Sabine GRQ-3102 GRAPHI-Q
|by David Hartshorn|
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In my travails as a live sound engineer, I use PA systems that are both permanently installed and portable and I've found that there are two required pieces of equipment that without, the show cannot go on. First and foremost is a good, two-channel 31-band equalizer and secondly, a good stereo compressor. If I am stuck without these two, I find myself fighting the system all night long. The Sabine GRQ-3102 GRAPHI-Q has both an EQ and compressor in a single, two-rack space unit along with 12, built-in feedback filters and digital delay system. Delay is used when speaker placement is not ideal for good sound development. If one speaker cabinet is closer to the audience than another, delay is used to time signals so that sound from both cabinets arrive at the same time. The GRQ uses 24-bit analog-to-digital conversion and 32-bit internal signal processing (DSP) to process audio signals. Digital filters don't cause phase distortion like analog filters, sound better and there will never be any noisy fader problems since the sliders are not in the signal path. Digital processing also allows multiple GRAPHI-Q's to be slaved together for larger installations.
The GRAPHI-Q has two channels each with a 20Hz to 20kHz graphic equalizer divided into 31 bands with either 6 or 12 dB of boost/cut. In addition, there are a pair of low and high cut filters with overlapping operating ranges of 20Hz to 3kHz and 1kHz and 20kHz. Also located on the front panel are controls for the FBX Feedback Exterminator, a sophisticated set of 12 independent filters that seek out feedback frequencies and apply a calculated notch or dip in system response at those specific frequencies. The FBX and the Remote Control Software has a quiet Turbo setup mode that recognizes what frequencies are problems giving you an insight to the room's anomalies and so a better ability to solve them by changing the FBX filters to either graphic or parametric styles.
The digital compressor has a threshold of +30dBv to -30dBv, ratios of 1:1 through infinity :1, soft or hard knee action, attack of 1 to 99 msec and release adjustable between 0.05 and 5 sec. Delay is adjustable up to 999.96 msec in 20 microsecond steps. Since the GRAPHI-Q is a fully digital system with an analog style front panel, all parameters are easy to set and held in the front panel memory when power is switched off or stored as a user preset in any of the 69 on-board memories. Many other fine adjustments can only be made using the computer interface and supplied software. Since the unit performed so well utilizing just the factory presets and the front panel controls, I didn't get the chance to interface the unit with a computer.
The first gig I used the GRAPHI was for a reggae band who were playing in a room with the acoustical characteristics of a 24-foot diameter concrete pipe. Needless to say, feedback in this venue has always been a problem and this night seemed to be no exception. After arriving early, I went through the set-up process outlined in the operating guide and waited for the show. The unit connected easily with both XLR and TRS I/O connectors and the maximum input/output signal level is rated at +29dBv. When the band started playing, I was amazed: not a hint of feedback with clean and loud sound. Two weeks later at a different club I experienced once again, that after the initial set-up, no additional tweaking was ever necessary. In just two rack spaces the GRAPHI-Q performs exceptionally well, doing the work of many separate units and well worth the $1,300 MSRP.
For more information on the Sabine GRAPHI-Q GRQ-3102, contact Sabine Inc. at 13301 Highway 441, Alachua, FL 32615, their phone number is 904-418-2000, fax 904-418-2001 or Web to: www.sabineusa.com
Dave Hartshorn is a Northern Virginia-based live sound engineer with more than 10 years experience and the owner of a sound reinforcement business.
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