Midas M32 digital mixer has been around for many years and it is the go-to mixer for many audio engineers. The Allen & Heath SQ series is fairly new compared to the Midas M32 but it is quickly gaining popularity in the sound engineering space.
And that’s because the SQ series digital mixers have proven to be one of the best digital mixers available today.
For someone looking to buy a new digital mixer, it can be quite challenging to decide whether to pick up the Midas M32 and the Allen & Heath SQ series. And that’s where this article comes in.
We’re going to compare the Midas M32 to the Allen & Heath SQ series mixers, head to head, and talk about their area of strengths and weaknesses. And finally, I’ll help you decide which one to go for.
But before we dive into it, I need to address that the Allen & Heath SQ series is made of three digital mixers – SQ5, SQ6, and SQ7. All of these digital mixers have the same number of inputs, outputs, effects, and processing power.
The main differences are the number of knobs, faders, local ports, size, and of course, the price. The SQ7 has the most faders, and local input ports, and is the most expensive. And the SQ5 has the least fader and input port count and is the least expensive.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get into it.
|Attribute||Midas M32||Allen & Heath SQ Series|
|Price||Check Current Price on Amazon||Check the Current Price of the Allen & Heath SQ5, SQ6, and SQ7|
|Main Input Channels||40 (32 XLR, 8 Aux)||48 (16 XLR, 12 Aux)|
|Main Outputs||16 XLR||14 (12 XLR, Two ¼” TRS)|
|Data I/O||2 AES50 Ethernet ports||1 EtherCon, 1 Ethernet|
|Headphones||2 ¼” TRS||1 ¼” TRS|
|Busses/Groups||25 mix busses, 8 DCA groups||36 busses, 8 Mute Groups, 8 DCA Groups|
|USB||2 (1 Type B & 1 Type A)||2 (1 Type B & 1 Type A)|
|Computer Connectivity||USB, Ethernet||USB (32 x 32), Ethernet|
|EQ Bands||4-band EQ||Parametric EQ, 28-band Graphic|
|Effects||Yes (8 Stereo FX Engines)||Yes (8 RackFX engine)|
|Screen||7” Thin-film-transistor (TFT) Screen||7” Capacitive Color Touchscreen|
|Storage||2 SD card slots||1 USB Type A (16 x16)|
|Misc||MIDI In/Out||MIDI In/Out|
Similarities Between the Midas M32 and Allen & Heath SQ Series Digital Mixers
Even though these are two different mixing consoles, manufactured by different brands, they have some things in common and we should definitely talk about them first.
Here are the things both the Allen & Heath SQ Series and Midas M32 have in common:
- Same display screen size
- They can be controlled remotely with a computer, smartphone, or tablet
- Both the Midas M32 and Allen & Heath SQ series mixers have a built-in 32 x 32 USB 2.0 audio interface
Size of Screen
Even though these are two different mixing consoles, manufactured by different brands, the display screens of the Midas M32 (on Amazon) and the Allen & Heath SQ Series are the same size.
In addition to the size, both screens are angled slightly. The Midas M32 has an angled full-color thin-film-transistor screen that is 7” in size. The SQ Series also comes with a 7” high-resolution screen. Thus, the view presented by both mixing consoles to users is the same.
However, one thing you should note is, that though the display screens of both mixing consoles are of the same size, there are a few technical differences between the two. I will talk about them later in this article.
Remote Mixing Control
The ability to access and control mixing consoles has become a very handy feature for both mixing engineers and musicians. And both the Midas M32 and Allen & Heath SQ series provide these features.
The Allen & Heath SQ series mixing console comes with two free apps known as MixPad and SQ4You for iOS, Android, and Windows platforms.
These apps allow mixing engineers to have remote access and control their mixing consoles using their smartphones, tablets, or computers. It also allows musicians to mix their in-ear monitors by themselves using these apps.
The Midas M32 also comes with its own range of offline and online apps for remote control purposes. These apps are; an M32 Editor for Macs and PC,s M32 Mix app for iPads, and M32-Q for in-ear monitor mixes. All these apps provide you with the flexibility to control your mixing control while mobile.
Another similarity these two digital mixing consoles share is found in their recording capabilities. The Allen & Heath SQ series mixing consoles come with a built-in 32 x 32 USB 2.0 audio interface that enables you to multitrack recording onto your DAW.
In addition, it has an onboard recorder that records stereo and multitrack sessions to flash drives through USB Type-A. This onboard recorder is known as SQ-Drive.
This SQ-Drive enables you to record directly to a USB drive. Apart from recording, you can also playback audio from the USB drive plugged in.
With the SQ series, users have the option of capturing and playing back 16 channels at 96kHz or 32 channels at 48kHz. Due to this, the SQ series is ideal for studio mixing and virtual sound checks
What the Allen & Heath SQ series digital mixing consoles offer in terms of recording is virtually no different from what the Midas M32 comes with.
This is because the Midas M32 mixing console has a 32 x 32 USB 2.0 audio interface built into it. This USB 2.0 audio interface is a 32 in/out USB connection port that enables you to capture and record multichannel audio directly to your computer as well as perform virtual sound checks.
To do this, all you have to do is to connect your DAW for recording purposes.
Furthermore, this Midas M32 mixing console also comes equipped with a USB slot that accepts flash drives. All these make this Midas M32 mixing console ideal for studio and live audio recording.
Differences Between Midas M32 and Allen & Heath SQ-5
Since the Midas M32 and the Allen & Heath SQ-5 are mixing consoles manufactured by two different companies, there is bound to be some differences between the two. Let’s take a look at them.
Here are the major differences between the Allen & Heath SQ series digital mixers and the Midas M32.
- Midas M32 has 32 input channels and the Allen & Heath SQ series has 48 input channels
- Allen & Heath SQ has a touchscreen LCD, Midas M32 display is not touch responsive
- Midas M32 has all 32 input channels and 16 output channel ports on the mixing console itself. This means you can plug everything into the M32 without the need for a stagebox. On the other hand, you’ll need a stagebox in order to use all 48 input channels on the Allen & Heath SQ series mixers.
To know the unique features both consoles offer that cannot be compared, and for further explanation on the differences, dive into the rest of the article.
Main Input/Output Channels
When you compare the input/output channels of the Midas M32 with that of the Allen & Heath SQ series, you will realize that the Allen & Heath SQ series gives you more input and output channels than the Midas M32.
The Midas M32 mixing console comes with 40 input channels. For these 40 input channels, 32 are XLR analog mic input channels having Midas Pro Mic Preamp inputs. The remaining 8 channels are AUX channels.
These 8 AUX channels provide you with auxiliary mixes separate from the main mix. For output channels, the Midas M32 has 16 XLR outputs with two of these serving as the main outputs.
On the other hand, the Allen & Heath SQ series digital mixers have 48 input channels. There are 16 local inputs on the SQ-5, 24 local inputs on the SQ6 (Amazon), and 32 local outputs on the SQ7 version.
This means you’ll need a stagebox like the Allen & Heath GX4816 stagebox (on Amazon) if you want to take advantage of all the 48 inputs.
These XLR mic inputs serve as both mic and line inputs and they all have built-in preamps. All of the input channels offer phantom power capabilities as well
Twelve of this mixing console’s input channels serve as AUX channels. For output channels, the SQ-5 comes with 14 outputs made up of 12 XLR and two 1/4” outputs.
If you need more than 32 inputs, then the Allen & Heath SQ series is the option to go for. That’s because it provides you with 48 input channels which should be enough for most live audio setups.
Build Quality and Interface
Midas M32 digital mixer has a streamlined, sleek, and ergonomic design. It resembles classical British mixing console designs. Additionally, the Midas M32 has an excellent build quality that makes it sturdy. Thus, this mixing console offers formidable durability and strength.
The Midas M32 mixing console also comes with 25 Midas PRO motorized 100mm faders and a fully interactive user interface.
On top of that, it also has dedicated physical buttons and knobs for tweaking and making parameter changes. In addition, it comes with LCD scribble strips that allow you to name channels easily and quickly.
The build quality of t mixing console cannot be held in disrepute as well. However, unlike the Midas M32, the SQ-5 spots the distinct Allen & Heath rigid and well-finished metal work.
All the faders on the SQ series are motorized faders as well for hands-on mixing They also come with dedicated physical controls as well as assignable SoftKeys.
You get 17 faders on the SQ5, 25 faders, on the SQ6, and 33 faders on the SQ7 (Amazon).
One thing that also sets the SQ series mixers apart is the Automatic Mic Mixing (or AMM) feature. This feature works to ensure that you get sound of great quality from all input channels even if you do not get around to working on the gains and other settings.
The Midas M32 has a similar feature to the AMM. However, it is only limited to the first 8 channels.
Unfortunately, scene management on the SQ series mixers is not as impressive as what the Midas M32 offers. With the SQ-5, you cannot edit the order of the scene. Neither can you edit the scenes in an offline editor.
So if you are someone who prefers to use the scenes to set DCA assignments or control mutes, it can be quite difficult to do so on the Allen & Heath. On the other hand, the Midas M32 offers you excellent scene management. This makes it ideal for concert work
Screen and Controls
As I mentioned earlier in this article, these two mixing consoles come with screens of the same size. However, that is where the similarities between both screens end.
Although the screens in both mixing consoles have the same size, the Allen & Heath SQ series has a capacitive touchscreen that is very responsive to touch. And this makes it extremely easy to use. You don’t need to look for a button or knob to change something. You can do it directly from the screen.
The touchscreen gives you the option of balancing between the use of the knobs, faders, buttons, and screen during mixing.
Besides the touchscreen, it comes with controls around the screen to control different parameters on the screen. And you can also customize these knobs to control whatever you want.
On the other hand, the screen that comes with the Midas M32 is a non-touch display screen. This non-touch display screen of the Midas M32 is a full-color thin film transistor angled screen that is viewable even in daylight.
However, since the screen is not touch responsive, the only way to navigate around the Midas M32 is by using the knobs and controls available.
The Midas M32 is designed to have an angled screen and effects section that is right in front of the user. Thus, all the most important knobs and controls on the Midas M32 are within reach and easy to access. This is one of the things that stands out immediately when you set eyes on the Midas M32.
Which One Should You Buy? My Opinion
Midas M32 and Allen & Heath SQ series mixing are both great mixing consoles. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. These individual strengths and weaknesses are marginal.
Thus, it is hard to pinpoint one as being better than the other. One’s choice will be greatly influenced by your audio setup needs and, of course, budget.
However, if I were to choose one, I would go for the Allen & Heath SQ series, preferably the SQ7 because it has more local inputs, knobs, and faders. However, I’ll still prefer the SQ5 and SQ6 over the Midas M32
This is because, personally, I believe the SQ series mixing consoles are far superior to the Midas M32 mixing console.
The first reason why I prefer the SQ over the M32 is its touch responsiveness. Though the display screens in both devices are of the same size, the fact that the SQ has a touch screen appeals greatly to me.
Touch screen panels on mixing consoles make them extremely easy to use. You don’t have to read the manual to be able to do simple stuff such as adjusting gain or volume, tweaking EQ, compression, and other very useful controls.
On the Midas M32, you’ll need to know which knob or button corresponds to the controls on the screen. This isn’t a dealbreaker but I’ll always choose convenience.
Another great thing about the Allen & Heath SQ series mixers is that it is a relatively new product when compared with the Midas M32. This means there is definitely a potential for its capabilities to be upgraded through new firmware updates. So, the SQ will likely receive future firmware updates with new features and functions in the foreseeable future.
The SQ mixers’ fully comprehensive twin Automated Mic Mixing(AMM) feature is also another thing I am impressed with. This automatic mixing algorithm covers all the input channels on the SQ-5 and automatically raises or lowers levels across all the inputs assigned to the AMM.
This will help you set your gain levels quickly. And it is quite handy especially when you have lots of microphones in your audio setup.
This is unlike the Midas M32, whose AMM is limited to only the first 8 channels. Thus, the Midas M32’s AMM does not offer you the broad safety cover that the SQ-5 does.
The only negatives about the SQ-5 are the bad scene management that does not make it possible to edit scenes in an offline editor and the fewer XLR input ports it comes with.
However, the fact that the SQ-5 does not have more XLR input ports than the Midas M32 should not be a problem. This is because you can expand the ports by connecting racks and audio links through the Slink and AES ports.
If you have read to this point, then I am sure you have gained a deeper appreciation for these two mixing consoles. Both the Midas M32 and Allen and Heath SQ series digital mixers are excellent and can get the job done for most situations.
I’d advise that you choose one based on your needs and budget. And if you found this article helpful, then do well to share it with someone who needs it.