SQ-6 Extremely Low Record Volume

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of LICTech LICTech 4 years, 5 months ago.

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    Profile photo of LICTech

    Hey guys, I apologise in advance if this is a repeat thread. I’ve been all over the forums and seen slight mentions but no way to fix it. I’ve sent my show file to A&H but they couldn’t help either. So the issue is that my main volume is great, I can get all the volume and depth I need but when I record out of the SQ drive or the A out in the back I have little to no volume and have to use another program to boost it. If I try to compensate with the channel sliders or Mains the speakers/main outs are crazy loud. As far as my specific settings. My main fader sits at 0. The channel I needed to record has its slider at 0 to -5 and channel gain at -10db. Now when the speaker is talking, he is extremely loud in the house but the main PAFL levels and record volumes barley even register the lowest level of -40db. The specific channel level will almost hit -20DB. If I try to raise the gain to compensate, he will distort not to mention blow the speakers on the house. It’s safe to say that I’m a novice at best but I’m the best we have right now lol. This is my first digital board/snake setup so I’m sure there is a setting hidden somewhere. On my analog board there was a dial on the back that said Rec volume and did everything I wanted it to. Is there a similar setting in the routing menu or such?

    Profile photo of peterlanders

    Sounds like you need to create an aux mix to route out to the SQ Drive or USB-A, not just direct your LR mix out there. That way you can set the fader and mix master levels independently for your record mix.

    Since it’s a digital board, remember that your software likely shows the 0 dB line right at the top of the meter, whereas the SQ shows it in pretty much the same way they do on an analog board, with +18 dB of additional headroom above. But that doesn’t change the fact that within the board 0 dB is where the signal will clip. So all else being equal, if your output level on the SQ is at the 0 line on the faders, it will correspond with -18 dB in your DAW. So on your record mix you’ll want to set your levels there, allowing plenty of room. If you’re trying to set levels based on the target in your software (say, -12 dB) directly with the faders, that would actually result in a -30 dB level in your software due to the difference in meter display.

    But really, the key here is to set up a separate mix for the recording. That way the fader levels will be independent from those for your main mix. If you make it Aux4, let’s say, you then just need to go into your IO patch screen and patch Aux4 L/R to the desired USB channels.

    If you haven’t already looked it up, download the reference manual and dive into the I/O Patching chapter starting on page 17. If this is your first digital board you’ll find there’s a LOT more flexibility in there than you’re used to, but it means a bit of digging at first!

    Profile photo of KeithJ A&H
    KeithJ A&H

    Hi LICTech,

    As peterlanders said, there are different dB references. In this case, the two you are looking at are dBu and dBFS.
    SQ-Drive and USB streaming take signal directly from the core with all headroom intact, so you are not missing any important data, which would be the case if the signal was raised and the headroom removed. It allows for peaks in the recording output, without digital clipping.
    Gain staging for recording analogue (getting signals up near 0dBu) is mainly to ensure you have the best signal to noise ratio. When recording from the SQ’s core, this is not a concern, as you already have all the information, 1=1 and 0=0. You can then increase the signal level in post production.

    The only time this might be a pain is if you are making lots of recordings and don’t want to go in and edit/produce them individually. In this case, you may want to try recording to an aux (as peterlanders suggests) or perhaps a Matrix, which is basically a mix of mixes.
    If using a Matrix, you can then choose to send just the LR mix and use the Matrix processing to add compression and gain to raise the level that is recorded.
    This will mean your main LR mix is followed exactly, but the recorded output has an extra level of independent processing.

    If you need a hand setting something like this up, feel free to contact us using support.allen-heath.com.


    Profile photo of LICTech

    Thank you guys for the help! I’ve gotten it figured out now by the patching comment Peterlands made for the mix. When we set all of this up, the guy we had do the install setup a mix for recording to the SQ drive but it didn’t affect anything. Turns out the mix was set but it was never patched right. I’m still reading up on proper gain levels. My input gains on say the Electric Guitar sits at 12 but when I load a A&H preset for Electric it jumps up to like 36 so I’m thinking my inputs need to be higher and the L/R main slider needs to be lower.

    Unfortunately fixing them post production isn’t an option. From the time I hit Record Stop to handing out a dozen printed copies is approximately 11 minutes. I have been using Audacity to fix the volume which makes people wait a while.

    Thanks Keith for the comment on gain staging, that should help me some on the above comment. I have gone from a 15 yr old analog board to the SQ-6 and the ME-U personal mixing system. The learning curve has been intense!

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