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Rackmountable digital mixer for live, studio, and installation applications.
Qu-16 takes compact digital mixing to a new level with innovative design and exceptional functionality combining to create a superb professional mixing experience. Bristling with all the features you'd expect from a top of the range digital console and incorporating technologies pioneered on Allen & Heath's GLD and iLive digital mixing systems, Qu-16 has the power and pedigree to deliver class-leading audio performance. Whether you're switching from analog or updating your digital desk, it's time to experience the new digital with Qu-16.
Qu-16's sixteen AnalogiQTM 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 analogue signal is captured by high class, low latency 24bit analogue to digital converters matched to high quality 24bit digital to analogue converters to deliver the required outputs. The AnalogiQTM design has been refined over many months to offer superb transparency, minimal distortion and an ultra-low noise floor, with a warm, musical sound that is missing from some digital consoles.
The Mixing Experience
Having massive processing power and advanced functionality is great, but it counts for nothing if you can't access the controls you need in a heartbeat. Once you start using Qu-16 you'll sense the years of Allen & Heath's research into ergonomics and hands-on mixing experience that their team has drawn upon to deliver a wonderfully natural layout and workflow. It's not about recreating an analogue 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.
The 800 x 480, sixteen million colour Touchscreen and its dedicated data encoder form the heart of the Qu-16 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 1 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 features 17 motorized ALPS faders, 16 arranged over 2 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 and Mix masters can be assigned.
Qu-16'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. Qu-16 boasts 4 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-16 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 per scene Recall Filters or a Global 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, channel or FX can be saved as Library presets. This lets you store your tried and tested EQ 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-16.
USB Audio Streaming
Qu-16's built-in interface streams multitrack audio to your Mac channel 1 to 16, the Main LR mix and 3 selectable stereo pairs.
The returns from the Mac can be assigned to the 16 Mono channels plus stereos. The interface is class-compliant on Mac OS X - which means it's truly plug ‘n play, with no need to install a driver. It will be recognized straightaway by any DAW supporting Core Audio, including Logic, Cubase, Reaper, and Pro Tools. Standard MIDI control is tunnelled over the USB connection so you can easily map the faders to the tracks of your favourite DAW. Alternatively, a MIDI driver is available for use with the Ethernet port.
Forget soundcard drivers and software setup, Qu-16 has an integrated multitrack USB recorder, providing 18 channels of 48kHz 24bit recording and playback straight to / from your USB hard drive. Capturing multitrack recordings of your shows has never been so easy. A selectable stereo pair can be recorded alongside the 16 Mono channels, and multitrack audio can be played back to the 16 Mono channels plus ST1. On top of this, Qu-Drive also provides stereo recording, patchable from any pair of Mix outputs, the Main LR (pre, post, or summed to mono) or even the PAFL bus, with 2- track stereo playback to ST3.
ARMed to the Hilt
Qu-16 is equipped with 5 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, giving 10 DSP cores, with 8 dedicated to the channel and mix processing alone. With so much DSP power under the hood the channel processing is only using a fraction of capacity, so Qu-16 is future-proofed, with ample room for updates and extra functionality. The Qu-16 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-16's distinctive frame is designed for strength, rigidity and ease of rack mounting. 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-16's sleek profile generates optimal airflow through the mixer, eliminating the need for any fans. The shape has some unexpected benefits too. The space beneath the mixer is incredibly useful for keeping a USB drive, talkback mic, cue sheet and other clutter tucked out of the way.
Add the Qu-Pad iPad app to your Qu-16 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. Qu-Pad requires the connection of a Wi-Fi router or access point to the Qu-16 Network port.
ME Personal Mixing System
Qu-16 is 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 Stagebox 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. Find out more at allen-heath.com/ME
Make the change from analog to digital, or upgrade your current setup today!
QU-16 16-Channel Rack Mount Digital Mixer
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Reviewed by 2 customers
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Comments about Allen & Heath QU-16 16-Channel Rack Mount Digital Mixer:
This is my first digital console. I wish I purchased it years ago. It takes some time to learn the workflow but it is not hard. Always return to L/R and you should be fine. The mic pres sound create and has plenty of gain. Comming from a nice analog desk I noticed much more clarity and output. The FX are very good and easy to mix. The QU drive is great for recording which I did the first time on a gig with no problems. I played them back when I got home and made adjustments to suit my taste and saved it as a SHOW. Now I press recall and everything is right back to where I saved it and does sound the same. This will eliminate long sound checks. I'm sure I will have to do a little tweaking but should not be much. The IPAD works as described but you may want to setup a STATIC address to avoid other wireless connections. Allen and Heath tech service has been great. I purchased a nice Gator case to protect it. Yes additional expense but this is a big purchase and it should last a long time if taking care of.
There are many choices out there and I am sure most of them are good. I choose the QU-16 for the simplicity and not needing a PC or Mac to record.
All I can say is I absolutely love it! Musician Friends shipped it very quickly. I can't imagine anyone not loving this mixer.
Comments about Allen & Heath QU-16 16-Channel Rack Mount Digital Mixer:
This mixer is a GREAT piece of engineering and since it is software driven, there will be periodic updates that you can download from A&H. The mixer came with Version 1.4 software so I got on the A&H website to download and install the free Version 1.5 which has very noticeable improvements. If you read any forums/reviews/discussions that were dated before July of 2014, please realize that they don't adequately describe this mixer since the V 1.5 software greatly increases the feature set. If you own this mixer, you should also check the A&H website every few months to download any new version that's available.
If you are NOT familiar with digital mixers, you will probably have to spend a few hours with the manual in order to understand what this mixer can and can't do. I've spent quite a few years using analog mixers and it still took time for me to understand the workflow and how to get what I wanted out of the unit. Don't get me wrong, you can take this unit out of the box, plug in some microphones and get "sound" but you need to do your own tweaking in order to get what you want.
Be sure you are familiar with the EQ section before using it for a gig. It's not a simple case of turning a single knob for Hi or Lo frequencies and take a guess at where the Mid frequencies should be set. The EQ for this mixer is fully parametric meaning you have to set the Hi, Hi Mid, Lo Mid, and Lo frequencies + bandwidth (+ the usual gain) yourself. It's not that difficult but you have to be patient and don't be afraid to go back to the manual or check online forums.
You DON'T have to use all the features of the mixer in the beginning (or at all). We did our first gig without using gates, compressors and mutes just so we could keep things simple but we added those features in as we felt more comfortable with the unit.
There are great features like full meter bridge, RTA, noise generator, USB data transfer, 100 slot memory for recall, I Pad control and others that you can utilize PLUS you can do 16 track digital recording without buying additional cards or hardware (just use your own disk drive).
All in all, the Qu-16 mixer is a great tool for live sound and recording as long as you are willing to tackle the learning curve.