Any Experience with Allen and Heath SQ-5 Mixers?

Jethro Rocker

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Possibly looking at delving into a digital mixer for live sound for the band. The AnH SQ5 seems to tick the boxes in terms of simplicity and features. Would run 5 monitors as wedges for now, we have feedback controllers and EQs. Likely have 2 sub groups one for drums, one for vox.
Never worked with layers n all that before.
Anyone with experience? Can't spend eons getting things set amd I come from an analog mixer background. I did read through some documentation and videos.
Cheers
 

WellBurnTheSky

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I've used one a couple of times, and some colleagues swear by the dLive range. Good desk, easy to use, all the modern appointments you'd expect from a mid-range digital desk (which isn't the case with some in that price range, I remember dragging through a gig with a Presonus StudioLive that had some pretty annoying layout choices).
For reference my main driver is the Yamaha CL5, which I know like the palm of my hand and is my benchmark for ease of use.
The A&H sounds good, is easy to use, and effects do what they're supposed to do. Note that back in the day I loved their big desks (while I always hated the Soundcraft MH4, for instance).
Also, you can drop the feedback controllers and especially the EQs, as the SQ5 can insert graphic EQs on all aux sends. Note that all these desks have a nifty feature that allows you to have the faders control bands on the EQ, which makes using them just as fast and intuitive as EQing on a hardware EQ.

Overall the A&H range is pretty easy even if you don't have experience with them, once I got called for a gig the same day and got to use a Qu32 (that I'd never used before) and was able to get up and running (and multitrack record the whole show on Logic via USB) in a matter of minutes, which wouldn't be the case with some desks (and again, I've been doing that for a living for years so I'm used to working with digital desks). Clean, easy, logically laid out UI. I like them.

Last thing: once you've used iPad apps for mixing monitors, you simply can't go back. Massive game changer. Might even prompt you to go IEM (you singer will probably want to).
 

Jethro Rocker

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I've used one a couple of times, and some colleagues swear by the dLive range. Good desk, easy to use, all the modern appointments you'd expect from a mid-range digital desk (which isn't the case with some in that price range, I remember dragging through a gig with a Presonus StudioLive that had some pretty annoying layout choices).
For reference my main driver is the Yamaha CL5, which I know like the palm of my hand and is my benchmark for ease of use.
The A&H sounds good, is easy to use, and effects do what they're supposed to do. Note that back in the day I loved their big desks (while I always hated the Soundcraft MH4, for instance).
Also, you can drop the feedback controllers and especially the EQs, as the SQ5 can insert graphic EQs on all aux sends. Note that all these desks have a nifty feature that allows you to have the faders control bands on the EQ, which makes using them just as fast and intuitive as EQing on a hardware EQ.

Overall the A&H range is pretty easy even if you don't have experience with them, once I got called for a gig the same day and got to use a Qu32 (that I'd never used before) and was able to get up and running (and multitrack record the whole show on Logic via USB) in a matter of minutes, which wouldn't be the case with some desks (and again, I've been doing that for a living for years so I'm used to working with digital desks). Clean, easy, logically laid out UI. I like them.

Last thing: once you've used iPad apps for mixing monitors, you simply can't go back. Massive game changer. Might even prompt you to go IEM (you singer will probably want to).
Thanks much for that!
I liked that it has GEQ on each feed. Singer didnt care for the cheap in ears we had years ago...might try again with better ones. We still use feedback controllers even with EQ. They act on whatever frequencies feedback rather than the fixed ones on EQ.
Sounds like a fairly good choice overall then, opposed to the Presonus. I should look at the Yammy too.
Rrally wanted something very compact. Will check that line out
Thanks!
 

WellBurnTheSky

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Thanks much for that!
I liked that it has GEQ on each feed. Singer didnt care for the cheap in ears we had years ago...might try again with better ones. We still use feedback controllers even with EQ. They act on whatever frequencies feedback rather than the fixed ones on EQ.
Sounds like a fairly good choice overall then, opposed to the Presonus. I should look at the Yammy too.
Rrally wanted something very compact. Will check that line out
Thanks!
The CL5 will be massively above your budget (even though its price came down substantially), and I wouldn't bother with the Yamaha TF range, it's lackluster. And even the QL range will be quite expensive. Between the SQ5 and the TF1 (similar format and price range) I'd definitely take the SQ5.
 
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playloud

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I did a 2-day live radio broadcast using one of these (local performing arts festival) and it was a breeze. Controls are intuitive and no issues working with different mixes/layers. Decent sound quality too.

And I say that as a total amateur*! A friend who runs a radio station asked me if I could fill in at short notice - knowing I had some recording experience - and I nervously agreed. Maybe had two hours soundcheck the day before and it was sufficient to figure it out.

*Ok, I got paid for this gig, and maybe one or two other live sound gigs in the past, but pretty much. :)
 

Sacalait

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I don't have any but I did some research about four years ago and wound up with a QSC TM30. Lot's of routing, plenty of channels, fourteen auxes, and records beautifully. Real compact too. I use it almost every gig. The A&E may be a notch above though and the price reflects it.
 

Jethro Rocker

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The CL5 will be massively above your budget (even though its price came down substantially), and I wouldn't bother with the Yamaha TF range, it's lackluster. And even the QL range will be quite expensive. Between the SQ5 and the TF1 (similar format and price range) I'd definitely take the SQ5.
Well there isn't really a budget as such, it just doesn't make sense to get a huge mixer we don't need and, at that price, only use it 3 or 4 times a year. Venues here have house systems. QL-1 oddly has less outputs and would be borderline, doesn't seem worth the extra.
I would be buying this for the band, the band as such has no money!!
We also would set from out front with the tablet and leave it alone after. No dedicated soundman, we are occasional weekend warriors.
Thanks for all this!!

I did a 2-day live radio broadcast using one of these (local performing arts festival) and it was a breeze. Controls are intuitive and no issues working with different mixes/layers. Decent sound quality too.

And I say that as a total amateur*! A friend who runs a radio station asked me if I could fill in at short notice - knowing I had some recording experience - and I nervously agreed. Maybe had two hours soundcheck the day before and it was sufficient to figure it out.

*Ok, I got paid for this gig, and maybe one or two other live sound gigs in the past, but pretty much. :)
NIce! Part of it will be the initial setup, routing etc. That will take some time.
Good to know!!
 

ido1957

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The bar where we are the house band has a 32 Channel Presonus digital mixer. Intimidating at first glance but it only takes a few minutes to find where all the controls are located. We also bring in our own router and use Bluetooth/iPad to handle everything remotely (The board is in the adjacent DJ booth). We've got a few people that will handle our mix during our set, then one of us takes on the iPad for every "Jam" set after that.

I really found out the benefit when the iPad crapped out on us and would not charge (dirt in the charger hole) . Running up often to adjust stuff is now an annoyance.
 

WellBurnTheSky

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Well there isn't really a budget as such, it just doesn't make sense to get a huge mixer we don't need and, at that price, only use it 3 or 4 times a year. Venues here have house systems. QL-1 oddly has less outputs and would be borderline, doesn't seem worth the extra.
I would be buying this for the band, the band as such has no money!!
We also would set from out front with the tablet and leave it alone after. No dedicated soundman, we are occasional weekend warriors.
Thanks for all this!!
The QL1 actually is a much more powerful desk than the SQ, or TF, or the M32 or similar, actually, it's just that these are possibilities that are not immediately obvious to the untrained eye. Full Dante implementation (which means it can fully use several Rio 3224 for 32 ins/24 outs a piece through a Cat6 cable, 64 in/64 out from a computer via Dante Virtual Soundcard, and much more), more virtual racks, more busses, more auxes.
As a matter of fact high end digital desks (Yamaha Rivage line, SSL Live, all things DigiCo, the Avid S6L, you name it) often have little local analog inputs and outputs (usually 8 in/8 out), simply because we tend to use network-based remote stage boxes with integrated (remote controlled) preamps with them. It 's a whole other paradigm actually.

Note that if you use a tablet to remote control it, I wouldn't even bother with faders alltogether, and would go for a a Behringer X32 Rack (plus a S16 is you need more than 20 ins/12 outs). Much more cost-effective, more easily carried around, and if being smart, you can even pre-rig everything (including the possibility to go for separate FoH and monitors at the drop of a hat). It also has a nice phone app that allows you to control one aux at a time, and is just perfect for musicians.
And most of the gripes many people have with the fullsize X32 (namely, the flimsy faders and general construction) go away when using the Rack version.
 

Jethro Rocker

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The QL1 actually is a much more powerful desk than the SQ, or TF, or the M32 or similar, actually, it's just that these are possibilities that are not immediately obvious to the untrained eye. Full Dante implementation (which means it can fully use several Rio 3224 for 32 ins/24 outs a piece through a Cat6 cable, 64 in/64 out from a computer via Dante Virtual Soundcard, and much more), more virtual racks, more busses, more auxes.
As a matter of fact high end digital desks (Yamaha Rivage line, SSL Live, all things DigiCo, the Avid S6L, you name it) often have little local analog inputs and outputs (usually 8 in/8 out), simply because we tend to use network-based remote stage boxes with integrated (remote controlled) preamps with them. It 's a whole other paradigm actually.

Note that if you use a tablet to remote control it, I wouldn't even bother with faders alltogether, and would go for a a Behringer X32 Rack (plus a S16 is you need more than 20 ins/12 outs). Much more cost-effective, more easily carried around, and if being smart, you can even pre-rig everything (including the possibility to go for separate FoH and monitors at the drop of a hat). It also has a nice phone app that allows you to control one aux at a time, and is just perfect for musicians.
And most of the gripes many people have with the fullsize X32 (namely, the flimsy faders and general construction) go away when using the Rack version.
Wasnt planning on adding extra snakes etc. Just basic 16 in 10 out or so is lots for us. No need for all the other fancy hookups. I prefer having an actual board as opposed to only tablet use myself. Have an X32 at our jamspace.
Certainly has advantages that way though, I can see. One venue in town, a small one, uses X32 rack and tablet.
Tablets need charging, can have connectivity issues, I just want to have a "real" mixer with that capability.
Seems like the SQ will fit the bill for what it's worth.
I appreciate all the input! As we only play 3 or 4 x a year with our own gear, I think it would be plenty.
Thanks!
 

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