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PL+S: Allen and Heath Qu the music

Allen & Heath released another salvo into the fiercely competitive compact digital mixer market at Prolight + Sound 2013 in the shape of the Qu-16.

Allen & Heath released another salvo into the fiercely competitive compact digital mixer market at Prolight + Sound 2013.

The A&H Qu-16 has a professional feature set and an entry-level price tag, and comes packaged in a stylish 19” rack size. Glenn Rogers, managing director of Allen & Heath, calls it “our smallest full-featured digital mixer to date”.

Inheriting technology from the acclaimed GLD and iLive digital mixing systems, Qu-16 features total recall of settings (including 17 motorised faders and digitally controlled preamps), an intuitive touchscreen, the Qu-Drive integrated multitrack recorder, dSNAKE for remote I/O and personal monitoring, multichannel USB streaming to Mac, Qu-Pad control app, and iLive’s FX library to deliver “class-leading audio quality”.

Qu-16 features include 16 mic/line inputs, three stereo inputs, four FX engines with dedicated stereo returns, 12 mix processing channels, patchable AES digital output, dedicated talkback mic pre input, and two-track output.

Five high-speed dual-core DSPs provide comprehensive channel and FX processing, with headroom for future processing updates and functionality. Five latest generation 200MHz super-efficient ARM core processors run in parallel to deliver the performance: one to drive each of the Touchscreen and surface, the Qu-drive USB interface, USB streaming, Ethernet port, and the moving faders.

The Qu-Drive integrated USB recorder works with an external USB drive, and can record and playback multitrack and stereo WAV files. The USB interface can also be used to store scene and library data for archiving and later recall. If using the Qu-16 in the studio, there is also a USB audio streaming interface for record and playback to Mac-based DAW systems.

A&H’s proprietary dSNAKE low latency audio connection enables the mixer to connect over a single 120m Cat5 digital snake to a remote audio rack, such as the AR84 or AR2412, and is compatible with the ME personal mixing system (launched at NAMM).

A free iPad app connects to the mixer via a WiFi router plugged into the Ethernet control port and gives instant wireless control of the mixer’s key parameters and settings, enabling the user to tweak the PA, adjust the monitors on stage, and even mix the show from the audience.

The Qu-16 is equipped with many of the iLive pro touring series’ FX emulations, including classic reverbs, gated reverbs, delays and modulators.

MD of Allen & Heath Glenn Rogers (A&H is currently part of the D&M Group, which includes Calrec and Denon), says: “Our smallest full-featured digital mixer to date, Qu-16 is a tour de force and we think it’s going to amaze the industry. It’s got everything in the box: integrated multitrack recording to USB drive, hi-res touchscreen, total recall, huge processing power, a great FX library, an iPad app, and of course, fantastic sound quality. We are also very proud of the slick new styling. The R&D team have done a fantastic job. It could be the shape of things to come!”