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Surround Monitoring on a DAW - Help!

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September 15, 2005 6:32:47 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Hi folks,

Trying to figure out a cost-effective way of controlling the monitor level
of my surround speakers. Currently all 6 active speakers are just being fed
by the outputs of my soundcard, and so I have no real way of calibrating the
levels and keeping them calibrated when i want to change overall monitoring
volume.

I know there are several surround monitor controls about, but they're all
quite pricey. The SPL is just what I need, but it's about £600, and I need a
new mixer as well...

Would something like a Yamaha 01V96 be capable of this? I don't really know
the mixer, but know it has several "omni" outputs that can be configured
individually...

Any suggestions greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
andrew
Anonymous
a b C Monitor
September 15, 2005 8:33:09 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Andrew wrote:

> Trying to figure out a cost-effective way of controlling the monitor level
> of my surround speakers. Currently all 6 active speakers are just being fed
> by the outputs of my soundcard, and so I have no real way of calibrating the
> levels and keeping them calibrated when i want to change overall monitoring
> volume.
>
> I know there are several surround monitor controls about, but they're all
> quite pricey. The SPL is just what I need, but it's about £600, and I need a
> new mixer as well...

Well, that's the way this business goes. You can get in cheap, but then
you start realizing what you don't have.

Have you looked into your DAW software to see if there's a convenient
way to "bus" the signals routed to the outputs of your sound card? If
you can do this (or are already doing it), you should be able to link
the volume controls of those "busses" together so that you can adjust
them all with one mouse drag.

While I can't vouch for the quality of the speakers, if you're ready to
try some new monitors (or willing to replace what you have), Alesis has
a surround monitor setup that consists of a full set of speakers and a
master controller for them that can adjust volume as well as perform
several other calibration features. Looky here:
http://www.alesis.com/product.php?id=25

> Would something like a Yamaha 01V96 be capable of this? I don't really know
> the mixer, but know it has several "omni" outputs that can be configured
> individually...

That's a possibility, but I think you'll find that unless the console
is acutally designed for surround monitoring (and surround panning as
well), there may be some kludge that will let you do it, but it won't
be a perfectly integrated one-knob solution. You might look into the
new TASCAM DM-3200. They had some sort of surrong monitoring setup on
its predecessor, the DM-24. They also make a fairly reasonably priced
(but more than you want to spend) surround monitor controller, so they
understand the problems and technology.
Anonymous
a b C Monitor
September 15, 2005 1:35:07 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> Currently all 6 active speakers are just being fed
> by the outputs of my soundcard

link the output channels together in yr production package, then 1 master
fader controls all 6 outputs

hth
daz
x
Related resources
Anonymous
a b C Monitor
September 15, 2005 5:32:14 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Scott Dorsey wrote:

> How about a 6-gang passive attenuator?

That's what the SPL is (well, box and connectors, too). As I recall,
it's unbalanced, too, but the tracking among channels is quite
accurate.

What do you suggest as a part, and how much should it cost? And how
much does it actually cost? <g>
Anonymous
a b C Monitor
September 15, 2005 6:03:14 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <dgaivv$sbr$1@nntp0.reith.bbc.co.uk>, Andrew <me@me.com> wrote:
>
>Trying to figure out a cost-effective way of controlling the monitor level
>of my surround speakers. Currently all 6 active speakers are just being fed
>by the outputs of my soundcard, and so I have no real way of calibrating the
>levels and keeping them calibrated when i want to change overall monitoring
>volume.
>
>I know there are several surround monitor controls about, but they're all
>quite pricey. The SPL is just what I need, but it's about £600, and I need a
>new mixer as well...

How about a 6-gang passive attenuator?
--scott


--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
a b C Monitor
September 16, 2005 1:05:05 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Mike Rivers <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote:
>Scott Dorsey wrote:
>
>> How about a 6-gang passive attenuator?
>
>That's what the SPL is (well, box and connectors, too). As I recall,
>it's unbalanced, too, but the tracking among channels is quite
>accurate.
>
>What do you suggest as a part, and how much should it cost? And how
>much does it actually cost? <g>

Penny and Giles makes a VERY expensive one, basically six pots that
track very well.

Shallco makes a somewhat expensive one, basically a six-gang rotary
switch with resistor ladders on it.

You can make your own using a 12-position 6-gang C&K rotary switch and
some resistors. Of course, you only get 12 steps, rather than the 30-some
that the Shallco gives you, or the infinite number the P&G gives you.

--scott

--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
September 16, 2005 4:52:02 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I was thinking perhaps i could build something like that...not that i'm
particularly good at that sort of thing, but maybe there are some plans out
there for something.

Mike, thanks for the suggestion about the Tascam desk. Looks pretty damn
close to what I want. The option to get the Firewire interface would be the
way to go, methinks.

My main problem is one of overkill versus not enough. In Logic I can just
control the overall volume very easily. Unfortunately I would quite like to
still have stuff happening outside the computer....ie, Midi devices,
outboard, cd players etc, which is where the mixer would come in very handy.
But then it seems a bit much to get a (relatively) high spec desk like the
Tascam when all i'm using it for is monitoring a few extra stereo sources.

Ah well. I'll keep looking and listening. The Alesis setup looks a little
too much like computer multimedia speakers, but it might be interesting to
hear them.

Cheers folks.
andrew


"Mike Rivers" <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote in message
news:1126816334.834963.22110@g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
>
> Scott Dorsey wrote:
>
>> How about a 6-gang passive attenuator?
>
> That's what the SPL is (well, box and connectors, too). As I recall,
> it's unbalanced, too, but the tracking among channels is quite
> accurate.
>
> What do you suggest as a part, and how much should it cost? And how
> much does it actually cost? <g>
>
September 16, 2005 5:54:56 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Update....

Looks like the Tascam FW-1884 might be just what I need...

18 input, 10 Output Firewire interface/controller/mixer. Already got the
surround outputs on the back.

Just trying to find a price for it now.

My only worry is that it'll be trying to be too many things to too many
people. Mind you, as long as it gets digital audio into the computer, and
takes surround sound from the computer, I'll be more than happy. I've got
some outboard preamps that I love already.

Will let you know how i get on.
Thanks again!
andrew



"Andrew" <me@me.com> wrote in message
news:D gd1f9$pm8$1@nntp0.reith.bbc.co.uk...
>I was thinking perhaps i could build something like that...not that i'm
>particularly good at that sort of thing, but maybe there are some plans out
>there for something.
>
> Mike, thanks for the suggestion about the Tascam desk. Looks pretty damn
> close to what I want. The option to get the Firewire interface would be
> the way to go, methinks.
>
> My main problem is one of overkill versus not enough. In Logic I can just
> control the overall volume very easily. Unfortunately I would quite like
> to still have stuff happening outside the computer....ie, Midi devices,
> outboard, cd players etc, which is where the mixer would come in very
> handy. But then it seems a bit much to get a (relatively) high spec desk
> like the Tascam when all i'm using it for is monitoring a few extra stereo
> sources.
>
> Ah well. I'll keep looking and listening. The Alesis setup looks a little
> too much like computer multimedia speakers, but it might be interesting to
> hear them.
>
> Cheers folks.
> andrew
>
>
> "Mike Rivers" <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote in message
> news:1126816334.834963.22110@g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
>>
>> Scott Dorsey wrote:
>>
>>> How about a 6-gang passive attenuator?
>>
>> That's what the SPL is (well, box and connectors, too). As I recall,
>> it's unbalanced, too, but the tracking among channels is quite
>> accurate.
>>
>> What do you suggest as a part, and how much should it cost? And how
>> much does it actually cost? <g>
>>
>
>
September 16, 2005 6:32:08 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Or maybe I'll wait before getting the FW-1884. Seems like lots on this group
have had problems. Wonder if it's been improved at all...

andrew


"Scott Dorsey" <kludge@panix.com> wrote in message
news:D gd5o1$pbn$1@panix2.panix.com...
> Mike Rivers <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote:
>>Scott Dorsey wrote:
>>
>>> How about a 6-gang passive attenuator?
>>
>>That's what the SPL is (well, box and connectors, too). As I recall,
>>it's unbalanced, too, but the tracking among channels is quite
>>accurate.
>>
>>What do you suggest as a part, and how much should it cost? And how
>>much does it actually cost? <g>
>
> Penny and Giles makes a VERY expensive one, basically six pots that
> track very well.
>
> Shallco makes a somewhat expensive one, basically a six-gang rotary
> switch with resistor ladders on it.
>
> You can make your own using a 12-position 6-gang C&K rotary switch and
> some resistors. Of course, you only get 12 steps, rather than the 30-some
> that the Shallco gives you, or the infinite number the P&G gives you.
>
> --scott
>
> --
> "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
a b C Monitor
September 16, 2005 8:56:58 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Andrew wrote:
> I was thinking perhaps i could build something like that...not that i'm
> particularly good at that sort of thing, but maybe there are some plans out
> there for something.

It's simple to build. The hard part is to find a six-gang pot, or
12-gang if you want it balanced. That's why the SPL costs what it
costs. Another approach is to use voltage controlled attenuators and
control them with a single pot, but that runs the signal through an
active device. The trade-off is lower cost and quite possibly better
tracking from channel to channel versus a small amount of distortion
added by the active components. But it's good enough for a lot of
people, and that approach is used in some pretty high quality devices.

> My main problem is one of overkill versus not enough.

That's the way it goes these days. It's so easy to pack a box with more
features than anyone can use, but one wants this, one wants that, and
the manufacturer wants to make just one box (or program) that they can
sell to everyone.

> The Alesis setup looks a little
> too much like computer multimedia speakers, but it might be interesting to
> hear them.

They are, sort of, but they're pretty good for computer multimedia
speakers. If you're working on music that will mostly be played on
computers, it might be a good choice on a small budget. t.c. electronic
makes the "Air" series of monitors that are similar in concept and
implementation, but sound better and cost a whole lot more.
!