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Q3™ Using & Applications

The following is a short 'how to approach the Q3' guide for those familiar with 500 series modules. For more information, we invite you to download the manual.

The Q3 is a line level device. In other words, it is designed to take the output from a mic preamplifier or pre-recorded track and process the signal before sending it along to a dynamic processor, effects device or back to the recorder.

Making connections

Before making any connections, start by turning off your audio system and turning all volume levels down. This helps protect equipment from turn-on transients that could damage loudspeakers and other sensitive equipment.

Connections between the Q3 and the recording or PA system are made at the rear panel of your 500 series rack. Most 500 series racks are equipped with XLR connectors. When you install the Q3 module into your 500 series rack, it will automatically route the card-slot input and output jacks to the module. With the Radial Workhorse 500 series rack the I/O is augmented with ¼” TRS connectors, D-Subs and the Mix Buss signal to feed the Workhorse mixer section.

Connect a line-level source to the Q3. Connect the output from the Q3 to your recording system... turn it on. Listen. You should hear audio. If not, check your connections. To check the power going to the Q3, depress the EQ IN switch. The LED will illuminate if power is present in your 500 series rack. Now familiarize yourself with the GAIN control to check sound levels. If all is good, return it to the 12 o’clock start position.

Start by setting up the controls as follows:

  1. Set all three frequency band rotary controls to the OFF position
  2. Make sure all three ‘shift’ switches are pushed to the right (gentle effect)
  3. Set the high-pass filter to off (outward position)
  4. Set the gain control to 12 o’clock
  5. Set the EQ IN switch to bypass (outward position)


Using the rotary filters controls

The Q3 features three 12 position rotary controls that are designated as BASS, MID and HIGH. Each of these features on OFF position (bypass) and 11 preset EQ curves. Using a simple microphone and a set of headphones, start by familiarizing yourself with the various EQ curves in each band. As some of the EQ curves are very dramatic, using headphones will help to eliminate feedback from occurring.

Gain control
When using subtractive curves, you will notice that the over-all sound level will appear to drop. This is normal. Simply adjust the level by increasing the GAIN control to compensate. Be careful! The Q3 has lots of gain! The opposite is true for additive EQ curves where the over-all level will increase. Again, use the GAIN control to compensate for the boosted frequencies by decreasing the level.

High-pass filter
The Radial Q3 is equipped with a switch labelled HPF that stands for high-pass filter. What this switch does is exactly that... it allows the high frequencies to pass... therefore rolling off low frequencies below 150Hz. The high-pass filter can be very effective when recording as it can be used to eliminate some of the excessive bottom end that can be created by the BASS BOOST band. When a bass boost is introduced it can make the instrument sound muddy. The high-pass filter (HPF) is designed to cut down excessive low frequency resonance by rolling off bass. This allows you to sculpt the mid-bass range (150Hz~400Hz) with the bass boost filter while avoiding the mud.

Shift Key
One of the cool features on the Q3 is the SHIFT key. When set toward the right, the effect of each EQ curve is made gentler (blue line in graph). When moved to the left, the EQ curve becomes bolder and more prevalent (red line). This enables you to listen to various curves to determine if the general effect is going in the right direction and then lets you either add or subtract the effect, depending on your musical taste.


Using the Omniport

When the Q3 is used with a Radial Workhorse or one of our other 500 series power racks, the Omniport connection becomes available and in this case, it functions as an unbalanced input and output.

While the XLR and ¼” TRS jacks on the Workhorse are balanced, the Omniport connection is unbalanced making it easy to connect to the unbalanced insert patch point on a console. Note that the balanced XLR I/O should be left unconnected when using the Omniport function.

The easiest way to connect to the Omniport would be to use a TRS-to-TRS cable. Simply make sure the wiring is configured as follows:


Frequency chart and presets

The Q3 is equipped with three 12 position rotary controls. These can each be set to bypass or to one of eleven preset EQ curves that have been provided. Although the EQ curves shown below provide technical data for those that may be interested, they in fact mean absolutely nothing in real life. You have to listen to the EQ as it is applied. Certain settings may not work with some mics and vocalists while other settings create absolute tonal bliss. Have no fear and experiment. Please click on the graphs to enlarge; blue line is the standard EQ curve; red line is the shifted curve.

Switch Position
Low Boost
Mid Cut
High Boost

+3dB @ 400Hz
High Cut @ 2.4 KHz
+3dB High Shelf
+6dB @ 400 Hz
High Cut @ 1 KHz
+9dB @ 4.8 KHz
+9dB @ 100 Hz
-16dB @ 400 Hz
+9dB @ 2KHz/div>
+11dB @ 500 Hz
-11 dB @ 800 Hz
+8dB @ 3.2 KHz
+6dB @ 250 Hz
-15 dB @ 800 Hz
+6dB @ 4.5 KHz
+9dB @ 180 Hz
-7dB @ 1.2 KHz
+9dB @ 7 KHz
+15dB @ 200 Hz
-11dB @ 1.2 KHz
+13dB @ 7 KHz
+6dB @ 350 Hz
-15dB @ 1.2 KHz
+8dB @ 10 KHz
+8dB @ 500 Hz
-11dB @ 1.8 KHz
+5dB High Shelf w/8 KHz Notch
+9dB @ 600 Hz
-10dB @ 1.5 KHz Shaped
+4dB High Shelf
+18dB @ 60 Hz
-12dB @ 3.5 KHz Shaped
+7dB @ 7 KHz