The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Transformer/less SQN
Old 4th March 2019
  #1
Transformer/less SQN

Anyone compared transformer SQN say IV-S i thru iii vs V and later?
I really liked the smooth sound of SQN especially on voice, but the later SQN seem lighter, smaller and more capable.
Anyone used them for music?
I will try and rent a newer one soon from Toronto.
Old 4th March 2019
  #2
Gear Nut
 

Never for music. I have always thought for voice recordings they make one of the best, if not the best location mic pres. Had one back in the 70-80's.
Old 4th March 2019
  #3
Lives for gear
Yes ,for many years SQN IV-S II was the front end of my Panasonic DAT recorder
A very compact bit of kit in a Portabrace
The mic amps are excellent and the limiter powerful as is the MS matrix
Monitoring and PPM metering first class
I did Bryn Terfel walking through the Alps in Schuberts footsteps on that set up.
Roger
Old 4th March 2019
  #4
Gear Nut
 

Another one I would consider is one of Andy's CS104 mixers. Right up there with SQN
Old 4th March 2019
  #5
Lives for gear
Got one of those too
Lovely mic amps
Dire limiter.......
Old 4th March 2019
  #6
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
Yes ,for many years SQN IV-S II was the front end of my Panasonic DAT recorder
A very compact bit of kit in a Portabrace
The mic amps are excellent and the limiter powerful as is the MS matrix
Monitoring and PPM metering first class
I did Bryn Terfel walking through the Alps in Schuberts footsteps on that set up.
Roger
How would you compare the pres to your Sonosax or Sound Devices kit?

And any feelings about Audio Developments? There's certainly plenty of used ones knocking about here in the UK, but never seen anyone touch them for music.
Old 4th March 2019
  #7
Lives for gear
Sonosax quite brill, variable limit on every channel, lovely eq and LFA, un burstable
Sound Devices a bit clinical compared with dreamy Nagra SQ
Audio Dev, gain in the wrong place for music, v reliable well made workhorses
Old 4th March 2019
  #8
I think my options as it stand are all addressed in this thread, I don't really need mixing, limiter or feeds but just great battery powered mic amps. Some of the Audio Developments stuff looks great, with switched gains and stereo ganging. The Sonosax SX-M2 is pretty amazingly small and light and seems to sound great, but doesn't have M/S which is a shame (I could build a small transformer box for m/s and some tone I guess, it wouldn't be hard), and they are more expensive and rare.
SQN's often look like they've been through a washing machine, super versatile but they come well recommended.
Old 9th March 2019
  #9
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ithinknot View Post
How would you compare the pres to your Sonosax or Sound Devices kit?

And any feelings about Audio Developments? There's certainly plenty of used ones knocking about here in the UK, but never seen anyone touch them for music.
This is because of the closure of Richmond Film Services. Sadly the company was bought by asset strippers instead of it carrying on as a hire company. It was, without doubt, the best hire company with a helpful and knowledgeable staff. It's a great loss, and so is the retirement of Nigel Woodford and his wife Val. I hope they both have a happy and active retirement. I can't see Nigel losing interest in audio!

Last edited by Geoff Poulton; 12th March 2019 at 11:48 PM..
Old 21st June 2019
  #10
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
Sonosax quite brill, variable limit on every channel, lovely eq and LFA, un burstable
Sound Devices a bit clinical compared with dreamy Nagra SQ
Audio Dev, gain in the wrong place for music, v reliable well made workhorses
Audio Developments can replace stepped input gain switches to continuous gain if needed.
Old 10th January 2020
  #11
Gear Addict
 

The earlier Audio Developments mixers had 20db step gains on the inputs, the current mixers have 10db step gains. I have considered having the gain switches changed to continuous gain which is what Audio Developments can do, but I've had no problems using the 10db step gains. There is plenty of room for adjustment on the faders.

I have an AD245 8-2, which I like very much is transformer in and out and has the same updated mic preamp design used in their latest AD146, AD255 etc.

Blimey, this is an old thread................never mind, so am I.

Last edited by Geoff Poulton; 13th January 2020 at 11:50 AM.. Reason: Grammar
Old 7th February 2020
  #12
Here for the gear
 

Trasformer/less SQN

Hello Geoff

I have the 5s, 4S IIIa, 4S mini, and two versions of the SQN-3 type M.
The thing is, that the master-out sound squashed and boring comparing to direct outs, also without limiters.
The 5S as all 5 channels as direct out, but the others need modifications.

I bought the mixer because I remembered it so well from 25 years ago, when I was doing sound for video.
The mixer is good for voice, I think it's because the sound needs no further processing, it is radio ready or what ever it is called, right out of the box.

When recording with a stereo setup with real instruments, this can get to much. The direct outs sounds much more clean and have more headroom. I was also a little dissapointed by the master out, that on all mixers have a sharp cutoff at 20Khz, this is not very suitable for high-res recordings.

They are from all over the world and are from the 80's to the newest 5S, that I think is from 2002.
The old ones (up to 4 IIIe) are a work of art inside. I have talked with some really knowledgeable people, and they are mind boggled over how this was able to be made (see picture). The SQN-4S Series IV, 4Smini and 5S all have a machine soldered boards with a few integrated components (looks like the Apogee and Metric Halo preamps).

The preamps in the old ones, as I can count, has about 10 discrete transistors in the old 4s, but some of them may be used for other purposes. They are all placed within the size of an API op-amp, and the schematics looks very much the same (I am not an expert on this). It is only the old ones that have transformer in and outputs.
The difference between transfomer versions and IC versions are noticeable, I don't know what I like the best.

I have made custom direct outs on the 3M and 4S, and it all works nicely.
The output is a little low (about consumer -10dBV), but with absolutely no noise this is not a problem. You can still use the master outs, so there is no rewiring going on. I started modifying them because Gyraf put the diagram online for the 3M.

I have used the 3M on a classical/flamengo recording, with only one stereo Blumlein ribbon microphone.
It was a large choir and acoustic guitars and two main singers. It was recorded in a large old church from the 1100's, and a new one from the seventies. The direct outs where going into my RME Adi-2 Pro, and sounded ridiculous nice. They got the full spectrum but without any artificial top, its like the harmonics are swirling around and makes it sound all nice (maybe that's not a good thing but I like it).

Henrik
Attached Thumbnails
Transformer/less SQN-sqn-4s-iiie.jpg  
Old 7th February 2020
  #13
Lives for gear
SQN started in the 80s in London, the aim to provide mixer interface for the Nagra SN

https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rc...6N9dBLtkD2GENo

Their kit was always first class
Been everywhere, heard everything their motto
Roger
Lovely blokes to deal with, even when based in the Isle of Man.
Old 8th February 2020
  #14
Here for the gear
 

I was also a little dissapointed by the master out, that on all mixers have a sharp cutoff at 20Khz, this is not very suitable for high-res recordings.

I only did one test and it was wrong, here are the frequency curves (tested at 192Khz) for the 3m, 4smini, and 5s. They go well beyond 40Khz. Don't mind the levels.
Attached Thumbnails
Transformer/less SQN-sqn-frequency-response-3m-4smini-5s.png  
Old 9th February 2020
  #15
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oevad View Post
Hello Geoff

I have the 5s, 4S IIIa, 4S mini, and two versions of the SQN-3 type M.
The thing is, that the master-out sound squashed and boring comparing to direct outs, also without limiters.
The 5S as all 5 channels as direct out, but the others need modifications.

Henrik
Hi Henrik,

I have the 4S llla and the 4S lV, neither of which I've used in anger yet. I've been using other mixers since I got them both. I went for the 4S llla because it was the last SQN made with transformer in and out, and the 4S lV, because it wasn't!! If you see what I mean.

I had the llla serviced, and SQN updated the monitor switch to the later 4S lV spec, with a circuit board on the L Stereo R monitor switch, a sort of mini microprocessor where the circuit (board) makes the change after the switch has been operated. Noise or wear on the switch is bypassed. (I hope I've got all of that right!)

Your photograph looks like the llla internals, I haven't seen inside of mine yet, although I have a new battery compartment door to fix on, so I'll see it when I do that. I'm glad you can't decide between the transformer ins and outs and electronic 5S, that probably means that any difference between them is down to taste, with the usual transformer v electronic advantages and disadvantages, rather than one being better than the other.

The 4S lV direct outs are via the B socket, to the left of the xlr inputs.

Last edited by Geoff Poulton; 29th February 2020 at 05:49 PM..
Old 12th February 2020
  #16
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oevad View Post
Hello Geoff

I have the 5s, 4S IIIa, 4S mini, and two versions of the SQN-3 type M.
The thing is, that the master-out sound squashed and boring comparing to direct outs, also without limiters.

Henrik
I'm wondering, when you say the master out sounded squashed and boring when compared with the direct outs, how did you monitor the mixdown of the outs? Did you listen to just two channels or did you mix down all four?

Without knowing that we might assume that the squashed/boring sound you mention could be due to factors concerned with phase/comb filtering etc., during the mixdown of four mics, or two pairs of mics.

Last edited by Geoff Poulton; 17th February 2020 at 02:30 PM.. Reason: Clarity
Old 29th February 2020
  #17
Here for the gear
 

Hi Geoff
It is not comp filtering, as I tested it with just one RΓΈde nt1000. I think the problem could be old hardware that needs to be serviced. The 3M has a lot of expensive capacitors inside that should not degrade as much as aluminium electrolytics: http://tona.dk/wp-content/uploads/20...pe_M-Gyraf.pdf . But it is still 35 years old. It could be, that the longer signal pathway is the reason. I could do a test maybe, and record it.
Old 29th February 2020
  #18
Gear Addict
 

Yes, that might well be the case.

The 3M was SQN's first mixer and the later llla and lV are roughly twenty years later, which would not only see changes and development in design but also take advantage of employing later improved electronic parts, I guess.

If I do use them as mic preamps, which I have not done yet, I will endeavour to use them as a direct out stereo pairs and not go down the route of mixing all four outputs together.

I'd be very interested in any tests you do undertake, but my interest in the SQN mixers initally came from the tremendous recommendations that came from users, I don't think I ever saw a comment that was a negative remark about them.

Last edited by Geoff Poulton; 24th March 2020 at 04:19 PM..
Old 2nd March 2020
  #19
Here for the gear
 

Hello Geoff

This is an example of limiters and general dynamic area of the 3M SQN mixer.
Hope you like good humor:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQDGZVIgR6E
It is a perfect example of clean sound and also the limiter (on another track) working.
Old 2nd March 2020
  #20
Gear Addict
 

Clean sound you say, and I might add far from sterile! I know it's not music, but speech does give some indication.

That would be Sowter transformers in and out I think.

How were you aware that the recording was made with a 3M, were you involved?

Last edited by Geoff Poulton; 4th March 2020 at 03:12 AM..
Old 20th March 2020
  #21
Here for the gear
 

Hello Geoff
The sound you here is because of the tape machine, the mixer sounds much different.
By the way: I got a response from SQN, I hope it is ok to post it...

Dear Henrik,

Thank you for your email.

The Monty Python series predated the incorporation of SQN Electronics Ltd (in 1979). However Douglas Macintosh, my co-director (also my sister-in-law's husband) and the surviving founder of SQN was very active in post production in London during the years in question. He is in effective retirement from SQN but has a good recollection of these seminal times; I hope to speak with him later today and shall steer our conversation towards this topic. There is certainly a connection with Michael Palin and to my knowledge our mixer was used during the production of Himalaya with Michael Palin.
I shall communicate further in due course
Old 23rd March 2020
  #22
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oevad View Post
Hello Geoff
The sound you here is because of the tape machine, the mixer sounds much different.
By the way: I got a response from SQN, I hope it is ok to post it...

Dear Henrik,

Thank you for your email.

The Monty Python series predated the incorporation of SQN Electronics Ltd (in 1979). However Douglas Macintosh, my co-director (also my sister-in-law's husband) and the surviving founder of SQN was very active in post production in London during the years in question. He is in effective retirement from SQN but has a good recollection of these seminal times; I hope to speak with him later today and shall steer our conversation towards this topic. There is certainly a connection with Michael Palin and to my knowledge our mixer was used during the production of Himalaya with Michael Palin.
I shall communicate further in due course
I have to admit, rather guiltily, to having purchased an SQN 5S ll, with electronic ins and out and 5 direct outs. I would hope to use the mixers I have as mic preamps on occasion into a mixer for summing on bigger jobs requiring more channels, just to see how I get on with them. Just to mitigate my guilt, it came at a reasonable price. They would be used along with DAV BG1s and Amek 9098s. You never know if you don't try.
Old 4th April 2020
  #23
Here for the gear
 

Hello Geoff

The channels I have achieved until now in SQN style would be:

5 (5s) with the standard direct outputs
4 IIIv (direct out 4 channels)
3M (2 direct out) + mono master out
3m nr. 2: mono
4S Stereo out

That makes 16 channels.
Old 23rd April 2020
  #24
Gear Addict
 

I'd love to know how you get on, and the difference you find between the various SQN models with direct out.
Old 3rd May 2020
  #25
Here for the gear
 

I have three SQNs: S4 series II, S4 series IV and one mono 3:1 (old version with screw driver switches) and I love them!! Incredible sound and build quality. I got all of those for a very little money and I use them as a preamps in my studio.

I'm planning to do some direct out mods and I ordered a couple of Hirose multipin connectors to do breakout cables. The S4 series IV manual says that there are channels 3 and 4 coming out of the 12 pins connector and there are some blanco pins left. Is it possible to route channels 1 and 2 to those? I took a quick look inside and noticed some labeled (1,2,3,4) wires sneaking there.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #26
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by J0hanne5 View Post
I have three SQNs: S4 series II, S4 series IV and one mono 3:1 (old version with screw driver switches) and I love them!! Incredible sound and build quality. I got all of those for a very little money and I use them as a preamps in my studio.

I'm planning to do some direct out mods and I ordered a couple of Hirose multipin connectors to do breakout cables. The S4 series IV manual says that there are channels 3 and 4 coming out of the 12 pins connector and there are some blanco pins left. Is it possible to route channels 1 and 2 to those? I took a quick look inside and noticed some labeled (1,2,3,4) wires sneaking there.
This will be very helpful, I hope you check back here.

Some very useful information

http://www.sqn.co.uk/Modifications%20Portal.html
Old 4 weeks ago
  #27
Lives for gear
I have a CooperSound CS 104, its warmer than an SQN, more Nagra like
Good MS linking and decoding
Poor limiter in comparison with SQN but great into a SD 702.
Roger
Old 2 weeks ago
  #28
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Poulton View Post
This will be very helpful, I hope you check back here.

Some very useful information

http://www.sqn.co.uk/Modifications%20Portal.html
Thanks!

How did I missed that page :D I have looked manual and specs many times.
πŸ“ Reply
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
πŸ–¨οΈ Show Printable Version
βœ‰οΈ Email this Page
πŸ” Search thread
♾️ Similar Threads
πŸŽ™οΈ View mentioned gear