Recording - September 2014 - 32

B Y M I K E M E T L AY

In the modern DAW-based studio, where the large-format mixing console has been replaced by a small desktop mixer with
limited features-or with no mixer at all-a monitor controller
can be a critical piece of gear. It emulates some or all of the features of a large console's Master/Monitor section: multiple monitor mix feeds, cue mixes, talkback, and more. As I explain in
my article on monitor controllers elsewhere in this issue, different designs cover different sets of features at different price
points, and it's up to you to figure out how much you need and
how much you can afford to spend.
With that in mind, it's great to discover a monitor controller
with a fairly comprehensive set of features at a reasonable
price. So let's take a tour of the PreSonus Monitor Station V2,
shall we?

PreSonus Monitor Station V2
Command central
The Monitor Station V2 is a desktop device that combines a
full monitor controller with cue mix and talkback functions with
a 4-way headphone distribution amplifier. It allows you to work
with up to four stereo input sources, three analog and one digital, as well as three sets of monitor speakers, which should cover
the needs of most personal studios handily.
Housed in a sturdy and nicely angled metal chassis, the
Monitor Station V2 places all of its controls in a neat layout
that's easy to navigate in a hurry, a critical element of a welldesigned controller. But before we look at the controls, a quick
glance at the rear panel will familiarize us with the inputs and
outputs we have at our disposal.
From right to left, there are two sets of stereo Inputs, ST1 and
ST2, and Aux inputs on unbalanced RCA and minijack. (Both Aux
inputs are active at once; the Monitor Station V2 presents them as
a mix, with levels set on whatever's plugged into them.) There's
also a coaxial stereo S/PDIF input on RCA, which can present
audio at up to 24-bit/96 kHz resolution. Then comes the bank of
Speaker Outputs: A, B, and C, each with its own trimpot for level
calibration (see below). Then come two sets of Line Outputs, Main
and Cue, and then the Power switch and jack for the external linelump power supply. With the exception of the Aux and S/PDIF
inputs, all connections are on balanced 1/4" TRS.
Now that we know our ins and outs, we can see how the
front-panel controls relate to our monitoring resources! Near the
front edge of the Monitor Station V2, you'll find the most critical
tools at hand: a large master Level knob that's so smooth in its
operation that it feels like it's not connected to anything, and
backlit buttons for Mono, Mute, Dim, and Talk. The Dim function
has its own Attenuation knob so you can decide how quiet it
makes your speakers, from barely any dip at all to nearly muted;
the Talkback button has a Level control above it and a goodquality built-in electret condenser mic above that.
Right above these main controls are a pair of 8-step LED meters,
flanked by sets of buttons that select your inputs and outputs. On
the left are the Main Source (input) selectors, for ST1, ST2, and
Aux; on the right are buttons for Speakers A, B, and C. To the left
32

RECORDING September 2014

A monitor controller for all reasons
of this section is an Aux Level pot and a switch to decide if the Aux
signal is coming from the two analog Aux inputs or from S/PDIF.
Above the meters, the top half of the Monitor Station V2 is
dedicated to the Cue section. This is where you'll find four headphone jacks with individual level pots and switches to control
whether each set of phones listens to the Main or Cue Source.
Any of the three Inputs can be selected as the Cue Source, and
there's a separate Cue Level knob.
Setup and calibration
Believe it or not, most of the Monitor Station V2's excellent
user manual is devoted to the first time you set up the unit in
your studio. The controls are pretty self-explanatory, but for the
monitor controller to do its job properly, your speaker levels
have to be set using the Monitor Station V2's rear-panel trimpots (and their own level controls and trims) so that you are
hearing a known, repeatable SPL when the main Level knob is
set to a particular place and the meters are showing a particular level. This process is a bit time-consuming but very much
worth it, and PreSonus deserves kudos for walking new users
through the process in a very clear manner.
You'll need a band-limited pink noise source to play through your
speakers as you calibrate them. PreSonus recommends downloading an appropriate audio file and playing it back through your
DAW if you don't have a test tone/noise generator or CD of tones
and noise. You'll also need an SPL meter, either a proper hardware
model or an app on your mobile device. I recommend hardware,
as SPL meters are affordable, easy to find at electronics stores, and
tend to be more reproducibly accurate than apps.
By the way, you can select your operating level for the meters
by holding down one of the front-panel buttons at power-up; you
can choose between 0 VU on the meters referencing +4 dBu,
+10 dBu, or +18 dBu, depending on the operating levels of the
gear in your studio.
Once this is done, you should have a reliable, consistent operating level in your studio, and you can use the Monitor Station
V2 with confidence.



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
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Recording - September 2014 - Cover3
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