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What Monitor Control System do you use?

Discussion in 'Monitoring / Headphones' started by audiokid, Dec 7, 2011.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I own both the SPL MTC 2381 and the Dangerous Monitor ST. I'm actually torn between either. They both sound amazing.
    There are a few things that either one doesn't have so I mention this rather than the things that are obvious. Both controllers are IMO the best on the market, both have basically the same functions.

    I think the SPL MTC 2381 is the best controller for that amount of money, bar none! Its very transparent and designed perfect.
    The SPL is wired more friendly where the ST needs a 25 pin dsub with the connectors that fit your studio and then you are good to go. For studio without dsubs, its a simple purchase for this cable. Keep in mind its an expensive cable.

    Even though mono is something of the past, I actually test everything in mono. The SPL has an added ability to mono HP where the ST doesn't. Both however , do mono via speakers.

    The ST has that extra Bass sub on (7 & 8) that shares all the speakers (A,B,C) so this in itself is pretty choice. One Sub will work for all your speaker. The ST is also programmable ( very cool)
    The Dangerous Monitor ST has a pretty hefty headphone amp that will drive 16 HP. I've just ordered the Redco Little Red Cue Box so it will be cool to put it into action.

    These are the slight differences between the two. Again, they both sound so good. The ST is sonically a bit superior and the remote is the icing on the cake. Do you need the extra's. Either controller will step up your game for certain.

    If your budget is around $1000... SPL MTC 2381 is the way to go.
    If you have an extra grand... the Dangerous Monitor ST is very nice and most likely the last controller you will ever need.

    Either way you look at it. You aren't complete until you have a monitor control system. thumb
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I think if I wanted one of those, I would actually build up my own. I would build it with the same componentry used in my console & preamps (Neve/API stuff, Op-Amp Labs) some speaker routing pushbuttons, Mono pushbutton, talkback/cue/SA with adjustable monitor dimming. It's simple and what more does anyone need? Keeping the preamps I want in-service, would be akin to what you find in both API & Neve boards. That would keep my monitor chain consistent with the rest of the control room. But since all that is still built into my Neve board, I have as yet no reason to build one up. God knows I have plenty of 3415A's with which to accomplish this DIY project with.

    I also prefer building my own headphone systems.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  3. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Chris -
    Just a thought -
    Consider also the Dangerous Audio D-Box.
    It does monitor controlling but it also has a KILLER 8 channel summing mixer with pan controls on channels 7/8. I use my DBox on a daily basis for both monitor controlling and for summing and it truly is the best in both worlds. For "critical" mixes, I've been known to run out 8 stems into the DBox into a DSD recorder with all effects applied and use the DSD as my final file before chopping into tracks. The sound when this happens is nothing short of glorious!
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Jeremy knows there is magic with DSD & analog summing. One of the reasons for Analog summing is because analog travels at 186,000 mi./s. Digital summing can't even come close to that. In addition to that, DSD is an order of magnitude faster than any PCM and therefore comes closer to the truth.

    I speak the truth even though not all of my equipment does but most of it does. The analog does.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Hey Cucco, glad to see you back, hope you make a habit of it. We all miss you.

    I love the Dangerous stuff, it really excels. What are you using for DSD, Korg? Do you send the DSD back to Sequoia?
  6. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Thanks Chris. Life has been unbelievably busy lately!
    I do use Korg for my DSD. Unfortunately, Sequoia doesn't have the ability to deal with DSD. However, Korg's AudioGate software is getting more and more capable. If I need to do any final advanced processing, I'll convert it to 24/192 and do the editing/track markers at that point.
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Hey Cucco, I'm not familiar with DSD but it sure interests me. I thought you used the Korg MR1000/ 2000's for mastering to but still needed to bounce it down to something else sooner or later. Can you burn the DSD format directly off of the MR to what?
    (Reading this now http://www.audiogate.bluecoastrecords.com/ ) and this ( http://www.korg.com/mr2000S )

    If I recall, you are using the FF800 to track into Sequoia, then you take that back to your studio and stem out into the DSD?
    Please explain how your chain works in more detail ?

    This looks cool but pricy:
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I personally know that most people are not still aware of DSD a.k.a. Direct Stream Digital. It's not 16-bit, not 24-bit but just a bit & zeros. The sample rate is somewhere around 5.8 MHz that's megahertz not kilohertz. The beauty of this system is that it can be converted down to any format without any transcoding repercussions. Other than the repercussions of the lower bit and sample rates. So where 48 kHz doesn't transcode down properly to 44.1 kHz, this is a nonissue with DSD. I actually had thought that Sequoia could handle DSD but Jeremy indicates it cannot. He's usually right on the money. DSD was also utilized for the pretty much now virtually nonexistent SACD format as that was/is DSD. Yet folks continue to track and mix at 24-bit/192 kHz and have that up converted to DSD which is basically a cheat since it's still originated as PCM. In a sense, car tires started off as rubber. Today they are a hybrid compound of rubber and other elements with much less rubber being used. And then they went from rayon to nylon, polyester & steelbelt substructures and a combination of all of that today. Kevlar & carbon fiber are also coming into play. So DSD can currently be considered the pinnacle of our audio technologies. And with that, there isn't much out there yet to support that. Partially due to our current state of the art computers with the ability to deal with 24 or more channels of tracks at that kind of speed for processing. So we must be patient and utilize PCM until our computers become positronic, which should come into being by the 23rd century when we get to meet Data. His brain is so clean & Pure, he feels nothing and has no emotions. Sort of like where most of our audio already is with the current state of the art. So we still rely upon those old-fashioned "analog computers" a.k.a. Analog Consoles/summing mixers to bring back some real feeling to the recordings. I don't care what the mathematicians say about the mathematics because we hear otherwise. It's obvious isn't it? Besides, I haven't found a logical math computer that behaves logically, consistently, daily. And it's not like we can go out and buy any mnemonic ram for our computers yet. At least not on the consumer market. Heck, we really didn't have much DSP processors available to us until the end of the Cold War when the military was allowed to declassify it. This also simply indicates they have something much more advanced available to them today. We won't be finding out about that for another 20-30 years. So I think everybody should wait for another 20-30 years before they purchase their next computer? Yeah, right, check, it's in the mail, pipedreams.

    I'm dreaming of a white Christmas BONG.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  9. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    So- unless DSD support has been provided by Sequoia V12 (not sure - they're being tight-lipped about it, but I HIGHLY doubt it), then unfortunately, it doesn't. There's only a small following of DSD supporters out there still as there are some drawbacks to using it (expensive converters, high rates of noise introduced outside the audible band - which, BTW, is present on the Korgs, but you can easily HPF and LPF it out).

    That being said - if I use it for high-end masters, it's only really if I'm doing external summing and/or adding effects. One such example is an album I recently cut for a "farm league" symphony (a pretty decent one at that). The chamber orchestra played in a relatively dead venue. I used a close Decca Tree setup with a pair of flanks and 3 spots (8 total channels). The individual channels were routed to the individual outputs on the RME at full digital volume (ie., no mixer fades inside the computer thus reducing word length). Since they were coming out of their respective channels, there isn't a chance to overload the mix-bus on the RME. They were fed into the 8 channels on the D-Box. The Center mic from the Decca and the centrally placed spot mic were assigned to channels 7 and 8 on the D-Box so I could pan them accordingly. Then, the output of the mix (which I monitored through the D-Box) was fed into a Bricasti M7 which was then fed, in turn, to the Korg (which I also returned to the D-Box on analog inputs) and was monitored on the D-Box. I could then hear a "before" and "after" with the reverb processing.

    I zeroed in on a few key spots where the dynamic range would be tested and monitored to make sure I wouldn't clip. Since DSD can operate above clip level, but the Bricasti is limited by its PCM capabilities, I still kept everything below -0dBFS.

    I also have an Allen and Heath board (MixWizard series) that I'll use for similar purposes if I go over 8 tracks. It's not as headroom-a-licious as the D-Box, but it's pretty damn nice, especially given its cost.

  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    At the end of the day, you master to the DSD and then where to CD? Directly from the DSD to a stand alone burner?
  11. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I can master to DSD (Audio Gate allows you to burn a SACD that will play in many SACD players - or I can export the DFF files). Or, if it's final destination is CD or Downloads (95% of my output), then I use AudioGate to handle the conversion to PCM. It's dither algorithms are pretty good.

  12. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Very cool. Where is the biggest advantage in today's 16/44.1 or MP3 world then? It is in the precise monitoring more than just the astonishing sound quality? meaning... because it captures exactly what you monitor, you are less likely to say, WTF happened to my mix when I bounced it down to CD. Thus, its the ability to capture exactly what you are hearing every step making it inevitably more precise each step greatly speeding up your workflow ? Did I explain it right? I'm sure you can say this better?
  13. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Well...that's a good question. Is there an advantage in today's world? I'm not sure. I personally like the workflow that way and I like having a master in the best possible format that I can get. You never know what's coming in the future!

    Here's how I see it -
    1st, there was only the live performance. Then Edison helped to invent this platter that, as musicians saw it, would ruin the music world with it's ready availability and it's inferior quality.
    Then, after it had been cruising along and some really cool audio stuff was invented, the transistor came along. Die hard tubies said that the transistor was cold and sterile and the mass populous said the tube was dead, buried and forgotten. Then came along the cassette. It was even smaller, more readily available, easier to mass market and thanks to Sony, PORTABLE. It even allowed you to steal music off the radio and play it back when and where you wanted! LPs were dead! The lacquer heads insisted that the quality was inferior. So the next generation invented CDs. The first CDs, which didn't really obliterate tape for more than a decade, sounded bad. Digital gear sucked and had a lot of room to improve.

    Fast forward 20 years. Digital gear started to sound bitchin! Tubes made a hell of a comeback. Vinyl made a comeback and, ironically, is recorded digitally first (in a lot of cases) then pressed to disc. But now we have this dreaded MP3. Ugh. It sounds like crap and everybody and anybody can steal your music. There's no more future in music... (we've heard this tune before, right?).

    I envision that, as internet speeds become faster, as storage becomes even cheaper, and portable playback devices and cloud computing become ubiquitous, we'll refine compression schemas to take advantage of quality and space.

    Sorry - I went WAY off track on that one...:cool:
  14. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    no, not really, you are just spreading the topic out. Keep going if you like...

    Back to the monitoring though, do you think its helping your monitoring/ mastering. Is DSD helping you mix with less guessing?

    Here the magic question.
    Would your MP3 sound the same without DSD in your chain?
  15. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    To answer your question succinctly - no.
    The DSD only helps my final product by getting out of the way. It doesn't help my mixing/monitoring.
    I feel (without evidence to promote this) that, if I start with a DSD product, yes, my MP3 is better in the end. If I start with PCM, go to DSD, back to PCM then to MP3...I just don't think it does.
  16. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Thanks for being so thorough. I had a chance to get the MR2000 a few years ago and passed on it. I could kick myself.
  17. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I could kick you too.
  18. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

  19. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Kick me kick me please... I'm into DSD. Sounds kinky doesn't it? Frequency response to 100 kHz. Good enough to record analog tape bias. No brick wall filters. Joyous day. I'm just not sure what I would do with one? Not sure if I would ever be able to listen to 16 bit 44.1 kHz ever again? The examples of it years ago at the AES were stunning.

    I've been good Santa real real good.
    Mx. Remy Ann David

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