Heaphone/monitor controller question, halp!

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Sebastian
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Heaphone/monitor controller question, halp!

Post by Sebastian » Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:08 pm

I have been using the JBL NANO PATCH for having a big ole easy Volume knob that doesnt exist on my audio interface (RME Fireface 800, before that had to adjust volume on the Mac or application being used.. Besides the volume knob on the NANO it has a mute button. My headphones knob is on the RME interface. This set up has worked fine for me for a couple of years now, heres a link to that product.

https://www.jbl.com/studio-monitor-cont ... a0QAvD_BwE

On an impulse, i recently bought this monitor/headphone controller for like $110, Behringer Monitor 2 USB. I have the option to return it for now if I decide I dont want it. I could live without it....but now that I have it, let me test it before making a snap decision about a new piece of gear I may not understand its benefits? Note: I have zero interest in getting deeper into mixing and mastering and all that fancy shmancy stuff.

I AB tested the Behringer with the Nano Patch back and forth by...... just playing some songs off Ableton and iTunes.

I do like having the headphone knob on the Behringer. The NANO has no headphone input and therefore no knob. My headphones plug into the RME.

Maybe in the long run the Behringer may be more accurate with EQ/coloring for basic home recording levels?

The Behringer has more power; the Nano knob has to turn to higher numbers on its volume knob for whatever desired volume while the Behringer volume knob needs to be turned up less; should this matter to me? T

The Behringer sounds slightly crisper but not by that much that I think its a super huge difference.

The Behringer has 2 headpphone inputs and volume knobs, and you can plug in I think up to 3 different monitor pairs (but Im never going to need that bc like I said, at least for a good while, I have zero interest in getting into mixing and mastering at advanced levels).

I could care less about the USB thing on the Behringer and I have read it sucks anyway.

What do you think? Keep Behringer? Return? If I did, i can probably get maybe a few bucks by selling the NANO on Ebay.

H20nly
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Re: Heaphone/monitor controller question, halp!

Post by H20nly » Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:18 pm

that JBL NANO PATCH thing is cool :idea:

it sounds to me that the JBL makes a point of not altering the signal. maybe the Behringer sounds like it adds a little sauce because it does so much more.


"simplicity is the ultimate sophistication", if it does what you need, use the JBL.
my .02

jestermgee
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Re: Heaphone/monitor controller question, halp!

Post by jestermgee » Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:34 pm

I personally use an external mixer and a Presonus Central Station which is like a monster version of your Nano with multiple inputs and outputs for switching signals and monitors plus 2 headphone outs with pre-amps but all the main audio path is passive so nothing to add colour.

If it works and you cannot tell a difference, use it for what you need it for. If you need the extra headphone control then makes sense if you have spent the money and aren't living on the street.

The Nano is obviously passive with just a simple potentiometer in the signal where the Behringer appears to digitally encode and decode the signal which they do the whole marketing spin of making a positive out of a perceivable negative and say it doesn't add any analog noise or interference. Knowing the middle of the ground quality that Behringer live in you can bet it will colour something but question is how much and can you even notice with what you do.

If you keep the Behringer i'd still suggest keeping the nano. You never know where it would be useful.

TLW
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Re: Heaphone/monitor controller question, halp!

Post by TLW » Sat Dec 22, 2018 12:16 am

JBL give full audio specifications for the Nano Patch. Which are pretty simple because all it does is passively reduce the volume of the audio going through it.

Behringer use a lot of nice words but give no figures at all for frequency response, noise levels, cross talk or harmonic distortion. I wonder why that is.

I'd stick with the JBL.
Live 10.1 Suite, M4L, 2014/15 MacBook Pro 15.3” Retina i7, OS Mojave 10.14.5. RME UFX, assorted synths, guitars and stuff.

Sebastian
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Re: Heaphone/monitor controller question, halp!

Post by Sebastian » Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:56 am

thanks peeps! So do I need an active one or passive one? My monitors are powered (Yamaha MSP5)
https://www.guitarcenter.com/Yamaha/MSP ... ductDetail

I will add that what started me looking around for an alternative to the Nano was that it was annoying to me that the headphone volume knob on the RME Interface is not quite near the Nano patch volume which for in the zone recording stop and go, It may sound a bit bratty but it gets annoying.

Also, worth noting that the Nano Patch Outs are 1/4 while the Behringer is all XLRs thus probably the very slight difference in EQ?

So, here are some alternatives by JBL:

https://www.jbl.com/studio-monitor-cont ... AL-Current

https://www.jbl.com/studio-monitor-cont ... AL-Current

Thoughts!
Last edited by Sebastian on Sat Dec 22, 2018 2:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

dougdi
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Re: Heaphone/monitor controller question, halp!

Post by dougdi » Sat Dec 22, 2018 2:05 am

I've been using the JBL M-Patch 2 for a few years, I like it. It's passive but needs power for the headphone out. I use it because it can switch between big and small monitors and the mono switch is real handy. I guess it's the bigger version of the Nano.

edit addition -
At this price point I think passive is the way to go, there is no coloration.
Doug

fishmonkey
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Re: Heaphone/monitor controller question, halp!

Post by fishmonkey » Sat Dec 22, 2018 2:07 am

just because a device is passive doesn't mean it can't colour your signal.

years back when my main audio interface only had a tiny little main volume knob, i used a TC Electronic Level Pilot:

https://www.tcelectronic.com/Categories ... ans(en|en)

it's a stylish device, but one quirk was that the potentiometer was not fully-matched on the left and right channels, and this was particularly noticeable at very low volume levels. this is one issue that an active device can potentially avoid.

mind you, i personally would not enjoy using a stepped main volume knob (like the Behringer thing has)...
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

TLW
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Re: Heaphone/monitor controller question, halp!

Post by TLW » Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:13 am

dougdi wrote:I've been using the JBL M-Patch 2 for a few years, I like it. It's passive but needs power for the headphone out. I use it because it can switch between big and small monitors and the mono switch is real handy. I guess it's the bigger version of the Nano.

edit addition -
At this price point I think passive is the way to go, there is no coloration.
I use the main outs plus a couple of line outputs on my RME UFX to switch between a couple of pairs of monitors and mostly control the UFX using RME’s Totalmix software rather than its own volume knob.

Passive volume controls actually can colour the sound - guitar volume pots which roll off treble as they’re turned down are an example, and a dirty potentiometer in the signal chain adds lots of noise of course. What they won’t do is add amplifier-generated hiss or hum.
Live 10.1 Suite, M4L, 2014/15 MacBook Pro 15.3” Retina i7, OS Mojave 10.14.5. RME UFX, assorted synths, guitars and stuff.

TLW
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Re: Heaphone/monitor controller question, halp!

Post by TLW » Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:35 am

I don’t know for sure because I’ve never had the Behringer device in question, but I have owned an assortment of Behringer stuff over the last 30 or so years (typing that makes me feel very old...). Some is surprisingly good for the price and, to be honest, some has been rubbish.

Personally I wouldn’t want to spend the amount of money needed to get an RME interface then listen to it through a cheap DAC/preamp whose manufacturer doesn’t back up their claims with some numbers (however massaged they may be), but that’s just my opinion. If the Behringer passes the audio through its DAC that will also increase system latency, which may be or may not be a problem for you.

Out of the JBLs the second one seems to get some bad reviews, but people tend to only leave reviews at all if they have problems with something so.......<shrug>. There’s really no answer to deciding which is going to do the best job other than trying them out and reading anything you can find about them online.

As for TRS vs XLR connectors, both are used for balanced circuits and what format the plug is shouldn’t make the slightest difference to the sound.
Live 10.1 Suite, M4L, 2014/15 MacBook Pro 15.3” Retina i7, OS Mojave 10.14.5. RME UFX, assorted synths, guitars and stuff.

Sebastian
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Re: Heaphone/monitor controller question, halp!

Post by Sebastian » Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:22 pm

I dont hear any real difference so far...as i continue to test them....

Sebastian
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Re: Heaphone/monitor controller question, halp!

Post by Sebastian » Sat Dec 22, 2018 8:40 pm

Update on sound difs, just for fun if anyone still interested haha

Both sound pretty great. I guess one interesting question is what is the more "accurate" or "wiser sound to work with?

Behringer: noticeably more detail but less lower punch than Nano. On Behringrer, the Instruments sound more clear, separated, spread (think taco).

Nano Patch: Bassier, more meat, thats def a plus. Instruments sound more compacted together --think burrito---. So instruments not as "clear" and separated as Behringer.

What is the more "accurate" or "wiser sound to work with?

Sound aside....

NANO+: I like the knob action much better. But no freaking headphone knob. My laptop screen blocks my access to the RME headphone knob and moving things around would alter my work flow bc, my arms reach for this and that. I have mics and guitars within quick grabbing distance to where Im sitting.

BEHRINGER+: 2 headphone knobs and inputs. The rest are extras I have no interest in exploring such as: 3 monitor able, Dim knob, Mono knob, Crossfeed knob)
I know its up to me and my ears but just curious on your thoughts. Im learning quite a bit with some details I wasnt even aware of.

miyaru
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Re: Heaphone/monitor controller question, halp!

Post by miyaru » Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:16 pm

I would stick to the JBL. I have an ESI MOCO without a headphone out, and use the headphone knobs on my Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 to control the headphone levels. The ESI is passive, and the coloration is minimal.

I'm not fond of Behringer stuff, except I would like to try their Model D synth one day.......

This is my two cents, but I really think the JBL is better.
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fishmonkey
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Re: Heaphone/monitor controller question, halp!

Post by fishmonkey » Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:20 pm

if you want to subjectively determine which sounds more transparent then you would need to do careful comparisons between both the controllers, and no controller at all.

and, you would need to do repeated blind tests. that is, where somebody else is switching the gear around so that you don't know which configuration you are listening to.

furthermore, the level-matching would need to be very good, since even a slight difference in loudness will change your perception.
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

Sebastian
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Re: Heaphone/monitor controller question, halp!

Post by Sebastian » Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:47 pm

thanks but, meh, I dont wanna go that deep into the comparing, Ill continue A/B comparing simple approach, for a couple more days and let it settle in and then call it. :)

fishmonkey
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Re: Heaphone/monitor controller question, halp!

Post by fishmonkey » Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:51 pm

fair enough. but then in terms of sound quality you may as well toss a coin.
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

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