In today’s inflationary climate, something has become exceedingly rare: being surprised by how affordable a product by another manufacturer is. And that is why we were so excited to learn about Allen & Heath’s newest digital mixer lineup, the CQ series. At around $1,000, you get a small compact digital mixer packed with incredible features.
Why Make CQ
Allen & Heath wanted to bring the digital FPGA processing they developed for the dLive, Avantis, and SQ series into a smaller form factor for applications that require fewer inputs. Analog mixers are commonly used for such applications, but using an Allen & Heath digital mixer brings a host of benefits, such as:
- Allen & Heath’s Incredible Preamps
- Built-in Recording
- Remote Control Via Free App
- Personal Monitoring Via Free Phone App
- Gate and Compressor On Each Channel
- Tools That Make It Easy For Non-Technical Users To Get a Great Mix
Meet The CQ Series Mixers
|Inputs||12 Inputs (5 XLR, 5 XLR/TRS Combi, 2 TRS (stereo))||18 Inputs (8 XLR, 8 XLR/TRS Combi, 2 TRS (stereo))||20 Inputs (8 XLR, 8 XLR/TRS Combi, 4 TRS (stereo))|
|Outputs||8 Outputs (2 XLR (main), 6 TRS (monitors))||8 Outputs (2 XLR (main), 6 TRS (monitors))||8 Outputs (2 XLR (main), 6 XLR (monitors), Assignable Alt Out))|
|Touchscreen||7” capacitive touchscreen||7” capacitive touchscreen||No|
|Remote Control Via Free App||Yes||Yes||Yes|
All 3 CQ mixers also feature:
- An integrated USB audio interface for multitrack recording, playback, and streaming via DAW.
- An SD card slot for reliable multitrack recording and playback
- Stereo file playback via USB key or Bluetooth.
Additional Differences Between The CQ-12T and CQ-18T
The CQ-18T features some additional features:
- A secondary headphone output
- 3 smart rotaries that control different functions as you navigate through the mixer.
Meet The CQ-20B
The CQ-18T was designed to be the flagship of the CQ series, but it was the CQ-20T that caught our attention.
The CQ-20T is different than the other mixers in the series. It has the most inputs, at 20. It also doesn’t offer a touchscreen or softkeys but requires an external tablet for control. The CQ-20T is intended to sit on stage as your stage box, making for an easy and clean setup. It can also be rackmounted. You then can control it from wherever you want via a tablet (as long as you’re connected to the Wi-Fi network).
We like using an iPad, but the free CQ MixPad app works on iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS devices. The CQ4You is a free personal mixing app for Android or iOS devices. Each mixer can support up to 6 devices running the personal monitor app.
Tools for Non-Techs, Control for Techs
Allen & Heath created the perfect balance of built-in features that make it easy for a non-technical person to create a great-sounding mix without sacrificing control for sound engineers who want the ability to tweak parameters.
Every input on a CQ mixer can be switched between Quick Channels or Complete Channels mode.
Quick Channels allow you to easily change the parameters of a channel with just a few controls without needing to adjust individual parameters. Select what you are miking, like a kick drum, and then rotate a single knob until you select the desired sound.
You can turn off Quick Channels and use Complete Channel mode. Complete Channel mode gives you control of all the individual parameters of a channel.
Gain Assistant: On setup, the auto gain will listen to the incoming signal and automatically set the optimal gain level. The Gain Assistant can continue to monitor levels during the performance to avoid unwanted peaks.
Feedback Assistant: The feedback assistant acts on all outputs simultaneously, applying up to 16 filters to remove any feedback.
Ready to get your hands on one of these incredible mixers? Give us a call at 615-599-1505 to check availability.