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Monitor Controllers

Postby Bossman » Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:39 pm

Hi, I'm considering buying the Presonus Monitor Station. We have one at work and I'm happy with it.. but before I go ahead and order one, I was wondering if anyone here can recommend any alternatives. The Presonus Monitor Station is £238.. so i'm looking for something around that kind of price, I could stretch to a bit more if it was worth it.

It has to have at least 3 analog inputs, and 3 speaker outputs.

Can anyone suggest an alternative of similar or better quality, similar price and similar features?.. or can anyone give any reason not to go ahead and get the Monitor Station?
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Re: Monitor Controllers

Postby Mixedup » Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:54 pm

At that price, no, if you're after an active controller and are familiar with the Presonus then go for that. Some of the SM Pro stuff might be worth a look. Didn't like the Mackie Big Knob. Other stuff with those facilities that's better costs rather more...
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Re: Monitor Controllers

Postby The Elf » Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:09 pm

The only SM Pro controller I've used has proved to be quite unreliable, but I'm prepared to believe it's a one-off, because everyone else gives good reports of it.

I use a Furman SRM80A (Signal Router Monitor), which came recommended to me, and has proved to be worth every penny. If you can find discontinued stock, or a secondhand device it would ne money well spent IMO.
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Re: Monitor Controllers

Postby AllyB » Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:36 pm

Can't beat it at that price..
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Re: Monitor Controllers

Postby Bossman » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:42 am

thanks for your replies.. I think I will get the monitor station. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something else on the market.

thanks again.
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Re: Monitor Controllers

Postby AndyN » Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:18 pm

There was a new monitor controller in the front of SOS this month from Radial. I don't know if it's available yet or what the price is but it might be worth a look.

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Re: Monitor Controllers

Postby Red Mastering » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:23 pm

Mixedup wrote:At that price, no, if you're after an active controller and are familiar with the Presonus then go for that. Some of the SM Pro stuff might be worth a look. Didn't like the Mackie Big Knob. Other stuff with those facilities that's better costs rather more...
I think that presonus is a passive attenuator,
and many people loves it, for that price you won't find anything as good sounding;
I use simply NHT PRO pvc, passive and it's ok, for time being awaiting for my 'handmade' passive att:)
good luck
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Re: Monitor Controllers

Postby Mixedup » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:36 pm

Red Mastering wrote:I think that presonus is a passive attenuator

So it is. Apologies for the misinformation
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Re: Monitor Controllers

Postby Bossman » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:53 pm

Mixedup wrote:
Red Mastering wrote:I think that presonus is a passive attenuator

So it is. Apologies for the misinformation

actually, the Monitor Station is active. Its the Central Station that has a passive signal path.

Since this morning, I have been considering spending the extra and getting the Central Station + remote as its rouckmounted and is passive... but its double the cost.
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Re: Monitor Controllers

Postby Mixedup » Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:07 pm

Bossman wrote:
Mixedup wrote:
Red Mastering wrote:I think that presonus is a passive attenuator

So it is. Apologies for the misinformation

actually, the Monitor Station is active. Its the Central Station that has a passive signal path.

Since this morning, I have been considering spending the extra and getting the Central Station + remote as its rouckmounted and is passive... but its double the cost.

That will teach me to check the wrong product's spec when challenged. At least I got it right firs time
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Re: Monitor Controllers

Postby Pete Kaine » Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:46 am

Mixedup wrote:
Bossman wrote:
Mixedup wrote:
Red Mastering wrote:I think that presonus is a passive attenuator

So it is. Apologies for the misinformation

actually, the Monitor Station is active. Its the Central Station that has a passive signal path.

Since this morning, I have been considering spending the extra and getting the Central Station + remote as its rouckmounted and is passive... but its double the cost.

That will teach me to check the wrong product's spec when challenged. At least I got it right firs time

Just point to your user name, shrug and leave it be...

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Re: Monitor Controllers

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:00 am

Bossman wrote: I have been considering spending the extra and getting the Central Station + remote as its rouckmounted and is passive... but its double the cost.

The Central Station is a nice monitor controller and is passive, as you say, but I'd caution against the remote control. Sending the passive signal all the way out to the remote volume control and back again can affect the audio quality quite noticeably -- and many users have reported a quality loss when using the remote as compared to the central station on its own. Being a passive system, the source and destination impedances affect how significant such effects might (or might not) be.

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Re: Monitor Controllers

Postby Bossman » Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:15 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Bossman wrote: I have been considering spending the extra and getting the Central Station + remote as its rouckmounted and is passive... but its double the cost.

The Central Station is a nice monitor controller and is passive, as you say, but I'd caution against the remote control. Sending the passive signal all the way out to the remote volume control and back again can affect the audio quality quite noticeably -- and many users have reported a quality loss when using the remote as compared to the central station on its own. Being a passive system, the source and destination impedances affect how significant such effects might (or might not) be.

hugh

The thing is, I want the monitor volume control on the desk next to me, within easy reach.

I read your review. I was, at first, concerned to learn that the signal travelled all the way to the remote and back again, but in your review you mentioned that you couldn't hear a difference, which was reassuring.. however, now your saying it can make a difference.

I also read Martin's review of the Monitor Station. He mentions that the Monitor Station, being active, has a slight lack of detail and 'veiling' of the sound compared with the direct signal. This is what made me start to look at the Central Station. As I mentioned in my original post, I use a Monitor Station at work. I hadn't noticed any loss in detail, but then I haven't done a AB test with and without the MS in the path.

Now, I'm not sure what to do.
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Re: Monitor Controllers

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:45 am

Bossman wrote:...in your review you mentioned that you couldn't hear a difference, which was reassuring.. however, now your saying it can make a difference.


I don't recall hearing any significant problems, but I've heard and read many user reports subsequently that others have noticed some differences between the unit on its own and when used with the remote. As I said, send and receive impedances will have a big affect on the cable losses, so you really need to try it with your own equipment to access whether the difference is significant in your application or not.

He mentions that the Monitor Station, being active, has a slight lack of detail and 'veiling' of the sound compared with the direct signal.


This is inevitably true of all budget monitor controllers to some degree. That's why the very best -- the most transparent -- cost thousands not hundreds. But whether any veiling is significant in your application -- or even audible with your monitors and your room acoustics, only you can decide. Bear in mind that MW was probably using his ATC monitors in a very well set up room.

Now, I'm not sure what to do.


If you know the Monitor Station, it has the facilities you require, and you are already happy with the sound quality, what's the problem? Go for it! You'll need to spend considerably more to get better.

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Re: Monitor Controllers

Postby Mixedup » Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:52 am

Two thoughts...

I'm currently using a rackmount monitor controller (Dangerous DBox) and have it within easy reach. If you're going to be using this setup a lot, getting the furniture & ergonomics right is the first thing for your to do list.

As you're already using the Monitor Station and are happy with it, then there really is no reason not to go for it. If you find it frustrating later on, or can justify greater spend, then sell it and upgrade it then. I know that what you hear is important, but the 'thin veiling' is a small issue (you haven't noticed it) which will not affect many of your decisions, and it's not putting any thing on to your recorded audio.
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Re: Monitor Controllers

Postby SafeandSound Mastering » Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:42 pm

If ultimate transparency is what you require and you have a studio amplifier
with pots on it. (i.e. L/R volume/attenuators) Use them, nothing more transparent than "nothing".

Of course for routing/switching/monoing, fixed gain power amps, then it's a choice to make things easier.

Ever since I got all active electronics that did not need to be there (i.e. analogue processing equipment) out of the monitoring path the better the sound I heard.:D

I have just upgraded my power amplifier which fortunately has a secondary set of outputs
thus making some new plans much easier to implement.

cheers

SafeandSound Mastering.
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Re: Monitor Controllers

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:51 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Bossman wrote:He mentions that the Monitor Station, being active, has a slight lack of detail and 'veiling' of the sound compared with the direct signal.


This is inevitably true of all budget monitor controllers to some degree. That's why the very best -- the most transparent -- cost thousands not hundreds. But whether any veiling is significant in your application -- or even audible with your monitors and your room acoustics, only you can decide. Bear in mind that MW was probably using his ATC monitors in a very well set up room.


That's quite true - I WAS listening through my ATC monitors in an acoustically treated room.

Unless the rest of your signal chain is revealing you might not hear any difference in your own setup


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Re: Monitor Controllers

Postby jaminem » Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:26 pm

Having lived with a poor quality (Samson C-Control) monitor controller for a few years, the difference when I upgraded to the Dangerous D-Box was night and day. Yes it cost a grand, and that's a lot but it was soo worth it.

Everything you listen to goes through it, so it seems daft to skimp here, in my opinion. Wish I'd done it years ago.

Also its come up here a few times on other threads but I really don't understand the whole - there's no point in upgrading this or that if your room or other kit isn't good enough to take advantage argument.

While I appreciate the sentiment here if you think about it through to its logical conclusion it makes no sense. Just because your room or other kit may not be good enough now, that doesn't mean it will never be, and it also kind of implies that you would have to upgrade EVERYTHING in one go and if you can't there's no point- who can afford that these days?

Just saying...
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Re: Monitor Controllers

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:31 pm

It's a fair point, but the system as a whole can only be as good as the weakest link, and it is entirely possible that the resolution of the monitors, for example, might be insufficient to reveal minor deficiencies in the monitor controller.

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