Want solid monitoring? The truth is… your studio monitors are really only half the equation.
You still need a way to control them. To do that, a different tool is required.
A tool commonly known as a monitor management system.
The setup is simple and explained in detail on www.fansoundoff.com but we will give you small tutorial right here.
Connect the outputs of your audio interface to the inputs of your monitor management system. Then connect the outputs of the monitor management system to your studio monitors. And Voila! Instant sound control.
Now let’s take a look at some of the options.
1. A Budget System for Your Desktop
So let’s start with just the bare-bones essentials. Let’s say that all you want is a tool to control the volume of your monitors conveniently from your desktop.
All those other features, while nice to have, are not something you see yourself really using at the moment. So why waste money on something you’ll never use?
In this case, a product such as the TC Electronic Level Pilot would be perfect for you.
2. A Premium Choice for Your Desktop
The next step up from that is a similar device that fits conveniently on your desktop, but this time will all the added basic features you would expect from a monitor management system including:
• Routing to Multiple Monitors – With the push of a button, you should be able to switch the output to at least one secondary monitor.
• Headphone Outputs – Most systems will also include a headphone output option to use in place of your main studio monitors.
• Mono Switch – Often times a system will include a mono switch that allows you to instantly sum your mix to mono in order to check for issues with phasing.
Two good examples of systems that provide this level of functionality are the Samson C Control, and the Mackie Big Knob.
Between the two, the Samson is cheaper and simpler, but for a small added cost, you’d probably prefer the higher end function of the Mackie.
3. A Budget System for Your Rack
There’s one big problem with desktopmonitor management systems. Any decent monitor management setup will require fairly intricate cable routing, and if the main hardware unit is sitting on your desktop, it will turn into a huge mess of cables very quickly.
A rackmounted monitor management system on the other hand will keep all the cables tucked a way neatly. Plus it’s very easy to position your rack in a spot that is just as convenient to reach as your desktop.
In the mid range of prices we have the Presonus Central Station. It comes with a few additional features compared to the last two that you may or may not need for your studio.
The best feature is that it provides you with the organization of a rackmounted unit, with the convenience of a desktop unit, as you can see from the remote control featured in the picture.
4. A Premium System For Your Rack
If there is one monitor management system that would be ideal from every possible home studio setup imaginable, it is the Dangerous Music Dbox.
This box truly outshines pretty much every other monitor management system out there. It features two headphone outputs, a talkback mic, two stereo outputs, and four different input sources, including an 8 channel summing bus.One of the best features is its own onboard high quality D/A converter, which allows you to input digital sources as well.
5. An Audio Interface with Monitor Management Features
It’s possible, at least for the time being, that you may not need a monitor management system at all. If you’re usingone of the Pro Tools Mbox interfaces, your basic monitor management controls are already included.
In which case, you can for get about it for a while.
Eventually though, when you begin upgrading yours studio, you will need one. Once you’re using an advanced interface, such as with Pro Tools HD, all those bonus features are no longer included. And everything must be bought separately.