Allen & Heath has completed its line-up of SQ-series digital consoles with the big daddy, the new SQ-7. This is a 33-fader desk that expands on the SQ-5 and SQ-6 which were announced last October. It features the same FPGA-based processing technology and expands the desks’ reach with 32 preamps, 16 custom soft keys, and 8 user-definable rotary controls. It makes for a total of 48 channels, expandable via stage boxes like the DX168.
All inputs and mixes can be assigned to 192 fader strips across 6 layers with the possibility of customizing workflow across the user-definable softkeys and rotary controls. Additionally, there will be Dante, Waves, and SLink audio networking cards which will further increase the console’s expansion options.
Like the rest of the SQ range, the SQ-7 runs DEEP processing plug-ins, including emulations of vintage gear like compressors and preamps. Running on an FPGA chip, these contribute very little latency, due to the unit’s multi-threaded design which lets each plugin instance run on its own thread, separate from other processing. Furthermore, the SQ-7 allows allows real-time recording of 96kHz audio directly to an USB drive or a computer, thanks to the integrated Core Audio (Mac) and ASIO (Windows)-compliant audio interface.
A feature-complete console, the SQ-7 has its rightful place as the flagship product in the SQ range. It seems like a faithful alternative to SSL’s Live range, which was today expanded with a viable competitor to the SQ-5 and SQ-6 consoles, the L100. There’s certainly a lot the SQ-7 and its smaller-format brethren can offer to live sound engineers.
The complete information in regards to specs, expansions options, and ecosystem items like tablet control apps for Android and iOS can be found over at Allen & Heath’s website. There’s a lot to these consoles to explore, so by all means, take a peek.