How you gain staging monitor controller?

Hey guys, just wondering how you guys gain staging your monitor controller and what type of controller best ?active or passive?

currently I’m using apogee ensemble>output 1-2 set to +4dbu (balance) and crank the main out all the way to 0db>Sm pro audio M-patch Passive monitor controller>focal alpha80 sensitivity 0db

I’m thinking of using presonus monitor controller v2… since it has the feature like talkback etc which my studio needs.
what’s the downside of active monitor controller?

I monitor through a Soundcraft M8 desk, don’t know if that counts! :baby:

Fireface 800 output set to +4dBu nominal, levels in the box tend to peak at around -8dBfs on my mixes with the occasional higher peak from snare drum or whatever - as long as it never exceeds around -5dBfs I don’t worry about it too much. No volume reduction after this in the box, so that’s the level it hits the D/A converter.

That goes into a stereo channel on the desk with the input gain set so when the channel and master faders are at 0 the desk’s output meters show 0db(ref +4dBu)

The output of the desk goes into Focal active monitors set so that when the desk’s output meters show 0dB the SPL in the room is around 90dB. I didn’t go crazy measuring that, just played some reference mixes and work in progress to get in the ballpark. It’s pretty loud, but it gives me a reference point - I know I like to balance vocals with down -25dB from there for example, check how the snare and kick are punching through at -10dB, Balance the low end punch loudly at 0dB…

I’m not sure what you mean. I gain stage my dim at -12 and my mute at whatever ‘not hearing anything’ is. I gain stage the reference cue about -4db underneath whatever the relative position of the center section master is. For me, all equipment runs at -12db output, and not +10. Since its all higher end stuff. I run my monitors wide open at unity and let my controller do the volume work, but I have a real good one that doesn’t hiss or buzz at all. I use a Cranesong Avocet 2a.

If you’re looking high end, you can’t go wrong with CraneSong, Grace, or Dangerous. They’re all good, though I favor the Crane Song personally.

If you’re looking in the $2-300 range, Behringer makes a decent SPL clone. Google Behringer monitor controller and i’m sure you’ll find it. I used one for several months until Cranesong caught up on their backorders and sent me the Avocet.

No idea you had to “gain stage” your monitors.
I’m using Cubase built-in Control room to switch between different monitors and headphones and it has everything I need, dim and cue, stereo/mono etc. But as far as level, I just set them to a comfortable volume in my room, and I also try to change that often (louder, quieter) to get a perspective at various levels…

what I mean is, how you chain the stereo output of your Converter before going through speaker.
Is monitor controller necessary?
and what’s the difference between active and passive controller


Oh, sorry! I didn’t understand that.
I personally don’t have anything between my audio interface (RME Fireface UCX) and my monitors (JBL 2300 series, Avantone MixCube and Logitech crappy PC speakers) - as I said I can switch them directly in Cubase, so no need for a controller.

But they are all active speakers, meaning that they have their own built-in amplifier.
Passive speakers need an amplifier, that’s the main difference.
I find active speakers easier to deal with, because of that, although some will say passive is better (but then you need to match them with the right amplifier, so it gets complicated…)

There’s all sorts of monitor controller around that allow you to switch monitors if you have more than on pair and if your audio interface doesn’t have many output, but I don’t think they are amplified, so in any case you still have to choose between active and passive and if the latter then you’ll need an amp after your monitor controller and before you monitor.

Hope this helps?

My understanding is that a passive monitor controller doesn’t have its own gain stage. So basically it only attenuates. I can’t boost. Someone else will want to confirm though.