Thread: Monitor controller advice please..

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  1. #1
    Junior assistant coffee maker trainee Groovin'...on a sunny afternoon
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    Default Monitor controller advice please..

    Hi everyone.

    I use Protools HD with Lynx Aroura interface and I'm looking for a high quality monitor controller.

    Something like this possibly - http://www.gracedesign.com/products/m904/m904.htm

    Anyone had experience with the grace design stuff or can recommend something similar?

    I need 3 speaker outs and if it's a rack mount unit then some sort of remote that can sit behind my keyboard and in front of my screens (just where the 'Big knob' was ).

    Thanks.
  2. #2
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    Default Re: Monitor controller advice please..

    Canned the Equinox have you?


    otek
    "Tube color is not the 'thing'. Why would the most linear amplifying device have a color?" - Jonte Knif
  3. #3
    Junior assistant coffee maker trainee Groovin'...on a sunny afternoon
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    Default Re: Monitor controller advice please..

    Well, not quite.

    I'm looking at other options because I heard a couple of stories about certain dealers not dealing with Shadow Hills because of the amount of faulty units that have had to be returned and fixed.

    It's the opinion of my local dealer and I don't fancy the Equinox breaking and not being able to get a replacement for weeks (they're not exactly commonplace around these parts). It is only one opinion and I'm still taking all advice before I make my decision.

    I'm considering the Dangerous 2bus and a new monitor control system now...maybe.

    Oh, I don't know about bloody gear! Can't all you experienced guys just agree with each other, and tell me what to buy?
  4. #4
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    Default Re: Monitor controller advice please..

    I'm considering the Dangerous 2bus and a new monitor control system now...maybe.
    Dangerous Music actually makes their own "master section".

    Mixerman is using one. I believe he is very happy with his.


    otek
    "Tube color is not the 'thing'. Why would the most linear amplifying device have a color?" - Jonte Knif
  5. #5
    Sweet Child o' Mime Theo's brother the Painter
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    Default Re: Monitor controller advice please..

    Well, not quite.

    I'm looking at other options because I heard a couple of stories about certain dealers not dealing with Shadow Hills because of the amount of faulty units that have had to be returned and fixed.

    It's the opinion of my local dealer and I don't fancy the Equinox breaking and not being able to get a replacement for weeks (they're not exactly commonplace around these parts). It is only one opinion and I'm still taking all advice before I make my decision.
    Where did you hear that about the Equinox? Because the Gammas are near indestructible and as far as I was aware they don't deal with anyone bit Vintage Kings to streamline their operations... I could be wrong of course, but I wonder if those comments didn't come out of spite rather than actual issues with the Equinox


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  6. #6
    Junior assistant coffee maker trainee Groovin'...on a sunny afternoon
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    Default Re: Monitor controller advice please..

    Where did you hear that about the Equinox? Because the Gammas are near indestructible and as far as I was aware they don't deal with anyone bit Vintage Kings to streamline their operations... I could be wrong of course, but I wonder if those comments didn't come out of spite rather than actual issues with the Equinox
    I was wondering the same thing.

    The comments came from a dealer listed on their site apparently.
  7. #7
    Sweet Child o' Mime Gumball Rally Driver
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    Default Re: Monitor controller advice please..

    I was wondering the same thing.

    The comments came from a dealer listed on their site apparently.
    So it can mean anything from "This product is not stable" to "Too little overhead on this product - not enough money in it" to "some other dealer got a better price than us, so we can not earn any money on the product".

    Basically anything from "This product sucks" to "This product is great bang for the bucks".
    Intellectually perfect only means there's nothing wrong. To me, overproduction means throwing away what's right in a herculean effort to achieve nothing wrong. (Bob Olhsson)
  8. #8
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    Default Re: Monitor controller advice please..

    Dangerous Music actually makes their own "master section".

    Mixerman is using one. I believe he is very happy with his.


    otek
    when I have the money I am switching over to the dangerous monitor st, which is similar to that, but one rack space and with a remote. the remote is what makes it perfect for me.
  9. #9
    Junior assistant coffee maker trainee Groovin'...on a sunny afternoon
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    Default Re: Monitor controller advice please..

    So it can mean anything from "This product is not stable" to "Too little overhead on this product - not enough money in it" to "some other dealer got a better price than us, so we can not earn any money on the product".

    Basically anything from "This product sucks" to "This product is great bang for the bucks".
    Yep.

    I suppose you've just got to listen to people you know you can trust.
  10. #10
    Junior assistant coffee maker trainee Groovin'...on a sunny afternoon
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    Default Re: Monitor controller advice please..

    when I have the money I am switching over to the dangerous monitor st, which is similar to that, but one rack space and with a remote. the remote is what makes it perfect for me.
    The monitor ST is another option and maybe a preferable one if I go with the Dangerous 2bus.

    I need a remote if the unit is rack mount (or just too big).
  11. #11
    Sweet Child o' Mime Gumball Rally Driver
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    Default Re: Monitor controller advice please..

    Which inputs and outputs; +4 dBu, -10 dBV, AES/EBU, spdif, headphones ... and how many of each? do you need to route, and which features do you need to have access to from your fingertips in your listening position?
    Intellectually perfect only means there's nothing wrong. To me, overproduction means throwing away what's right in a herculean effort to achieve nothing wrong. (Bob Olhsson)
  12. #12
    Junior assistant coffee maker trainee Groovin'...on a sunny afternoon
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    Default Re: Monitor controller advice please..

    +4 dBu, -10 dBV, AES/EBU, spdif,
    errrr... I've no idea about that stuff (although I have a feeling I will do soon) Never needed to. I do know plenty of guys who are all over it though!

    I basically need everything that the big knob does but a hell of a lot better.
  13. #13
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    Default Re: Monitor controller advice please..

    errrr... I've no idea about that stuff (although I have a feeling I will do soon) Never needed to. I do know plenty of guys who are all over it though!

    I basically need everything that the big knob does but a hell of a lot better.
    simplified version:

    +4 dBu = analog line level stuff that runs on xlr plugs
    -10 dBV = analog line level stuff that runs on rca plugs (prosumer gear and most hifi)
    AES/EBU = digital stuff that runs on xlr plugs
    spdif = digital stuff that runs on rca plugs

    All you need the from the device is to

    1. choose what stuff to listen to (input selector)
    2. choose how loud you listen to stuff (volume control)
    3. choose how to listen to it (phones or speakers (output selector))

    Right?



    Are these features important:

    1. LED meter
    2. talk back mic
    3. mono button
    4. mute button
    5. dim - "duck it, if the phone rings" ... WTF?



    I think there is a trend toward making these simple devices appear as something special by adding meters or including converters and digital displays. They are not. This is very basic stuff that the house tech or AE himself used to make.

    So, which features do you need, and how much/which gear do you need to connect to the device?
    Intellectually perfect only means there's nothing wrong. To me, overproduction means throwing away what's right in a herculean effort to achieve nothing wrong. (Bob Olhsson)
  14. #14
    Caveman of Altamira Potential defenestration victim
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    Default Re: Monitor controller advice please..

    Hi Elborgan!
    Hope you're well! I've been checking out quite a few of these - it's really between these:

    Dangerous D-BOX

    Dangerous Monitor ST

    Grace Designs m904

    I think the D-BOX looks the most interesting, particularly because it's $1400 from Mercenary vs. the Monitor ST for $1900 (mercenary) vs. the Grace m904 which is $5595.97 from sweetwater.

    If our console thing doesn't work out, I'm heading directly for the d box. If you do wind up grabbing one of these items, please report back!
    crunch

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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Monitor controller advice please..

    Hi Elborgan!
    Hope you're well! I've been checking out quite a few of these - it's really between these:

    Dangerous D-BOX

    Dangerous Monitor ST

    Grace Designs m904

    I think the D-BOX looks the most interesting, particularly because it's $1400 from Mercenary vs. the Monitor ST for $1900 (mercenary) vs. the Grace m904 which is $5595.97 from sweetwater.

    If our console thing doesn't work out, I'm heading directly for the d box. If you do wind up grabbing one of these items, please report back!
    dbox is cool. it's got some summing, 8 channels, but no remote. the monitor st is a more full featured monitor controller with a remote and no summing. that works better for me, but bear that in mind. if no controller is an option than just go for a nice coleman monitor controller or some other quality piece under a grand. the coleman and the spl are the contenders there.
  16. #16
    Junior assistant coffee maker trainee Groovin'...on a sunny afternoon
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    Default Re: Monitor controller advice please..

    Thanks for all your comments everyone.

    It looks like I'm going with the Dangerous 2bus and the Grace Design m904 with remote.

    I'm thinking -

    Aurora - 16 outs into Dangerous then back into protools to add mix bus processing - Then AES out to the Grace for monitoring. I can also take another output direct from the dangerous to the Grace to monitor straight from summing to compare if needed.

    The Dangerous ST doesn't have an AES input and also the remote doesn't seem to have a volume control for headphones (I think?) which is essential for me. If i wanted to monitor back from Protools I would have to lose 2 channels of summing to send it back (analog) to the ST.

    Does this make sense? Probably not as I'm just learning about this stuff.

    The Grace is more expensive but I can get a pretty good deal on it, so that's (probably) the one for me.



    @Immanuel - Yeah 'Dim' button? I'm with you there. Don't see the need.

    Edit - Can anyone see any flaws in my plan?
    Last edited by elborgan; January 16th, 2010 at 03:42 AM. Reason: see above..
  17. #17
    Sweet Child o' Mime Gumball Rally Driver
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    Default Re: Monitor controller advice please..

    So the role of the Grace will be to:


    1. switch input between the 2-bus and the processed two bus from PT - "kind of" like a by-pass switch.
    2. Headphone amplification and level control.
    3. D/A conversion to make sure you get a pure representation of what your mix sounds like.


    Construction wise, the main money pit is the D/A conversion. It may be worth it. I don't know. After that the headphone amplification. The switching of signals is quite simple.

    Anyway, it means that you pay a lot for a D/A converter so you can use ITB two bus processing. Here is another suggestion: Aurora -> 2-bus -> hardware EQ -> hardware compressor -> amplification (here, there are a couple of different options. But let's start with this part first*).

    (I take the freedom to assume that by two bus processing, you mean EQ and or compression and nothing else. If you only mean one of the things, you just skip the other one from the list)

    What you get here is, that instead of paying a lot of money to have supposedly high end D/A after your ITB processing, you get one flavour of master EQ and one flavour of master compression. This is just based on reading the big guy's posts around here - not my personal experience with high end gear - but from what I have read, a good quality analog EQ and compressor will sound better than the digital variations. If this is true, I think you'd be better of spending the money on analog boxes instead of a high end stereo converter to check how your digital plug-ins sound.


    *
    all you need from here is a splitter and then one line to the amplifier and the other line to a headphone amplifier.

    Alternatively, you can use a line converter to get things down to "hi-fi line levels" (-10dBV) - or use a hi-fi amplifier with a set of balanced inputs. After this, you plug it into a hifi stereo amplifer. This one has a volume knob (which also works for the headphones) and speaker on/off switches. If you want separate simultanious volume control for the speakers and the headphones, you use a tape-out to feed a separate headphone amp. The tape out is not affected by the volume knob on the amplifer feeding the speakers.


    This might sound like a lot of boxes. Actually, it is not that advanced. You do at the same time get physical knobs to adjust your hardware two bus processing.
    Intellectually perfect only means there's nothing wrong. To me, overproduction means throwing away what's right in a herculean effort to achieve nothing wrong. (Bob Olhsson)
  18. #18
    goes looking for thin ice to walk on Can't drive 55!
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    Default Re: Monitor controller advice please..

    I'm gonna suggest to build one yourself. Have a look at the post i made in the presonus central station thread thats here as well.

    Has the options for a plasma VU meter optional (or any vu really), talkback mic optional, mute, dim, signal only passes through resistors and relays so completely passive. Has a seperate remote (audio doesn't pass through it) etc etc.
  19. #19
    Junior assistant coffee maker trainee Groovin'...on a sunny afternoon
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    Default Re: Monitor controller advice please..

    Immanuel - I see what you're saying about spending the money on outboard comps and EQ. Whist I've been considering what I need for a monitor controller, it has got me thinking that an outboard EQ and Comp after the summing would be well worth considering.

    Hmmmm....it could be time to think about upping my budget.

    Thanks for you're advice again

    TehGuitarist - I'll look into that 'build you're own option' although I get hot sweats if someone asks me to change a plug...

    Hmmmm.....new stuff....Oh no! I've gone from 'Mr ITB' to 'Gearslut' in under a month!
  20. #20
    A Top 10 Beaver Licker Grumpy young man
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    Default Re: Monitor controller advice please..

    FWIW, I moved from ITB to hybrid, and followed that to hybrid with hardware 2-buss processing and there's no way I'd go back.

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