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m905 / Avocet / Monitor ST
Old 7th July 2014
  #31
Gear Head
 

Avocet issues

I'm using an Avocet (latest rev) here and I will go on record in saying that its performance is state of the art. It sounds marvelous and the Benchmark DAC1 is particularly enjoyable and runs rings around most DACs in the Symphony-level interface market. The remote and its functions takes a little learning and know-how to get things set right (the manual is for pros, not intermediates, and it took me some time to figure the proper routing for sending the right signal to my booth and adjusting its level from the remote.) Bit of a learning curve, but everything you need to do can be done.

Now, I have had some manufacturing issues with it. The first remote I received had something rolling around inside, a loose screw maybe that had gotten in. I sent it back and got a new one. Now I'm experiencing an issue where the phones output is intermittently dropping the right channel down a few dB. I'll be listening right along, and then randomly there will be some nasty static and then the level drops in the right channel. I've isolated this issue to only the Aux/Phone channel, and the metering does not reflect any dB change in the right channel; standard sine wave calibration signal still show even meters. Could be an issue with the phones jack itself, or an internal wiring issue. In any case, I now have to send the unit in again.

So lately my eyes have been drifting towards the m905. I love the sound of the Crane but the unit is less than a year old; i hope these issues can be cleared up.

~ paz
Old 8th July 2014
  #32
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miles Flint View Post
I own the new Avocet Remote II - couldn't be happier! Builty quality, handling/feel, features and flexibility is awesome. Love the box and can highly recommend it. !
Old 8th July 2014
  #33
Gear Maniac
 
Chris Wilson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by pazmusik View Post
I'm using an Avocet (latest rev) here and I will go on record in saying that its performance is state of the art. It sounds marvelous and the Benchmark DAC1 is particularly enjoyable and runs rings around most DACs in the Symphony-level interface market. The remote and its functions takes a little learning and know-how to get things set right (the manual is for pros, not intermediates, and it took me some time to figure the proper routing for sending the right signal to my booth and adjusting its level from the remote.) Bit of a learning curve, but everything you need to do can be done.

Now, I have had some manufacturing issues with it. The first remote I received had something rolling around inside, a loose screw maybe that had gotten in. I sent it back and got a new one. Now I'm experiencing an issue where the phones output is intermittently dropping the right channel down a few dB. I'll be listening right along, and then randomly there will be some nasty static and then the level drops in the right channel. I've isolated this issue to only the Aux/Phone channel, and the metering does not reflect any dB change in the right channel; standard sine wave calibration signal still show even meters. Could be an issue with the phones jack itself, or an internal wiring issue. In any case, I now have to send the unit in again.

So lately my eyes have been drifting towards the m905. I love the sound of the Crane but the unit is less than a year old; i hope these issues can be cleared up.

~ paz
Well I have been using an M905 for just a couple months now.

Yes different DAC's sound a bit different, but I never really prefer one over another so much that it matters to me. Many people are more opinionated about this. I'm using my Lavrys for the signal path and the Grace DA for monitoring.

For me, the Grace has a much more digital feel to it than the Avocet. Not in sound, but the way the GUI prompts you to relate to it. I don't think this is a bad thing, some might. Yes, the Avocet has digital meters, but who looks at meters on a monitor controller? Well, I do like to reference the SPL meter on the Grace, but probably we all have SPL meter phone apps these days.

Both host every possible type of input you need, and a couple you probably haven't used since 1988. Personally, I'd prefer additional AES/EBU inputs instead of the s/pdif and adat inputs. I don't know what a toslink is.

Though I would just pick whatever controller fit your working style best (for example, I really wanted a USB input) it seems Dangerous Music and Crane Song possess a certain 'boner factor' on these forums that Grace does not. People LOVE their Dangerous and Crane Song gear. I'm certainly not suggesting this is unwarranted.

But, After spending a couple months with it, I would buy an M905 over again (and it's pretty damn expensive) without auditioning anything else first. I really, really trust it and it makes me happy every time I reach for it. However, it feels more like an extension of the computer than an extension of my rack, if that makes any sense.
Old 9th July 2014
  #34
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pazmusik View Post
Now, I have had some manufacturing issues with it. The first remote I received had something rolling around inside, a loose screw maybe that had gotten in. I sent it back and got a new one. Now I'm experiencing an issue where the phones output is intermittently dropping the right channel down a few dB. I'll be listening right along, and then randomly there will be some nasty static and then the level drops in the right channel. I've isolated this issue to only the Aux/Phone channel, and the metering does not reflect any dB change in the right channel; standard sine wave calibration signal still show even meters. Could be an issue with the phones jack itself, or an internal wiring issue. In any case, I now have to send the unit in again.

So lately my eyes have been drifting towards the m905. I love the sound of the Crane but the unit is less than a year old; i hope these issues can be cleared up.

~ paz
Yikes, I just ordered an Avocet today. Hate to read about them having problems, especially intermittent ones. I feel your pain on the quality control issue. Apparently they are built to order. Some people have posted on this forum that Cranesong has a lifetime warranty, but I checked with the distributor and the warranty is supposedly two years only. Man, I hope I don't get a lemon...
Old 14th July 2015
  #35
SEA
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SEA's Avatar
 

What about the B2 ADC running into the m905 DAC then OUT the m905, back INTO the B2 ADC, them print to my DAW?

I could also throw in some outboard gear between the output of the m905 and the B2 ADC if desired.

Thoughts?
Old 14th July 2015
  #36
Gear Maniac
 
Chris Wilson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SEA View Post
What about the B2 ADC running into the m905 DAC then OUT the m905, back INTO the B2 ADC, them print to my DAW?

I could also throw in some outboard gear between the output of the m905 and the B2 ADC if desired.

Thoughts?
Are you able to simultaneously run a signal out of a Burl ADC and another signal into the ADC?

The m905 does has line level outputs. While I LOVE the m905 for monitoring, I would have to double check the distortion specs before trusting it over my Lavry DAC for the signal processing chain.
Old 14th July 2015
  #37
Lives for gear
I have owned the Grace m905 for about year now, and love it every day I use it. It sounds significantly better than ANY DAC I have heard, and i have had some rather expensive ($7K) DACs in my system over the last few years.

Any concerns over it's specifications, in particular the distortion figures are moot.

THD+N at Maximum Volume, 1kHz, 22Hz-22kHz BW
+20dBu out <0.0008%
+10dBu out <0.0008%
0dBu out <0.002%


As for the LAVRY, their latest reference unit has the following:

Distortion: 0.0005% at – 3dBFS, 1kHz; 0.0009% at -3 dBFS, 20 Hz- 20 kHz

These figures (which do not tell the whole story anyway) are not in any way significantly better than the Grace.

If you are in the market for a Monitor Controller, I would recommend the Grace m905 for it's sound quality alone, but lets not forget it's incredibly well thought out features, flexibility and that superb remote control. For me it was a total winner on paper prior to purchase, and it has lived up to that every day in use.
Old 14th July 2015
  #38
SEA
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SEA's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Wilson View Post
Are you able to simultaneously run a signal out of a Burl ADC and another signal into the ADC?

The m905 does has line level outputs. While I LOVE the m905 for monitoring, I would have to double check the distortion specs before trusting it over my Lavry DAC for the signal processing chain.
The Burl does have 2 x AES/EBU, 2 x S/PDIF Digital Outs that could run into the m905 digital inputs.

Then, the m905 has analog outs that could run into the B2 analog inputs to form a loop. At least this is what I'm thinking.

So if I'm coming out of the m905 (in theory) I could run it through some outboard gear like the AnaMod ATS1, EL Fatso, or a couple of channel strips.

SEA
Old 14th July 2015
  #39
SEA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geartragic View Post
I have owned the Grace m905 for about year now, and love it every day I use it. It sounds significantly better than ANY DAC I have heard, and i have had some rather expensive ($7K) DACs in my system over the last few years.

Any concerns over it's specifications, in particular the distortion figures are moot.

THD+N at Maximum Volume, 1kHz, 22Hz-22kHz BW
+20dBu out <0.0008%
+10dBu out <0.0008%
0dBu out <0.002%


As for the LAVRY, their latest reference unit has the following:

Distortion: 0.0005% at – 3dBFS, 1kHz; 0.0009% at -3 dBFS, 20 Hz- 20 kHz

These figures (which do not tell the whole story anyway) are not in any way significantly better than the Grace.

If you are in the market for a Monitor Controller, I would recommend the Grace m905 for it's sound quality alone, but lets not forget it's incredibly well thought out features, flexibility and that superb remote control. For me it was a total winner on paper prior to purchase, and it has lived up to that every day in use.
Have you ever hear the m905 DAC next to the Burl B2 DAC? I hear the B2 is supposed to be very analog quality to them and the highs have this nice smooth slope. Monoman likes it over the Mytek 8x192. Says the cymbals sets really good in the mix and not bashing in your face.

I was originally thinking about the Burl Mothership with 1 BAD4 and 1 BDA8 to start vs. the Burl B2 ADC and B2 DAC. The Mothership with those cards would cost about $500 more than 2 Burl B2. Then I thought I could try out the B32 summing mixer down the road having 8 outs of the Burl BAD8 card if I want.

However, I would STILL need a monitor controller so I thought I wold start out with a Coleman Audio M3PH mkII Monitor Controller for about $995 or so.

But since the Burl BDA8 is supposedly transparent and not colored, then I thought why not just get the Grace m905 and loop back through the B2?
I always want to print my DAC and going through the ADC of the Burl can get you some more analog qualities I hear.

One advantage of the B2 ADC vs the BAD4 is that you do have an input level Gain knob on the front as well. Since I only really need 2 channels at this time I thought the Burl B2 ADC and the m905 might make a great team!

SEA
Old 14th July 2015
  #40
Lives for gear
I have only heard the Universal Audio 2192 which was designed by the BURL designer as far as I am aware, and that thing while not highly 'accurate' was extremely musical. My understanding also is that the BURL gear has both musicality and accuracy. I don't think you can go wrong with gear like Burl or Grace etc, and I am certainly not saying the Grace is the be all end all of Monitor Controllers, but it certainly is for ME.

The Grace sounds very accurate to me, I would not say it is 'warm' or 'tube like', it is accurate, with no colouration or harshness. Smooth? Yes. Detailed? Yes. It provides excellent imaging, low noise, and switching between inputs, or bit rates etc is perfectly silent. For me and my setup it ticked boxes that no other unit did, the bonus was that it sounded amazing and better than I expected given the price. I also like Grace Design's philosophy for their products, and their recent announcement of a 20 year warranty on NON Digital devices is extraordinary and without peer. The m905 however, being a digital device 'only' has a 5 year warranty, but that is still far better than most in the industry so hats off to them.

Keep in mind, NOTHING is perfect, everything is a compromise to some degree. Pick the product that compromises your list of desired features/build quality/sound quality attributes the least, and buy it. Then, never think about it again, start making music!

I do not regret for one second, the purchase of the Grace, and I doubt yo would either, assuming it ticks enough boxes for you.
Old 14th July 2015
  #41
SEA
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SEA's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by geartragic View Post
I have only heard the Universal Audio 2192 which was designed by the BURL designer as far as I am aware, and that thing while not highly 'accurate' was extremely musical. My understanding also is that the BURL gear has both musicality and accuracy. I don't think you can go wrong with gear like Burl or Grace etc, and I am certainly not saying the Grace is the be all end all of Monitor Controllers, but it certainly is for ME.

The Grace sounds very accurate to me, I would not say it is 'warm' or 'tube like', it is accurate, with no colouration or harshness. Smooth? Yes. Detailed? Yes. It provides excellent imaging, low noise, and switching between inputs, or bit rates etc is perfectly silent. For me and my setup it ticked boxes that no other unit did, the bonus was that it sounded amazing and better than I expected given the price. I also like Grace Design's philosophy for their products, and their recent announcement of a 20 year warranty on NON Digital devices is extraordinary and without peer. The m905 however, being a digital device 'only' has a 5 year warranty, but that is still far better than most in the industry so hats off to them.

Keep in mind, NOTHING is perfect, everything is a compromise to some degree. Pick the product that compromises your list of desired features/build quality/sound quality attributes the least, and buy it. Then, never think about it again, start making music!

I do not regret for one second, the purchase of the Grace, and I doubt yo would either, assuming it ticks enough boxes for you.
Thanks geartragic! I appreciate your input.

BTW - Have you ever heard the Forssell DAC next to the m905?
Old 14th July 2015
  #42
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by SEA View Post
Thanks geartragic! I appreciate your input.

BTW - Have you ever heard the Forssell DAC next to the m905?
No sorry, I am not sure Forssell are even brought into Australia.
Old 14th July 2015
  #43
SEA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geartragic View Post
No sorry, I am not sure Forssell are even brought into Australia.
Actually, Matthew Gray in Australia has 2 Forssell MADA-2 in his mastering studios. He's in Arana Hills Queensland.

Here's a link to his studio

Matthew Gray Mastering ... CD mastering, Online mastering, Vinyl mastering, Surround mastering, Stem mastering - the premier audio mastering suite in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Old 14th July 2015
  #44
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by SEA View Post
Actually, Matthew Gray in Australia has 2 Forssell MADA-2 in his mastering studios. He's in Arana Hills Queensland.

Here's a link to his studio

Matthew Gray Mastering ... CD mastering, Online mastering, Vinyl mastering, Surround mastering, Stem mastering - the premier audio mastering suite in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Well, there you go, someone is bringing them in I guess, never seen them in the flesh however, or heard one. I am sure they are good.
Old 15th July 2015
  #45
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Forssell products are distributed by Audio Chocolate in Australia. There are quite a few dealers in their supply chain, most notably Awave. And hopefully us soon too!
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