Allen & Heath Releases Qu-Pac Ultra Compact Digital Mixer

January 30 2015, 05:00
Allen & Heath has extended its successful Qu range with the launch of Qu-Pac, an ultra-compact digital mixer with both a built-in touchscreen and iPad control app. Designed for live music and installed sound, Qu-Pac is a freestanding or rack mount mixer, providing a flexible solution for bands and in multi-purpose environments such as schools, hotels and bars. Qu-Pac connectivity offers 16 mono inputs, 3 stereo inputs and 12 mix outputs on the rear panel, but that can be expanded up to 38 in / 28 out by connecting to Allen & Heath’s family of remote AudioRacks over Cat5. 

The mixer offers total recall of settings and preamps, multi-track recording to USB via Qu-Drive, a choice of personal monitoring solutions, channel ducking, multi-channel USB streaming and the renowned iLive FX Library to deliver outstanding audio quality, making it the most fully featured digital mixer in its class. Continuing the trend of remote iPad mixing started with the iLive family over 4 years ago, the Qu-Pad iPad app gives instant wireless control of the mixer’s key parameters and settings, freeing the user to mix the show from anywhere in the venue. Unlike rackmount digital mixers which wholly rely on tablet control, Qu-Pac’s high resolution, full colour 5” Touchscreen gives easy access to all functions, providing a simple interface for day-to-day operation and a backup in the event of Wi-Fi connection problems disrupting control.

A fully customisable Qu-Control screen can be set up with ‘widgets’ for channel levels, mutes and assignment switches, arranged to suit the application and the experience of the user. Fifteen softkeys allow further customisation, while different levels of user access can be set up and password protected. 

As well as stereo recording or playback from a USB key, the built-in, 18-channel Qu-Drive can record and playback multitrack and stereo audio .wav files to a USB key or drive. This gives the convenience of computer-free recording in live and field applications. Qu-Pac’s 32x32, Windows and Mac compliant USB streaming interface also makes it the perfect recording solution for tracking, monitoring and overdubbing in the studio. To further increase flexibility for fixed installs and growing bands, Allen & Heath’s dSNAKE low latency audio connection enables the mixer to connect over a single Cat5 digital snake to AB168, AR84 and AR2412 remote audio racks. In addition, Qu-Pac offers two solutions for personal monitoring: via the Qu-You iPhone app or using ME-1 personal mixers, which connect to the mixer via the dSNAKE port.

The mixer’s mic/line inputs feature crystal clear AnaLOGIQ recallable pad-less preamps, optimised for transparency and low harmonic distortion. Qu-Pac is equipped with a selection of FX emulations developed for the iLive pro touring series, along with all the tools a sound engineer would expect to see, such as RTA and comprehensive metering and monitoring.

Allen & Heath’s Managing Director, Glenn Rogers commented on the new arrival, “Qu-Pac is a response to some of the major headaches in real world mixing. For bands working the bar and club scene, there are countless situations where there just is no space for a regular mixer. For venues, there are many, many scenarios from AV presentations and conferences to hotels, bars and restaurants where background music and simple events are handled by non-technical staff who would be intimidated by a regular mixer. Think of a bar or restaurant that has live music at the weekends. Qu-Pac is ideal in this sort of situation – password protection and simple custom screens allow general staff to run the system day-to-day, then a sound engineer can use the iPad to mix full shows, with the safety net of hands-on control if anything happens to the Wi-Fi. That’s just one scenario where this highly versatile and effective package provides the ideal solution.” 

Qu-Pac’s sixteen AnalogiQ total recall preamps feature zero crossing detection and an advanced padless 1dB step gain stage, closely allied to the DSP for optimal gain accuracy and audio transparency. The analogue signal is captured by high class, low latency 24-bit analogue to digital converters matched to high quality 24-bit digital to analogue converters to deliver the required outputs.

The 800 x 480 full colour Touchscreen and its dedicated data encoder form the heart of the Qu interface, providing super-fast, easy access to all settings. A fully customizable screen gives access to channels and settings tailored to the user and application. Several controls can be assigned to the page, these include channel levels, mutes and assignment on/off switches and are arranged to suit the user requirement, for example as a source selection and level control of background music to one or multiple zones.

Qu-Pac can store up to 100 full Scenes for recall at will. Channels and mixes can be made Safe from Scene recall. For example, if an instrument or mic gets swapped out after the soundcheck, the channel can be made safe to avoid settings being overridden by Scene recalls.

Qu-Pac’s built-in interface streams multitrack audio to any Mac or Windows computer. Any combination of Inputs and Mixes can be patched to the USB interface. The returns from the computer can be assigned to the Input channels. The interface is class-compliant on Mac OS X – which means it’s truly plug ‘n play, with no need to install a driver. An ASIO / WDM driver is available for Windows computers. The Qu-Pac mixer also has an integrated multitrack USB recorder, providing 18 channels of 48kHz 24bit recording and playback straight to / from a USB hard drive.

Made from 18 gauge, cold-rolled Zintec steel, QuPac’s distinctive frame is designed for strength and rigidity. The unique shape allows desktop or rack mounting, with the front panel inclined for comfortable operation in either mode. A QuPac mixer can be complemented with three different combinations of portable AudioRack stageboxes, with dSNAKE connections and expansion ports.
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