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Author Topic: Sound desk - physical faders or contol through an app  (Read 485 times)

Brian Dale

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Sound desk - physical faders or contol through an app
« on: June 27, 2020, 07:23:12 pm »

Please can I ask forum members about sound desks/boards. We're looking to replace the sound system in our small/medium sized UK Anglican church. One option the installer has given us is to go for a Soundcraft Ui24 desk which has a virtual control surface accessed using an iPad or android device. What it does is certainly impressive for the cost. However, another option is the Allen & Heath Qu-16 mixer which has real faders and also the possibility of remote control by a device.

We need a desk that can look after itself without an operator for simple services. Both mixers have pre-set memories so can work to some extent without an operator provided someone knows how to load a memory. I'm veering very much towards the Qu-16. Because ...

1. I'm old fashioned!

2. We sometimes play in music tracks for the congregation to sing to and I feel that having real faders is better for those micro level adjustments.

3. There won't always be a sound person present but once the desk is loaded, it's easier for someone to adjust a physical fader if necessary rather than diving into an app first.

What do forum members think?
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Bill Meeks

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Re: Sound desk - physical faders or contol through an app
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2020, 08:24:46 pm »

I personally am fond of faders. Much less to go wrong when you don't need to depend on both a network (usually wireless when using tablets to mix on) and a third-party device like a tablet, iPad, etc. Quick story to lend support to my argument. About a year ago another local church in my town called me in a panic Sunday morning early. They use a rack-mount mixer much like you describe and mix on glass. Their band had gone in to practice the service that Sunday and their network interface to the mixer would not connect. They did not know if it was the tablet, the network, the mixer or some of all three. No network connection, no mixing - and thus a wild panic ...  ;D. With real faders, at least you can always fall back to them if the fancy glass and network toys fail on you.

In terms of mixers, I see you are in the UK so vendors are likely different in terms of what is commonly installed over there as opposed to here in the USA. Our church recently installed a Yamaha TF5 for our contemporary service. It is a very user-friendly board and it is hard (never impossible, though) for a newbie volunteer to get themselves into much trouble with it. It has an excellent offline editor, has scene memory with recall and can be controlled over the network from a PC or tablet. Of course it has physical faders as well. There are three options available (TF1, TF3 and TF5) and it is affordable. It of course lacks some features of the higher end Yamaha mixers, but it might fit your needs.

Many churches also use the Behringer X32 without problems. Not knocking the Allen & Heath stuff, though. That is certainly excellent equipment. No matter what brand you go with, my suggestion for what it's worth is to get a digital board with some physical faders on the desk.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2020, 08:27:13 pm by Bill Meeks »
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Keith Broughton

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Re: Sound desk - physical faders or contol through an app
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2020, 05:59:54 am »

I recently completed an installation very similar to yours and the client went with the QU16. There are other similar options available form other manufacturers.
Remote mixing is a great tool but, in my opinion, should not be the only way to access your mixer.
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Kirk Olson

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Re: Sound desk - physical faders or contol through an app
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2020, 12:44:09 pm »

Maybe old school, but faders are your friend!  I have used and installed the Soundcraft Ui16 in the mode of keeping it simple, or setting it and forgetting it.  Without fail, it doesn't work that way.  The Ui is good for what it is, but the QU series in my opinion is a big step or two above in terms of quality and ease of use.  When things go bad, everything is laid out in front of you, no scrolling or switching screens to try to find the issues.  All the newer digital mixers have ability to be mixed remotely, although at more cost (router, cabling, etc), and would go the route of having a physical board that can be run remotely (more options) than being totally confined to iPad/tablet control.
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Caleb Dueck

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Re: Sound desk - physical faders or contol through an app
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2020, 10:21:04 pm »

I tend to think of a physical surface as needed for major changes (IE initial settings at sound check), and a tablet as best for making small tweaks away from FOH, after sound check is complete.  I tend to be very hands-on while mixing live, at least for bands. 

Tablets and apps are cool, I love them, but only for applications where they are the best solution. 

Maybe I'm just getting old!
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Sound desk - physical faders or contol through an app
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2020, 12:54:40 am »

The QU16 was my transition into the digital world from the MixWiz and I am very pleased I went that route. It is probably the easiest digital mixer to learn and use and is built to last. I still have mine and it gets used all the time. There are others as have been mentioned that will compare well in terms of functionality - certainly some have a few more more bells and whistles like the Behringer X32 but I really don't think anything is as user friendly as the QU series....
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Brian Dale

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Re: Sound desk - physical faders or contol through an app
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2020, 12:13:28 pm »

Thank you ladies and gentlemen for your input on this. Faders on a digital desk it will be!
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Eileen Krause

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Re: Sound desk - physical faders or contol through an app
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2020, 07:28:13 pm »

Brian,
I upgraded our small churchís system last summer and went with the QU-16.  Itís been great.   We also donít have a dedicated audio person ( if Iím not around) So having the preset scenes AND surface control if needed for quick adjustment has worked well.  Thereís plenty of features when needed but for ďset and forgetĒ itís been good. 
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Rob Spence

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Re: Sound desk - physical faders or contol through an app
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2020, 05:45:17 pm »

The QU is last generation. They are unloading old stock on you. Tell them to provide an SQ5. Same size desk but the current product. Even more powerful and versatile than the QU which it replaces.
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Caleb Dueck

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Re: Sound desk - physical faders or contol through an app
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2020, 08:14:35 pm »

The QU is last generation. They are unloading old stock on you. Tell them to provide an SQ5. Same size desk but the current product. Even more powerful and versatile than the QU which it replaces.

Agreed.  Why pay roughly the same price for EOL vs current?
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Sound desk - physical faders or contol through an app
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