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Any A&H Qu series or Berry x32 users able to help?

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Any A&H Qu series or Berry x32 users able to help?

Postby Dr R » Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:18 am

Hi All,

Firstly, apologies that I've been away from this forum for what feels like far too long, the dreaded "real life" has completely taken over this year :-(

My church needs to replace our existing Allen & Heath GL2200 desk which is becoming unreliable. The choice has narrowed down to either the Allen & Heath Qu32 or the Behringer x32. Either will do the job, based on specs, YouTube training and lots of research. The cost, for once, is not an issue, so it's down to usability/reliability/predjudice and all the other usual factors.

I haven't found any retailers that have stock set up to play with, which is a shame. I can go and test drive a QSC touchmix in at least three stores nearby, but I guess the margins on the Berry are too thin and the A&H is considered more expensive, so neither is worth the shop floor space. What we would really like to do is to visit somewhere that is using each desk in an installation, and have a proper look at them and ask the operators what they think, what they like or dislike, how they find the workflow, etc.

Is there anyone on the forums using these desks that would be able to accomodate five guys asking dumb questions? We're in Solihull in the West Midlands, but would be happy to travel further affield to actually take a proper look at the desks.

With many thanks as ever,

Rich
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Re: Any A&H Qu series or Berry x32 users able to help?

Postby DanR » Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:15 am

Hi
I have an A&H QU16 and very pleased with it. I don’t think you can go far wrong with a QU,
especially as you’ve been using A&H.
Workflow would be easier than the Behringer x32.
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Re: Any A&H Qu series or Berry x32 users able to help?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:07 am

I have an X32 Compact, if your ops are able to take the time to learn the desk I'd say the X32 gives more bang for your bucks but the QU is more like an analogue desk in operation.
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Re: Any A&H Qu series or Berry x32 users able to help?

Postby Dr R » Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:14 am

Thanks both.
The x32 does have more ultimate connectivity, but as you said I think the workflow might be more straightforward on the Qu.
Part of our requirements are that guest users need to be able to drive the desk with just a crib sheet - quite often teachers doing their school service. Simple stuff, but not their core skill set.

Are your desks permanent installations, or part of a band PA?


Rich
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Re: Any A&H Qu series or Berry x32 users able to help?

Postby DanR » Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:36 pm

Dr R wrote:Thanks both.
The x32 does have more ultimate connectivity, but as you said I think the workflow might be more straightforward on the Qu.
Part of our requirements are that guest users need to be able to drive the desk with just a crib sheet - quite often teachers doing their school service. Simple stuff, but not their core skill set.

Are your desks permanent installations, or part of a band PA?


Rich

Band PA here (keyboard player). Sometimes we have a soundman who mixes us with an iPad.
On small gigs I have the desk behind me. I find it
quite easy to tweak (when I get a chance).
100mm faders, easy channel select for EQ. The seven mix outputs are instantly accessible via buttons on RH side.
Sometimes use an iPad on a stand if larger gig with no soundman.
I haven't got really in-depth with the FX and routing (I leave that to the soundman) but for an
easy to use live digital mixer, it's hard to beat for
hands on mixing.
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Re: Any A&H Qu series or Berry x32 users able to help?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:30 pm

Dr R wrote:The x32 does have more ultimate connectivity, but as you said I think the workflow might be more straightforward on the Qu.
Part of our requirements are that guest users need to be able to drive the desk with just a crib sheet - quite often teachers doing their school service. Simple stuff, but not their core skill set.

The Qu will be a little easier for people who have analogue desk experience to understand.
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Re: Any A&H Qu series or Berry x32 users able to help?

Postby paulbulman » Wed Sep 04, 2019 2:14 pm

We've been using the X32 (and some of the associated ecosystem: SD8/SD16 and P16-M) in our church for a couple of years, and have been very happy with it. Funnily enough we also came from a GL2400 - we'd got fed up of taking out channel PCBs to repair a weak joint around the mute switch, IIRC, a process which itself wasn't without risk of doing further damage.

Anyway, if you're able to get as far as Cambridge I'd be happy to show you our setup, and/or discuss our decision making process from afar. We were also between the X32 and QU - I think the main things that tipped it for us were roughly: (i) more for your money, especially once you've factored in digital snakes etc.; (ii) per-channel LCD scribble strips; and (iii) more flexible with routing, and able to set stuff up in a more flexible way but hide away some of the complexity for occasional users of the system that might be intimidated by it.
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Re: Any A&H Qu series or Berry x32 users able to help?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:05 pm

paulbulman wrote:We were also between the X32 and QU - I think the main things that tipped it for us were roughly: (i) more for your money, especially once you've factored in digital snakes etc.; (ii) per-channel LCD scribble strips; and (iii) more flexible with routing, and able to set stuff up in a more flexible way but hide away some of the complexity for occasional users of the system that might be intimidated by it.

+1 for LCD scribble strips, I'd forgotten the Qu didn't have them (I compared a Qu16 and X32 Compact back in 2014, they were pretty much the same spec at the time with the Qu being a few hundred pounds more) definitely a huge plus for the X32C and was the clinching factor when I bought mine.
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Re: Any A&H Qu series or Berry x32 users able to help?

Postby Dr R » Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:10 pm

Thanks for all the replies - clearly I am following a well-worn path here :-) Our desk is suffering from dry joints or something on the metering strips, so we randomly lose PFL, or sometimes the whole left channel. It does make some services even more "on a wing and a prayer" than we'd like :angel:

My bias is that personally I really like the Qu32, and having all the faders laid right out, but the LCD channel strips are a good feature of the X32. Of the sound team I'm the only one who does any mixing outside of the live desk at church (Reaper), so I'm by far the most comfortable with complex routing, but I'd rather keep it simple.

Both Manchester or Cambridge would be possible, I'll have to consult the guys and figure out dates. We have a couple of big services coming up and my son's wedding as well, so September is rather busy. Anyone reading this post in the West Midlands though?
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Re: Any A&H Qu series or Berry x32 users able to help?

Postby shufflebeat » Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:35 am

I'm on a Qu Pac which is iPad only (no faders) and am in Manchester if that's of any interest/use. Happy to discuss structures and workflow and set up for a listen.
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Re: Any A&H Qu series or Berry x32 users able to help?

Postby paulbulman » Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:01 am

Also, forgot to mention: we found the X32 Edit app particularly useful for figuring out what the X32 could do. The UI varies quite a bit in terms of how similar it is to doing the same thing on the physical desk - so not necessarily a good indicator of how easy you'll find the desk to use in the flesh (naming channels is easier; just about everything else is harder, to some extent) - but it gave us a reasonably high level of confidence ahead of time that the desk would be able to do everything we wanted.
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Re: Any A&H Qu series or Berry x32 users able to help?

Postby AlecSp » Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:58 pm

The QU and the X32 will both mix and mix well, of course, as with pretty much any contemporary digital desk. Either is pretty quick to pick up.

The QU presents a simpler prospect to the digital virgin, with its fader per channel layout.

The X32 is also easy to use, but has a lot more features and configurability, which can make it more intimidating to inexperienced users if you want to follow this track - but fine if they keep to the basics. The visual feedback on the X32, with LCD scribble strips and indicators on rotaries, is head & shoulders over the QU. The X32 has a richer family of add-on products, which may or may not be significant to you.

Personally, I've used X32 for a few years. I find it very easy to use, and there's nothing really that bugs me about it. Give me custom layers and DCA spill and I'd be complete, but even without them on the surface, I can do them on PC & tablet, where I find myself mixing quite a bit. The limitations of the QU (no LCD scribble strips, no internal soft patching of the local inputs have really bugged me when I've used the QU.

Really, though - and especially if budget is not your enemy - it's the A&H SQ that you should be comparing with the X32. It's a much more polished interface than the QU.

Also be aware that your first impressions may not be how you feel about the products after a few months of usage.
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Re: Any A&H Qu series or Berry x32 users able to help?

Postby innerchord » Thu Sep 05, 2019 6:12 pm

I use both the X32 and Qu regularly.
Either would certainly do the job very well.

My thoughts on the Qu:
I don't really miss the scribble strips. Sharpie and tape here - so much quicker.
Matrix outputs are really useful
USB recording has been reliable.
Custom layer is a real boon for some shows.

On the X32:
Better flexibility and I/O, but not by much. Better range of versions.

Both have perfectly usable iPad control. I also like the computer software for the X32.
The Qu is a better solution when new and guest users are involved, which is why I chose it for my local theatre. Just a little more approachable in use.
I also think the Qu sounds a little better, whatever that means!

I would also look into the A&H SQ, if I were you. That would probably be my top pick.
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Re: Any A&H Qu series or Berry x32 users able to help?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Thu Sep 05, 2019 6:27 pm

innerchord wrote:My thoughts on the Qu:
I don't really miss the scribble strips. Sharpie and tape here - so much quicker.

I use a Qu16 myself. I bought some magnetic tape and a label-maker to make little 'fridge magnet' labels which work really well on the metal surface of the Qu.

Image

I've got dozens of different magnets made up, and as a bonus I've found that they adhere to a lot of other gear so I've stuck them on synths to indicate the MIDI channels they are set to etc. as well.

The pic above is of a prototype print I did using a friend's label maker, but the one I bought can print smaller text which fits the desk better. As the magnetic tape can be readily trimmed with scissors it was the perfect solution.
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Re: Any A&H Qu series or Berry x32 users able to help?

Postby AlecSp » Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:06 pm

Eddy Deegan wrote:I use a Qu16 myself. I bought some magnetic tape and a label-maker to make little 'fridge magnet' labels which work really well on the metal surface of the Qu.
Shudder...!

Scribble strips are a bit like central locking, electric windows and air-con in a car. We all used to believe they were luxuries we didn't need. Until they started to filter into the mainstream, after which no-one would go back.

Seriously, though, it's the SQ that you should be looking at over the QU these days.

Though I'd still take an X32/M32 over either.
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Re: Any A&H Qu series or Berry x32 users able to help?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:53 pm

I'm fine with the Qu - I looked at the SQ and came to the sensible conclusion that there was nothing it offered over the Qu I needed in the home studio environment.

It may be different for live use but really I just don't see the point in changing a perfectly good digital desk for a slightly different one and I'm very unconvinced that tiny scribble screens are all that essential. I can see my magnetic labels from across the room and they are usful for other things too so I'm a happy camper ;)
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Re: Any A&H Qu series or Berry x32 users able to help?

Postby Dave Rowles » Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:29 pm

If I was buying now I'd get an SQ. It's got access to the deep processing chips, and so there are a few emulated plugins that are being release that will update it's functionality. We've added a few of them to the one in the venue near me, and it's made quite a difference!

I've got an X32, so I know how it differs. I've personally found it easier to get to the sound I want with the SQ.
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Re: Any A&H Qu series or Berry x32 users able to help?

Postby Dr R » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:08 am

Thanks all. As ever the SOS forums are extraordinarily helpful :-)

If there is anyone in the midlands who could show us an SQ installation as a comparison to the others that would be useful, but I think at the moment the X32 is probably swinging it.

There's a temporary hiatus on this, as we realised that the x32 or SQ won't fit under the tech desk covers that we have, so we probably have to do some woodwork as well. Plus two stage moves and a wedding this month.
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Re: Any A&H Qu series or Berry x32 users able to help?

Postby AlecSp » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:57 am

Dr R wrote:There's a temporary hiatus on this, as we realised that the x32 or SQ won't fit under the tech desk covers that we have, so we probably have to do some woodwork as well.
Indeed, it can come as a surprise how much taller many digital desks are compared with analog. X32 and QU aren't too bad, but try M32, CL, Vi and many others and it's a complete change.
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Re: Any A&H Qu series or Berry x32 users able to help?

Postby Aptorian » Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:56 pm

I agree with everyone that has said look at the SQ series. There's nothing currently in the budget price range that compares in terms of quality or features. I upgraded from an X32 w/M32 preamps in the stage box to the SQ and it's noticeably better and can do a lot more.

I admit a lot of my opinion comes down to the fact that the SQ suits the way I work more, (mainly in that it has more FX rack slots, I can put the nice compressors in the inserts rather than the FX rack, and that I can create up to 6 custom fader layers) which it might not do for others but I don't think there's another digital mixer in the budget range that could match it, I think the cheapest thing that would come close for me would be an S21.
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