Allen & Heath has drops a V1.5 firmware update for its successful range of SQ series mixing desks. The new firmware brings RTA functionality along with more recording channels, and additional features. You’ll have to cough up some hard cash if you want the tasty new FX units though…
V1.5 Firmware Update
Allen & Heath launched its successful SQ series digital mixing desks at the tail end of 2017, rounding out the range with the flagship SQ7 just a few months later. Now, Allen & Heath drops a big SQ firmware update to V1.5 firmware update. So what’s new? Is this a must-have firmware update or is it all a bit meh?
Taking a read through Allen & Heath’s release notes, we can’t help but feel slightly underwhelmed. But there are a few items that are noteworthy, valuable upgrades:
- RTA function updated to permit channel based analysis with new display functionality
- 32 channel record/playback from SQ Drive now permitted
- HPF and LPF filter now available on all processing channels
- Availability of new FX Processing add-ons
New Free Stuff! What’s the Problem?
We’re left feeling underwhelmed and moreover a little disappointed by the V1.5 firmware update, for a few reasons. First and foremost, a lot of this functionality should have been available from day one. Isn’t RTA analysis on a channel by channel basis a given on any digital desk nowadays?
That we’ve had to wait for HPF and LPF functions on all channels seems a bit of a stretch. Desks of this type are often employed to do double duty as FOH and monitor mixer, where a HPF is a bare minimum requirement on monitor sends.
Charging for new plug-ins
The new plug-ins encompass the Tape Echo, Bucket Brigade Echo and Hyper Bass. Having additional quality plug-ins available on your mixer is always great. But here’s the caveat: they all have to be purchased separately (although the hyper bass plugin has been offered for free on a temporary basis).
Whilst charging for new plug-ins is the norm for the software-based studio world, we can’t help but feel that a piece of dedicated live hardware shouldn’t need additional expenditure on proprietary plug-ins. SQ mixer owners will, no doubt, vote with their wallets – either these plug-ins will find buyers or they won’t.
Overall then? We’re happy to see these updates, but they should have been there from the start. And please stop charging extra for FX plugins, please!