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Monitor Calibration: Focal Shape 65, UAD Apollo 8 Studio Monitors
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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Monitor Calibration: Focal Shape 65, UAD Apollo 8

Struggling to find a solution to properly calibrate my monitoring setup. I'm currently running a UAD Apollo 8 into a pair of Focal Shape 65's. Output from the Apollo is sent directly to the Focal's and I'm using the Apollo's monitor control for volume adjustments. However, the Focal's lack a power amp output control. I'm order for a comfortable volume of 60db-80db my monitor control is at an extremely low and extremely sensitive -90d to -60db setting. At these low levels the stepped monitor control jumps at increments of 10db to 15 db, and is potentially adding additional color to the signal.

I have yet to find a perfect solution, but potential ones have included:

1) Using the Apollo's dim control to attenuate the signal to the needed reduction in gain. However, this removes the function of the dim control, and leaves my monitor knob flashing constantly which is rather distracting.

2) Use one of the Apollo's alternative monitor outputs, as these include a trim control with up to 30db in gain reduction. Why the primary output does not have one of these I cannot understand. If it does and I simply haven't discovered it yet in Console please let me know. This is a fine solution, but again removes functions from the interface I'd rather be able to use in the future.

3) Install in-line attenuators in between the Apollo and the Focal's. These however require the cost of the attenuators, as well as potential additional coloration of the signal.

4) Deal with it...

I can't be the only engineer with these Focal and UAD models. Anyone have any solutions to healthy monitor calibration?
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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it's actually common practice to run powered studio monitors at full volume in instances where a monitor does have a volume control on it, and because of this, I wouldn't be concerned at there being no volume control on your shape 65's.
That being said, it does sound like an issue that you're needing to turn the Apollo monitor control down so much that you're left with the low end of a logarithmic volume that provides little control.
I've got an Apollo twin mk2 and focal CMS 50's - not identical to your setup but not far off. my CMS 50's DO have volume control on them but I leave them set wide open. If I'm listening to commercially released, mastered tracks I'll typically have my monitor control set to 9 o'clock which is fairly low but still leaves enough room to set the right volume. When I work on my own unmastered tracks, I have to set my volume far higher to get an equivalent volume because I run tracking and mixing projects around -10 or -12dBFS at the master fader.
is there a chance you've set your Apollo outputs to a -10dBv setting instead of +4 dBu? you'll find +4 to be less loud AND less noisy when you use it with pro grade gear like your Apollo and focal monitors.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdarrett View Post
it's actually common practice to run powered studio monitors at full volume in instances where a monitor does have a volume control on it, and because of this, I wouldn't be concerned at there being no volume control on your shape 65's.
That being said, it does sound like an issue that you're needing to turn the Apollo monitor control down so much that you're left with the low end of a logarithmic volume that provides little control.
I've got an Apollo twin mk2 and focal CMS 50's - not identical to your setup but not far off. my CMS 50's DO have volume control on them but I leave them set wide open. If I'm listening to commercially released, mastered tracks I'll typically have my monitor control set to 9 o'clock which is fairly low but still leaves enough room to set the right volume. When I work on my own unmastered tracks, I have to set my volume far higher to get an equivalent volume because I run tracking and mixing projects around -10 or -12dBFS at the master fader.
is there a chance you've set your Apollo outputs to a -10dBv setting instead of +4 dBu? you'll find +4 to be less loud AND less noisy when you use it with pro grade gear like your Apollo and focal monitors.
This is great info for me, I have the cms 65 and a twin too. No one has ever told me how it all should be setup properly, this is why I joined here. I also have mine wide open and use the monitor control from 9 plus.
Cheers
Old 6 days ago
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdarrett View Post
is there a chance you've set your Apollo outputs to a -10dBv setting instead of +4 dBu? you'll find +4 to be less loud AND less noisy when you use it with pro grade gear like your Apollo and focal monitors.
The Apollo's primary monitor outputs run at 14dbu or 20dbu. I have mine set to 14dbu, which is the quieter of the two options, connecting to the balanced inputs of the Focals.
Old 6 days ago
  #5
Gear Maniac
If you use inline pads, they are not -that- expensive and don't colir your sound too much. As long as they have high quality resistors an not being variable.

A i have an older apollo, i know there are some settings you can tweak about the behaviour of the rotary buttons, im not sure if they work, but you can set them to linear too. I hope that it helps, if only a little
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