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Author Topic: I am considering jumping ship from the A&H QU series mixers.  (Read 1622 times)

frank kayser

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I am considering jumping ship from the A&H QU series mixers.
« on: September 25, 2020, 12:58:14 pm »

Hi folks,
I am considering jumping ship from the A&H QU series mixers.
Maybe I'm nit picking, but it seems these nits have grown into a full head of lice.

My QU16 is gone, so I'm left with a QU-Pac and a AB168.  It has served me well, and I cannot complain about sound quality or reliability.
It's the little stuff...

1) I have a drawer full of flash drives, models on the approved list, that the QU refuses to play with.  As an example, Sandisk thumb drives with identified-as-working part number - buy two, one works, the second does not.  Seems Sandisk made some internal changes that are incompatible with the QU.
2) No offline editor.  Even though the QU-Pac is small, it's a PITA to have to drag it out to manage/create scenes.
3. No internal clock - all files created have no date/time stamp.  Yes, a very little thing.
4. The on-board channels have different options than the AB168 channels i.e., I can take one AB1i68 input and bond any number of channels, so if I have someone with a violin, mandolin, and guitar, I can take one feed from that person, set EQ and levels for each instrument without a bunch of "Y" cables
5. very limited routing
6. When multitracking, in A&H infinite wisdom puts stereo L&R on ch 17 and 18, even if the AB168 has one channel or full up.  Channel # does not match the AB168 (add 2), and the AB168 both internally and printed on the stage box are labeled 1-16.  I understand to some extent. Combined with #4 where channel options are different,,,
7. Cascading mixers q-la Soundcraft UI24 (latest firmware). Assume I have a QU-Pac, and then I bought a QU-SB for a backup mixer.  It would be so cool if the QU-SB  could be used as a stagebox. What if one could also be a input splitter (monitor console). The guy I sold the mixer to was on the phone with A&H engineer, and asked about cascading mixers.  The engineer said it was very possible, but they chose not to do it to protect their higher end consoles.

Yeah, I know it is an entry level mixer, and all that entails.  QU series is getting a bit long in the tooth, 
So this isn't a bitch session against A&H. I'd consider a SQ if it came in rack form. There's probably annoyances with even the high end consoles from different manufactures.  I'm probably not smart enough to find those problems, however..

So the jumping ship issue...

I'm considering getting into the Yamaha family of mixers.  For what I do, the rackmount mixer seems to be the hot ticket.
So, what about the TF rack?
Are all the TF series the same internals?  Preamps?  Compared to the A&H QU series?

Next on the hit parade - M32c.  I think I've read the preamps are better than the ones on the Behringer.
Of course, stage box is required.

Behringer x32.  x32 Rack.  Same internals as the x32 and x32 compact?

Soundcraft UI 24.  I understand the 24 has the "good" preamps compared to ths smaller UI series?

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Bill Meeks

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Re: I am considering jumping ship from the A&H QU series mixers.
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2020, 01:57:18 pm »

I'm not a long time pro with anything audio, but I've used both Yamaha LS9-32 and TF5 mixers so I can comment on those. I'll stick with describing the TF5 and then contrast now and then to the LS9 for reference.

The TF5 is a great little mixer for its niche. But it has its quirks as I assume every mixer does.

First, I would not purchase the TF series without also getting the Dante option. Without Dante Controller and the ability to do some custom patching there, the routing of the TF5 becomes immediately limiting for all but the most simple setups in my humble opinion.

Even with the Dante, input routing is much more limited than higher end boards like the old LS9. For example, Inputs 1 through 32 can be set to XLR connectors on the mixer chassis, to USB inputs 1 through 32 or Dante slots 1 through 32. And it's actually a bit more limited than that statement might otherwise imply. Take Input Channel 1. It can be fed from XLR input #1, USB input #1 or Dante slot #1; but that's it. You can't say let input channel #1 take a feed from Dante input slot #60. On Yamaha boards like the LS9, Input channel #1 could be patched to any XLR connector on the board or any Dante slot on the board. Not so with the TF5.

Output routing is similarly limited. You can't patch anything to anywhere like you can virtually do on say the LS9. The outputs are restricted to the standard OMNI out analog ports and then fixed Dante or USB slot numbers.

One last partial rant about the TF5. Input channels 33 through 40 are very limited. They have no compressor or gate and not as many EQ parameters as channels 1 through 32. They also have no Direct Out connection point. The first 32 channels have a Direct Out patch point so you can do the standard kinds of Pre-DG, Pre-Fader, Post-ON routing that other boards have.

Now the things I do love about Yamaha and the TF5 --

1. The offline editing tools are wonderful. It is stupidly easy to set up a complete show offline, then just upload it from a USB drive. Stupidly easy to edit and save individual scenes and all manner of Channel EQ, Compressor, FX and other presets to both a library and per scene.

2. The PC offline editor and control application (TF Editor) is great. I use it frequently to tweak the livestream mix while my partner concentrates on the board and FOH mix. So to be clear, the offline editor can instantly become the online controller by simply being on the network with the TF mixer and clicking "Connect" in the editor window.

3. I"m not big user of it, but it supports the standard iPad remote control stuff via StageMix.

4. It supports the MonitorMix iPhone app that lets band members control their own monitor mix if you set those up. We happen to use Dante-capable IEMs (the Digital Audio Labs LiveMix system), so we mix in-ears on the LiveMix pads.

5. I like the set up of FX on the TF series much more than I do on the LS9. Granted the LS9 is a much older vintage. On the TF series you actually have 8 fully configurable FX busses. On the LS9 you have an 8-channel FX rack, but 4 of those channels can ONLY be 15-band dual or 31-band single graphic EQs. You can't put reverbs or any other effects on Racks 1 through 4 in the LS9. On the TF series, you can put any effect on any of the 8 FX channels.

6. Using Dante Controller (when you have the Dante option card in the mixer) and Tio1608 stage boxes really opens up more possibilities. That enables better control of some of the signal routing. Plus, for direct recording, you can Dante-patch channels you want raw (pre-EQ and pre-HPF) directly from the Tio1608 outputs to say your DAW computer. That's what I do to get raw tracks from the band into my DAW.

When we were investigating upgrading our contemporary service from its old analog Yamaha 16-channel mixer, we looked at Soundcraft, Allen & Heath and of course Yamaha (since we already had the LS9-32 in our Sanctuary for the Traditional Service). I was habited (or maybe you can say "addicted") by that point to the Yamaha offline editing tools. So finding out that the Allen & Heath Qu and SQ series lacked such tools (at that time), we eliminated them from contention. Ultimately budget also played a big part in the decision to use the TF5. We got the TF5, the Dante card and a pair of Tio1608 stage boxes for just a little more than a comparable SQ-series mixer would have cost us by itself.

Granted the TF series is Yamaha's budget line, but those mixers should not be discounted offhand. They certainly have their place. We wanted the full control surface, so we went with the TF5. I am a little timid to have a rack-mount mixer with no actual hardware control surface. PCs and Macs and especially wireless LANs can fail in mysterious ways, and always seem to pick the worst possible time to do so ... LOL!

« Last Edit: September 25, 2020, 07:33:41 pm by Bill Meeks »
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Jon Dees

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Re: I am considering jumping ship from the A&H QU series mixers.
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2020, 02:36:51 pm »

I was looking at TFs in 2016-2018 timeframe.

Coming from an LS9 the TFs are 'toys'. The routing and effects rigidity make it significantly limited.

I ended up with a QL5 as it is more like the LS9 in routing flexibility (and more so, obviously due to higher socket count). If your budget is more QU-like then obviously the QL5 is not an option. I would also ignore the QL1 as well due to its low channel count.

With the release of A&H SQ and B* Wing I don't see any reason to buy a TF anymore.

If you do spoken word things the Neve 5045 copy recently included in the Wing firmware is a magic device whose utility can't be underestimated.
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frank kayser

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Re: I am considering jumping ship from the A&H QU series mixers.
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2020, 03:01:24 pm »

Thanks, Bill.  That was exactly what I was looking for.  Honestly, not what really wanted to hear.  I'm not sure the issues are deal breakers.  TBD.

As for rackmount mixers.  I had been mixing on a QU-16 via iPad for quite a while, and had the AB168.  I had one of the first QU-16 that had this annoying and potentially harmful pop when phantom-powered devices were connected or disconnected.  Turning off each channel's phantom during changeovers just did not work for me in the rapid changeover in festivals.  That and the AB168 only moved the onboard inputs of the QU16 to the stagebox.

Debbie Dunkley convinced me to go to the QU-Pac - a less-that-optimal interface, but rudimentary hands on control nonetheless.  I kept the QU-16, just in case, but never fired it up again.  I've never seriously missed the surface.  Sold it last year to someone who needed a DAW surface.



I was looking at TFs in 2016-2018 timeframe.

Coming from an LS9 the TFs are 'toys'. The routing and effects rigidity make it significantly limited.

I ended up with a QL5 as it is more like the LS9 in routing flexibility (and more so, obviously due to higher socket count). If your budget is more QU-like then obviously the QL5 is not an option. I would also ignore the QL1 as well due to its low channel count.

With the release of A&H SQ and B* Wing I don't see any reason to buy a TF anymore.

If you do spoken word things the Neve 5045 copy recently included in the Wing firmware is a magic device whose utility can't be underestimated.


Well, QL5 never will be on the budget for me.  As I said earlier, I'm disappointed in the stated limitations of the TF.  Again, it costs a lot to design and build a successor to the venerable LS9.
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Helge A Bentsen

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Re: I am considering jumping ship from the A&H QU series mixers.
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2020, 05:18:26 pm »

Why not get a M32R with a stage box?

The master section makes M32R a little gem, I love it for small stuff. Came from a Si Performer 1, a more flexible mixer but I got annoyed by the lack of a master section on the Performer.
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brian maddox

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Re: I am considering jumping ship from the A&H QU series mixers.
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2020, 06:18:46 pm »

...
Well, QL5 never will be on the budget for me.  As I said earlier, I'm disappointed in the stated limitations of the TF.  Again, it costs a lot to design and build a successor to the venerable LS9.

Yamaha has sold a LOT of TF series consoles based on people thinking it is a "successor" to the LS9, and it most definitely is not. I'm a HUGE Yamaha fanboy, but i really just can't get behind the TF series. The routing compromises alone are beyond infuriating.

The successor to the LS9 is the QL5, and it is excellent. Also quite expensive. Someone said above that the QL1 was out because of channel limitations, but it's essentially the same channel/bus count as an X32, just in a smaller package. But i digress...

I still think the M32R is very tough to beat at the price point. It's just SO cheap for what you get. And my experience is that they'll take a pretty good licking and keep on ticking....
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Bill Meeks

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Re: I am considering jumping ship from the A&H QU series mixers.
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2020, 07:43:12 pm »

Yamaha has sold a LOT of TF series consoles based on people thinking it is a "successor" to the LS9, and it most definitely is not. I'm a HUGE Yamaha fanboy, but i really just can't get behind the TF series. The routing compromises alone are beyond infuriating.

I can agree with Brian here. While I still feel the TF5 fits our particular small town church needs, it is quite limiting in terms of fancy routing. There are also no channel insert points anywhere.

Brian and I swapped several emails offline during the time our church was in the process of purchasing this board. The board is not a "dog", it's just situated in an awkward Yamaha marketing spot. A few simple firmware mods could make this an awesome little mixer, but that would undercut QL sales so pretty sure Yamaha is not going there. One thing the TF5 has that the poor LS9 never got was a decent multiband compressor. The one on the TF5 is actually fully usable, but sadly you can't use it on any of the input channels nor the Stereo outs. You can only put it on the 8 FX busses. So while you could send everything to a single Stereo Mix (which also is where the 8 FX busses really reside), put a multiband on that, and then send the output of the mix to the main L/R, it's awkward. Would have been nice to just have an insert point and put the multiband there (or on any of the input channels).
« Last Edit: September 25, 2020, 07:57:21 pm by Bill Meeks »
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Mike Caldwell

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Re: I am considering jumping ship from the A&H QU series mixers.
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2020, 07:59:29 pm »

As for the USB thumb drives I have found that every version of the Kingston Data Traveler series work in any model of QU and SQ I have tried tbem in.

The multitracking output track sources on the QU can be reassigned to any channel or mix source.

Rob Spence

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Re: I am considering jumping ship from the A&H QU series mixers.
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2020, 08:56:02 pm »

I have an LS9-32, a GLD80 and a SQ5

I love them all.

I really like that I can use the stage boxes on both the GLD and the SQ. I have an AR2412, an AR84 and an AB168. Nice to mix & match.
The SQ5 is the same size (more or less) as the QU16.
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Mike Santarelli

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Re: I am considering jumping ship from the A&H QU series mixers.
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2020, 09:07:46 pm »

I've been down this road and almost went with the QU series when I bought into digital.  I started with a Soundcraft Impact and still have it.  I swore off behringer becuase the B word.  I started getting involved with a lot of other small scale and smaller regional outfits and they all had one thing in common; the x32.  I finally bought into them and now have two x32 racks, an m32, and m32r, along with two dl32 stage boxes.  Are they the best, no but what they offer for the value and the whole x/m32 ecosystem it is tough to beat. 

I also own a ui24 and I think it is a great mixer but I have found the x32 rack to be more stable overall and that is with external AP or routers.  In terms of convenience I think the ui24 is the best of the bunch but for me the x32 just works and I can expand with stage boxes.  Cascading the ui24 is a nice touch but I have heard there are quirks. 

My two cents
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Re: I am considering jumping ship from the A&H QU series mixers.
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2020, 09:07:46 pm »


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