Solo single S-Link limitation.

Forums Forums Avantis Forums Avantis General Discussions Solo single S-Link limitation.

This topic contains 19 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Brian Brian 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 20 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #117585
    Profile photo of Hugh
    Hugh
    Participant

    I have been studying over the past month the new solo as a potential replacement for my SQ5. I currently use a prime loaded DX32 in my project studio, and have a DX168 for road gigs. I have a Waves card for multi-track tie lines to my Digigrid/Waves recording system. Will a DX hub facilitate the ability to deploy the 4U IEM monitoring protocol.
    The primary attraction to the Solo is the big screen and much better functional control. HOWEVER at this point I do not need the additional channel capacity or bus structure but some of my clients do use IEMs and the ability for them to individually manage their monitoring is a big deal. To that end apparently at this point the Avantis Solo does not offer appreciable external I/O differences as with my SQ5.
    Hugh

    #117591
    Profile photo of Brian
    Brian
    Participant

    You are correct that both consoles only have one built in “port” – the SLink port on the SQ and the GigaAce port on the Avantis. As such, both consoles have a limited number of devices that you can connect to them without using I/O cards or hubs. The Avantis has a clear advantage however with it’s two I/O expansion slots vs the single slot with the SQ, but the SQ also works with the older AB/AR stage boxes where the Avantis does not (this becomes important later).

    You mention the “4U IEM” monitoring system. Are you referring to the Allen & Heath ME monitoring system?

    If so, there are some basic concepts you need to understand concerning the ME system. First and most importantly, the ME protocol simply doesn’t work with the DX system. This means you can’t plug a ME system into a DX box or hub. It simply doesn’t work. (This is the same across both SQ and Avantis lines). The ME system does work alongside the older dSnake protocol that the AR & AB boxes use, so you can plug a ME system directly into those boxes if you were using them with the SQ. Unfortunately, as I previously mentioned, you cannot use those older boxes with the Avantis system at all.

    This means you have two choices to connect the ME system to the Avantis (or SQ outside of using an AR/AB box). First, You can plug the ME system directly into a SLink (SQ) or GigaAce (Avantis) port. If you are already using the one built in port for something else (your DX boxes for example), then you need to purchase an appropriate I/O card. This is where the second I/O slot on the Avantis can really be beneficial. Second, you can use the GX4816 as your stagebox which has both DX and ME ports available on it. So you can plug the GX4816 directly into the built in port (SLink/GigaAce) on the console and plug the ME system (and DX box if needed) into the GX4816 as well.

    Obviously this stage box is a lot more expensive than a GigaAce card, so the cheapest option to use the ME system with an Avantis that also needs DX stageboxes connected to it would be to buy a GigaAce I/O card.

    These document might help…..
    https://www.allen-heath.com/content/uploads/2023/05/SLinkConnections_V1_5_0.pdf
    https://www.allen-heath.com/content/uploads/2023/05/DX-GX-System-Guide-ISS_5.pdf

    #117595
    Profile photo of Brian
    Brian
    Participant

    If you are not talking about the A&H ME system and are simply looking for a way for musicians to “mix” their own monitors using mobile devices, then you have a couple of choices. The A&H CustomControl software is a great way to create a custom layout for IEM mixing. It does require some work to setup initially, but then the files are stored on the console and available for anyone using the CustomControl app.

    The third party app, Mixing Station, is also available on a wide range of OS platforms. While it is probably easier to set up, it also requires that users purchase the appropriate license for the console they want to connect to. It’s not very expensive, but it isn’t free like the CustomControl app is.

    Here is a set of screenshots from out current CustomControl setup. I also included some explanations for each of the screens which talk about my design choices and techniques.

    Allen & Heath Custom Control design for musician’s personal monitors – updated

    #117626
    Profile photo of Hugh
    Hugh
    Participant

    Thank you Brian for the timely response to my post. My good friend and A&H source dealer here in NC has advised me to study the Solo very carefully because it is probably as close to my wish list as A&H will ever offer. Clearly the big screen and much more intuitive processing controls were my initial attraction, however, after a much closer look, the fader lay out is exactly the desired set-up that fits my work flow. Most likely I will be able to live with the bigger footprint and increased weight so the Avantis Solo will probably replace my SQ5 within the for seeable future. However the failure to provide an additional S-Link input on the Solo along with a similar cascading limitation with my DX32 are problematic. I am planning to expand the DX32 prime pres up to 24 channels when needed, however the ability to deploy my DX168 should not require the implementation of a DX-hub for connectivity.

    I will wrap my head around this issue next year but a hardware revision by A&H of this nature will probably not be likely. Over my 50+ year acoustic music production career I have enjoyed a productive professional relationship with some of the worlds best acoustic musicians: and my commitment to detailed transparent sonic quality is one of the reasons I have maintained these relationships. The Prime I/Os are just as important today as my prized tube mic locker in delivering the current world standard for acoustic music transparent sonic quality. Thank you again Brian for your information and advice pertaining to these issues.
    Hugh
    (The $1,500. giga-ace card to occupy a valuable solo port is less than an intelligent planed design. A&H should be able to do better with two giga-ace inputs.)

    #117627
    Profile photo of Brian
    Brian
    Participant

    I don’t know why you would expect the Solo to have two GigaAce inputs when the larger Avantis only has one such port. Actually there isn’t a single system currently offered by A&H that has two Slink/GigaAce ports built into it.

    In fact the only system that A&H currently sells that has more than one I/O port built in at all is the flagship DLive system. But even those ports are just DX ports and not full Slink/GigaAce ports meaning they are limited in functionality to connecting DX devices (unlike the SLink or GigaAce which are multifunctional). Plus, that system doesn’t have any real GigaAce ports on it, so you are effectively swapping a real GigaAce port for two DX ports. (Yes the DLive has two ports that are labeled as “GigaAce” but the only functionality they support is connecting a Surface. Therefore they are NOT actually GigaAce ports at all. I really have no idea why A&H labels them as GigaAce ports because it causes a ton of confusion. They should really be labeled “Surface” ports or something along those lines).

    This means you are complaining about a feature not being available on the Solo which isn’t available on ANY other A&H product, including the flagship DLive lineup.

    #117628
    Profile photo of Brian
    Brian
    Participant

    The other thing you need to understand is the “single port” limitation of the Avantis is exactly the same as the SQ. Whatever limitations the Avantis has with regard to it’s built in port, your SQ also has. (Yes the SQ supports the older dSnake protocol, but you can’t mix the older AR/AB boxes with your coveted DX32 filled with Primes and/or other DX boxes. This means the two systems have equal functionality/capabilities if you plan to use any DX boxes).

    Long story short, however you are currently using your SQ, you should be able to duplicate on the Avantis Solo AND have an extra I/O card slot to give even more flexibility that you currently have with the SQ.

    #117632
    Profile photo of Hugh
    Hugh
    Participant

    Yes, I read the existing limitations with both of the Avantis models and was well aware of the issue, however that doesn’t square with the DX32 connectivity limitations. If/or when I need to expand beyond the 8 prime I&Os that I currently have available, the GX4816 would apparently offer a cascading possibility for the DX32 that is a much better option than a $1,500. giga-ace card. Unfortunately this option is apparently not available with a DX168. If indeed the cascading of the two subject boxes are a possibility I may be putting the SQ5 along with my DX168 on the secondary market. Truth told, when we un-packed the DX housing the purple interior border colors were very much a Digico look. Perhaps the Digico line of desks are better suited to the practical use of the DX32 expansion stage box than the A&H offerings.

    On another front will my SQ5 Waves card with an A & B soundgrid input option work in a Solo. It does exactly what I need for a Waves card to do. I do not need to use Waves plugins in my live stage performances. My total reason for a Waves card is to allow the desk to deliver, via the tie lines, pre-amp only tracks to my complete Digigrid/Waves studio recording system. The $2,500. V3 version would be an unnecessary waste with my work flow. I would much prefer pulling the card out of the SQ5 and placing it in a solo: but, given the way these things generally work, that probably will not be an option.
    Thanks again Brian for your help in this matter.
    Hugh

    #117635
    Profile photo of Brian
    Brian
    Participant

    When you say “when I need to expand beyond the 8 prime I&Os” are you saying that you already have two DX32 boxes filled with Prime cards (4 Prime cards per box = 8 Prime cards in total) and you are looking at adding a third DX32 box to expand past the 8 Prime cards you currently have? Or are you simply wanting to add a second Prime card (which each have 8 inputs or outputs) into one DX32 and have some additional I/O from some other DX boxes?

    I’m going to assume the situation is the later and you just need to connect a single DX32 box and have other I/O available through other DX boxes. As you seem to be aware, you can only connect a single DX32 box to the console (SQ or Avantis) and there is no more capacity to cascade other DX boxes off this connection. However you can use a DX hub which is plugged into the built in port and have the ability to cascade multiple boxes from the hub. It will support up to 4 “hangs” of 32 channels per hang. That could be a single DX32 box or 2 DX168 boxes off each “hang”. So you could easily connect both your DX32 box and several other DX168 boxes without any further issues. This is the same whether we are talking about the SQ or the Avantis. The DX Hub retails for about $600, so this isn’t an expensive solution. If you think you want ME support, it might be smarter to buy a DX I/O card instead and use the DX I/O card to connect all your DX boxes. This way you can still use the built in port for ME use.

    Alternatively, you can use the GX4816 and connect one or two DX32 boxes to it. If you want to use the ME port on the GX4816, then you will only be able to add a single DX32 box because the other port will be used for the ME system. Obviously those stage boxes are pretty expensive, but considering all the capabilities (adding ME support for example) it brings, it is a pretty elegant solution. With a GX4816, you would be able to run all the I/O you need (DX32 box with Primes as well as an additional 48 inputs and 16 outputs) as well as connect ME devices to the system without needing any other I/O cards or hubs. If you know you need to run Waves and Dante, then the GX4816 is a great solution because you can save your 2 I/O ports for the Waves and Dante cards.

    As far as the I/O cards, the SQ I/O cards are compatible with the AMH systems, but unfortunately they are not compatible with the Avantis/DLive (the DLive and Avantis share the same cards). The old iLive cards can also be made to work with the Avantis/DLive with the M-DL-ADAPT conversion card, but those iLive cards run at 48k and not the native 96k that the Avantis/DLive systems run at. The conversion card handles the sample conversion as well as physically changes the size

    Finally, if was wrong about my assumption and you really need to connect 3 or more DX32 boxes, here are your options: 1) You can use a DX Hub and connect up to 4 DX32 boxes to it. You can plug that DX Hub into either the built in GigaAce port on the Avantis consoles, or into a GigaAce I/O card (the better option if you wanted to use redundant DX connections which requires 2 DX Hubs, but can still support up to 4 DX32 boxes in the correct configuration). 2) Use a DX I/O card in the Avantis which supports up to 4 DX32 boxes (in non-redundant mode). The advantage here is that you would still have the built in GigaAce port available for use with the ME system should you need to use it.

    Most/all of this information is found in the DX/GX System Guide that I linked to in an earlier post. My only warning is to not get too carried away by the pictures. They routinely show 8 DX168 boxes connected to a DX Hub which makes it seem like the DX32 isn’t supported by the hub at all, but that is not the case and they do talk about the hubs supporting up to four DX32 boxes elsewhere in the document. Basically anytime you see a picture of 8 DX boxes connected to the same hub, you can substitute a DX32 box for each pair of DX168 shown.

    #117642
    Profile photo of Hugh
    Hugh
    Participant

    Brian, My DX32 presently has a bank of 8 Prime XLR inputs and a bank of 8 XLR outputs. In the event I need more than 8 money input channels I can always add another bank of prime pre-amps. The 8 prime outputs are well within the max number of primary outputs I will ever need.

    The GX4816 is a better functional value than the DX hub and giga ace card, the secondary market value of my DX168 and $2,100 for the subject cards gets me pretty close to the GX4816 MSRP. I do not need the IEM protocol for my show, however some of the better Bluegrass bands I have worked with do: so having the connectivity to facilitate their gear would be convenient.

    The Waves card conundrum is certainly a deal delayer if not a deal breaker: My SQ5 is functioning quite well as the front end for my Digigrid/WavesLV1 studio recordings. In the event an Avantis Waves card comparable to my SQ waves card is made available I would feel much better about not paying an additional 2K for the subject V3 live gig Waves plugins that I do not need.
    Thank you Brian for the Waves card bad news, it’s always better to know about all of the rabbit holes before a purchase.
    Hugh

    #117652
    Profile photo of Brian
    Brian
    Participant

    Just to be clear, although we talked about using a GigaAce card earlier in the thread, my current recommendation (after learning more about your current needs) would be to use a DX I/O card (which retails for about $600) instead of a GigaAce card. You can connect all your DX boxes to the system using the DX I/O card and still leave the built in port for ME use.

    If you expect to need the second I/O card slot for something else, then the GX4816 is a great solution because it allows you to connect everything you currently plan on using (one DX32 with Primes and potentially a ME system) without using up an I/O slot. But the DX I/O card is the least expensive route to go if you only plan on using the Waves card and don’t have any other plans for the second I/O slot.

    #117653
    Profile photo of Brian
    Brian
    Participant

    CORRECTION – it seems the ME system cannot simply be plugged into the built in port on the Avantis. Therefore if you want to use the ME system with the Avantis, you will have to use the GX4816 stagebox. Therefore my suggestion of using the DX I/O card is not going to work.

    Without the GX4816, the only other way for you to integrate the ME system into an Avantis is to use the ME-U with a Waves/Dante/Madi card installed. In your case, using the Waves card would make the most sense. Unfortunately, the ME-U uses yet another variation of the I/O card that is only compatible with the old iLive system (and those cards are very hard to find now). So you cannot reuse your SQ Waves card in a ME-U device.

    Sorry for the confusion!

    #117666
    Profile photo of Thad
    Thad
    Participant

    This doesn’t directly relate to the subject of this thread, but I think it’s worth clarifying something Brian said:

    SQ also works with the older AB/AR stage boxes where the Avantis does not (this becomes important later).

    The AR stage boxes do work with the Avantis. I’ve used an Avantis with the AR2412 and the AR84 + ME-1s. The product page for the AR2412 states it’s compatible with the Avantis. I haven’t personally used the AB boxes with an Avantis, but the product page states they’re compatible.

    That said, I’ve learned a lot from Brian’s posts, so don’t read this as a knock on his general expertise with AH gear.

    #117669
    Profile photo of Brian
    Brian
    Participant

    The AR stage boxes do work with the Avantis. I’ve used an Avantis with the AR2412 and the AR84 + ME-1s. The product page for the AR2412 states it’s compatible with the Avantis. I haven’t personally used the AB boxes with an Avantis, but the product page states they’re compatible.

    You are definitely correct (and this is clearly supported in the A&H resources). The older AR/AB boxes are not compatible with the DLive system and I have been incorrectly associating this limitation with Avantis as well.

    Thank you for correcting me. I am not really an expert, I just can’t seem to stay away from this forum! 😉 I still learn stuff everyday, and today I learned something from you.

    #117703
    Profile photo of Hugh
    Hugh
    Participant

    I have determined the V3 Waves card is a deal killer for me. Over the past 10 years I have developed a close relationship with the Waves technical staff in Knoxville,TN and after a log discussion with them this morning I have decided stay with the SQ5 and park any notion to up-grade to a Solo.

    1) I already have in my SQ5 the right Waves card to perfectly fit my working recording needs.
    2) The new V3 Waves card has at this point a 9 month or greater delivery delay as well as a $2,500. price point for bells and whistles that I do not need.
    3) I will add two more banks of input pre-amps to my DX32. and sell my DX168. the additional pres will either be primes or maybe the much less expensive M-AIN analog version: dependent upon which bin the Analog pres came from.

    I really would love to have the big screen and detailed Solo functionality along with their perfect fader lay out: but alas it ain’t gona fundamentally work for me. As it Turns out the grass really isn’t greener on the Solo side of the fence today.
    Hugh

    #117704
    Profile photo of Brian
    Brian
    Participant

    The SQ is a great console. Sure the Solo is the “new shiny thing”, but you can’t go wrong with the SQ either.

    There is a downside however. You still have a problem when it comes to adding in the ME system. The SLink port on the SQ doesn’t allow you to plug DX boxes & ME devices in at the same time using the same port (you can use it for one or other other, but not both at the same time). Since there is only one built in port and you need to use DX boxes with it, you have limited options if you want to also have the ability to run ME devices and keep the Waves card. One option is to use the GX4816 stage box plugged into the console’s SLink port. You’ll need to plug your DX32 box into it, but you can also utilize the GX4816’s ME port as well to add that functionality. The only other option I see is to put a Waves card in a ME-U device and connect to the ME system over Waves instead of the SLink port on the console. You could add an SLink card to the console and plug the ME system into it, but that would require that you drop the Waves card because the SQ only has one I/O card slot.

    This is basically the same conversation we were having with the Solo, but deciding to stick with the SQ doesn’t solve the “ME problem”. Long story short, I think you best option to run a ME system AND your Waves system is to get a GX4816 stage box.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 20 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.