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Probably not an exciting topic, but I'm looking to improve my monitor control, I've been doing research and have figured out the sky's the limit. I was thinking a Drawmer 2.1 may suit my needs at this time. Not sure I need a dig input, but it might be a nice option for the future. Curious what others use/recommend. Mike

"I  cried when I wrote this song
Sue me if I play too long"

Walter Becker Donald Fagan 1977 Deacon Blues

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Probably not an exciting topic, but I'm looking to improve my monitor control, I was thinking a Drawmer 2.1 may suit my needs at this time. Not sure I need a dig input, but it might be a nice option for the future. Curious what others use/recommend.

 

One thing I'd recommend is to think a bit ahead and try to anticipate what you'll need when you run out of inputs and outputs on what you need now. That Drawmer unit is nicely thought out and should handle what a small/mid size studio doing stereo recording will need for a while.

 

The advantage of having a digital input is to accommodate a digital source that either doesn't have an analog output or doesn't have a very good one. But it would have to be a higher quality D/A converter than what your analog sources have. Another application is to allow you to listen to multiple digital sources through the same D/A converter, eliminating one source of differences. But that's kind of fussy unless your gig is mastering.

 

Incidentally - and I'm not going to sue anyone over this - I think I might have "invented" the monitor controller when I was writing a monthly article series for Recording Magazine in the 1990s. The subject of that article was DIY projects - deciding what you need done, designing it, and finally putting it into hardware. I chose a monitor controller because at the time neither software nor users were fully enough developed to be able to monitor what they were recording and then listen to playback without fussing with cables or doing everything on headphones, or listening to a mix on alternate speakers. I took the design through three evolutions, as I recall, going from a simple switchbox up through an input from a mic preamp and a simple mixer to mix that with DAW playback for input monitoring when tracking or overdubbing. I never knew if anyone built anything from that article, but within a year or two of the publication, commercially available monitor controllers started showing up on the market.

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Gosh, what was that article called, Mike? Something like "GeeIwishIhadda" or "Whataboutifyouhadda"...? Yeah, you should have patented it.

 

That would be the second real product REC launched, after lo-fi plugins (invented as an April Fools' joke in 1995).

 

Monitor controllers are interesting beasties; everyone has different likes and dislikes, and different needs, and I find the choice of a monitor controller to be surprisingly personal and vital for even a small studio. Some people might find one with great specs and lousy converters, others may want (or not want) USB I/O. some will insist on an all-passive design for cleanest tone...

 

In my case, the Mackie Big Knob Studio does what I need very nicely. Two sets of stereo inputs, one of which has Onyx preamps, two sets of speaker outs with mono/mute/dim, parallel outputs for two sets of headphones, direct monitoring, a little talkback/cue system, and stereo USB. I occasionally ponder something bigger and fancier, but have never needed to pull the trigger on it yet.

Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) :D

Musician, Author, Editor, Educator, Impresario, Online Radio Guy, Cut-Rate Polymath, and Kindly Pedant

Editor-in-Chief, Bjooks ~ Author of SYNTH GEMS 1

 

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Gosh, what was that article called, Mike? Something like "GeeIwishIhadda" or "Whataboutifyouhadda"...? Yeah, you should have patented it.

 

Something like that. The title that I have in my original files is "DOIHAFTABUYA?" and the theme was "no, you can make something yourself that will do that." I didn't intend to invent the monitor controller, it just struck me as something that hadn't been incorporated in audio I/O hardware since were were still pretty much in the "sound card" stage at the time. The article was about figuring out what you need to do and then doing it, with the range of things it can do evolving from simple switches up through a simple mixer to sum an input source with the mix coming back from the DAW. The latest date I have for that file is June 8, 2000. This one doesn't have any illustrations (schematics) but I know they're around here somewhere. In a list of articles that I tried to keep, I have "Router/Monitor Switcher" for the February 2001 issue. Maybe that's where it is. I'm sure I have the issue here, but my old copies of Recording are in at least three different piles and I haven't found the right pile yet.

 

Somehow I thought it was split into three issues, but maybe not.

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