Axia - RAQ Compact Rackmount Console

RAQ - THE RACK-MOUNT MIXER FROM AXIA
Small packages. Good things. 'Nuff said.

You're a radio professional - not a store PA announcer. Just because you need a rack-mounted mixer doesn't mean you should have to suffer with some flimsy, semi-pro console that looks like a refugee from the church basement. Up 'til now, though there wasn't much choice.

Axia knows that news is important - too important to settle for a second-rate news console just to satisfy some tight space requirements. So our obsessive console designers - you know, the ones responsible for our Element, iQ and Radius AoIP consoles - put on their collective thinking caps (we buy 'em by the case) and went to work designing a compact modern console targeted squarely at newscasting and news production. The result is RAQ, the networked news mixer from Axia.

Meet RAQ. Sure, it's a funny-looking name, but it describes this compact console to a "T" - it fits in just 4 RU of space. Put it anywhere you need a full-featured, rack-mounted mixer: News booths, editors' workstations, voice-over booths, dubbing stations, even small remote studios or club installations. Some companies seem to think that "small mixer" equals "small features" — but what good is a console that falls short when you need it most?

RAQ packs an amazing amount of big-console features into a very small space. Start with six rotary-fader channels. Each rotary fader is premium-quality, sealed and dust-proof for long life and accurate level control. Rated for 2 million cycles, too; definitely not your standard-issue hardware. Channel ON buttons are super-heavy-duty avionics-quality switches with LED backlighting. And each of those channels can provide mix-minus automatically to any Phone or Codec source that's assigned to them — no fiddling with bus assignments or flipping switches: the clean-feed happens without talent even having to think about it.

You'll find not one, but two stereo Program buses. There's also a Preview (cue) bus for auditioning content prior to air. Talent can choose to monitor Preview using your external speaker, or have cue audio automatically routed to the Headphone feed — one touch of a button selects the operation mode.

A sharp, high-resolution OLED display provides Program metering. You can choose between VU or PPM meter ballistics. Easy-to-read bargraphs with attention-getting Overload indicators help make sure your talent keeps the gain where it ought to be.

Speaking of OLEDs, there's one on each channel strip as well. They tell you at a glance exactly what source is assigned — something most consoles this size don't even offer. (You can finally throw out that Dymo labeller; there's no need for it with RAQ.) That OLED display also provides a confidence meter for source audio, and, if that source is a Phone or Codec, confidence metering for the mix-minus output as well. Visual indication of Pan, Balance and other options appear here as well.

RAQ monitor

Here's something else you won't find on most other compact consoles: a full-featured Monitor section. Along with headphone and Preview volume controls, you'll also find a selector that lets you hear either Program 1, Program 2, or one of two External sources. That's helpful for monitoring off-air feeds, or a processed headphone chain, or even another studio. You can pre-assign Monitor sources to these external keys, but the convenience doesn't end there: push one and hold it, and a list of available sources pops up; push the Monitor knob to "take" the new assignment. How cool is that?

Speaking of cool, here's something you won't find on other compact news mixers: Show Profiles console snapshots. Four memory positions let you set, save and recall snapshots of console settings for later use. So there's no fumbling to set up for a last-minute call-in interview, or when there's 30 seconds to air - just load the appropriate Show Profile and RAQ reconfigures to the saved snapshot. That's almost - dare we say it? - news worthy.

QOR.16 frontQOR.16 rearSuper Simple Setup. RAQ connects to our QOR.16 integrated console engine using an included cable. QOR.16 is an integrated console engine with a mixing engine, audio I/O, machine-control logic and custom, built-for-broadcast, zero-configuration Ethernet switch all rolled into an easy-to-deploy package. Is it the easiest IP-Audio console ever? Could be: just connect your audio inputs to the convenient RJ-45 connectors on QOR.16's rear panel, open up your PC's Web browser for some quick source naming, and you're ready to make radio.

What else is inside the QOR.16 engine? Plenty. Check out this list of goodies:

  • Two Mic inputs with switchable Phantom power,
  • Eight Analog inputs,
  • Four Analog outputs,
  • One AES/EBU input and output,
  • 3-band EQ for voice and codec sources with presets that are saved and automatically applied when each source loads,
  • Automatic mix-minus for codecs and phones, available on every channel,
  • Four GPIO logic ports for machine control of studio peripherals, each with 5 opto-isolated inputs and 5 opto-isolated outputs,
  • Six 100Base-T ports for Livewire devices,
  • Two Gigabit ports with SFP for copper or fiber connection to other studios.
  • A configurable gateway that lets you import up to 8 Livewire streams from the network and and export 8 back out. Or, import 12 and export 4, depending upon your needs.

If you need more I/O, that's no problem. QOR.16 is part of the Axia family, so it works with all other Axia gear. You can instantly add IO just by plugging in Axia Audio Nodes. Or plug into existing IP-Audio networks just by connecting it to the network switch.

And it networks, too! A while back, our Marketing guys coined a phrase: "The standalone console that networks." Hokey? Sure - they're marketers! But it's also very apt. Every RAQ console is self-contained. But if you want your RAQ console to be a part of your studio's IP-Audio network, it's happy to oblige. Just use one of the Gigabit ports on the QOR.16 connection panel. You can daisy-chain up to 4 QOR engines in this manner. If you have an even larger network, use one of same Gig ports to connect to your network's core switch. It really is that simple.

Overengineered for your protection. Like all Axia consoles, RAQ is built to take whatever abuse your talent dishes out. LED lighting, sealed extreme-duty rotary faders, a machined-aluminum faceplate and switches that have been tested - by Axia - to give more than 2 million operations, all guarantee that when you're ready to go to work — RAQ is, too.

RAQ channelOLED

OLED us see. We love OLED displays. Why is that? Well, Organic LED displays are bright, high-resolution displays that are sharp as a tack and highly legible. They won't wash out, even in direct lighting. They're legible even from across the room (even if you've misplaced your glasses... ask us how we know). OLED channel displays just above each RAQ rotary fader show you the source that's assigned to each channel strip, and if the Soft Key just below is set to trigger GPIO events, step automation events, or activate talkback to an assigned source, it'll let you know that, too. What, there's more? Yep: our Obsessive Console Designers (OCD for short) put confidence meters in there too. The one on the bottom shows you incoming audio level, and if the assigned source also has an associated backfeed – like a mix-minus, for instance, or an IFB – the one on the top makes sure you know that there's audio going out.

RAQ DESQ meter

Meet the Meter. More OLEDs? You bet! RAQ's extra-wide meter display gives you plenty of information. You can meter both Program buses at once, or quickly switch to meter whatever's assigned to your Monitor channel. Remember, you can assign any source to the two External Monitor keys, either on-the-fly or pre-loaded in a Show Profile. So when you need to check the level of an incoming remote line, satellite feed, or the output levels on your field recorder, you can just assign it to an EXT Monitor key, make it active and meter the results. You get your choice of metering scales, too: VU if you operate North American style, PPM if you're more Continental.

"So, how does this all go together?"

Glad you asked. Setting up a RAQ and QOR.16 engine is simple: one cable between the console and engine, and you're ready to go. Plug your audio sources into the QOR – analog, AES/EBU or Livewire, all using convenient RJ-45 connectors – and then open your Web browser. A few keystrokes to give your sources names (to display on those pretty OLEDs) and you're ready to go. Here's an idea of what a typical system might look like (click the photo for a bigger view):

sample system RAQ tn

Notice that there are two RAQ consoles attached to the same QOR.16? That's not a mistake: each QOR integrated console engine has the muscle for two RAQ or DESQ consoles. Or one of each, if you like. Great for news bullpens, dubbing stations and other applications where you need lots of consoles in a small space.