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Can I get a last minute check before I pull the trigger?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by sshack, May 13, 2008.

  1. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    I've been working with my little Duet for the past few months and have had nothing but good fortune, but I'm ready to move up to something with more channels. That being said I'm going for the RME Fireface 800 and probably the Big Knob for my monitors. I'm asking for a caution-check from whomever would like to comment as these are my thoughts....

    The RME obviously affords me more interfaces, this is the primary goal. I understand that their converters and pres are, for all intents and purposes just as good, if not better than the Duet.

    The RME does not have an exterior volume control, thus my reasoning for looking at the Big Knob. The Duet has unbalanced outs for the monitors and I've had an outstanding issue where my monitors emit a nasty buzz/hum/squeal, so I'm hoping this will help clear things up. Additionally, the Big Knob appears to have a good quality monitor mix about it (based on what I've read).

    All of this will be used with an iMac/Logic 8. I have a Great River and a LA-610 as my preamps at this time.

    Are there any points of consideration that I've overlooked or perhaps something I need to know about that I'm just not seeing? I solicit and welcome any comments that you can throw my way.

  2. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member


    The RME's software (while not incredibly intuitive) is incredibly versatile regarding routing. If you're only really looking for monitor volume I think you may be over-buying.
  3. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    Thanks Phil, but no; the primary objective is more interfaces. The only reason that I'm considering the Big Knob is because of, well...the big knob.

    The Duet is incredibly handy with the single control knob and I've gotten a bit used to it. If I understand it correctly, in order to adjust volumes, mute, etc. on the RME, I'd have to grab my mouse every time and control it via the GUI.

    Conversely, I could stay in the Apogee camp and go with the Ensemble, which is roughly the same price as the RME "and" the Big Knob. It has external controls like the Duet.
  4. Groff

    Groff Active Member

    With the GR, LA and RME I would look further than B-Knob. SPL as a minimum, or better, ColemanAudio.

    If you need just volume control, go passive ... Goldpoint Audio, DACT ...
  5. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    Not so much a 'just need' as much as a compensation for lack of an exterior master control. I'm not sold on the Big Knob, it just seems like a well put together unit for the money.
  6. DonnyWright

    DonnyWright Guest

    Check out the Presonus Monitor Station. It's new and has some really great features that the Big Knob doesn't have (like adjustable Dim that kicks on when you talkback).
  7. Weasel9992

    Weasel9992 Guest

    I'd look at Presonus' Central Station...it's a little more expensive, but the passive signal path makes a big difference...plus the conversion is great for the money.

  8. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    Seems like the Central Station may be overkill.

    FWIW, I only have one set of monitors, I have no need for talkback (though they all have it). I really just need volume, mute, good quality DA and enough power to push the headphones when I need it.

    Now, I understand that the CS supposedly has a 'cleaner' sound to your monitors, but to what degree compared to the Big Knob, I have no clue.

    If I were to just use the RME as a stand alone and struggle with the GUI for controls I would think the DA quality would be just as good if not better than the CS or BK, eh?

    I'm still in for the RME, now I'm just re-thinking the monitoring issue.

    Keep it coming.
  9. Weasel9992

    Weasel9992 Guest

    Oh yeah, I think the conversion on the RME is certainly at least comparable to the CS. If you want to just use the GUI you'd definitely lose nothing in the bargain.

    I used a Big Knob a few times and walked away not terribly pleased with the sound...way too much color for me. I heard some low end flabbiness that I really didn't like much, and though the CS may indeed be overkill, it's not much more expensive than the Big Knob.

    YMMV as always.

  10. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    Thanks for the info Frank, noted.

    I'll be picking up the RME tomorrow and will go without the BK for the time being. I may just sit on my beans and wait until something comes along that makes better sense.
  11. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    The RME is a good choice.

    If you want a passive balanced volume control for your monitors, I found the M-Patch 2 from SM Pro Audio to be adequate and good value.
  12. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    I like that Bos, thank you. That's certainly a great price point.

    One other thing...while picking up the RME this afternoon one of the guys at the Pro Audio store pointed out that a simple Hosa audio switcher may work for what I need.


    I would assume it just receives the signal/levels from the RME and passes it through to the monitors and headphones allowing simple attenuation and muting.

  13. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I don't know much about that Hosa product. I can't even see from the Hosa picture whether it has balanced ins and outs. I know the headline says it has, but it would have to have XLRs or TRS jacks for that, and it's not clear whether the connectors are those or phono (RCA).

    Also, a balanced stereo volume pot is a fairly big beast, and I doubt whether there's room in that tiny box for two of those.
  14. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    Just a follow up here...

    I've spent the past day or so delved into the RME and it has been nothing but pleasing thus far. I've poured through the manual having retained a very small amount of what this unit is capable of doing, but for all intents and purposes I think I have it figured out enough right now to get done what I need. I've just wanted to skim the surface of all of the areas that I'll be using it for, but will certainly need to go back and spend some greater quality time understanding the routing potentials.

    The DA conversion, to my ear is MUCH cleaner and, well, better sounding to my ears than the Duet. Also, having added some nice balance Mogami cables as the connections for my monitors, I now have eliminated the hum/buzz that I've been struggling with for the past few months.

    I'll worry about the master volume/mute dilemma another day. For now this thing will be doing what I need and a whole lot more.
    (but don't be surprised if I come back with more questions)

    Thank you everyone.


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