DVDO Quick6 HDMI Switcher Review

How to future proof your AV amplifier in one easy step!

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Recommended
DVDO Quick6 HDMI Switcher Review
SRP: £399.00

Introduction

Whilst the world of audio can sometimes appear to move at a glacial pace, the same could not be said for video. In fact at times video feels more like a volcanic eruption, throwing up new formats and features all over the AV landscape. In just the last few years we've seen multiple versions of HDMI released, not to mention 3D, MHL and now 4K, all of which might render your existing audio-video receiver (AVR) obsolete. So what do you do? Well the obvious answer is to buy an new AVR but that's an expensive option. Besides what if you really love the sound of your cherished AVR and don't want to replace it just because it doesn't have the latest HDMI connections? Well, DVDO have the answer in their new Quick6 HDMI switcher. In one easy step you can future proof your existing AVR, whilst adding a few other handy features at the same time. Not only do you get six HDMI inputs and two HDMI outputs but you also get support for MHL, 3D and 4K, as well as the addition of InstaPort S and InstaPrevue. All this is contained in a handy little device that comes complete with a remote control and retails for £399. Can the DVDO Quick6 give your AV amplifier a whole new lease of life? Let's find out...

Design and Build

The Quick6 is small but perfectly formed, with the kind of build quality that we would expect from DVDO. The matte black all-metal chassis measures 18.5” x 11.75” x 3.25” (LxWxH) and weighs in at 4.8lbs. The matte black metal facia has six LEDs (one for each connected HDMI input) in the middle, an IR receiver on the far left and an on/off switch on the far right. There is also button that allows you to manually cycle through all the connected HDMI devices. The Quick6 uses a small brick-style 12V power supply that is connected to a socket on the rear panel.

DVDO Quick6

Also at the rear there are six HDMI inputs, of which inputs 1 and 6 support Mobile High-definition Link (MHL), which is fast becoming the de-facto standard for Android based smartphones and tablets. HDMI inputs 2 to 5 can handle 3D and any thing up to a 300MHz 4K Ultra HD signal. We're not sure that the Quick6 really needs two HDMI inputs that support MHL, one would have been enough, but input 6 is slightly offset to allow for MHL devices like the Roku Streaming Stick to be connected. There are also two HDMI outputs, with the main output supporting an Audio Return Channel (ARC). In addition you get coaxial and optical digital outputs, a USB port (for firmware updates), an update firmware button and a RS-232 serial connector, which should keep the custom installers happy.

DVDO Quick6

The remote is made of black matte plastic and has a nice ergonomic design that makes it both comfortable to hold and intuitive to use. There are Power On and Standby/Off buttons, along with central ENTER and arrow controls for navigation control. You'll also find dedicated buttons for the HDMI inputs (1-6), the two HDMI outputs (Z1 and Z2) and the Menu. The PIP and SWAP buttons allow you to bring up a picture-in-picture and swap between the two, whilst the ARC button enables or disables the Audio Return Channel. Finally there is a dedicated button for accessing the InstaPrevue selection system, which brings up PIP window of all the connected HDMI inputs, allowing you to switch to whichever input you choose.

Setup

When it coms to setting up the Quick6, the process couldn't be much simpler. All you need to do is connect your various HDMI devices, six should be enough for anyone, and then connect to your display device via the primary HDMI output. The Quick6 includes a secondary HDMI output which you could connect to another display, most likely a TV and a projector in the same room. However, most people buying the Quick6 will use the second HDMI output to connect with their AVR. The user will be able to pass audio as bitstream or PCM, depending on the age of the amplifier or, if it's particularly old, you can connect the Quick6 to your AVR using coaxial or optical digital.

DVDO Quick6
DVDO Quick6

Once you have connected everything together you can start using the Quick6, however there is also a menu system that allows for greater customisation. The Change Input menu allows the active input to be directly selected, in exactly the same way as pressing one of the HDMI input select buttons on the remote control. The next menu is Auto Input Select which gives you a choice of Manual, with no auto switching; Auto Scan on Disconnect, where the Quick6 will change to lowest numbered active input if the active source is turned off or unplugged; or Auto Scan + Goto New, where if a new source is turned on or connected, that becomes the active input.

DVDO Quick6
DVDO Quick6

After that there is the Output Select menu where there is a choice of Mirror Mode, AVR via HDMI or AVR via S/PDIF - we will discuss these in more detail in the Performance section. The next menu covers InstaPrevue Setup and here you can choose the location of the windows, which can be moved to four different screen locations, name the inputs and then activate those names. There are two modes available here, the Offset Mode where the selected window is offset to show which input is being selected and the Named Mode where the selected input name is shown above its preview window.

DVDO Quick6
DVDO Quick6

The next screen is Information which displays critical switch settings as well as audio and video information about the current active input. Finally there is Advanced Settings which includes CEC Enable, Send Initiate ARC, Send Terminate ARC, Load FW from USB and Factory Settings. There is also the EDID Mode, which allows you to set a fixed EDID and HDMI 6 Power, which allows non-MHL mobile devices to charge on HDMI input 6. There is also Auto, for source and display capability sensing and Custom, where you can select either 1080P PCM, which sends EDID capability information of 1080p video and stereo PCM audio to all sources regardless of what display is attached, or 1080P HBR, which sends EDID capability information of 1080p video and High Bit Rate (HD) Audio to all sources regardless of what display is attached.

Features

The Quick6 includes InstaPort S technology which performs the HDCP authorization routine as soon as any device is connected. When a user selects that device, the Quick6 outputs the content immediately, without having to wait for HDCP authentication. This definitely results in a better user experience, with no delay when switching between sources. Any delay that you do experience is typically caused by the TV when the user switches between sources of different resolutions and the TV needs to re-sync to the new format.

DVDO Quick6

The Quick6 also includes InstaPrevue technology, which provides the user with a simple way to view and select inputs. Instead of choosing from a standard text list of input names (which you can also do), the Quick6 offers an alternative visual input selection by displaying individual preview windows for each active input. You can activate InstaPrevue by pressing the InstaPrevue button on the remote and the Quick6 will display all the actively connected inputs. You can use the arrow buttons on the remote control to select the input you want to watch and press the ENTER button to switch to the input.

Performance

The primary function of the Quick6 is to act as a central HDMI hub and thus extend the life of your existing AVR. In most modern installations, the AVR is used not only as the audio amplifier but also the central video switch. Since the audio needs to match the video being displayed, running everything through the AVR is the most obvious and simplest method. While AVRs often have a long life and continue to provide basic audio functions, since video standards and features change more quickly there is a tendency for your AVR to suddenly find itself out-of-date.

By adding Quick6 to an existing system, the AVR can still being used as an audio processor and Quick6 becomes the primary HDMI switch and control centre in the system. The Quick 6 can be connected to your display via HDMI and to your AVR via HDMI or S/PDIF, the latter is for older AVRs with no HDMI. With either connection, the AVR is then left on that input always and all switching is done with Quick6. If the Quick6 connection to the AVR is from the Aux HDMI output, you should choose AVR via HDMI in the output setup menu. If the Quick6 connection to the AVR is from the optical or coax S/PDIF output, then choose AVR via S/PDIF in the output setup menu.

When Quick6 is put into AVR via HDMI mode, the full audio capabilities of the AVR (EDID) are scanned and combined with the best possible video capabilities of the TV (EDID) and the combination is reported back to all the inputs. In this way, the inputs will send the best possible audio (routed to the AVR) and the best possible video (routed to the TV). Since the input signal could have a resolution of up to 4K (Ultra HD) with lossless audio, and the TV likely cannot handle lossless audio, Quick6 automatically mutes the audio going to the TV when the AVR is on. When the AVR is disconnected or powered off, only the audio capability of the TV is reported back to the inputs and the TV audio is unmuted. In this way you can choose to watch a program just with your TV’s audio or with full surround sound from your AVR.

When Quick6 is put into AVR via S/PDIF mode, the video capabilities of your TV (EDID) are scanned and combined with a pre-stored capability list of a standard AVR connected through S/PDIF and the combination is reported back to all the inputs. This is necessary since capabilities cannot be read through S/PDIF. This allows a full TV resolution of up to 4K while delivering the full audio capabilities possible over S/PDIF. In this mode, Quick6 also mutes the audio going to the TV to prevent formats unknown to the TV from causing unwanted noise. Since there is no way to detect if the AVR is on or off through S/PDIF, if you want to use the TV speakers, the output mode must be switched back to Mirror or AVR via HDMI manually.

In the Mirroring configuration, Quick6 allows two devices to share a single setup, so this mode would normally be used to feed both a TV and a projector in the same room or for a second monitor in a close but related area. In Mirror mode, the two outputs provide the same audio and video signal. If they have different capabilities, the highest common resolution and audio capability is reported to the inputs. So, for example, if the Main output is 1080p, PCM stereo and the AUX output is 720p, 5.1-channel capable, then 720p PCM stereo will be reported to all inputs. Although there are two outputs, the on-screen display (OSD) is only shown on the Main output and the Main output supports ARC.

Audio Return Channel (ARC) is a recent HDMI feature which allows an AVR to receive audio from a TV connected via HDMI. Thus the same HDMI cable that is sending the video from the AVR to the TV can also send audio from over-the-air broadcasts to the AVR. Most TVs can be put into Automatic ARC mode so that when they sense that an audio receiver capable of receiving ARC is connected, they automatically negotiate with the receiver to establish an ARC channel. The Quick6 supports ARC and the dedicated button on the remote control toggles between enabling and disabling the ARC mode. Normally, the TV is left in ARC-on and CEC enabled mode and when you want to use ARC, simply switch the audio receiver to S/PDIF input and press the ARC button on the Quick6 remote.

The flexibility of the Quick6 is remarkable and by simply including it in your system you can immediately add MHL, ARC and 3D or 4K passthrough to your older AVR. The inclusion of InstaPort S is also a definite advantage as there is no interminable wait for the various devices to complete the HDMI handshaking - instead changing inputs is almost instantaneous. The InstaPrevue feature is nice to have but you could just as easily just change inputs using the dedicated buttons on the remote, so it's debatable how much you would actually use it. We were able to test the Quick6 with 1080p/50/24, 1080i/50 and 3D signals but unfortunately we're not currently in a position to see how it performs with 4K content. We also tested the Quick6 with lossless audio (Dolby TrueHD and DTS0-HD Master Audio) in both PCM and bitstream, as well as lossy codecs like Dolby Digital and DTS as bitstream over S/PDIF.

In testing we found that the Quick6 had no problems with all the formats that we threw at it and overall the performance was excellent, both fast and robust. Multiple sources could be accessed with ease and video could be sent to a multiple displays or to a single display, with the audio being sent to an AVR, either via HDMI or S/PDIF. We also had no issues with ARC, CEC or the InstaPrevue feature. The InstaPort S worked extremely well, eliminating unnecessary handshaking and as soon as we turned on a device, the Quick6 would default to it - all very slick and easy. We checked that the Quick6 was passing the video signal untouched and, as expected, it was. In fact we could find no issues with the Quick6 at all and for someone with an ageing audio system it really does offer the ideal solution.

Verdict

9
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

Pros

  • Superb connections
  • Flawless functionality
  • Very fast switching
  • Useful features
  • Easy to setup and use
  • Excellent build quality

Cons

  • Price

DVDO Quick6 HDMI Switcher Review

Like many good things, the DVDO Quick6 comes in a small package but that means it can be easily slotted into an existing system, which is exactly what it's designed to do. It has a plain matte black facia, solid all-metal construction and a clean well laid out rear panel. At the back you'll find six HDMI inputs, four of which can pass 4K and two of which support MHL, along with two HDMI outputs one of which which supports ARC. The Quick6 includes a black plastic remote control that is ergonomically designed, comfortable to hold and intuitively laid out. Set up is simplicity itself, you just need to connect all your HDMI sources and then connect one HDMI output to your display and the other to your AVR. The Quick6 even includes optical and coaxial digital outputs, just in case your AVR doesn't have HDMI inputs. There's a simple menu system that allows you to customise the Quick6 to suit your setup and we were impressed by both the flexibility of DVDO's new switcher and its ease of use.

We were also impressed by the performance of the Quick6, which proved to be fast, reliable and robust. Thanks to the inclusion of InstaPort S, the Quick6 lives up to its name - switching between different sources was almost immediate and we had no issues with handshaking. The Quick6 could handle all the video and audio formats that we threw at it and there was no degradation or interference with the signal. The InstaPrevue feature certainly looked cool and whilst you could use it to select another source, it was ultimately easier to just use the dedicated input buttons on the remote. As a central switcher for an AV system the Quick6 performed flawlessly and covered all the necessary bases to retain a degree of future-proofing. Some might question the price but compared to the cost of a new AVR it doesn't seem too bad and it can definitely breathe life into a high-end system that just lacks the more recent versions of HDMI. The DVDO Quick6 is clearly designed for a specific niche in the market but if you own an older AV amplifier and don't want to upgrade just to gain the latest version of HDMI, then this excellent little device is the perfect solution.

Recommended

Scores

Build Quality

.
9

Verdict

.
9

Connectivity

.
9

Ease of Use

.
9

Connection Speed

.
9

.
9

.
9

Value for Money

.
.
.
7
9
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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