SQ-6 Low output level

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Mosu Mosu 5 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #70614
    Profile photo of Coronos

    We have just replaced our aging M7-CL with an SQ-6. I love the board so far, but I’ve noticed a that all the output busses have a very low output compared to what the M7 had. On the M7, our main amps were set at -10 (from max level). With the channel and main faders at 0, the channel signal levels were normally around -15 to -20.

    Now that the SQ-6 is in, I have the input levels at 0 (which I am glad to see), but with all faders at 0, and the main amps now at max level, we are just barely reaching a sound level comparable to what we previously had. Unless I’m figuring this out incorrectly, this means the SQ-6 output level is 25 to 30 dB lower than that of the M7-CL.

    In addition to losing a lot of headroom, I have to top out the L-R contribution to our recording matrix, and set the matrix master send at +10 to get a good level.

    Has anyone else experienced this, or have any suggestions on how to fix it?


    Profile photo of airickess

    This is typical of the SQ and the QU series of consoles. The metering on the consoles are set such that -18dbFS reads as “0” on the meter. That gives the operator 18db of headroom before digital clipping. That is actually more headroom, not less, as you contend. Therefore you must change your gain structure from how you did it on the M7.
    One thing you will have to do is run the input channel gains higher than you were used to doing on the M7. Running the input channels into the yellow zone on the meters is not necessarily a bad thing. That should help you get closer to the sound level you are accustomed to hearing.
    Bringing up the input channel gains will also boost your record levels, but make sure you haven’t brought it up so much that you are clipping. Channel clipping on a live show can be easily and quickly fixed, but clipping on a recording is forever, so find that input channel gain structure that will allow you to have a louder show without clipping. Headroom on a digital recording is a good thing, allowing any fast transients (like a percussion hit, for example) to happen without clipping. You can always take the recording and boost the levels in a DAW.

    Profile photo of Coronos

    Thanks for your reply, but I’m not sure I follow your reasoning. I mentioned that I have my input levels around 0 now instead of -15 to -20, but I’ll add that these are nominal source levels. They regularly peak in the mid-to-high yellow zone, depending on the source. I am very well aware of what digital clipping sounds like, so I’m not inclined to gain my inputs up any more.

    Further, the M7CL used a similar scale as the SQ-6. The meters didn’t peak at 0; they clipped at 20 dB above nominal. So using what each board identifies as a “nominal” signal, I increased input levels on the SQ-6 by 15 to 20 dB over the M7, and still had to increase the main amps by 10 dB. There’s absolutely no way I have more headroom than I did on the M7, and I maintain that I have lost 30 dB.

    I was hoping there was some hidden main output level adjustment somewhere, but I guess that was grasping at straws. It looks like I may have to push the main fader to the max to compensate because I don’t see any other way to get the output levels up, but it really shouldn’t be necessary.

    Profile photo of Nicola A&H
    Nicola A&H
    Profile photo of Coronos

    Thank you Nicola. Those threads are very helpful.

    Profile photo of Mosu

    This is true!!!

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