An SQ-7 digital mixer from Allen & Heath now serves as the cornerstone of production technologies at the Academy of Modern Music Production (AMMP). Working in tandem with Ableton Live 10 music sequencer and digital audio workstation software, the SQ-7 brings an unprecedented level of control to the Mesa, Arizona-based learning centre.
“We’re more than a project studio, and diﬀerent than a university or any other conventional school,” says AMMP founder and all-around ambassador Brandon Mandy. “What sets us apart is that we focus on teaching what it means to be an artist ﬁrst, all while demonstrating everything else needed to succeed from technical to marketing skills.”
What sets this SQ-7 installation apart from all others is its deep integration with Ableton 10 Live, something—to the best of Mandy’s knowledge—that has never been done quite like this before.
“We found early on that obtaining a good mixdown was the hardest thing to do with Ableton 10 Live,” Mandy explains, “because you were always limited by not having motorized faders.”
After carefully assessing their needs, the AMMP team determined that integrating Allen & Heath’s SQ-7 with Ableton Live through MIDI oﬀered the best solution. Once they had put on their MIDI-mapping thinking caps and downloaded the necessary SQ DAW Control software, they were able to use bi-directional control to harness the power of both systems in order to provide functionality beyond the sum of their parts.
“We were a bit out there on our own, leaving footprints for others to follow,” Mandy relates. "Once we built a template, everything fell into place. Now, anytime we start a project, we just open the template and work from there. Every project can be stored and recalled later, allowing us to pick up right where we left off."
Gaining the full functionality of Allen & Heath’s 48-channel/36 bus SQ-7— including the 33 motorized faders that attracted them to the console in the ﬁrst place—along with the DAW brawn of the Ableton 10 Live has moved AAMP into a better place, all at a fraction of the cost of other consoles.
“Our output has increased exponentially,” Mandy adds. “With entirely tactile SQ-7 control, we have no need for any other controllers. In addition, we’ve linked the SQ-7 with all of our other studios using Dante, so it can function as the brain for everything we do in-house.”