Allen & Heath has unveiled its new 96kHZ SQ series of digital mixers for live sound, AV and installation.
The SQ-5 and SQ-6 mixers are founded on Allen & Heath’s revolutionary XCVI 96kHZ FPGA engine, delivering class-leading high resolution audio with a latency of <0,7ms. SQ-5 has 16 onboard preamps and 17 faders and is 19” rack mountable, while the SQ-6 provides 24 preamps and 25 faders.
Both consoles can be expanded up to 48 inputs via a family of remote expanders and feature an audio networking slot for optional Dante, Waves and other card formats, expanding the scope for system integration, FoH/monitor splits and multitrack recording.
A built-in SQ-Drive makes it easy to capture high resolution 96kHz stereo and multitrack recordings direct to a USB drive. SQ can also be hooked up to a PC or Mac via USB to become a plug 'n play, Core Audio or ASIO compliant 32×32 audio interface, with MIDI and DAW Control capabilities.
Allen & Heath's DEEP processing plug-in architecture allows boutique compressor and preamp emulations to be added to the SQ mixer and embedded directly within its inputs and mix channels without adding system latency or setup hassles. SQ also features a fully integrated Automatic Mic Mixer (AMM), handling conferences, panel talks and TV shows.
The SQ user interface marries a capacitive touchscreen with an accompanying set of illuminating rotary controls. Channel and mix layouts can be configured to fit the audio professional's own workflow, with color displays and custom naming on all strips. SQ-5 features 8 softkeys, allowing further customization, while SQ-6 has four assignable rotary controls and displays in addition to its 16 softkeys.
For years, Firewire was the reigning technology when it came to sending multichannel audio to/from an interface and a computer or other host device. While it’s still technically possible to use Firewire in many instances, the protocol is clearly giving way to other connection types like Thunderbolt and USB 2.0 (and probably down the line, USB 3.0). With that in mind, I was recently in search of a new USB 2.0 mixer. I wanted the ability to send multichannel audio to my computer for recording, and my current mixer, equipped with a USB 1.1 connection, could only send two audio channels. I began searching around for new gear options and was frustrated by just how difficult it was to find mixers and interfaces that met this requirement. After hours of searching and some suggestions I received on a couple of different podcasting-related forums, here’s the list of all USB 2.0 mixers and interfaces I could find that sell for less than $1000US.
- Behringer X18 and XR18. Behringer’s fully digital “X” series of mixers are a bit confusing in that the X12 and X16 aren’t multichannel. But the X18 models are.
- Soundcraft Signature 12 MTK. “The console is designed to deliver pristine recordings. Both have an ultra-low-latency USB interface that flawlessly captures every channel, which can then be mixed or transferred to a DAW for further mixdown and production.”
- Behringer UFX1204. Another multichannel mixer from Behringer. Unlike the X series, this one is a traditional analog mixer with a USB interface.
- Allen & Heath ZEDi 10FX. I’ll admit, I was surprised to find something by Allen & Heath in this price range.
- Presonus StudioLive AR8. This little mixer has some intriguing features, including a built-in SD card slot for recording.
- Focusrite Scarlett. These interfaces aren’t actually mixers but they are multichannel and Focusrite offers a full range of options, depending on how many inputs you need.
That’s all of the multichannel USB interfaces/mixers I could find for under a grand. Did I miss any? If so, leave the information in the comment section below.