Good small monitor controller.

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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Ah yes, okay, that would work. I had speaker switching at the outputs in mind, but you could arrange to switch feeds from the left/right outputs across to the passive summing network instead.

Ideally, the switching should also ground the left/right outputs to prevent noise from the left/right speakers (and ground the summing resistors when not in use for the same reason) and you will still lose a bit of signal level through the passive summing, of course. A 4PDT switch would do it I think.

If you're going to use the passive attenuator schematic you linked above, i think it might be possible to use the input buffer resistors on each leg as the summing resistors too, but linking the two hot sides for both channels (and the two cold sides) to feed the hot (and cold) balanced mono output. The two sides of the volume pot would then be in parallel, halving the value, so the attenuation range would change, but I doubt that would be a major problem in the circumstances.
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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by ef37a »

Whichever way you cut it a passive controller is going to suffer from crosstalk, poor control law, level shifts, low input Z, high output Z, noise if the resistors get too high...All these factors can be traded off, one against the other but you cannot have it all good, all at once.

I knew all this of course when I bought the Mackie Passive but for my particular application, mostly source switching, it seems a good choice. What I did NOT know was how compromised it was in other respects and I still do not know the design rationale behind those compromises!

I continue to be amazed why some people are afraid a of a few op amps!

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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Sam, I had a quick sketch of an idea for your passive monitor controller, using the line feed resistors as the mono summers, and bypassing half the volume pot so that the control law and impedance remains roughly the same in both stereo and mono modes.

The minor complication is that the stereo/grot box switch needs to be a 12-way changeover in order to mute the unused outputs properly at the same time as routing the sum signals appropriately. There are 12-way push buttons... or you could use relays.

Anyway, for what it's worth, here's my sketch:
passive monitor control.png
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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Sam Spoons »

Thanks for taking the time Hugh, I'll have a close look. I do have a couple of 4 pole double throw toggle switches I was planning to use but could consider other options.
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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

I think I'd do all the switching with miniature sealed relays. It means the unit would need a small power supply, but you could use a ready-made wall-wart for that.
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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Arpangel »

After all this talk I’m regretting ordering my TC, sounds like passive is verboten from what you all say! :D
All I want to do is turn my monitors down!
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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Bob Bickerton »

The TC is just fine - simple big knob with a nice action and you won’t notice any problems.

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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Drew Stephenson »

What Bob said. ^^^
It's the ideal tool for the job you want to do.
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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Arpangel wrote:After all this talk I’m regretting ordering my TC, sounds like passive is verboten from what you all say! :D

You're really not good with decisions are you? Or technical descriptions, come to that... :lol:

A passive controller is absolutely fine when used appropriately. And inherently compromised when not used appropriately.

Your application is an appropriate use for a passive controller, and hopefully you can be trusted to install it correctly as previously advised. :ugeek:

The alternative is a well-designed active controller and that's going to cost you £200+ as a minimum....
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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Arpangel »

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Arpangel wrote:After all this talk I’m regretting ordering my TC, sounds like passive is verboten from what you all say! :D

You're really not good with decisions are you? Or technical descriptions, come to that... :lol:

A passive controller is absolutely fine when used appropriately. And inherently compromised when not used appropriately.

Your application is an appropriate use for a passive controller, and hopefully you can be trusted to install it correctly as previously advised. :ugeek:

The alternative is a well-designed active controller and that's going to cost you £200+ as a minimum....

Thanks, I’m using short leads, as I said, so it should be OK.
I know it’s not a good idea, but there are Youtube reviews that have said it sounds very good, more transparent than the Mackie for instance, but who knows, I’m sure it’ll be fine.
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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Arpangel wrote:Thanks, I’m using short leads, as I said, so it should be OK.

Yes, it should.

...there are Youtube reviews that have said it sounds very good, more transparent than the Mackie for instance...

I was very disappointed with the sound quality of the original Big Knob (I haven't listened to the later models). I found it a little noisy and veiled... but PW thought it was fine and used one for years very happily...
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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Sam Spoons »

The original Big Knob is active, isn't the one discussed up-thread the BK Passive?
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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Wonks »

Sam Spoons wrote:The original Big Knob is active, isn't the one discussed up-thread the BK Passive?

One could say 'floppy'. :D
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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Sam Spoons »

It's my age... :blush:
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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Sam Spoons wrote:The original Big Knob is active, isn't the one discussed up-thread the BK Passive?

I've lost track... but it's hard to imagine a comparison with a passive BK involving comments about a lack of transparency. But I could see how that comment might be levelled at an active BK, and especially the early ones.
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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Sam Spoons »

Both BK's were mentioned early in the thread with the discussion moving towards passive controllers later.

WRT my possible DIY job*, I'm trying to get a schematic drawn out and was wondering what app you used to draw your diagram? All the ones I can find for Mac seem to either be general drawing apps or for PCB design (or hugely expensive and/or complicated).

* Costed out at around £65 but if I can make it work I have some DT4P toggles switches, a large knob and a bucketload of XLR and phono sockets so just need a box, stepped attenuator and a bag of suitable resistors which ebay will provide for the princely sum of £36.56. That said a Big Knob passive would pretty much get the job done for £65 and save me the hassle :blush:
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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Sam Spoons wrote:...was wondering what app you used to draw your diagram?

Coreldraw. Straightforward vector drawing program.

That said a Big Knob passive would pretty much get the job done for £65 and save me the hassle :blush:

So often the case! Unless you want something particularly unusual a commercial product will often work out less expensive than a custom DIY job.
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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Sam Spoons »

Still pondering, the features on the BKP are almost spot on :-

Stereo balanced input - (X32 control room outputs)
Stereo unbalanced input - (Logitech BT receiver)

Stereo balanced output - (Quad 522/Kef 104bAs)
Mono balanced output - (Avantone Mixcube)

Volume control
Input switching
Output switching
Mute

BKP features not required on custom box :-

Mono (output 2 is mono)
Dim
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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Drew Stephenson »

You could see how much John at Orchid would charge you?
Takes the fun out of it of course...
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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Sam Spoons »

True, and at least I'd be sure he'd design it properly... But the fun aspect would definitely be a loss...
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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Sam Spoons wrote:Still pondering, the features on the BKP are almost spot on :-

Stereo balanced input - (X32 control room outputs)
Stereo unbalanced input - (Logitech BT receiver)

The details aren't entirely clear from the manual, and the block diagram indulges in a fair bit of 'artistic licence', but it appears that the BKP is actually unbalanced throughout. It appears to ignore the cold leg of the inputs completely, and the outputs appear to adopt an impedance-balanced approach, although its hard to see how that would work reliably given the inherently variable source impedance of the volume control.

That's not to say that being unbalanced won't work -- it obviously will and does -- but it could lead to oddities...

BKP features not required on custom box :-
Dim

I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the Dim function. When using a conventional pot (rather than a stepped attenuator), channel tracking is inherently poor at low listening levels. Using a Dim switch extends the useful working range of the control downwards by 20dB which is very useful for late night working, checking mixes at low level, and for answering the phone or having a conversation without having to tweak the volume knob.
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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Sam Spoons »

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the Dim function. When using a conventional pot (rather than a stepped attenuator), channel tracking is inherently poor at low listening levels. Using a Dim switch extends the useful working range of the control downwards by 20dB which is very useful for late night working, checking mixes at low level, and for answering the phone or having a conversation without having to tweak the volume knob.

Dim is, I believe, easy enough to implement so I will draw it in the schematic even if I don't build it into the first version.
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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Arpangel »

Review, Pilot now set-up, it’s completely transparent, it works, review over.
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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by ef37a »

Sam, the BKP is indeed flawed, the input resistance of the ring input is low at 1k and can therefore cause distortion with some sources. As you say, the output is not even close to balanced but AFAICT there is a 'cold' signal.

Other than those flaws, the box works very well and if it seems to satisfy your requirements I would suggest you get one and simple make NE5532 buffers for the inputs and a pair of symmetrical outputs ? The LM4562 will be even better, lower noise and greater drive capability though I doubt you would hear any difference.

Lot less trouble than a 'New Wheel'?

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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Arpangel wrote:Review, Pilot now set-up, it’s completely transparent, it works, review over.

:thumbup:
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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Arpangel wrote:Review, Pilot now set-up, it’s completely transparent, it works, review over.

Think of how many ads we could get in the mag if all my reviews were that short... :bouncy::think:
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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Arpangel »

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Arpangel wrote:Review, Pilot now set-up, it’s completely transparent, it works, review over.

Think of how many ads we could get in the mag if all my reviews were that short... :bouncy::think:

I’m always here Hugh, I'm looking forward to doing a one line review of the Behringer/Neve 8068 reissue.

:thumbup::D
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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by ef37a »

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Arpangel wrote:Review, Pilot now set-up, it’s completely transparent, it works, review over.

Think of how many ads we could get in the mag if all my reviews were that short... :bouncy::think:

NO!!!! Many are too short as it is. I cannot think of it now but there was a review of something quite high end and complex last year that was dismissed in less than a page.

Might I have the temerity to suggest "quantity" often triumphs over "quality"? Or, if not "quality" certainly 'depth'? And, compared to many 'skinnies' I buy occasionally, SoS magazine is STUPIDLY cheap! Another quid is surely justified especially if it means reviewers can take just a bit more 'time'?

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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Arpangel »

ef37a wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Arpangel wrote:Review, Pilot now set-up, it’s completely transparent, it works, review over.

Think of how many ads we could get in the mag if all my reviews were that short... :bouncy::think:

NO!!!! Many are too short as it is. I cannot think of it now but there was a review of something quite high end and complex last year that was dismissed in less than a page.

Might I have the temerity to suggest "quantity" often triumphs over "quality"? Or, if not "quality" certainly 'depth'? And, compared to many 'skinnies' I buy occasionally, SOS magazine is STUPIDLY cheap! Another quid is surely justified especially if it means reviewers can take just a bit more 'time'?

Dave.

Sometimes there’s not a lot you can say, beyond it meeting certain personal requirements, and it sounding sort of "OK" and most gear these days "is" sort of OK there aren’t any real turds, do you remember those "stereo" radios in the 70’ that were just one speaker with two cardboard tubes going to a couple of fake grills? we need more stuff like that to liven things up!

:D
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Re: Good small monitor controller.

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Arpangel wrote:Review, Pilot now set-up, it’s completely transparent, it works, review over.

Think of how many ads we could get in the mag if all my reviews were that short... :bouncy::think:

Surely Sam would just send you more stuff to review? ;)
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