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Recommend a monitor controller—rack mount ideally

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Re: Recommend a monitor controller—rack mount ideally

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Dec 11, 2019 7:17 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Martin has good ears and I'm sure it will be at least as good as the Samson you want to replace.

What I can say, though, is that the Audient and the Drawmer controllers I've tried personally have all impressed me, both in terms of pure audio quality -- and especially so for the price -- as well as the features and facilities they provide.

Thanks for that endorsement Hugh :thumbup:

And to Huge Longjohns, all I can say is that in my review of the original (mk I) Presonus Monitor Station I said "I'm pleased to report that the subjective audio quality of signals passed through the Monitor Station is also good, with very low perceived background noise and an extremely clean sound. There's a slight lack of detail and 'veiling' of the sound compared with the direct signal, but these are very subtle differences, and I expect that very few people would grumble, particularly given the bargain price."

Now I haven't auditioned the Audient Nero myself, but having got an Audient Mico preamp I do know the Audient 'sound', and suspect I would hear the Nero's slight improvement over the Monitor Station V2. As Hugh mentioned, whether or not you would is another matter, but for me any compromise at the monitoring stage is one too far, so I'd personally get the Nero.


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Re: Recommend a monitor controller—rack mount ideally

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Dec 11, 2019 7:21 pm

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:Wouldl I hear any difference (I have a well-treated room)?

Hmmm... I think you probably would, actually.... in a well treated room with decent monitors I think the greater resolution/clarity would be audible.

But Wonk's offer might be the best way out of the dilemma! :D

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Re: Recommend a monitor controller—rack mount ideally

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Wed Dec 11, 2019 8:53 pm

Would you simply like a free C controller?

That would be amazing Wonks! Are you sure you don't need it any more?
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Re: Recommend a monitor controller—rack mount ideally

Postby Wonks » Wed Dec 11, 2019 10:37 pm

Yes - or rather no, don't need it.

PM me your address and I'll put it in the post.
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Re: Recommend a monitor controller—rack mount ideally

Postby Dan LB » Thu Dec 12, 2019 3:49 am

Wonks wrote:Yes - or rather no, don't need it.

PM me your address and I'll put it in the post.

And........this is why I love this place. What a great community :clap:
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Re: Recommend a monitor controller—rack mount ideally

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Thu Dec 12, 2019 12:00 pm

Indeed. Wonks is officially a scholar and a gentlerabbit.
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Re: Recommend a monitor controller—rack mount ideally

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Thu Dec 12, 2019 12:02 pm

but it's usually easy enough to hook up an external meter of some sort.

I was intrigued by this, Hugh, if you're still following. How does this work in practice? A rackmount meter of somesort? How does it get wired in?
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Re: Recommend a monitor controller—rack mount ideally

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Thu Dec 12, 2019 12:37 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_6_ek8V1-A

This is interesting. Shows how a cheap Mackie passive controller skews the stereo image by 1dB. About 3 mins 50 in.
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Re: Recommend a monitor controller—rack mount ideally

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Dec 12, 2019 6:06 pm

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:
but it's usually easy enough to hook up an external meter of some sort.

How does this work in practice? A rackmount meter of somesort? How does it get wired in?

Rackmount meter, or freestanding meter... it matters not. The feed depends on the controller. Really good ones -- like my Crookwood -- provide a buffered output specifically for metering post source selector/mode switching but pre volume control. Some provide a record output which can be used. Or you could use a spare artist headphone output... there's usually a way on all but the most basic.

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Re: Recommend a monitor controller—rack mount ideally

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Dec 12, 2019 6:13 pm

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:This is interesting. Shows how a cheap Mackie passive controller skews the stereo image by 1dB. About 3 mins 50 in.

This channel tracking problem afflicts most monitor controllers that use standard rotary potentiometers for the volume control. It doesn't matter whether they are active or passive, cheap or pricy... it's a fundamental problem of the design of a pot. The tracking error is almost always at its worst when the control is in the bottom half of its range. More attenuation generally gives worse tracking accuracy between channels.

That's one reason why it is recommended to set a reference monitoring level with the control around 2 o'clock where the tracking accuracy tends to be pretty good.

More expensive controllers tend to use more expensive (often conductive plastic) pots which tend to have better stereo tracking accuracy, but the only real solution for guaranteed stable imaging at all volume settings is to use switched matched resistors, either wired around a rotary switch, or with relay switching.

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Re: Recommend a monitor controller—rack mount ideally

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Thu Dec 12, 2019 7:45 pm

Most fascinating. I note in your review of the Audient unit you say "Unusually, rather than the traditional ganged potentiometer, the main speaker monitoring volume knob actually controls a stereo electronic stepped-attenuator chip, specifically chosen to ensure perfect channel matching at all level settings — so there can never be any wayward image shifts. On my bench tests (see below) I found the channel matching was within 0.1dB throughout
the entire range, with completely inaudible 0.25dB steps, and a maximum attenuation of 105dB"
I confess I didn't know what you were talking about here, but I assume this issue is precisely what you were referring to?

In your Drawmer CMC2 review you say "The volume control features the same four-gang potentiometer arrangement as the MC2.1, which helps to maintain very close stereo channel-tracking" which again refers to this issue I guess.

Thanks very helpful.
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Re: Recommend a monitor controller—rack mount ideally

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Thu Dec 12, 2019 7:48 pm

Or you could use a spare artist headphone output... there's usually a way on all but the most basic.

Wouldn't this just read the level from the headphone out at the level its volume control was set to?
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Re: Recommend a monitor controller—rack mount ideally

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Dec 12, 2019 7:53 pm

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:I confess I didn't know what you were talking about here, but I assume this issue is precisely what you were referring to?

Yes. Electronic attenuators can offer very good channel matching at all settings, but potentially raise the distortion figures slightly, and can impose some gain-structure issues for the designer. Audient did a very good job with theirs, though. Drawmer took a typically sideways approach to minimise the problem by effectively averaging the channel mismatches across multiple pots.

Both of these solutions are a lot less expensive than 24-step (or more) rotary switches with matched resistor chains, or relay-switched resistor chains.

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Re: Recommend a monitor controller—rack mount ideally

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Dec 12, 2019 7:54 pm

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:
Or you could use a spare artist headphone output... there's usually a way on all but the most basic.

Wouldn't this just read the level from the headphone out at the level its volume control was set to?

Yes...so you need to set the artist H/P volume control appropriately to calibrate the meter as desired.... Which is actually quite a useful facility if working with a VU meter.

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Re: Recommend a monitor controller—rack mount ideally

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Thu Dec 12, 2019 7:59 pm

How would you do that, then? Match it to a meter elsewhere in the chain?
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Re: Recommend a monitor controller—rack mount ideally

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Dec 12, 2019 8:19 pm

Yes. That's what line-up tones are for! :-)
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Re: Recommend a monitor controller—rack mount ideally

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Fri Dec 13, 2019 11:25 am

So how would you do that in practice? And what's a good external vu meter?
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