Profile photo of volounteer


    sorry but windoze did NOT do that.
    my win10 box forked a perfectly good sneakernet usb when I went from an older version and used it in win10.
    now it will not work anywhere but in that win10 device.

    Profile photo of Dilettant


    You are getting more and more ridiculous now.

    I can go to any hardware store and buy some USB Storage hardware and in 99,9% of the cases that will work out of the Box with Win10, Mac, Linux, any BSD flavour, my VW Car Radio, my Android tablet and almost any other thing that needs USB storage out there. The only thing i have to care of is that it is big enough and fast enough for the task.

    There are some really evil broken devices out there, but chances to get one in a shop are really low, especially when leaving out the cheap thumb drives. By far most of the available USB Storage devices sold work very well with most common USB Hosts.

    In Fact, best case chances that a bought USB Storage device will work with SQ Drive are around 30% even if i leave out thumb drives and devices that are too slow by specs or generally problematic according to widespread test results.

    If i counted right, from 8 common available SSD Drives with 500GB and up in the List of this Forum Thread 6 are reported to have massive Problems with SQ Drive. For 1TB SSDs only 2 are reported to work sometimes at all. 80% of the List mentions devices that are even historic and no more available to buy in regular stores.

    Just sort by capacity and scroll down the list and see how many red there is in the last column!. And then strike out Hard Disks (which are really ancient now for such a task) and any device that is not actually available in stores now.

    That might be ok if the SQ Mixers were out of stock since 10 Years. But as long as i can buy one at almost any bigger audio hardware store that is simply inacceptable.

    So it has to be clearly stated that varying device implementations can not be the main Problem here. Facts let little doubt SQ/Qu Drive is.

    If other central functions in that Mixers would work as bad (for example, the Mic Inputs would not work with 80% of the available Microphones) for sure customers would slap that desks around A&H dealers’ faces all the day.

    That does not happen – mainly, because the Workaround to use a Notebook for Recording works well. Most other Mixers in that price range can’t multitrack “on board” at all or have more embarassing caveats. And because massive Multitracking might be not a very important functionality for many SQ/Qu Users at all.

    The real founding of the disaster is also not so difficult to identify. A&H did not use widely available known to work USB libs since they have not included any general purpose Computer in the SQ/Qu. Instead, they made their own implementation of supported USB Protocols as a self-developed FPGA Solution.

    The audio part of that seems to be really good. Maybed the developers had much more experience and references on that, maybe this part is much more easy, maybe it is just older code and thus, better tested. I don’t know about the USB/MIDI part since i did not use that yet.

    But the Mass Storage part is simply a disaster for now. They tried to reinvent the wheel and ended up with some cubic thing that only can roll on specially plastered ways but they even don’t know where such ways are available, how to build such a plaster or who can do that.

    I could bet if they instead had integrated some small computer Hardware like a Raspi for such tasks into the Mixer, in sum that would have gone cheaper since their FPGA developers then could focus on the good working USB Audio/MIDI part and they could use already available free Software libraries for the Mass Storage part or even outsource that. It had also some more benefits not at focus here, for example supporting more audio file formats for playback.

    Without that hardware, they had to create their own Mass Storage implementation on FPGA. That includes an USB-supported Filesystem (FAT32) and since BOT isn’t sufficient for Multitracking they also need UAS what has a bunch of subprotocols down to the ATA/SCSI Command set. That is a lot of complex work.

    However, even that could be done well (some day). For the Moment it definitely isn’t. SQ Drive is dysfunctionally broken with most in reality available Storage devives and even according to A&H there is no way to reliably order a storage device that will definitely work at all.

    A&H could at least offer or “certify” some big USB Mass Storage devices itself. I think customers even would pay a 20% additional fee for such one if they can be sure it works then.

    It is revealing that they even don’t do that. Instead, they say explicitly “we implemented something but even ourself don’t know what you need to buy to get it working”. That maybe acceptable fore some Kosmos Radio Experimenting set aimed at 14 year old pupils starting their Nerd Career, it definitely is not at all for professional Audio Gear.

    Profile photo of volounteer

    Sorry if logic and facts confuse you.

    What I said is true no matter how much do don’t believe it.
    The liberals think if they repeat their lies enough they will become true.
    Never happens.

    Profile photo of SteffenR

    Could AH have done a little better, for sure. But I do not blame them for the issues we have with usb.

    now I’m surprised… that was completely different a year ago…

    the USB controller in the Qu and SQ is a third party technology I guess, so A&H is dependant on the original manufacturer and it’s support for the used operating system.
    And I think that both sides learned a lot over time, since this is not a standard device…
    And A&H did provided some improvements in the past.

    Remember we talk about a technology the people outside the audio business will not care about.
    And it differs from the controllers in car radios since these can only read data.
    Just my point of view!

    Profile photo of Dilettant

    According to KeithJA&H posting in https://community.allen-heath.com/forums/topic/integrate-a-simple-usb-audio-player-for-common-file-formats,

    ” there is no ‘computer’ in the SQ,” […] “SQ-Drive is a hardware solution interfacing with a system which we built from the ground up.”

    That does not sound like a third party technology to me – on contrary, that sounds like they exactly wanted to avoid to have 3rd party technology
    in that Mixer and do it on their own. Looks like kind of a commonly called “NIH Syndrome” (NIH = “Not invented here”).

    However, from a retrospective point of view, that seems to have been a mistake.

    They must have wasted months of developer time to create an own USB Storage Host on the FPGA – an absolutely standard functinoality, available on several Microcontrollers and Computers for decades. Video Cameras can write on USB, any Smartphone can write on USB, any desktop operating System and most embedded operating systems can. That is a complex task, but no rocket science. Maybe other vendors have smelled the “Odeur” of USB Storage and didn’t go that way because of that – most of them only offer USB Audio or Recording on SD Cards.

    A&H could have a better SQ Drive and a better USB Audio Player (supporting several widespread file formats) by simply including some embedded ARM SoC or even a RasPi into the Mixer Box, connect that to the working USB Audio/MIDI Implementation, hacking some Touch Screen GUI with User Controls for recording and playback on that and connecting the “USB A” Port to it. It is pretty sure that would have eaten not a third of the developer capacity that was necessary to implement an own USB Storage Host on FPGA. At least, there were much more supported devices and an active community that fixes Bugs upstream.

    That had opened the way to use the USB drivers and Libraries available for the Operating System of the Embedded device – all that free stuff from decoding MP3, Ogg, FLAC and AIFF for playback, Full Duplex Mode and a Multitrack Recorder that can really use almost any USB Device available. Oh and of course all those USB Implementations support USB Hubs. So even the silly stunt of attaching an USB Hub and 32 single super-cheap Thumb drives to record one track on each of them for performance issues could be done somehow (although i would not really try that for production usage).

    Also, they could use that embedded System for additional features, too – some DAW Functions, sending MIDI Macros to the Mixer, storing/saving presets and scenes, integrating some DMX Control Features (like the Soundcraft Performer Series Mixers have) or even more crazy things like printing cable Labels on an attached USB Label Printer or streaming audio from/to the Internet would be possible with minimal effort. Also that could be used for remote support purposes (so someone from A&H could connect to the Mixer in your studio and analyze problems if you allow him like you do with teamViewer and a PC Remote Helpdesk) – the list of possible usage is endless.

    But nevertheless: they didn’t integrate such hardware and decided to implement their own USB Storage Host on FPGA. That is not illegal of course. But if you create it and you write it as an unique selling point on your marketing papers, there is no acceptable excuse at all if it doesn’t work reliable and stable – as long as the USB Storage device is fast, reliable and big enough. A device that has been used succesfully for Recording of 32 Tracks for several hours with a simple notebook has proven it is.

    Of course, it could be possible to create even such an Addon as a separate Box connected to USB Port A. But that would not really have a benefit over using a notebook for recording since the main advantage of SQ Drive is to have no need for an additional box or Computer with cabling and all that other things that can go wrong. The only real Selling point of SQ Drive is you need nothing but the Mixer and an USB storage Device. And as long as even A&H cannot say “buy device xyz and that will work”, the main benefit of that feature is simply not there – it _is_ broken.

    Profile photo of SteffenR

    I doubt that A&H designed his own USB controller chip
    I believe they used an available solution to interface with the rest of the system inside the FPGA

    Video Cameras can write on USB

    Really? Which one… I only know some that write on SD/XD card, Memorystick or SATA

    Profile photo of Dilettant


    There are several Security Camera vendors that offer local Storage on USB (even on Sticks). General Home Video Models i don’t know.

    But that’s splitting Hairs. USB Storage is widely spread in almost any kind of device that needs storage. Most Photo and Video Cameras only support SD/XD, some professional
    Models support SATA – which is very similar since USB UAS is nothing different than SATA over USB. Almost any Smartphone and any Noebook can read from and write on USB Storage.

    And it is simply so that most of the gadgets that can use USB Storage are able to write to most USB storage devices you can normally buy. You don’t have to bother about getting a working one when you are going to Saturn, Arlt or any other Hardware store and simply buy the next available USB Storage.

    Just SQ Drive can not use most USB Storage devices at all. And worse, nobody can tell you what available device to buy so it will definitely work.

    Sorry, that can’t be a serious offer for professional work. It has to be fixed some way, no matter even if there are some broken sticks.

    Profile photo of Mike C
    Mike C

    Just SQ Drive can not use most USB Storage devices at all. And worse, nobody can tell you what available device to buy so it will definitely work.

    From an earlier post of mine…..

    Here is a proven USB drive for multitrack usb recording, not exactly thumb drive in physical size though.
    San Disk 500gb USB drive

    The Kingston Data Travels I use work great for stereo recording and playback as well
    as show and scene file storage but are not quite fast to keep up with long multitrack

    Profile photo of volounteer

    But @dilettant cant just use two of those.
    he has to have a full TB with usb3.1
    I think he should shoot for at least a 4TB.
    He can not buy that as easy as he can not get his 1T either.

    In #99461 he said

    Hmm has anybody managed to get a 1TB or larger SSD in an USB 3.1 drive box to work for multitracking?

    Profile photo of Dilettant

    Well since according to documentation sq drive supports up to 4TB, any class compliant and fast enough 1TB device _should_ work. Art least most of them. According to this Thread’s List, 6 of 8 don’t.


    They sure didn’t make their own Controller chip. Standard USB Controller Hardware is not much more than an UART. The Class dependent higher level Protocols have to be implemented in some kind of software. A&H seems to have implemented it on the FPGA so no classical “Driver” could be used for that. It would be also possible to use some microcontroller but then it would be really dumb not to choose one with already existing free USB Storage Class drivers – that’s a standard feature since decades.

    So if they self-made it, they had to implement the high level protocol Layers for Mass Storage which are at least the FAT Filesystem (which is mandatory Standard) and the UAS Block device access Layer (which mostly is a kind of encapsulated SATA/SCSI and necessary because BOD) on the FPGA. And additionally some logic to write audio streams to FAT files and the User Interface.

    The symptoms with my disk look like there is a Problem with the UAS Part which might be the most complicated one, so it is the classical source of Bugs in such a stack. The good news is that that is part of the firmware so it can be fixed. The bad news is that FPGA Programming is a little more complicated than classical Computer/Microcontroller Programming for such tasks.

    Profile photo of volounteer


    AH has problems with usb for sure, but I think the cause is different than you are thinking.
    And I will continue to believe it is a multiple cause based problem where various parts do not fit like they should, but all of them are at fault. AH and whoever built the HD using usb had to match the standard exactly. USB was not done well enough so that there are differences possible that do not always work together.

    If they tried to program it all in FPGA instead of using OTS chips then that was a bad decision. I thought one of their honchos said that the FPGA was the core processing but it was supported by I/O that was totally separate.

    Profile photo of KeithJ A&H
    KeithJ A&H

    @Dilettant slow down!

    You obviously know more on the subject of USB and data storage than many people (myself included for sure), but you’ve also made some leaps to reach false conclusions and have then run with them.

    I doubt that A&H designed his own USB controller chip
    I believe they used an available solution to interface with the rest of the system inside the FPGA

    – SteffenR and volounteer are correct – the XCVI core handles audio processing, mixing and routing, it does not deal with the control surface, screen, flashy lights, networking, USB interfacing etc…

    SQ-Drive is a hardware solution interfacing with a system which we built from the ground up.

    – Again, as SteffenR says, the ‘hardware solution’ is a part, we built the system it interfaces with/is part of.

    The issues are to do with hardware to hardware connections, this is not an oversight or a result of unskilled or lazy development – at this point we have spent many hundreds of man hours over a few years tweaking what we can to improve compatibility as new devices have appeared, though there are still USB storage devices which will not play nice with Qu-Drive and SQ-Drive as you can see here. We’ve even looked into providing storage devices with guaranteed chipsets ourselves, but it would be an understatement to say the costs were prohibitive, especially when there are plenty of available devices that do work without complaint.
    We did initially recommended certain devices (officially), though could not continue to do so once we found how often USB storage manufacturers change components without any indication, meaning two seemingly identical devices would perform differently.
    Hence the creation of the form/list which the community here have so kindly contributed to and which provides the best guide to the suitability of different devices.

    You’re right, we could have included a system on a chip or Raspberry Pi, but this would have increased cost and presented other issues without huge benefits bearing in mind the USB-B connection, MIDI over USB or TCP/IP and ST3 port (intended mainly for background music, including media players which you can pick up for next to nothing).
    But of course you could do this yourself. Although we do not officially support Linux, both the Qu and SQ are class compliant devices, so I imagine with your knowledge in the area, it would be a trivial task.
    You’d also have the added benefit of being able to update hardware/OS/drivers/libraries without messing with the console and add in recording single tracks to 32 devices or label printing as you desire.

    It might be easier to simply find a suitable device though – it is not the most expensive or fastest drive which is required and you can even use some USB <-> SD adaptors for the task (http://support.allen-heath.com/Knowledgebase/Article/View/sd-card-adaptors-for-qu-drive-and-sq-drive), being that the deciding factor is the part that carries out the interfacing.
    Personally I use a couple of very inexpensive 2.5″ caddies (Orico 2588US3) which work with all HDD/SSD’s I’ve fitted in them, other users have had great experience with Samsung T-series and SanDisk Extreme Portable series too, but as we cannot know whether the manufacturers might change hardware on any of them, it’s impossible to guarantee performance and so we always recommend purchasing from somewhere that accepts returns just in case.


    Profile photo of Lee7

    @Dilettant – I use a 500GB Samsung T5 SSD which is USB 3.1, but that is immaterial as the USB controller on the QU is only USB 2, not sure about the SQ as I don’t own one.

    I have formatted the above drive on my Mac and it works just fine with the QU and records multitrack without any recorded errors.


    Profile photo of Dilettant

    @KeithJ A&H

    First of all, really thanks for your statement. It clarifies a lot and it is really a valuable point to see A&H is interested what is talked about in the forum. And it is interesting having some insight view.

    Meanwhile I at least got some 256GB SDXC Card to really work using an USB card reader on USB B. Seems that might be an acceptable way as bigger SDXC cards are available or at least raising up this times. I’ll see if i can afford one.

    But i think at least it should be possible to bring most SSD NVME Storage devices to work. If necessary, with some small extra Hardware to buy for the USB A Port.

    I agree there is not much benefit on investing much time using too crappy thumb drives or ancient storage boxes. They are too limited and/or their time will be over soon anyway.

    SSD/SATA and SSD/NVME via USB3 definitely will be the dominating portable big storage devices of the next decade on nearly all fields of consumer and smaller professional IT.

    Smaller capacities may use SDXC (or even Micro SDXC) but there is no doubt the “big ones” will “speak” USB 3.0 with NVME behind it (even SATA starts going legacy now as most new notebooks, Desktop PCs integrate M.2 NVME Slots – maybe even some tablet prototypes, don’t know).

    WHen it comes to I could build some recording device myself:

    Maybe i could, indeed. It is not my primary skill but i sure would be able to bring up a raspi system with a touch screen and click together some gui to trigger command line recording tools already there that would make up a sufficient session recorder.

    But after thinking over it, i sure don’t want to. I already bought a Mixer that was proven to provide the functionality i need. Why should i invest time and money creating a device that provides things i already paid for?

    The additional benefits may be nice but were examples for what could be gained on top, not what i personally desire much. Many of them would be handy but the thing i need and (have already) paid for was recording 32 Tracks on bigger USB storage devices.

    If i wanted to do that with a separate notebook, i also could have bought some much cheaper Soundcraft or Behringer Mixer with similar capabilities (despite of the 96 kHz and super low latency but that was no primary buying argument for me – having pre fader sends before channel delays was, multitracking to USB, having a good remote App, having digital stageboxes with cat5 wiring – some more but not much).

    So since i paid for a solution that was proven, i should be allowed to expect those who took the money will deliver one.

    Maybe in one or two firmware releases – giving a fair amount of time is completely ok for me. But the expectation is absolutely legitime as far as i can see. At least i (and many other customers) will expect to see a better solution in the next SQ Generation – and i think you are not really telling us classified internals if you say you are working on that. Your engineers cannot be content with the actual situation now, can they?

    Profile photo of volounteer


    It is not the engineers that need to be content.
    They do what management says to do, and management does what the executives tell them to do so as to maximise sales revenue long term. And they respond to the market demands by users as well as what the competition offers.

    USB2 is baked in. Not going to be any updates to do what you want done.

    AH devices do all they claim as far I have encountered.
    If yours fails then take it back to the dealer or sue somebody.

    You would have more luck beating up on the usb consortium and demanding they actually make devices compatible with usb2 like AH has used. And start demanding that usb4 not have any problems or limitations of any kind with audio applications.

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