Two sets of monitor speakers -- "cheap" way to switch

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2pauluzz2
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Two sets of monitor speakers -- "cheap" way to switch

Post by 2pauluzz2 » Mon Feb 18, 2013 1:35 pm

Hi :D

In about two weeks I'll be adding a second set of monitor speakers to my setup. I want to keep my old speakers as they will be invaluable for making comparisons.

The only problem is: I don't want to spend E 1000,- on expensive monitor switchers. A cheaper alternative would be something like the Mackie Big Knob, but that one supposedly adds colouration to the sound which is something that I definitely don't want. I use a TC Electronics Desktop Konnekt 6 at the moment, and I have the idea that the sound is pretty good and transparent so I not keep on giving that up.

Of course I could simply switch jacks; not a flashy solution but a practical one. Switching with jacks isn't very quick, but acceptable. But I'm wondering if you guys know of other options that would be helpful in my situation?

Thanks in advance!
"Paul" is fine too.

Angstrom
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Re: Two sets of monitor speakers -- "cheap" way to switch

Post by Angstrom » Mon Feb 18, 2013 1:45 pm

Depending on your audio interface you could simply plug both in, at the same time.
For example, my card is an RME, and the 1&2 outputs feed straight to my active monitors, there are four additional line outs . The Fireface comes with a handy patching / mixing application allowing the routing of your daw to any combination of real outputs, and virtual outputs. the configurations can be saved.

So if your audio device has ununsed line-outs, and a comparable routing/patching/mixing application, and the amplification for one or both monitor pairs is internal, you could just plug both monitor pairs into the back of the interface.

2pauluzz2
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Re: Two sets of monitor speakers -- "cheap" way to switch

Post by 2pauluzz2 » Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:18 pm

Thanks Steve. My interface does not provide multiple outputs though:

http://www.westenddj.co.uk/upload/Produ ... tRear1.jpg

Which RME do you use? I'm interested to know what type of investment it would entail (if it would be several hundreds I'll stick to manual switching for the time being).
"Paul" is fine too.

sounddevisor
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Re: Two sets of monitor speakers -- "cheap" way to switch

Post by sounddevisor » Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:22 pm

Look for a passive switcher, something like this:

http://www.smproaudio.com/index.php/en/ ... /m-patch-2. Looks like it should be around $150US.

I highly recommend this over the manual re-patching approach. I think you'll find that it's very helpful, while mixing, to be able to quickly switch back and forth between sets of monitors, trying to do it manually will slow down your workflow and you'll lose the ability to quickly compare from speaker set to speaker set.

rluk
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Re: Two sets of monitor speakers -- "cheap" way to switch

Post by rluk » Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:38 pm

When I wanted to purchase the smproaudio thing and did some research, people advised me not to, saying it degrades
sound quite alot. Even so much, that you cannot count on your mix decisions anymore. Seems there is a reason why
those things that studios use cost as much as they do.

So i would recommend a soundcard with extra outputs, so you can switch it from there, or even in Live it is just one mouse click - switching master outputs 1/2 - to 3/4.

Besides soundcard with extra stereo out is a damn useful thing to have in many situations.

bastien
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Re: Two sets of monitor speakers -- "cheap" way to switch

Post by bastien » Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:52 pm

http://www.maplin.co.uk/four-way-stereo ... h-box-9328

I honestly, genuinely use one of these. It is just a switch in a box.

Angstrom
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Re: Two sets of monitor speakers -- "cheap" way to switch

Post by Angstrom » Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:06 pm

2pauluzz2 wrote:Thanks Steve. My interface does not provide multiple outputs though:

http://www.westenddj.co.uk/upload/Produ ... tRear1.jpg

Which RME do you use? I'm interested to know what type of investment it would entail (if it would be several hundreds I'll stick to manual switching for the time being).
RME tend to be quite expensive relative to competitors, I use the Fireface 400, which is around £900 gbp. A modern equivalent the UCX is a similar price. It's good kit, but not cheap.

If you dont have something similar, best to just go for a passive switch.

2pauluzz2
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Re: Two sets of monitor speakers -- "cheap" way to switch

Post by 2pauluzz2 » Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:57 pm

rluk wrote:When I wanted to purchase the smproaudio thing and did some research, people advised me not to, saying it degrades
sound quite alot. Even so much, that you cannot count on your mix decisions anymore. Seems there is a reason why
those things that studios use cost as much as they do.

So i would recommend a soundcard with extra outputs, so you can switch it from there, or even in Live it is just one mouse click - switching master outputs 1/2 - to 3/4.

Besides soundcard with extra stereo out is a damn useful thing to have in many situations.
The sm pro unit comes closest to what would be an ideal solution and you (one post higher) mention all the right reasons, but unfortunatley I read the same negative stories about its sound quality. While the only way to test those stories for truth would be to purchase or demo such a unit, I'm not keen on risking adding a weak link in an otherwise great setup.

If there are no proven similar devices that do not color the sound, then I think the new soundcard is my only option. But in respect of my gear-lust-self-restraint where I swore not to invest great sums of money in even more gear for a while, and considering the prices I see for eg the TC electronic multi-output soundcards, manually re-plugging might end up to be the way to go after all :)
bastien wrote:http://www.maplin.co.uk/four-way-stereo ... h-box-9328

I honestly, genuinely use one of these. It is just a switch in a box.
Looks neat, but unfortunately only minijacks (?). I'll try to find some similar passive audio switches that support the bigger jacks. Suggestions on that area are of course most welcome.

Thanks for all the input so far guys.
"Paul" is fine too.

2pauluzz2
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Re: Two sets of monitor speakers -- "cheap" way to switch

Post by 2pauluzz2 » Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:11 pm

It looks like a passive device should be colourless. From http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/dec11/a ... 1211-1.htm:

"Truly transparent active controllers are inherently expensive things to buy, so a passive monitor controller could be a better-value option to consider if you are concerned about colouring the sound. The SM Pro NanoPatch+ is a simple volume control, while the Presonus Central Station offers speaker and input switching too."

I then found out that the mpatch2 is only EUR 129,- at Thomann: http://www.thomann.de/nl/sm_pro_audio_mpatch_2.htm

The promotion PDF by Future Music on Thomann's page reads:

"As far as sound quality goes, the M-Patch’s passive signal path means that colouration of the sound is kept to a bare minimum".
".. yet its main signal path is passive (just like rather more upmarket units such as Coleman Audio's M3PH Mk II and the Presonus Central Station), which makes it transparent enough to use with really high-quality gear".

The only thing I would still need to sort out is how to connect this:

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/attachme ... 2_l2-1.jpg

.. to this:

http://proaudioboutique.com/wp-content/ ... 6-rear.png

.. since the M-Patch doesn't have FireWire connectivity. It would probably have to go through the stereo in of the Desktop Konnekt..
Last edited by 2pauluzz2 on Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Paul" is fine too.

Punky921
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Re: Two sets of monitor speakers -- "cheap" way to switch

Post by Punky921 » Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:14 pm

My friend, at his pro studio, uses a pretty simple radio shack switch to flip between his three different sets of monitors.

2pauluzz2
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Re: Two sets of monitor speakers -- "cheap" way to switch

Post by 2pauluzz2 » Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:25 pm

So how does that work? He has to have built something a bit more elaborate than just a switch?
"Paul" is fine too.

102455
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Re: Two sets of monitor speakers -- "cheap" way to switch

Post by 102455 » Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:59 pm

2pauluzz2 wrote: The only thing I would still need to sort out is how to connect this (mpatch2) to this (desktop-konnekt).
That's easy. Jacks out of the konnect into the input combi sockets of the mpatch2 (they accept XLR or jack).

Then XLRs out of the mpatch2 to all four (presumably powered) speakers.

Or if you want cheap, how about the Behringer MiniMon box? Or for really basic & passive, the Art SPLITMix 4.

You'll lose balanced connections for the cheap options, but at line level and short runs to monitors it shouldn't be an issue.

2pauluzz2
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Re: Two sets of monitor speakers -- "cheap" way to switch

Post by 2pauluzz2 » Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:25 pm

Cheers mate.. I should've probably spent about 2 minutes of thought more on that one; I was thinking the other way around :roll:

The m-patch is price-wise fine.. I wouldn't want to lose balanced connections. Glad to see that there's other options than E 1000,- interfaces.

All in all, the m-patch sounds like a pretty reasonable solution.

This article sums the m-patch 2 up nicely: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/dec06/a ... mpatch.htm
Looks like decent single-purpose device.

Thanks for your help everyone :)
"Paul" is fine too.

hacktheplanet
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Re: Two sets of monitor speakers -- "cheap" way to switch

Post by hacktheplanet » Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:47 am

Dare I say that I doubt you may not find something "cheap" that will provide you with a transparent signal path.

edit: beaten again!
Image

fishmonkey
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Re: Two sets of monitor speakers -- "cheap" way to switch

Post by fishmonkey » Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:24 am

if you need to go cheap and you don't have multiple analog outputs from your audio interface then your best bet is a simple passive switch box with decent switches. avoid cheap boxes with volume controls (even passive ones), since you then introduce cheap potentiometers into the mix, which do have the potential to mess up your sound, and also your channel balances because the pots most likely won't attenuate your stereo channels evenly, especially at lower volumes.

a precisely calibrated stereo potentiometer is not cheap to make...

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