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Radial MC3 Monitor Controllers
3.9 3.9 out of 5, based on 2 Reviews

Finally, an affordable passive controller that isn't crap.

1st February 2012

Radial Engineering MC3 by travisbrown

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 3 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 3 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.5
Radial MC3 Monitor Controllers

A little sneak peek on the forthcoming Radial MC3 monitor controller.

I finally got my hands on one of these at NAMM 2012 after hearing about it for months. Radial just got the green light to begin production, with it hitting the street at the end of February. And about time. For those who want a simple straight wire (passive) monitor controller with a adequate headphone amp, mono collapse, sub output, all in a small and idiot-proof format, this is the one to beat. Built into the usual Radial 14g steel chassis that houses their other utility and DI boxes, you could probably throw this thing at a brick wall and do more damage to the bricks, so tossing this into a cable box or bag for travel will cause no real consternation. It is primarily meant as a portable solution for mobile/live tracking setups. It would work equally well in the small project studio, though the small form factor might pose some ergonomic annoyances. For the real production workspace or permanent install, something with a layout like the Kush GainTrain or similar would be a better controller.

Features of the MC3 include:

  • switching for two sets of monitors with attenuation for each.
  • adjustable dim switch
  • mono folddown
  • defeatable sub output
  • switchable balanced/unbalanced inputs
  • studio headphone output plus extra output optimized for super low impedance earbud-style headphones.

The couple deficiencies I saw with this are:
  • the lack of stepped attenuator for the monitor control. This seems to always be the culprit behind stereo image collapsing or shifting as you attenuate down to low levels.
  • non-preemptive switches. While this does allow you to activate both sets of monitors, it doesn't allow you to switch between sets of monitors with a single action. At best it would be a two finger operation.

MSRP on this is going to be $249, which places it competitively among the more economy-priced monitor controllers but with the build quality one has come to expect of Radial.

13th March 2014

Radial Engineering MC3 by aves

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 3 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Radial MC3 Monitor Controllers

I bought the MC3 for my travel setup and home setup. It is the only chance to select up to four sources on the output side, when you talk small monitor controller that fit into a bagpack.
At home i have the main monitor and an external Headphoneamp on the A+B select,a small mono speaker on the sub output, that automaticly sums it to mono. I also have an extra consumer speaker pair on the aux out at the back, that is coupled with the headphone out and the headphone volume.

The Mc3 also suffers of the main shortcomming of passiv controllers. The Volume knob and the channel collapse at low volume. But adding to that, the volume curve of the volume knob has a very uneven layout. There is not much happening over 12o'clock and at lower volumes one has a bit of a hard time, if you wanna listen mainly soft and only sometimes loud, as the way between low volume and one channel breaking away is to narrow. Either my SMpro Nanovolume or my Central Station do a better job on passiv volume regulation. I'd say this really compromises it's use to a certain level.

Another shortcoming is that there is only one input source. if you quickly wanna hook up another device, if maybe someone wants to play something to you from her phone, there is no possibilitiy to hook that up. But then other controllers that have two inputs, lack the output possibilities.

The build quality is very good, buttons and knobs feel very solid and reliable.
The housing is indestroyable.

The headphone amp is good, i would say better than in my different RME interfaces or the central station. Also it has two outputs and even a mini jack output. That comes very handy in a small setup for home or travelling and there is more than enough power to feed all possible headphones, or two of them.

So all in all it's a quality device with a lot of output flexibility, that i couldn't find elswhere in the portable controller market. The main downpoint is the volume control and maybe the lack of a second input source, which there probably just wasn't anymore space for.


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