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Transformer/less SQN
Old 4th March 2019
  #1
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whippoorwill's Avatar
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 Head
 

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
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whippoorwill's Avatar
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 3 weeks ago
  #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 3 weeks ago
  #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 2 weeks ago
  #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 2 weeks ago
  #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 tranformer ins and outs and electronic 5S, that probably means that any difference between them is down to choice, 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; 2 weeks ago at 04:29 PM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #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; 1 week ago at 02:30 PM.. Reason: Clarity
Old 3 hours ago
  #17
Here for the gear
 

Hi Geoff
It is not comp filtering, as I tested it with just one Røde 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.
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