Future Music testitulokset:
Mixing desks have always been a compromise between quality and convenience. The advent of DAW-based mixing has, no doubt, solved a lot of problems. However, its created its own, and one of these is how best to address monitoring, including headphone mixes. If youre recording a multimiked band, who need different headphone mixes and levels, a large format desk is the way to go. But if your recording needs are simpler, and most of the emphasis is on monitoring a stereo output, a modifi ed desk centre section should do the trick. So why does it feel as if the four boxes weve tested all miss the mark? Firstly, all of them seem to think youll have three pairs of monitors. I suspect that for most people this is unlikely and, anyway, £30 can buy you a perfectly functional three-way speaker switching box. Secondly, for units designed to help you harmonise your hardware world with your software one, having only three or four inputs (one of which will get used by your DAW) seems crazy. Next, given that pretty much every audio interface on planet Earth has at least one digital connection, why do only two of these units have digital inputs? And fi nally, none of these boxes really hit the mark with their headphone set-ups. Although three out of four have two headphone outputs, only one (the Central Station) is able to offer a different mix to each (and for some reason, all but the TRIO want to put both their headphone outputs on the front panel). Only one unit (the TRIO) addresses the zero latency monitoring issue (although the phones mix input on the Big Knob goes some of the way). Obviously, this is less of a problem if youre using a zero latency monitoring system like ProTools or CueMix. Each of these boxes clearly has its strengths but, given the variation, you could end up feeling theres no consensus on what people want from a monitor section. But with a few decades of desk design to look back on, is this really the case? These units need to be more than glorifi ed speaker switching boxes. If you own a decent computer-based system, it should now be possible to ditch your mixing desk in favour of a suitably equipped monitor interface. I suspect the door is still open for another manufacturer to come along and deliver the goods.
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