The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Stage Boxes with Direct Monitoring Audio Interfaces
Old 12th August 2018
Lives for gear
JES's Avatar

Stage Boxes with Direct Monitoring

Is there a stage box that allows you to pass an input to an output, or the mix, without going through ADC and DAC?

I'm turning a specific question into a general question. I'm thinking of using a stage box as an audio interface for my computer when I play with one of my bands. This would mean I get a good digital mixer for free, which I would use several times a year (we mostly gig at places with mixers, but there are exceptions and it would be nice to be able to control stuff from my phone or iPad).

BUT, I use the direct monitoring on my RME Babyface a lot.

The Behringer X-air xr18 does not allow it, it appears. But perhaps the MOTU, Presonus, A&H or other options do? If they do have it as an option, is it easy to do and does it work well? The manuals aren't always clear on this point and anyway real world experience is always better than manufacturer hype.

If not, I'll probably just stick with a computer interface. I use direct monitoring a lot for looping and sampling, and I like working that way.

Thanks. If this belongs in Music Computers, just let me know. Or mods can move it.
Old 15th August 2018
Lives for gear
Even direct monitoring goes through the A/D/A, otherwise how would it get back out again?

Direct monitoring doesn’t go through the DAW. That’s what direct monitoring is.

MOTU can do this.
Old 15th August 2018
Lives for gear
JES's Avatar

Thanks for the reply. I’m no expert but I am not sure this is the case with some interfaces. I believe they route analog ins to analog outs and that it’s digitally controlled. Anyway, I care less about that part than the “latency free” part for looping.
Old 15th August 2018
Lives for gear
Originally Posted by JES View Post
I’m no expert but I am not sure this is the case with some interfaces. I believe they route analog ins to analog outs and that it’s digitally controlled.
No, they don't. Literally any interface with direct monitoring (another way of saying built in DSP) will do what you are asking.

Again, it's the ASIO or CoreAudio DAW that direct monitoring bypasses, which is where all the latency is.
Old 16th August 2018
Lives for gear

...not quite what you are looking for but the klark dn1248 mic splitter has some (limited) monitoring capacity and is all analog.
Old 16th August 2018
Lives for gear
mojo filters's Avatar

Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
...not quite what you are looking for but the klark dn1248 mic splitter has some (limited) monitoring capacity and is all analog.
I was thinking a splitter could work easily here, though if I've understood the OP correctly I'm unsure whether they need further control of the split output(s) or not. If they do, I'd think putting inline a headphone amp or small basic install type rack mixer would work.

As I recall the bigger KT splitter offered gain and +48V control for each input, which may be useful for the OP. I think new buyers could spec an extra transformer balanced option for either 12 or all 24 outputs which are electronically balanced as standard, like with inputs and outputs on 360 / 370s.

The cheaper SQ1 splitter may make more sense, if the OP doesn't need more than 8 channels, or the bells and whistles on the 1248. It's also a versatile piece of inventory for unexpected events - such as football managers resigning or banks behaving badly, as it turns into a 24ch press mult with the push of a button!

Again not fully understanding the OP's requirements, this kind of solution may be akin to using the proverbial sledgehammer to crack the fateful nut. If the OP only has a couple of channels involved, lugging 4 or 5RU about sounds rather unnecessarily cumbersome.

If there's no commercial solution, in the old days it would have been easy to have a bespoke unit built by the local one stop sound reinforcement shop that made, installed and repaired their own gear - like a smaller scale Harry Court or Malcolm Hill.

Nowadays I don't know how many folks are set up to make something one-off, combining a few split channels with line level amplification, matrixing and so forth - at an affordable price.

If it's money no object, I'd suggest one of the big shops like Adlib, who build their own racks, PD units and so forth, for their own hires and install customers. Similarly a smaller commercial amp and speaker builder like RC1 (who just designed a supposedly innovative non-intrusive analogue DJ limiter), or folks like NCA who supply kit to the dub soundsystem crowd, might be worth approaching.

If the OP only wants to split 2 or 3 channels out to 4 or 6, perhaps a cheap DSP speaker processor may be a neat 1RU solution? Obviously not the intended purpose, but something like a BSS 336 would let the OP duplicate their inputs then matrix their monitor mix(es) on the remaining outputs.

Of course this assumes the latency inherent in such DSP will be acceptable to the OP. I've never measured that, but I can't imagine it will be more than a couple of milliseconds, ie lower than the speed of sound heard by a person of regular hight standing next to a floor monitor. However I may be wrong! I assume speaker management processing has got faster over the years, just like with digital desks - perhaps someone knows roughly the range of latencies over the generations?

There should be lots of older DSPs available at reasonable prices, on the used market. The problem with older DSP units could involve serial ports and needing to interface with a specific (potentially outdated) computer OS, to get it programmed correctly and defeat any EQ, filters etc loaded by the previous owner. However if buying from a hire shop rotating inventory, they may be happy to programme the processor for the user, which would save the OP any hassle regarding computer compatibility and learning a GUI full of mainly redundant features.

If the OP was keen to buy new, there are respectable 2 input options from Behringer and whatever brand Blue Aran sells (DB Mark?) which are popular with the DIY folks. However that wouldn't accommodate any need for headphone outputs, so such would also require a basic headphone amp which takes balanced inputs.

I could be completely over thinking this! There may be some simple piece of studio orientated gear that does exactly what the OP wants, though in my limited experience of studio monitor controllers they seem to do relatively little compared to their high cost - versus a decent cheap little analogue mixer, with far more flexible routing and control functionality.
Old 20th August 2018
Lives for gear
jude's Avatar

Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
...not quite what you are looking for but the klark dn1248 mic splitter has some (limited) monitoring capacity and is all analog.
Awesome units. We had a stage box that was 3 of these to split FOH, Monitors and record.
Old 21st August 2018
Lives for gear
teamsterjim's Avatar
Output multiplier Supreme by Henry Engineering called Patchbox II.
Old 30th September 2018
Lives for gear
FWIW Midas DL431 is a digital stage box with a buil-in analog splitter (24 ch).
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.

Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump