This digitally controlled monitor controller boasts an impressive array of features.
Danish company 2400 Audio have been in business since 2013, producing passive monitoring controller systems of one sort or another, all with the underpinning premise of passing pure, unadulterated audio using an entirely passive, balanced signal path, but with digital control for versatility and the possibility of remote control. The Imperium product name has pervaded the company’s entire range, first with the Legend Imperium models, then with Legacy Imperium units, and now the latest ‘Next Generation’ Imperium NG versions. Pleasingly, the two previous Legacy Imperium models can, if desired, be upgraded to the latest Imperium NG standard, which speaks well for long‑term customer support. All units are hand‑built in Denmark and the company offer a variety of customisation options.
Two physical versions of the Imperium NG are available: a model with a fixed I/O capacity housed in a 1U rackmount case, and a larger 2U rackmount version which has more and expandable I/O. The core features of both systems are very similar though and, as mentioned above, there is a wealth of customisation and configuration options available for both models, which I’ll cover later. For this review I was supplied with the NG 1U unit fitted with the Mastering, Wi‑Fi, and USB options.
The core Imperium NG 1U is a rackmounting unit extending around 205mm behind the rack ears. Most of the rear‑panel audio I/O connectivity is via 10 XLRs which provide two stereo inputs and three stereo outputs — all analogue, balanced and line‑level. In addition, two pairs of quarter‑inch TRS sockets provide a stereo, balanced send and return loop for external signal processing, while a further pair of TRS sockets labelled as Hybrid I/O serve as a user‑configurable stereo input (default) or output. This last facility allows the unit to be configured with three stereo inputs (the standard condition) and three monitor speaker outputs, or two stereo inputs and four stereo outputs — whatever is required to suit a specific installation, and many will find that setup flexibility very useful.
Supplementary rear‑panel connections include a B‑type USB 2.0 (to host) socket, MIDI in and out on a pair of 5‑pin DINs (for remote control), an RJ45 socket, and a 12V DC coaxial power input (a 2A/12V wall‑wart PSU is included). However, all is not quite as it may appear since the RJ45 port is not compatible with standard Ethernet; it’s actually a customised ‘link port’ intended for the connection of future 2400 Audio products! Moreover, the USB socket only works if the optional USB card is installed. The wall‑wart power supply is only there for the digital control electronics — there is no active circuitry in the audio path at all — but, as the signal path is created entirely via relays, without the digital control you can’t connect an input to an output, let alone adjust the volume!
Since I’ve already mentioned configuration options, let’s look at those now. The NG 1U model can be enhanced with options named: Wi‑Fi, USB, Mastering, Trinnov, Barefoot MEME, and Custom Caps. The NG 2U model expands slightly on that list with additional stereo inputs (up to four) and outputs (up to eight).
The easiest option to explain is Custom Caps: a selection of individual button caps with alternative labelling to replace the standard front‑panel fitment — and owners can request their own personalised designs, too. By way of example, the review model was supplied with several alternative button caps including 'Shhh…', 'REAL LOUD', and even a ‘skull and crossbones’ graphic!
Predictably, the Wi‑Fi and USB options permit remote control of the Imperium NG from a computer or compatible mobile device like an iPad, using the multi‑platform TouchOSC app as the user interface. 2400 Audio provide convenient start‑up configurations for TouchOSC, but the system is totally user‑configurable if you want a custom setup. Of particular note, the computer USB option opens another useful possibility: the review unit was supplied with an Elgato StreamDeck USB control panel, which can be configured to provide one‑button access to any Imperium NG monitor‑control features and functions, extending those available via the unit’s own front‑panel controls.
As you might anticipate, the Trinnov and Barefoot MEME options allow direct...
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