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Hardware volume controller

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Hardware volume controller

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:08 pm
by blinddrew
Having finally got a few things plugged back in I sat down tonight to do a bit of casual listening and discovered at some point in the last few months, whilst the studio has been out of action, one of the outputs of my interface (focusrite 8i6) has died.

Vexingly it's one of the outputs that's controlled by monitor knob on the front.
I'll pop the top off tomorrow and have a shufti, but as I also have a stand-alone DAC I was thinking about taking the digital out from the focusrite and lobbing that to the DAC and connecting the monitors direct to the DAC.

But that leaves me no hardware volume control for my computer (which makes me nervous) and also means I'd have no volume control on my CD player and minidisc (which wouldn't be particularly practical).

So I could put a monitor controller in - as far as I can figure out from the reviews that is basically a choice between passive (cheap but not great for audio quality) or active (expensive but no deterioration in audio quality).

Or, being as I don't require the extra features of a monitor controller, I could put something simpler in there, something like this: ... roller/AJS

Is there anything else similar I should be thinking about? Has anyone tried the TC? Is it likely to have a noticeably detrimental effect on the sound quality?

For reference, I'm plugging into a set of Neumann KH80s and have a mostly treated room (hope to finish that off over the next couple of weekends).

Re: Hardware volume controller

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:20 pm
by Hugh Robjohns
Drew, PM coming your way...

Re: Hardware volume controller

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 9:11 pm
by Bob Bickerton
I have the TC unit and it’s a handy piece of kit and I haven’t noticed any problems with it.

Actually it’s main use was for an analogue volume control for the conductor of musicals where we were providing live sound. We found the conductor would often need to tweak monitor levels and a simple large knob did the trick!


Re: Hardware volume controller

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 9:17 pm
by blinddrew
Thanks both! :)

Re: Hardware volume controller

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 9:51 pm
by James Perrett
Double check all your settings in the Focusrite software. The analogue outputs on my Focusrite interface randomly seem to stop working although clicking on various options in the control software can sometimes make them work again.

As I mainly needed the outputs for headphone monitoring I ended up resorting to using an external DAC feeding a Behringer headphone amp which seems more reliable.

Re: Hardware volume controller

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 11:02 pm
by blinddrew
Yep, did a thorough work through all the routing options and tried loading up a couple of other templates I'd got saved but using the software to swap L&R to outputs 1&2 still gave the error at the same output socket.
Fortunately, thanks to the amazing people on this forum, I think we have a solution. :thumbup:

Re: Hardware volume controller

PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:48 pm
by ef37a
Don't know what's in the PM of course Drew but the main drawback to passive controllers is their rather high output resistance.

Assuming a 10k Ohm pot is used the OPR cannot be less than 2.5k. This is not a problem is the cables to the monitors are fairly short but long runs could introduce some HF loss and possibly hum and noise. Passives are also of course limited in the facilities they can include.

I bought the Mackie BK passive because the runs to my Tannoy 5As are under 2 mtrs and I can detect no loss of HF( well, *I* wouldn't would I !) or noise. in any case my need for a controller was more for a switching centre to faciltate copying from various sources, the KA6 already has a very usefully placed top knob VC but I needed to switch other things in and out.

Bottom line, passives do not introduce any noise, distortion or 'colour' but then neither do actives unless they are apallingly badly designed!


Re: Hardware volume controller

PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:59 pm
by blinddrew
Thanks Dave, speaker cable runs would be short but fortunately a solution has been found thanks to the fine people here. :thumbup: