Working from home? Switch to the DIGITAL edition of Projection, Lights & Staging News. CLICK HERE to signup now!

ChamSys QuickQ

Nook Schoenfeld • February 2019Road Tests • February 11, 2019

ChamSys QuickQ 20

If you’ve ever run moving lights and automated fixtures from a lighting desk, it’s a safe bet that you know the basics needed to build a show on any lighting console. But, chances are, you are going to need a manual or a hotline to a friend who can answer a few questions to get you on your way. That isn’t the case with the ChamSys QuickQ, an elementary yet powerful little desk designed for any intermediate project. If you are a DJ, student in a theater or just put on simple productions and need an affordable console to get your show lighting programmed, this is for you.

I didn’t need any manual to show me around the desk. I was able to figure out how to patch fixtures, write cues and chases as well as come up with a few effects on my own quite easily. Finally I was stumped and had to reach out to the rep for an answer. “How do I change pages for the next set of faders?” Turns out I couldn’t find that function on this basic desk for a simple reason. It doesn’t exist. But hey, this is a basic affordable console that still fills plenty of needs.

‡‡         The Hardware

The QuickQ comes in three sizes. The 10, 20 and 30 are separate models that vary by the number of DMX universes they output, and also by the number of faders (see “At a Glance” sidebar). I am playing with the QuickQ 20 today. It is a compact console that weighs in at just over 10 pounds and is approximately 20.6 by 13.8 inches (WxD). It’s only four inches tall, easy to fit in any little club FOH (or a closet, for that matter).

On the left are 20 faders, referred to as fixture or multi-function faders. They only contain one cue. One can assign a single dimmer channel to one fader, or any group of them including intensity for any type fixture from LEDs to moving lights. They can also assign a single cue to each. There is a flash button for each fader below and one can easily “Choose/Select” the fader they are working on by tapping the legend above it. There are no cue stacks on these 20 faders — just fixtures, groups or single cues — and they take up the left side of the console with two rows of 10, one on top of the other. There are RGB LED indicators located above each fader that show the user the current state of that fader. None of the faders on the console are motorized.

On the right side are 10 additional faders that can be used for playback cues, whether they are individual cues or stacks, as well as chases. They act just like any other normal fader on a smart console. These faders are separated by two attenuator knobs that adjust the hue and saturation of a color. Next to them are two buttons one can use. Currently, the one labeled “DEF” returns the color of selected fixtures to default, and pressing it again sets them to red. Pressing the “SNAP” makes all the selected fixtures the same color.

Above these two color knobs is the “mode” section. This is how you decide if the 20 fixture faders on the left are going to control a single channel, group of fixtures, or a single cue. On the right of the 10 faders are the playback and pause buttons for a selected cue stack. Next to that is a Grand Master, complete with a DBO button underneath it for quick blackouts.

Above the cue stack faders is a 9.7-inch touchscreen. It is used for just about all programming needs, ranging from patching to palettes to layout views. There are four attribute encoders on the side of the screen. The console comes complete with the ChamSys MagicVis Visualizer, which this LD finds incredible, considering how affordable the QuickQ is. The desk also supports one outboard monitor (1920 x 1080 HDMI) and also comes with built-in wireless capabilities, so using an outboard tablet is simple, whether you want to use it to focus lights on stage or program a show on your device.

The console can support up to 1024 channels of DMX (two universes with 5-pin XLR outputs on the back). It can also spit out sACN, Art-Net, Pathport protocols. MIDI signals and timecode are easily accepted through external jacks. RDM is fully functional in this desk and one can patch a show simply by using this feature.

ChamSys QuickQ 30

‡‡         The Software

The user interface on the main screen makes programming the console a breeze. It almost talks me through every scenario as I go. Patching is easy as well. It’s almost as if this is a console made for dummies, which is brilliant for folks like myself who want to walk up to a desk and just make it work without overcoming a steep and time-consuming learning curve.

The color mixing system is easy to decipher. I can choose between using RGB or CYM to mix a color if I do not wish to use Hue and Saturation with the color picker. I can also choose colors using the gel # color picker for quick access to one’s favorite colors. It is fairly close, as expected.

The gobo selection is possibly the easiest one on the market. Once a light is grabbed in the programmer and you select gobos on the touchscreen, a list of jpegs show you each physical gobo in each fixture. One encoder can scroll through the available jpegs, while another chooses rotation (and direction) and whether to change speeds or have them remain static.

Although the desk is non tracking, users can turn to the “Record All” function when making cue stacks. I found this simple enough. I would have a cue up on stage, make changes to the look, then simply press Record All for Cue 2. As long as board operators and programmers remember to use that syntax, they will be fine. Memory storage should not be an issue on this desk.

ChamSys QuickQ 10

‡‡         In Use

I make a quick bunch of cues and stack them on a fader. The typical delay/follow/wait times are all available to edit on the touch screen. I write a quick chase and find that the four encoder knobs adjust the rate and speed of execution for each one. I do find it strange that there is no way to connect an outboard keyboard, but if I press and hold down any item on the desk, a keyboard instantly pops up for typing in a legend.

The effects engine is fairly basic, but has what you need to make all the simple ballyhoos, rainbow chases and intensity FX. Changing the size, speed and other attributes of an effect are simple as well. One cannot build their own effects, but the desk comes with 22 movement FX, 18 color FX, three beam FX (Iris, focus and zoom) as well as nine different intensity options that can all be manipulated per the programmer’s desired timings.

The screen itself supports multi touch gestures — swiping and pinching included. The outboard tablet function works phenomenally with any Apple or Android tablet. There is a free download of the QuickQ app. A remote QR reader Wi-Fi setup a snap. The MagicVis software can run on any PC, Mac or Linux driven computer. The same fixture library from the ChamSys MagicQ consoles works on the QuickQ series.

At a Glance

QuickQ’s for Easy Cues

This intermediate console is perfect for any small- or medium-sized show. It’s small enough to hide in a corner, yet smart enough to do almost anything you can imagine. One is only limited by the amount of DMX channels per console size and the use of only one page. I would highly recommended the QuickQ for schools, houses of worship, clubs, community theaters and corporate events.

ChamSys QuickQ

PROS: Small physical size, easy user interface, basic effects engine, plenty of faders, Built in Wi-Fi and RDM. Ease of use with built in help menus.

CONS: This is a non-tracking console.

Key Differences Between Models:

Universe Count:

  • QuickQ 10: 1 universe – wired and network (Art-Net, sACN)
  • QuickQ 20: 2 universe – wired and network (Art-Net, sACN)
  • QuickQ 30: 3 universe wired and 4 universe network (Art-Net, sACN)

Multifunction Fader Count*:

  • QuickQ 10: 20 Multifunction Faders
  • QuickQ 20: 20 Multifunction Faders
  • QuickQ 30: 40 Multifunction Faders

(*Left side of console)

Playback Faders:

  • QuickQ 10: 1 Cue Stack and 2 Chase faders.
  • QuickQ 20: 10 Cue Stack/Chase Faders
  • QuickQ 30: 10 Cue Stack/Chase Faders


  • QuickQ 10: $2,350
  • QuickQ 20: $3,390
  • QuickQ 30: $4,570

For more info, go to

The Latest News and Gear in Your Inbox - Sign Up Today!