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Why doesn't anyone make this?... Monitor Controllers
Old 28th November 2009
  #1
Why doesn't anyone make this?...

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We're looking for the perfect higher quality zero-latency monitoring unit, which seems to be difficult to find in one box - preferably in a basic semi-compact rackmount unit.


Here's what we need. The idea is simple: "I want to record *this* source and monitor through *these* speakers."

* 4 recording inputs (two stereo, two mono).
* 4-way recording input selector.
* Recording output to DAW.
* DAW playback input.
* Mixer between selected recording input and DAW playback for ZLM.
* Output volume control.
* 2-way monitor output selector.
* 2 outputs for monitors.
* 2 headphone outputs.

* possible monitor path insert - for monitor effects / channel strip, etc.
* possible talkback mic input



Examples of popular units that don't do what we need - mainly because they don't provide the essential zero-latency recording / playback mixer:
  • Dangerous D-Box
  • Dangerous Monitor ST
  • Cranesong Avocet
  • Grace Designs 904
  • Coleman MP3H
  • Presonus Monitor Station
  • Presonus Central Station
  • Mackie Big Knob

Units that come close:
  • SPL MTC
  • Audient Centro
  • RME FF800 (not a simple analog unit)


...Am I missing something?...Is this not the obvious DAW tracking / monitoring box


Or do I have to buy SSL or Tonelux (etc.) modules - and piece this together??


Thanks, in advance, slutz!...thumbsup

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Old 28th November 2009
  #2
Old 28th November 2009
  #3
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...thanks for that, Shane...LOL

...you got wunnuh those in a 1u rackmount box (with a cherry on top)?...heh


[those studios are closed now, btw ...i did do some work there once upon a time...]

closed in August, 2007..............anyhow, back OT...thumbsup

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Old 28th November 2009
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Lee Cardan's Avatar
 

I know it's not the greatest option, but I'm pretty sure one of the Mackie Onyx mixers with the firewire interface could fit the bill

good luck!
Old 29th November 2009
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Aisle 6's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sqye View Post
.

We're looking for the perfect higher quality zero-latency monitoring unit, which seems to be difficult to find in one box - preferably in a basic semi-compact rackmount unit.


Here's what we need. The idea is simple: "I want to record *this* source and monitor through *these* speakers."

* 4 recording inputs (two stereo, two mono).
* 4-way recording input selector.
* Recording output to DAW.
* DAW playback input.
* Mixer between selected recording input and DAW playback for ZLM.
* Output volume control.
* 2-way monitor output selector.
* 2 outputs for monitors.
* 2 headphone outputs.

* possible monitor path insert - for monitor effects / channel strip, etc.
* possible talkback mic input

.
The Allen & Heath ZED R16 may be a contender.
Old 29th November 2009
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aisle 6 View Post
The Allen & Heath ZED R16 may be a contender.
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Thanks, Aisle 6. thumbsup

Yes, we know we can basically do this in some flavor of full-on mixer - especially in combination with DAW I/O and monitoring, etc.

The point is - no one has really made the ZLM mixable tracking / monitoring thing happen yet in a basic compact [rackmount] unit.

Why? We've been talking to designer after designer for years about this......and crickets.

It seems so simple and obvious! I mean, practically everyone on this whole forum could used one, no?

But instead, people are combining I/O with monitoring and headphone monitoring with splitters and mixers, and on and on - it's madness...makes no sense

People with a half million dollars in gear are buying things like the Central Station to try to get the job done - and it's still not right.

The few units which are close - are still missing something BASIC - like a ZLM mixer...

Makes no sense.

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Old 29th November 2009
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Aisle 6's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sqye View Post
.

Thanks, Aisle 6. thumbsup

Yes, we know we can basically do this in some flavor of full-scale mixer - especially in combination with other DAW I/O and monitoring gear, etc.

The point is - no one has really made the ZLM mixable tracking / monitoring happen yet in a basic compact [rackmount] unit.

Why? We've been talking to designer after designer for years about this......and crickets.

It seems so simple and obvious! I mean, practically everyone on this whole forum could used one, no?

But instead, people are using splitters with monitoring and I/O and headphone monitoring, and mixers - it's madness...makes no sense.



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I hear you. But, from what I regularly read on this forum, the designers are getting asked for a simple bussing/monitoring system that has.....option#1.....option#2 etc. and it seems to me that all these requests are pointing back to the flexibility of the mixing console from whence it came.

I know both I and a lot of fellow slutz would not part with their consoles and I find that I always seem to have the features that keep getting requested in the next generation of monitoring/summing devices. Just an observation. : )
Old 29th November 2009
  #8
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
Check out an API 7600 / 7800 system... all you have asked for and then some... expandable to fit your every need [3124MB+ takes care of the input, 7600 / 7800 takes care of the output with maybe an A2D or two in the middle... call one of the joints that sells that stuff for a real configuration].

Peace.
Old 29th November 2009
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aisle 6 View Post
I hear you. But, from what I regularly read on this forum, the designers are getting asked for a simple bussing/monitoring system that has.....option#1.....option#2 etc. and it seems to me that all these requests are pointing back to the flexibility of the mixing console from whence it came.

I know both I and a lot of fellow slutz would not part with their consoles and I find that I always seem to have the features that keep getting requested in the next generation of monitoring/summing devices. Just an observation. : )
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Good point.

And, it's one thing if you're tracking bands - the HW mixer is a no-brainer.

But there are a GAGILLION singer/songwriter (both pro and project, home and commercial) studios that could benefit from the extra real estate a HW mixer hogs.

Don't get me wrong - I know this is high end, and if people choose to get around these issues by piecing together SSL X-Racks, or Tonelux summing and monitoring modules, that's fine.

It still does not address this - what I perceive to be - very basic need.

Enough with all the old school HW, already...

Let's address what users need to be doing with their DAW tracking and monitoring!

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Old 29th November 2009
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Aisle 6's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sqye View Post
.

Enough with all the old school HW, already...


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LOL! Yes it does get a little passe on this forum.
Old 29th November 2009
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aisle 6 View Post
LOL! Yes it does get a little passe on this forum.
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Yeah, and if we're doing full-on big real estate mixers - why not the Audient Zen?

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Old 29th November 2009
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
Check out an API 7600 / 7800 system... all you have asked for and then some... expandable to fit your every need [3124MB+ takes care of the input, 7600 / 7800 takes care of the output with maybe an A2D or two in the middle... call one of the joints that sells that stuff for a real configuration].

Peace.
.

Thanks, Fletch...yes, the modularity and analogue quality rock...but it's still multiple HW boxes...

thumbsup

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Old 29th November 2009
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Aisle 6's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sqye View Post
.

Yeah, and if we're doing full-on big real estate mixers - why not the Audient Zen?

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I tried the Audient Zen.....Hmmmmm! not really impressed. Build quality was very poor. Knobs were very wobbly and cheap feeling. Sound was quite good as you would expect from Audient. The biggest disappointment was the DAW integration. Not the sexiest centre piece either. A little under developed IMO.
Old 29th November 2009
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Martin Kantola's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sqye View Post
....Am I missing something?...Is this not the obvious DAW tracking / monitoring box
I hear you! This has been bothering me for almost a decade now. In the middle of a tracking session right now, got three stereo cue mixes going (drums, bass and guitar) and would love them to be zero latency (not even A/D/A latency!) and somehow easier to deal with.

Think a digitally controlled analog rack-mounted mixing unit would be the solution. With the option of small controller "satellites" out in the studio for the musicians. Run the control signals on standard 3-pin XLRs so you can use the studio wiring you have.

Some day when I find the time and budget I'll build my own system if nothing else.

Martin
Old 29th November 2009
  #15
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aisle 6 View Post
I tried the Audient Zen.....Hmmmmm! not really impressed. Build quality was very poor. Knobs were very wobbly and cheap feeling. Sound was quite good as you would expect from Audient. The biggest disappointment was the DAW integration. Not the sexiest centre piece either. A little under developed IMO.
yes, stay away from audient. its build like a toy and compared to my dangerous monitor st its not transparent. i was in the same boat as the original poster. i ended up gettig a rme card with total mix. honestly i couldn't be happier. together with the dangerous controller i have all the control i'd ever need.
Old 29th November 2009
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by salomonander View Post
yes, stay away from audient. its build like a toy and compared to my dangerous monitor st its not transparent. i was in the same boat as the original poster. i ended up gettig a rme card with total mix. honestly i couldn't be happier. together with the dangerous controller i have all the control i'd ever need.
.

Hey, thanks salomonander!

Yes, currently I'm going the RME route with some more outboard. At least RME gives you lots of real routing matrix options.



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Old 29th November 2009
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Kantola View Post
I hear you! This has been bothering me for almost a decade now. In the middle of a tracking session right now, got three stereo cue mixes going (drums, bass and guitar) and would love them to be zero latency (not even A/D/A latency!) and somehow easier to deal with.

Think a digitally controlled analog rack-mounted mixing unit would be the solution. With the option of small controller "satellites" out in the studio for the musicians. Run the control signals on standard 3-pin XLRs so you can use the studio wiring you have.

Some day when I find the time and budget I'll build my own system if nothing else.

Martin
.

Yeah, it's really crazy....makes no sense, whatsoever...where's the obvious box?

...If you end up building one, please let us know!

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Old 29th November 2009
  #18
.

Hey guys - thanks for your brief reviews of the Audient stuff. I haven't used it yet, so it's good to know some basic pros and cons.

Once again, though - even if it was a great product - I have little interest in these massive multi-channel HW mixers. After being out of the mixing console world for YEARS, I have no desire to go that route - at this time.

I don't need 16 EQs, and 16 pres, 16 directs, 16 inserts, 16 channel faders, etc., etc.


I really only need a SLAMMING monitor section (with just a few basic mixer input features) - one that really has not been designed yet.


612 views on this thread, so far - and the suggestions are:
  • Sony Recording Studios, NYC = closed 2.5 years ago (best one, so far) heh
  • Mackie Onyx mixers = mixing board (larger device) (+ inferior FW integration, btw)
  • Allen & Heath ZED R16 = another mixing board (larger device)
  • API = again, multiple HW boxes for input, summing and monitoring

Once again, felluz. This is almost 2010. I don't NEED 16 channels of ANYTHING.

Like most users these days, I work alone the majority of the time.

I just want a GOOD QUALITY BASIC COMPACT MIXABLE ZERO LATENCY MONITOR SECTION - with some decent I/O options! ...I don't need more DB-25 outputs...

(Yes, you can do function 'x' - if you add HW 'y', and you can do 'g' - if you add 'w'....but, i don't need all these cumbersome and antiquated options - this is simply more work; and unecessary HW)

Are multiple boxes (not 100%), large or medium format consoles (not 100%), DIY (not 100%), RME (not 100%) and API (not 100%) the best we can do? The closest we can get?

We can spend $10k on an Audient Zen - and we still get medium-large format + cheap quality parts?

Why is there no good ZLM mixer box with decent I/O? This is 2010. Doesn't everyone here need one of these?

Wouldn't almost every one of the 95,000 gearslutz here buy one?

I MUST be missing something....I mean, seriously!?


Thanks, dudes!
thumbsup

.
Old 29th November 2009
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Guitar Zero's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sqye View Post
.

Hey guys - thanks for your brief reviews of the Audient stuff. I haven't used it yet, so it's good to know some basic pros and cons.

Once again, though - even if it was a great product - I have little interest in these massive multi-channel HW mixers. After being out of the mixing console world for YEARS, I have no desire to go that route - at this time.

I don't need 16 EQs, and 16 pres, 16 directs, 16 inserts, 16 channel faders, etc., etc.


I really only need a SLAMMING monitor section (with just a few basic mixer input features) - one that really has not been designed yet.


612 views on this thread, so far - and the suggestions are:
  • Sony Recording Studios, NYC = closed 2.5 years ago (best one, so far) heh
  • Mackie Onyx mixers = mixing board (larger device) (+ inferior FW integration, btw)
  • Allen & Heath ZED R16 = another mixing board (larger device)
  • API = again, multiple HW boxes for input, summing and monitoring

Once again, felluz. This is almost 2010. I don't NEED 16 channels of ANYTHING.

Like most users these days, I work alone the majority of the time.

I just want a GOOD QUALITY BASIC COMPACT MIXABLE ZERO LATENCY MONITOR SECTION - with some decent I/O options! ...I don't need more DB-25 outputs...

(Yes, you can do function 'x' - if you add HW 'y', and you can do 'g' - if you add 'w'....but, i don't need all these cumbersome and antiquated options - this is simply more work; and unecessary HW)

Are multiple boxes (not 100%), large or medium format consoles (not 100%), DIY (not 100%), RME (not 100%) and API (not 100%) the best we can do? The closest we can get?

We can spend $10k on an Audient Zen - and we still get medium-large format + cheap quality parts?

Why is there no good ZLM mixer box with decent I/O? This is 2010. Doesn't everyone here need one of these?

Wouldn't almost every one of the 95,000 gearslutz here buy one?

I MUST be missing something....I mean, seriously!?


Thanks, dudes!
thumbsup

.
I would buy one in a heartbeat.
Old 30th November 2009
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Silvertone's Avatar
Here is something old school that comes close... 2 mic ins, 2 instrument ins, 4 line in's, L,C,R output, mains & monitor section, high & low EQ, oscillator for calibration, Reichenbach x-formers in and out...
Attached Thumbnails
Why doesn't anyone make this?...-edyne-8x2-console.jpg  
Old 30th November 2009
  #21
Gear Nut
 

The Metric Halo ULN8 may have been dismissed for cost reasons from your list, but can do everything your after, and extremely well too.
Old 30th November 2009
  #22
Gear Addict
 
Allen Rowand's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Songcatcher View Post
The Metric Halo ULN8 may have been dismissed for cost reasons from your list, but can do everything your after, and extremely well too.
Actually, the 2882 has been doing it for a few years.

* 4 recording inputs (two stereo, two mono).
The 2882 and ULN-8 have 8 analog inputs, enough to cover the six needed here
* 4-way recording input selector.
Not sure what this is…
* Recording output to DAW.
Yes on both units.
* DAW playback input.
Yes on both units.
* Mixer between selected recording input and DAW playback for ZLM.
Yes on both units.
* Output volume control.
* 2-way monitor output selector.
* 2 outputs for monitors.
Totally configurable software based monitor controller; dsp based in the 2882, digitally controlled analog in the ULN-8.
* 2 headphone outputs.
One on the front panel, drive another pair from the analog outs.
* possible monitor path insert - for monitor effects / channel strip, etc.
Not easy on the 2882, since you'd eat analog channels for inserts. ULN-8 can be set for inserts on every channel.
* possible talkback mic input
You'd have those two unused analog inputs, so that's doable on both.
Old 30th November 2009
  #23
Lives for gear
I have zero-latency tracking (and confidence monitoring with either headphones or monitors for the engineer) with the following gear:

1) MBox2 Pro
2) API A2D
3) Any budget mixer with 3 or more channels (reverb is a bonus). I use a Yamaha MG166CX that I use for small live gigs)
4) 2 sets of headphones (engineer and performer)
Old 30th November 2009
  #24
Lives for gear
 
ddageek's Avatar
 

Sqye
I think you dismiss the API system to quickly I welcome the modularity if I didn't have the DDA console I would be all over the 8200/7800/7600 ! One size dose not fit all a couple of channel strips with routing four auxes! a bunch of 8 input modules with a master section. This has to be the best aproach to summing it might not be one box but I see that as an advantage as far fitting more peoples needs and long term expand ability, after all this is not a one size fits all world, if only those 7600s were 1/3 the price...
Old 30th November 2009
  #25
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

What's your budget?


Gregory Scott - ubk
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Old 30th November 2009
  #26
More cowbell!
 
natpub's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddageek View Post
Sqye
I think you dismiss the API system to quickly.
I know what Sqye means though. I'm trying to devise a really tight, small system that fits into ever-fewer rack spaces as computing power gets stronger daily, and things like SSHDs solve old problems. I keep seeking 1U solutions, and a lot of them aren't there that should be. Those that are there are not always up to the quality, modularity, and variety desired. The 500 series stuff has been helpful in solving a lot of these issues, but Sqye still has a point.
Old 30th November 2009
  #27
Gear Maniac
 

I represent Audient and the Zen is fabulous (as are the alternatives mentioned here) but don't listen to me, take a look at "Ozzy's" review prior to his recent purchase https://www.gearslutz.com/board/new-p...console-9.html
Old 30th November 2009
  #28
.

Well, we're close to 1,100 views, and some more interesting contribution here.

Thank you all so much for your feedback here. This is much appreciated.

...Yes, of course, I have a current solution utilizing multiple boxes, splitter, etc.

And you guys are correct - I haven't examined the API and MH options carefully enough.

Again, though, I don't need a lot of extra HW - I just need the box with the items listed above.

And thanks, Silvertone, for that vibey looking box - very interesting - what does it sound like?

Also, thank you Garry Robson for your post - I'm not interested in consoles atm - but I'm certainly curious to poke around with that unit, for slutz's sake - unfortunately, I missed this year's AES...

UBK - I'm still thinking about what budget makes sense for this unit.

You guys ROCK!


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Old 30th November 2009
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by natpub View Post
I know what Sqye means though. I'm trying to devise a really tight, small, unified "gypsy" system that fits into ever-fewer rack spaces as the future of computing power gets stronger daily, and things like SSHDs solve old problems. I keep seeking 1U solutions, and a lot of them aren't there that should be. Those that are there are not always up to the quality, modularity, and variety desired. The 500 series profusion has been helpful in solving a lot of these issues, but Sqye still has a point.
.

Thanks. Yes, exactly my point here, natpub. 1 or 2 RU - I think everyone here would buy one.


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Old 30th November 2009
  #30
Lives for gear
 
Mr.HOLMES's Avatar
May I do not get it but all the RME stuff is doing this very simple.
Just route the input in the matrix to the output switch of the host software output and you have left a technically latency of 1 ms...

so fun for me I can track my vocalist without any latency and it works.
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