The Allen & Heath Qu32 is the 32-channel version of A&H's new digital console. It is the product of years of research protocol, and the culmination of their expertise in preamps, EQ, versatile... Click To Read More About This Product
The Allen & Heath Qu32 is the 32-channel version of A&H's new digital console. It is the product of years of research protocol, and the culmination of their expertise in preamps, EQ, versatile routing and ADDA processing.
AnalogiQ total recall preamps feature zero crossing detection and an advanced padless 1dB step gain stage, closely allied to the DSP for optimal gain accuracy and audio transparency. The analog signal is captured by high class, low latency 24-bit analog to digital converters matched to high quality 24-bit digital to analog converters to deliver the required outputs. The AnalogiQ design has been refined to offer superb transparency, minimal distortion and an ultra-low noise floor, with a warm, musical sound that is missing from some digital consoles. Skeptics gather around. These are broad, warm, spacious and ultimately musical preamps with color and character that are a beautiful fit for any project.
The Mining Experience
Having massive processing power and advanced functionality is great, but if you can't access the controls you need quickly, who cares? Once you start using a Qu you'll appreciate the ergonomics and the hands-on mixing experience that the A&H team has drawn upon to deliver a natural layout and workflow. It's not about recreating an analog interface; it's about creating an experience that's fluid, comfortable and intuitive for novices, digital natives and old school road warriors alike, making all the benefits of digital mixing technology readily accessible to all.
Qu-32²s 7", 800 x 480, 16-million color touchscreen and its dedicated data encoder form the heart of the Qu interface, providing super-fast, easy access to all settings. The user-friendly interface has been designed with clarity in mind. Dedicated keys and screen tabs quickly guide you to meter and RTA views, FX racks, channel processing, USB audio control, scenes, setup menus and much more.
All your key processing tools are presented in a clean layout on the SuperStrip, with one function per physical control. The SuperStrip is complemented by an onscreen Touch Channel for intuitive access to full processing parameters without clutter or complex menu structures. Processing for Mono and Stereo inputs includes trim, polarity, HPF, gate, insert, 4-band PEQ, compressor and delay. The main LR and the Mono mixes have controls for Insert, 1/3 octave GEQ, compressor and delay. The Stereo mixes provide Insert, 4-band PEQ, compressor, delay and balance control.
Moving faders started as an expensive option in the studio desks of the '80s, and later became the norm with the advent of digital technology. Nevertheless, some entry-level digital mixers lack this precious commodity which is a fundamental part of the Total Recall approach. Fader automation is essential for rapid mixing, especially when you're dealing with multiple monitor mixes - just press a mix key and the faders immediately fly to the send levels for that mix.
Qu-16, Qu-24 and Qu-32 feature 16, 24 and 32 motorized ALPS faders respectively, arranged over two layers, allowing instant access to all channels and masters in a compact space, plus a dedicated master fader which dynamically follows the mix selection. A third, Custom layer is available for ad-hoc user strip layout, where any combination of Inputs, FX Sends, FX Returns, Mix masters and MIDI strips can be assigned.
Qu's dynamics and FX algorithms are derived from the FX used in Allen & Heath's iLive Pro Touring Series. Some of the world's most respected audio engineers have chosen to use iLive's FX on tour in preference to top-end plug-ins and external FX units. All Qu models boast four stereo iLive FX engines, featuring lovingly crafted emulations of legendary classic reverbs, gated reverbs, delays, modulators, flangers and more.
The FX library has the ability to grow with future firmware releases. FX are returned to the mix on dedicated return channels, so you're not tying up your mono and stereo input channels. Each Stereo FX Return has a dedicated 4-band PEQ.
True digital mixing is about being able to save and recall scenes (snapshots) at the press of a button. Qu can store up to 100 full Scenes for recall at will. Channels and mixes can be made Safe from Scene recall. For example, if an instrument or mic gets swapped out after the soundcheck, the channel can be made safe to avoid settings being overridden by Scene recalls. Or if a broadcast feed or walk-in iPod is added last-minute before the show kicks off, that mix or channel can be made safe from any scene change. In addition, single parameter updates can be blocked using a Recall Filter. So if you tweak the graphic EQ to reflect the room response when the audience gets in, you can block this to prevent any overwriting at scene change.
Custom settings for each EQ, compressor or channel can be saved as Library presets. This lets you store your tried and tested setting for your favourite vocal mic or reverb pattern and apply it to other channels or shows. Libraries, Scenes and the complete Show configuration can be saved to a USB key, so you can carry the show with you, ready to use on another Qu mixer.
USB Audio Streaming
Qu's built-in interface streams multitrack audio to your Mac or PC via a flexible patching system: all Input channels and the Main L/R can be recorded at the same time, or you may choose to record something different such as FX returns or a pair of mixes.
The returns from the computer can be assigned to the Input channels. The interface is class-compliant on Mac OS X - and drivers are available for Windows systems. Either way, it will be recognized straightaway by any DAW supporting ASIO or Core Audio, including Logic, Cubase, Reaper, and Pro Tools.
Forget soundcard drivers and software setup, Qu has an integrated multitrack USB recorder, providing 18 channels of 48kHz, 24-bit recording and playback straight to / from your USB hard drive. Capturing multitrack recordings of your shows has never been so easy. Mixes and FX returns can be recorded alongside channels, and multitrack audio can be played back to the mixer for virtual sound-checks. An independent set of controls is provided for quick stereo recording of the main L/R or other mix outputs, and a 2-track USB return can be routed to ST3 for playback of stereo WAV files such as walk-in music.
Armed to the hilt
Qu mixers are equipped with five cores of high-efficiency ARM core processing, with dedicated ARM cores running the touchscreen display and surface, USB streaming, Qu-Drive multi-channel USB recording/playback, ethernet and fader automation. Between them the ARM cores provide state-of-the-art processing, working in parallel to deliver extensive control, instant-on operation, and lightning-fast response.
The mixer's DSP farm exploits next generation dual core DSPs. With plenty of DSP power under the hood, the channel processing is only using a fraction of capacity so Qu is future-proofed with ample room for updates and extra functionality.
The DSP architecture employs varied bit depths, tailored to specific algorithms, with 48 bits on critical EQ functions and a 56-bit accumulator on the mix bus where it really counts, allowing every nuance of the audio to be captured in the final mix.
The shape of things to come
Made from 18 gauge, cold-rolled Zintec steel, Qu's distinctive frame is designed for strength and rigidity. We've done unspeakable things to that chassis in the lab and it's taken everything we've thrown at it - even being stomped on by Allen & Heath's resident ex-tank commander.
Silence is a precious commodity in the live or studio environment, which is why nobody wants those moments of stillness ruined by the whirring of fans coming from the mix position. Qu's sleek profile generates optimal airflow through the mixer, eliminating the need for any fans.
The shape has some unexpected benefits too. When Allen & Heath started taking Qu out to gigs, they soon found the space beneath it incredibly useful for keeping our USB drive, talkback mic, cue sheet and other clutter tucked out of the way. They even had engineers hanging the mixer from a handy scaffold bar and mixing vertically.
Add the Qu-Pad iPad app to your Qu setup and you're free to adjust the monitors on stage, roam around the venue whilst tweaking the PA, and then mix the show from the heart of the audience. Qu-Pad connects to the mixer over Wi-Fi and gives instant access to all live mixing parameters and settings.
ME Personal Mixing System
Qu mixers are fully compatible with Allen & Heath's ME Personal Mixing System. Any number of ME-1 personal mixers can be chained from the dSNAKE port (or from an AR2412 / AB168 AudioRack if you've got one connected to the dSNAKE port). Each performer can be given tailored control over their own mix, leaving the engineer free to focus on the audience experience.
Qu mixers are self-contained, so if you've already got the analog cables you're good to go. If you're thinking of trading in the copper multicore for a Cat5 digital snake, Qu's dSNAKE port has you future-proofed, allowing connection to a combination of AR2412, AR84 or portable AB168 AudioRacks.
dSNAKE is A&H's proprietary networking solution, boasting a transport latency of only 105us over cable runs of up to 120m / 390'. So if you're mixing FoH you can place your I/O on the stage and run a single Cat5 cable back to the Qu mixer in the mix position.
Qu-32 packs 10 SoftKeys for more user-assignable functions such as Mute Groups, Tap Tempo, Scene navigation or PAFL Clear.
Qu-32's Matrix has two further stereo outputs equipped with full processing to the console's extensive I/O. It is a ˜mixer within a mixer,' fed from any combination of Group 1-4, Mix 1-10, and main LR. It can be used to provide a broadcast feed, a recording mix, or duplicate the main outputs for delay stacks and fill / zone speakers where independent GEQ and delay is applied.
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Reviewed by 2 customers
Displaying reviews 1-2
Comments about Allen & Heath QU32 Digital Mixer:
My newly acquired Allen and Heath QU 32 Desk is fast becoming my favorite tool in my studio and as my keyboard mixer. For a digital desk all the main functions are easily available, press the Parameter button to the top right of the screen and the parameters for pre-amp, EQ, Gate, Comp, Pan etc are all visible on screen and parameters are edited by dedicated controls for each function located to the left of the screen, gains for each parameter are displayed simultaneously on screen and it doesn?t take much practice to be moving fast around this comprehensive Desk. I love the programmable Pre amps, EQ and Effects on this desk, all are great sounding and are high quality and easy to use. All the features such as EQ's, Effects, Pre amps and parameters from the 4 Effects Engines can be stored in one of the 100 Scene memories. As well as a total of 36 inputs, there are an insane amount of outputs on this desk, the ability to route channels and effects to 4 stereo mix outputs and 4 mono mix outputs, OR 4 stereo group outputs, OR 2 stereo matrix outputs OR all of them are extremely comprehensive and extremely flexible! Sound Quality, Programmability, Flexibility, Industrial Strength Build Quality, as well as sheer analog I/O options are making this a great fun desk to use in the studio and for live work, often requiring totally different applications. Being able to store the desk's entire status into a Scene Memory is making challenging projects significantly easier to undertake and then return to, which is nice !
Comments about Allen & Heath QU32 Digital Mixer:
I've been the proud owner of the Allen & Heath Qu-32 for about 4 months now.
Having spent many weeks researching and test driving the major digital boards in my price range, (Behringer, Pre-Sonus, Studiomaster, and A&H), I feel the A&H board was a sound (pun intended) choice!
As a recent convert to digital mixing after 45 years on analog desks, I must say it was a challenge making the adjustment. However, I feel that A&H has made the transition as easy as it is going to get with a package that works well straight out of the box.
Other reviews and product descriptions will enumerate the various features of the board. I'd like to comment on the usability and real world situations that I've encountered so far.
First off, as I said, it works well pretty much straight out of the box. Our first sound check took about 20 minutes (as opposed to what is typically a 5 minute activity). After years of quasi-parametric EQ, moving to a 4-band fully parametric EQ took a little getting used to, although not really that long. If you have any background in sound at all you're going to LOVE this EQ.
Since I've touched on it, I should say that I do NOT feel this is a board for a novice. You really need to understand the signal path through the board to make this puppy hum. For bands that don't have a dedicated sound person I think this is probably the best of the digital boards to go with in terms of ease of use, but most groups running sound from stage will still most likely prefer an analog board.
I highly recommend getting the 32 channel model even if you're only planning on using 24 channels. The reason for this is the ability to use the "Custom Strip", which permits you to assign any input, send, or output to the fader layout. There are three layers for the faders…one for the 32 input channels, one for the Fx sends/returns, Mix Sends, Stereo ins/outs, groups, DCAs, & Matrix outs. The third lets you combine any combination of these on a single level, meaning you can have 24 inputs, four Fx sends or returns, and four other sends/returns you want, (groups, outboard Fx, etc), all on one convenient layer, making mixing a LOT easier. The extra matrix outs are also handy for feeding other speakers, a house feed…whatever additional outputs you might need. You can also add a delay to these Matrix outs to time align remote speakers…very handy.
Having mute groups on a board in this price range is also a joy. End the set, press one soft key, and automatically mute all channels except perhaps your MP3 player for background music, or your DJ that performs during breaks, or all but your announce mic at a corporate function or wedding.
One mute related quirk that bugs me a bit. If you mute a group, and then want to unmute one particular channel, you cannot do this. It becomes a little frustrating sometimes.
I will say that the board, and pretty much all digital boards in this price range, lack the warmth of their analog counterparts. It would be really nice to see a tape saturation effect available to help warm things up some. That said, the clarity is much greater than my old A&H 2400 series board.
I've replaced two full racks of processing gear with the Qu-32. Most were gates, compressors, and EQs, as well as a bevy of Fx units. The built in Fx are solid but will require some serious tweaking if like me you use a lot of song specific Fx. In addition to filters on the Fx themselves you also have full parametric EQ over the Fx returns, so shaping the sound is really easy.
Scene recalls are another area that take some careful work to get to work right. While you have the ability of protect certain parameters to keep them from being overridden, there are so many that it's easy to miss one and accidently overwrite a parameter you didn't want to change, (for example, you're recalling parameters for a certain song, but you're in a room where you've pulled the master volume back. If the master volume is not protected, the overall master send could bump WAY up if you recall the new scene where the master was set to unity.
I absolutely LOVE having recallable pre-amp settings…something not all digital boards in the price range offer.
While the touch screen is large (on the 32 channel model), I recommend using a stylus rather than your finger, which can hit other parameters by accident, or which may not be terribly responsive. For fast parameter changes on the touch screen using a finger is just not reliable for me.
I found the help section of the A&H website to be rather basic and somewhat lacking. However, the forums community have a LOT of really helpful folks ready willing and able to answer specific questions. They don't talk down to less experienced users and helped me through a couple of situations I couldn't figure out.
It took a couple of tries to get the right memory stick that would work with this board. Hey…you're recording 18 tracks of simultaneous .wav files…I understand how not every stick can provide this level of speed and reliability. However, it really would help if A&H would update their site more often to provide a list of the most reliable media to use. Once I got a good stick, I was able to record 18 tracks straight to the USB stick with spectacular results. It makes remixing live shows VERY easy!
Getting the router set up was another challenge for me as I'm reasonable well versed with PCs but I'm definitely not a network person. It took two hours of frustration and digging through previous forum posts to realize that I had plugged the board into the wrong port of the router…it needs to go into the outputs, not the cable input, which is left disconnected.
Finally, last week I added the AR2412 Digital Snake to the system. Once again, care should be taken to obtain a reliable CAT5 cable…durable enough to withstand things being rolled over it. I also recommend getting (or making) a cable using the Ethercon connector over the RJ45…it provides a much more stable connection into both the stage box and the board.
Setting up the snake took about 10 minutes, and a slightly longer soundcheck as the preamps had to be reset. The stage box contains the preamps, so if you switch inputs between the back of the board and the digital snake you actually are using two different preamps. The touchscreen makes it clear which input you are using. Also, you can mix and match inputs…some can be from the snake and some plugged directly into the back of the board. The inputs are 1 to 1 …there is no routing capability…you can't route channel 24 to input 32.
However, for the outputs you DO have routing capability, so you can send LR Mains on sends 1 and 2, then assign mix 1 to output 3 on the snake.
All in all I couldn't be happier with my decision to go with A&H. Comparing functionality with price I don't think there is a more flexible, better sounding, user friendly board on the market!
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