SQ7 replacement for an LS9-32.

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This topic contains 14 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Hugh Hugh 3 months ago.

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    Profile photo of daver2



    We have been using a Yamaha LS9-32 in our Church for many years now – and have been very happy with the equipment.

    Unfortunately, it is now starting to show its age and has recently developed a few faults that are proving difficult to get reliably repaired.

    I have been offered a “New in Box” LS9-32. However, that just delays the inevitable rather than solving it.

    So, we are looking to replace the LS9-32 with something else that is current and supported. One of these options being the A&H SQ7.

    We have been talking to some touring theatre companies that we know who use an A&H SQ desk – and they rate them highly.

    We are (in particular) looking for a “drop-in” replacement for our existing desk in the first instance. We currently have an analogue snake between the mixer and worship platform and most of the 32 inputs and 16 outputs are fully utilised – hence the SQ7 with the local I/O already fitted fits the bill. If we ultimately decide on an A&H SQ as a replacement – we will look at the various options, and may decide to go for an SQ5 or SQ6 and digital stage boxes (dependent upon the total cost). But that’s a post for another day…

    My initial problem is internally with the number of available MIX/MATRIX and AUX busses available to us. We had “maxed out” the LS9-32 in this respect and we are finding it difficult to locate a digital desk with similar features – so some ‘rearrangement’ and/or compromise may have to occur?

    We have a particularly ‘strange’ requirement in that we have four separate ‘zones’ to consider – each with their own particular sound challenges. We have our Main Worship Hall, a separate Overflow, an Overflow-Overflow (aka the Recreation Hall) and an audio feed to our live streaming desk. All of these are in stereo. On the existing LS9-32 these are via the four stereo MATRIX mixers. I can reconfigure these as the MAIN LR output for the Worship Hall and the three MATRIX mixers of the SQ7 for the others. So far so good.

    My problems occur with the reduced number of MIX/AUX busses on the SQ7 and the effects patching.

    That is the background. I will now post a series of questions that I have for some help if that is OK?

      Question 1

    Firstly – the use of Digitally Controlled Amplifiers (DCA).

    On our existing LS9-32 we group the instruments into a stereo DRUM group – and a stereo INSTRUMENT group. These two groups are muted from a single MUTE group. The individual channel faders adjust the relative amount of each drum / instrument in each group mix and the group fader adjusts the total amount of DRUM and INSTRUMENTS to each of the separate MATRIX mixes. The groups on our LS9-32 serve no useful purpose other than to adjust the relative gains.

    Am I right in assuming that I could allocate (say) DCA #1 to the DRUM input channels and DCA #2 to the remaining INSTRUMENT input channels and control them individually from their input channel faders and as a ‘group’ via the DCA fader? If I mute the associated DCA fader – would that automatically mute all of the input channels assigned to that particular DCA channel?

    On the LS9-32 we could vary the amount of DRUMS verses INSTRUMENTS to each of the MATRIX output channels separately. I am guessing that I will not be able to do this with the above configuration any more? My proposal is to adjust the sound mix for the MAIN LR outputs (Worship Hall) and to feed the MAIN LR mix into each MATRIX for the other areas. I will need to introduce some congregation singing microphones into the MATRIX mixes – but this will be a question for the next post…



    Profile photo of Showtime

    I think the avantis will fit better in your needes.

    You get more of each.


    Profile photo of daver2

    Hi Richard,

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Yes, I agree. Unfortunately, there is no way we can afford that price point!

    I may be able to justify the SQ7 (with a bit of twisting a supplier’s arm to get some discount off the RRP).


    Profile photo of Hugh

    Perhaps the A&H SQ5 may offer a better solution to your needs:

    1) A pair of DX168s would put 32 XLR inputs on the pulpit where they are needed and the SQ5’s layers can manage up to 48 inputs. The other advantage is the fact that the DX168 offers D-Live pres that, IMO, are better than the std. SQ pres but either one is a whole lot better than the LS9 pres.
    2) There are 8 outputs on each DX168 and the SQ5 can manage 12 outputs along with class leading 4 me personal monitoring system. Also by locating the LR mains on the pulpit they will be closer to the speaker stacks.
    3) one Cat 6 cable from the pulpit to the SQ5 console is all that will be needed to connect a DX hub.

    I have found the Yamaha protocol very different from the A&H design that I greatly prefer, however that is not the primary difference. The SQ’s FPGA XCIV processing core delivers 21 century sonic quality that is well beyond it’s price point. Your best bet is to hook up with a quality A&H dealer and try the gear in your church to see if the change is worth the expense and effort. A SQ5 and two DX168s should be attainable for apx. $5,000. street price & the DX hub and personal monitoring system will require a bit more investment.

    Profile photo of daver2

    Hi Hugh,

    You have highlighted what I referred to in my initial post as “If we ultimately decide on an A&H SQ as a replacement – we will look at the various options, and may decide to go for an SQ5 or SQ6 and digital stage boxes (dependent upon the total cost)”.

    Certainly replacing our analogue multicore with a digital variant and stage boxes is the ‘correct’ way to go in my opinion.

    However, this is not (at the moment) my main concern.

    All of the SQ boxes contain the same ‘guts’ and I need to understand how to configure the SQ series mixer desk to do what I want the mixer to do – from a functional perspective first. This would (largely) be independent of the manner of interfacing the I/O.

    My initial question related to DCA functionality (as I have never used these before).

    My next question will relate to effects and effects patching.


    Profile photo of Mike C
    Mike C

    Keep in mind you can free up aux/mixes on the board by using the ME series
    personal monitor mix stations.

    The sound of the SQ or even a QU will be far better than what you have gotten
    used to from the LS9.

    Profile photo of Søren Steinmetz
    Søren Steinmetz

    You have 12 AUX/Group/mix buttons on the SQ7 vs the 16 on the LS9
    How ever, on the LS9 4 of these are usually used for the FX, where as the SQ has 4 seperate sends for that.

    And if you want a stereo group on the LS9, you take up 2 mixes, on the SQ you still only use a single mix (all 12 can be either mono, stereo or a combination) 🙂

    The DCA’s are merely a remote, just to keep in mind, as you will not have any group processing like comp or eq on those.

    Oh and Hugh, what do you mean by Yamaha protocol?
    Just curious since I run both console types 🙂

    Profile photo of Hugh

    Seren, That is a fair question with a simple answer: the functional design and feature controls of the two brands are sufficiently different for me to be comfortable occasionally operating one when the other is my regular desk. I have never owned a Yamaha desk and probably never will because everything I am looking for I found with the A&H brand however My first DAW was Logic and when Studio One came out I quickly changed over for very similar functional easier to use reasons. Most of the decisions we make in life are truly a matter of personal preference and that is certainly the case with my disdain for most all Yamaha gear, except piano.

    Profile photo of Hugh

    daver2, Both Mike and Seren have provided important details pursuant to the specific differences and additional options offered with the SQ. There are two additional thoughts I will leave you with:

    1) The DX expansion stage boxes deliver world class sonic 96K performance but do not offer internal processing. So the SQ desk is the source for both processing and tactile controls.
    2) The ability to use a wified I-Pad to remotely alter some of the desk settings is a very handy feature for minor adjustments, however it in no way is a satisfactory replacement for the trustworthy SQ faders and encoders. Also it is worth mentioning the frustration many folks express with the A&H scene mgt. protocol. Apparently there are some consoles that are better suited to the extreme demands of some theater scene changes.

    With that said find a good A&H dealer and audition the subject gear to see if it will work well for you.

    Profile photo of Søren Steinmetz
    Søren Steinmetz

    Hugh thanks, think we are 100% on the same page there.
    I have a SQ5 inhouse, but use a LS9 several times a year for smaller musicals, and the two consoles are similar enough that I can go on “auto pilot” for the main setup, yet different enough for me to always remember what console syntax I need to use 😉

    The main frustration I have seen concerning the SQ scene vs the LS9, is the ability to have fade times, and to make the scenechange right in the middle of a manual fade.
    For OP’s use I doubt that will be any issue though.

    Profile photo of MarkPAman

    A DCA is really just a remote way of controlling several things at once, but without having to actually mix their audio together inside the desk.
    So, a DCA group can not be sent to matrix (or anywhere else) as it is only a virtual control. Where something goes to is still determined by the channel routing.
    To send different amounts to the matrix you need an actual group (or mix) in which audio is mixed together.
    So DCA is great for adjusting a section of the band all together (and muting it) but it’s not offering you any extra routing options.

    Profile photo of ioTon

    Hi daver2,

    Be aware: SQ can only offer 3 Matrix mixes!
    Mono, or Stereo at any combination.
    That’s one of the down-sides of SQ

    While the LS9 has 8 Mono Matrix!

    FX Send & Return handling is almost the same on both desks.
    SQ has GEQ on every Bus, so they don’t eaten up any FX Slot like at the LS9.

    Is a good choice!


    Profile photo of TimmyP

    The SQ is superior to the LS9 in innumerable ways. I’d find going back to the LS9 (or the M7CL) to be quite painful.

    Profile photo of Dickon

    I mixed for ~7 years on an LS9, then moved to a church with a GLD80 for 3 years. I’m now starting to mix on an SQ-7, and we do a broadcast stream.

    The biggest difference that hasn’t been mentioned much on this thread is the colour channel label strips. It makes a huge usability difference, especially for volunteers who may not be that familiar with the profile.

    Concerning the original poster’s requirements for different mixes for overflow rooms and for braodcast: you have the option with the SQ of taking unprocessed preamp output into a DAW, via USB or Dante or whatever. A PC/Mac with a DAW might be relatively cheap to get hold of, compared to going up to an Aventis. We do that for our broadcast stream, using ProTools fed from Dante stageboxes, and we put quite a bit of work on getting the DAW processing nice. A good worship mix for live sound in the main auditorium is not going to be great for broadcast. We appreciate a lot more dynamic range live than people listening at low level at home on small speakers are well served by. We know what the bass frequency response of our PA system is, but for all we know someone is listening on a iphone and will miss a pure bass line so I want more harmonics for the live broadcast stream. With the approach you take on the LS9, you can address that to a point with matrix mixes and a bit of extra processing, but there are other ways.

    Or, to put it another, what you are paying for the SQ price point upwards is a lot of expensive dedicated electronics (the FPGA in the case of SQ) for the sake of getting close to zero latency. Doing that in software on a general purpose computer is cheaper, and possibly more flexible, but cannot reliably achieve low enough latency for people in the same room who get the direct sound from the musicians, and from the congregation singing, and the room sound. So, by all means use an SQ for the live worship mix, but think about other approaches for feeds to broadcast and others rooms. Without knowing your situation, it could well be that a mix largely driven by compressors on the DAW may be a much better experience than a matrix mix from the front of house desk.

    I’m happy to go into details here or via private message.

    Profile photo of Hugh

    A careful exploration of the limitations of SQ’s 36 bus fixed architecture will be a real good idea. While a pair of DX168 expansion stage boxes along with a DX hub to feed them to the SQ5 will provide the required 32 inputs and 16 outs: however a clear understanding of the precise processing demands you will require of the SQ5 is very important, and whether or not the SQ5 can do the job.
    Showtime may be right: An Avantis may wind up being a better alternative.

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