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Review: Matrox MicroQuad

For the last several weeks we’ve had the privilege to be a test site for Matrox’s latest development. The MicroQuad is a compact quad SDI to HDMI  multiviewer. It can handle anything you want to throw at it offering suport for SD, HD, and 3G. The HDMI output allows the user to turn a consumer grade HDTV or HDMI compatible monitor into a multiviewer.  Weighing in at under a half of a pound the MicroQuad is an amazingly compact unit, which is helpful in already over crowed control rooms or in the field. User control features are accessible though push buttons on the side of the unit, allow the user to switch between a 4 up display or cycle full screen each input.

When we were approached if we’d be interested in trying this unit, I jumped at the chance. Our team had just been throwing around ideas as to how we could add an additional preview monitor to our video room to preview added cameras. We had already outgrown our existing multiviewer solution, and needed to expand. We quickly put the MicroQuad into action, attaching a 24″ LED Asus monitor to the HDMI output and  four of our cameras  (720p/59.9) to the input. We then in true Frankenstein fashion “threw the switch,” well, we just plugged it in. The multiviewer came to life in no time. What blew me away about this unit is that there is no software installation or configuration required to make it work. Just plug it in and go.

This then got me thinking, “where else could this be useful?” With that, I took it away from the video guys, and placed it up in my world for the audio guys. Our monitor console sits at a weird angle from stage left. This angle causes some line of sight issues for the engineer there so we mounted a TV there with a locked off camera feed for the them. By adding the MicroQuad to the mix opened up addition viewing options for the monitor engineer who can now scan several video feeds to see the entire stage.

I later found our video director using the MicroQuad during the week for video shoots. It was brilliant, he was already using a Matrox MC-100 to see the feed from his main camera on a 24″ LCD monitor. The MicroQuad allowed him to view 2 feeds side by side. This kind of flexibility is what I have come to love with Matrox’s products.

As part of our testing we would report back to the Matrox development team our thoughts and possible changes. One thing we did notice is that because the unit is small, it displaces the heat it generates through the casing.  Now it wouldn’t double as coffee warmer or hot plate, but I also wouldn’t bury it in a rack.

When the MicroQuad was released at the end of July several improvements had already been made that our test box didn’t have. They were all things we said would be cool if it could do and voila. I wish I could say it was cause of us, but it was already in the works. These enhancements make this device a compact power house. I am really excited that they added the ability to customize the input labels. It comes standard as CAM 1, CAM 2, and so on. Through the micro usb connector you can now change those. They also added VU meters, which would make anyone using this in the field super happy. The final big improvement is the ability to control it remotely from a PC.

In the short time we had this test unit, we found multiple great uses for it. I would recommend the MicroQuad to any church looking for a simple multiviewer solution or to augment their current setup.

* Disclaimer: This review was not sponsored by Matrox or any of their distributors. There was no exchange of money or equipment offered for this post. It consists of personal views and experiences with the actual product. The goal of this post is to help others churches in the technical endeavors.


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