Recording - September 2014 - 29

Transparency
We all worry about whether we're hearing what we're supposed to be hearing when we listen to audio in our studios; this
is critically important for a monitor controller, because it handles
literally everything we hear. If a controller's messing with the frequency response of your audio, what comes out of your speakers isn't going to be trustworthy. You need your controller to be
transparent... or at least transparent enough.
What's "transparent enough"? That's up to your ears. It is possible
to design a blind A/B test for the quality of monitor controllers, but
it's not at all easy and won't be
practical for most small studios.
While it's not scientific, a good
alternative is for you to audition
your monitor controller as if you
were auditioning new monitors.
Set it up with a signal source and
a pair of speakers that you trust
implicitly, and listen hard to material you know backwards and forwards, listening for alteration of the frequency content.
Audio types love to argue over the sound quality and coloration (or lack thereof) that comes from any piece of audio
gear, and everyone sets his or her bar at a certain level when
balancing sound quality with budget. Monitor controllers are no
different; as with many other devices, a usable strategy is to get
the best unit you can afford, learn it well, and upgrade it if and
when you feel your needs demand.
A number of audio enthusiasts prefer that their monitor controllers have a passive audio path (i.e. one with no gain stages).
The idea is that well-made passive electronics will color your

sound a lot less, and this is important for a box that's passing
every bit of audio you'll ever hear in your studio. The very inexpensive switch boxes we started with are completely passive,
but few if any of the other units are. Active electronics, when
designed properly, can be pristine in their handling of your
audio, and you have a lot more options for control and routing
with active boxes.
When you put headphones into the equation, you no longer
can have a completely passive device, because your headphone
output will require gain. However, it is possible to build a passive switching device that has
a separate active headphone
circuit. One example of this is
the Radial MC3, which is a
passive 1-in/2-out device with
a separate headphone amp.
My advice here is to listen
first and read specs later.
You're not going to suddenly
decide a box you don't like is
brilliant because you've read it's all-passive, right?
Listen well
A monitor controller should be a solution to multiple problems.
It's designed to pack a lot of functions that were once the
province of large consoles into a small box that any studio can
find room for. Buying the one that works best for you is a matter of understanding what you need; base your decision on the
specific problems you have to solve, and a monitor controller
that solves those problems will, by definition, be the right one
for you.


http://www.cloudmicrophones.com http://www.cloudmicrophones.com

Recording - September 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - September 2014

Contents
Recording - September 2014 - Cover1
Recording - September 2014 - Cover2
Recording - September 2014 - 1
Recording - September 2014 - 2
Recording - September 2014 - 3
Recording - September 2014 - 4
Recording - September 2014 - 5
Recording - September 2014 - Contents
Recording - September 2014 - 7
Recording - September 2014 - 8
Recording - September 2014 - 9
Recording - September 2014 - 10
Recording - September 2014 - 11
Recording - September 2014 - 12
Recording - September 2014 - 13
Recording - September 2014 - 14
Recording - September 2014 - 15
Recording - September 2014 - 16
Recording - September 2014 - 17
Recording - September 2014 - 18
Recording - September 2014 - 19
Recording - September 2014 - 20
Recording - September 2014 - 21
Recording - September 2014 - 22
Recording - September 2014 - 23
Recording - September 2014 - 24
Recording - September 2014 - 25
Recording - September 2014 - 26
Recording - September 2014 - 27
Recording - September 2014 - 28
Recording - September 2014 - 29
Recording - September 2014 - 30
Recording - September 2014 - 31
Recording - September 2014 - 32
Recording - September 2014 - 33
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Recording - September 2014 - Cover3
Recording - September 2014 - Cover4
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