SQ with FXs for final mix?

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  • #81945
    Profile photo of SonicBlast

    Hi, I am new to this forum I am considering the purchase of an SQ mixer, possibly the SQ7, as a central mixing and recording ‘Studio’ piece.

    I have an ageing Mac Pro (on the way out sadly) which so far worked ok together with MOTU AVBs interfaces for a Logic Pro based
    mutlitrack recording and of course mixing.
    I do not want to buy a new computer to replace the Mac Pro… I would like to go for an hardware-based mixer/recorder therefore
    the SQ series could fit my needs.
    I do have a Mac Book Pro (with Logic X and other DAWS) and a beefy PC for other tasks which can easily take care of recording to DAW if I want to.

    What I would like to ask is
    1) is anyone here using an SQ mixer to produce final mixes, maybe together with additional hardware FX/Processors units? Maybe using a computer just to record final stereo mix and archive of multitrack audio files

    2) About Deep Plug-Ins. I know the specs so far in terms of:
    – per channel EQ, Gate, Compressor etc…
    – RackExtra FXs offering 8 stereo FX (in a send/return bus type of setup)
    – Deep Plug-Ins (so far a small selection of compressors… EQs do not even appear in the shop)

    Deep Plug-Ins, my understanding is that these I could add as individual instances on any number of inputs and mix channels?
    For example, I could use the Mighty Compressor Deep Plug-In on 10 different input channels and on each channel the Mighty Compressor is a unique instance with unique settings per cahnnel (and not a send/return bus only setup)
    > In this case, how many Deep Plug-Ins units can I have added per channel? Is there an overal number of instances limit?
    > Are there more Deep Plug-ins planned or under development, possibly Reverbs, Delays, Tap Delays, Distortion, Drive, Auto Panners, Filters, etc… So that the SQ would offer a more comprehensive all in one solution? The more virtual plug-ins the SQ can handle (in terms of variety and quantity) the less the need for additional hardware FXs or SoundGrid (which would need a PC anyway)

    Thank you!

    Profile photo of SonicBlast

    I guess most people use it as a Live desk (intended purpose) and no current forum-member uses it for a final mix (+ outboard) then 🙂
    I know it may feel like a strange question, but in some case am I want to run an all hardware (synths) setup with hardware sequencers where
    I do not really need to use a DAW-Sequencer. So to mix and record via something like the SQ7 without having to switch the computer on and without
    needing a beefy computer is appealing.

    Of course, if I am sequencing with a DAW am I as well use the DAW processing and recording.

    2) something I am not clear about, is it the case where you can only use ONE deep plug in per channel? And it has to replace one of
    the default FX slots of a channel?


    Profile photo of peterlanders

    There’s one insert per channel, and you need to devote an FX slot to each insert. Doesn’t appear to be a way to chain them, unless I’ve missed it.

    As for the DEEP plugins, those swap out the default preamp, mix GEQ, and compressors, and are per channel/mix. They’re separate from the eight FX racks and you can use as many as you want.

    If you want to chain FX racks, you’ll want to use the Mix->Return method for the effects, then do your routing via the associated mixes/returns.

    I’ve been using my SQ-6 in the way you seem to want to, though I wouldn’t consider myself an expert (or, indeed, a musician) by any stretch of the imagination. Just an enthusiast. Hardware analog synths, some Strymon effect pedals chained via their own aux/return setup, and various built-in FX racks (again, mix->return). I’ve done a few setups where I’ve gotten a variety of interesting self-generating sounds going on the synths and proceeded to ‘play’ the overall piece via the SQ faders, and it worked great. I was just recording the final mix from LR straight to a USB thumb drive, the default SQ-Drive settings. End result was great; all I used the computer for was to crop silence, normalize, and transcode to my final output format. Haven’t had any recording issues since firmware 1.3.

    Profile photo of SonicBlast

    Hi thank you for your reply!
    Great info, thanks. Yes at first I was hoping you could assign multiple DEEP plugins per chanenl, in a chain but I see there are fixed slots available per track, etc… but that’s ok as it keeps it all active and all at 96Khz. Then I would need to use internal routing to add to it and external effects/processing, all makes sense.

    I am going to read through the documentation to check some more details.

    At first, I thought, oh shame, there are no direct outs, but the internal multitrack recording features will compensate for it (assuming the main use of them as direct outs for individual tracks recording)

    Thank you

    Anyone wanting to share their experience of the SQ mixers as finale mix, mutli track recording, in studio or recording of live performance overall quality, etc… please do so, I am super intereseted in this.

    Profile photo of peterlanders

    I found myself really on the edge between a nice analog desk and an SQ. But in the end, I realized that at some point everything I do WILL wind up in the digital realm, even if only for final prep, so might as well just take the plunge and get the other benefits of a digital console as well. Glad I did, but also glad I waited until such a well-thought-out model was available. Most previous digital boards I’ve used have felt like I’ve spent more time figuring out what screen to be looking at than actually mixing.

    Profile photo of SteffenR

    to clarify some point regarding the DEEP-processing:

    at this point there are replacements for Grafik-EQ or compressors available and an input tube simulation

    these plugins are not like VST or AU plugins,
    these only change the characteristics of the chanel EQ or compressors

    Profile photo of Piers


    Hi there, I thought I might be able to help with a few questions you may have regarding your post.

    I’ve filmed and recorded a good few live ‘one take’ studio recordings using my SQ5. I just use the 16 tracks directly to an external drive, it’s really so simple.

    When I want to mix and not use Pro Tools (in my example), it’s very quick and easy to load up the tracks from the session, connect your monitors and just get mixing! The mic pre’s on the desk just sound stellar, so you’re already off to a great start. As for the fx, they all sound so good I’ve rarely felt the need to even export the files from the drive and mix in Pro Tools. The only thing I then do is then send out a mix to the DAW for a master. It’s this very old school way of mixing that I like so much, or you can of course just simply export the tracks and work in the DAW, overdub, and all the usual interface usefulness if needed!

    Can’t say enough positive things about it really. The way in which the summing of the channels sound when mixing through this desk, is just sonically first class.

    With regards to your question about the deep plugins, I noticed Keith posting this as a reply to another thread recently, so I thought I’d take the liberty of quoting his words.
    Hope this all helps!

    “Yes, one of the main benefits of DEEP plugins is that they are embedded directly in the channel in place of the stock processing, so you can use multiple DEEP units on one channel, and on every single channel, without any added latency at all.

    As a rather extreme example, you could have a mic (or line) patched to an input channel running the DEEP Tube Stage Pre, HPF, Gate, PEQ and a DEEP compressor. Then route this through a group with a DEEP GEQ, PEQ and another DEEP compressor. Send this group to an Aux with another DEEP GEQ, PEQ and a third DEEP compressor. Finally send to a Matrix for a final round of DEEP GEQ, PEQ and DEEP compressor then route to an output and you’ll still have less than 0.7ms of latency from analogue in to analogue out.

    I can’t comment on future releases, but we’ve certainly had a lot of requests for more plugins already!”

    Profile photo of SonicBlast

    Hi, thanks guys, a lot of useful info and info I like the sound of.
    If those rumours about Multiband Compressor and Dynamic EQ deep plugins should materialise, this SQ desks (96Khz processing) should fit my needs really nice.

    I am going to post a suggestion in the suggestions thread, even if I did not order this desk yet (but I think I will order it soon) it would be great if these plug-ins were to be also offered as DAW plug-ins, this way one could easily recreate the exact same mix in the DAW and carry on mixing/mastering ITB if/when required. Maybe the plug-ins settings could be saved to USB and loaded into the DAW counterpart.

    Trying to decide on which version fits my studio (I/O vs size) but the SQ7 is at the top of my list.

    Profile photo of whatsoup

    I use the SQ5 for personal studio use and I jam live with it (which it’s surprisingly good at!) using synths and drum machines.

    One thing that caught me out when buying this mixer is if you’ve got digital audio coming in the back you can’t record to SQ Drive. In my case I have digital drums coming in the back USB from Native Instruments Maschine. When the back USB is enabled you can’t record to the front and vice versa. If I had a hardware drum machine coming into local inputs in the back I could use SQ drive fine.

    I would also check your CPU can cope with recording multiple channels to DAW as it took me quite a while to get my well spec’d PC to record without hitches

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