Gear Reviews

QSC TouchMix-30 Pro Review: A little desk of Biblical proportions

Preconceived ideas can be a dangerous thing. I never considered myself an audio snob, but with the smallest desks I’ve ever worked on being Allen & Heath’s GLD and DiGiCo’s SD11, then I suppose I am! So, being asked if I would review a desk from QSC – a desk without actual faders – well, whatever is the world coming to? I’ve been mixing and recording live bands for longer than I’d care to mention(!) and as I prepare to dive into TouchMix-30 Pro, the big question remains: is a small, fader-less desk heaven or hell?

First Impressions

The first thing you will likely notice about this mixer is its small footprint. 

The second thing you’ll notice is that, unless you're planning on going back to good old fashioned analogue multicore, this mixer has to live on the stage next to the talent. 

This means it requires the use of an iOS or Android device to take control of FOH and other mixing duties. To that end, I employed my trusty iPad and downloaded the QSC TouchMix-30 Control App from the App Store. If, like me, you also keep a MacBook Pro handy, it is certainly good to see M1+ App compatibility.

A very useful optional extra worth noting (and present on my review model) is a neat rail stand which sits along the top and secures your iPad or tablet. This not only gives you a second working screen, but sheds a little more light on your trim pots in dark stage wings. This, together with a spare router, and all of a sudden you could be mistaken for believing the desk you're controlling is a somewhat larger mixing package.

So, everything on the TM-30 Pro can now be controlled from your iPad or tablet, bar the odd thing like phantom power, which you should already have set up from the mixer’s interface before you start any serious work. 

It also feels that even on a bog standard iPad, fader operation – along with other controls – is really smooth, as good as, (if not slightly better than) the TM-30 Pro’s own touch screen.

Another great discovery, while playing around with the iPad and the TM-30 Pro’s rather impressive 10-inch touch screen, is the scene button, which gives access to a very useful set of Factory Presets, which in real terms represents all, or nearly all, of the kinds of work you might consider pressing the TM-30 Pro into service for. 

I selected the rock band preset and was pleasantly surprised to see a very standard selection of dynamic mics, as well as a smattering of condensers in all the usual places, together with their corresponding EQs and dynamics.

Of course, no two engineers will have identical settings, but this was an instantly usable set up and a very good place to start. With tweaking completed, you can then save them in the mixer section and, for added security, to your USB drive.

It’s also worth mentioning that you can connect up to 12 iOS and Android devices at any one time, which allows band members on IEMs to control their own mixes. This really is a little desk of biblical proportions.

TM-30 offers a touch of professionalism reserved normally for much more expensive consoles.

To Hell with Manuals

I hate badly written or badly indexed manuals, and of course, most of us only refer to them when we want to solve a specific problem. The good news here is the manual is available within the mixer by pressing the info button on the front panel, and is clearly indexed from a user’s perspective rather than a software or manual writer’s.

Having said that, this mixer is incredibly easy to set up and use, and after only half an hour of playing about with the functions and checking that I could control everything I was likely to need at FOH from my iPad, I started to feel confident I could mix a show without being in front of the actual mixer. 

In some ways, the lack of physical faders on the TM-30 Pro invites you to take the plunge and sail by the seat of your pants or, in this case, WiFi-enabled external surfaces and other smart devices!

I/O Heaven

For what is a small, lightweight mixer, there’s a surprising amount of connectivity at your disposal. For starters, there are 24 balanced XLR inputs, four of which have combi TRS/XLR connections, all of which are controllable via a dedicated Trim (gain) pot. 

There are three further pairs of balanced line level TRS inputs, of which inputs 29/30 have a parallel unbalanced mini stereo jack for iPad/iPod type devices. There is also separate USB stereo playback available, not forgetting the Talkback mic. All XLR inputs including the Talkback mic have individual switchable phantom power.

On the output side there’s a main L/R, a monitor L/R and a further 14 channels of aux, all on balanced XLR. It’s unsurprising that more bands are discovering the joys of ear protection and more precise monitoring afforded by IEMs, so it's really good to see a manufacturer acknowledge this with a product like the TM-30 Pro, which can accommodate seven sets of stereo IEMs if needed.

It's also good to see that the six FX buses are in addition to the aux buses, so you’re not compromising one set of bus options for another. Having six FX buses also means you can dedicate a couple to monitor duties so vocalists, for example, could have their preferred large reverb to help them give the best performance, while the engineer could use something room-like for that perfect front and centre vocal. 

All FX buses are switchable via the FX setup page as pre- and post-fader, and can also be assigned to a VCA or Mute Group if desired. FX returns can be assigned to the L/R master or removed if used for IEMs or monitors only, and can be fed to any monitor send simply by selecting the appropriate send from the main screen's left hand side.

In addition to the 14 auxes, six FX, eight Mute Groups and eight DCAs, there are eight mono Sub Group buses. So if, for example, you wanted to compress the kick and bass guitar as one, then utilising this option is very useful and, dare I say, offers a touch of professionalism reserved normally for much more expensive consoles.

This really is a little desk of biblical proportions.

The Signal Path to Glory

Every input channel can be explored by touching the name plate at the top from the main screen. This places you in the overview screen for that channel, in which you can see the status of all your processing and assignments. 

From this screen, you can select any option along the top to go into more detail with regard to your four band parametric EQ, with separate high and low pass filters.

Additional pages are available for Compression, Gate, FX, Auxes, Presets and Setup. Expanding any of these pages gives you options to fully edit any of the available options. 

On the presets page there is a selection of categorised channel options (the master setup page is still the quickest way to get an overall mix started) that will give you quick and easy set up, and a great option for quickly editing, adding or adjusting channels. 

Some of the EQs can be a little over exaggerated, but it’s still a great place to start if you, like me, want to work fast and efficiently.

Expanding the compression and gate options gives you a selection of parameters you’d more closely associate with a professional plugin. And for those who are not fully conversant with such toys, these are really good examples of how you can clearly hear the result the controls have on your audio as you're setting them up. 

It’s a real pleasure to find a compact desk in a competitive price bracket that isn’t full of gimmicky or poor quality processing, but has real quality channel processing. A massive thumbs-up for QSC here!

Divine recording and Playback

There are three modes of recording that, depending on which one you are in, also allow the TM-30 to be used for multi-channel playback as well as a recording interface.

The first mode ‘Multi-Track’ turns your TM-30 Pro into a 32 x 32 recorder that can record and playback straight to a compatible attached USB hard drive. The second ‘DAW’ mode turns the TM-30 Pro into a 32 x 32 Audio interface when connected to your Mac via USB. 

I also found a compatible ASIO driver for Windows 10, which you can download from the QSC TouchMix software downloads page.

The final mode ‘MP3’ allows stereo recording and playback of tracks via a USB drive. All three modes are selectable from the Record Mode button, which appears in the top right corner of the transport window when you press the Rec/Play button located to the right of the screen.

I have to admit, I found the flexibility of this multiple interface option rather good. It reminds me of when DiGiCo released the UB Madi device and the first time I set up a virtual soundcheck, something which is now standard with most desks and either a USB or Dante interface. 

So if you want to record your talent for the purposes of video production, content in general, virtual sound checking or just for posterity, all you need is a compatible external hard drive or your laptop.

This small console packs a very big punch, and most importantly, it sounds good!

A little bit of Magic

While I’m not particularly a fan of setup wizards that suggest that clever electronics can replicate or even replace the ears of a good engineer, I can report that the wizard title is less magic, and more the four wise men. It’s more a question of following logical procedure and the more important decisions of which sounds or routing options are still left in the user's hands.

Four wizard options are available: FX, Tuning, Gain, and Anti-Feedback. FX is a simple guide to help you make the right decisions about adding FX and whether to include them in your FOH and/or monitor mixes.

The tuning wizard helps you use a reference mic in the Talkback input to analyse either the stage area or auditorium to help you make informed decisions when it comes to EQing. The results are shown on a simple graph similar to the RTA screen. 

Plus, there’s a guide to room sizes and analytical mic placement. When it comes to digital audio, we all know the importance of setting the input gains correctly, and again, this wizard is a simple checklist for achieving just that.

All output buses, which include the master bus as well as all 14 aux buses, also feature a feedback wizard. Now, I don’t like such devices, but this one can visually aid you in whatever is going on and help you make informed decisions. 

Or you can just turn it on and let it do its thing. It’s worth noting that the RTA, which is also available on every bus, can also aid in identifying problem frequencies in a room or mix, and with a little thought and careful listening, you should have all the tools at your disposal to create beautiful mixes.


This small console packs a very big punch, but perhaps even more importantly, it sounds good. All the facilities and functions in the world won’t compensate for a poor sounding desk, and the QSC TouchMix-30 Pro doesn’t disappoint. 

I was a little surprised to find out that it only supports sample rates of 44.1k and 48k as it sounded like it could have been a 96k product.

I love the flexibility of the different record (and subsequent playback) options. All the channel processing works well and adds to the user’s arsenal of creativity if required, or just simply makes everything transparently louder if not. 

I really struggled to find anything I didn’t like, although I’m not a huge fan of feedback destroyers and suppressors. In my day, if it was feeding back, you were doing something wrong; a product that alters EQ to compensate for your mistake is fixing a mistake at the expense of your audio quality. 

I’m sure others would disagree with me, but as I've said before, it’s a question of personal taste.

I think the TM-30 Pro is so good I’m surprised they haven’t brought out a version with a Cat5e cable between the desk and the I/O panel; that would make it a truly flexible, competitor-beating product. 

Having said that, I have a couple of weeks of rehearsals coming up with my own band and I’ll be taking this desk with me for monitor and IEM duties.

Still a snob, but with a new TouchMix-30 Pro!