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Grace Design m908 monitor controller

Discussion in 'Monitoring' started by audiokid, Oct 13, 2018.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    m908

    surround / multi-channel monitor controller (2.1 through 22.2)​

    imgext.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gracedesign.com%2Fproducts%2Fm908%2Fm908_full-1.jpg
    For audio professionals working in stereo, surround and immersive formats up to 22.2, we present the m908. All new, from the ground up system architecture represents a plethora of new technical achievements for us. With powerful DSP functionality, our latest generation AD/DA converters, and a highly intuitive control platform, the m908 provides a comprehensive, all in one monitoring solution for a vast array of formats and workflows.
    • Our latest generation of AD and DA converters, 4th generation s-Lock pll for vanishingly low jitter
    • Powerful DSP processor for high resolution volume control, bass management, channel delay and dowmixing
    • Up to 24 channels* for immersive surround formats such as ATMOS™, DTS:X™ and Auro 3D™
    • Manage playback systems from mono through 22.2
    • Full bass management capability
    • Channel level and delay calibration
    • Comprehensive downmix control
    • Analog 16 channel Out / AES3 24 channel I/O
    • ADAT 16 channel In / USB 24 channel In
    • AES3, S/PDIF, and TOSLINK Stereo In
    • Optional Dante™ or DigiLink™ module for 24 channel I/O
    • Optional ADC module for 8 or 16 channel analog Inputs**
    • Powerful and ergonomic remote control unit for access to all system controls
    • Built in SPL meter and pink noise source
    • Dual redundant external power supply
    • Reference quality headphone amplifier with cross-feed
    • Flexible talkback system with built-in mic on remote control and mic input for external talkback mics
    • Up to 3 stereo CUE outputs in addition to stereo headphone monitoring***
    * 16 channels of analog out max - up to 24 channels out with external 8 channel DAC
    ** Stereo balanced and unbalanced analog inputs are standard with ADC option
    *** when not using more than 7.1 speaker system

    imgext.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gracedesign.com%2Fproducts%2Fm908%2Fm908_full-1-2.jpg
     
    kmetal likes this.
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    wow! Now this is a company who knows where high end Pro Audio is going. This just took the Dangerous Monitor ST and the need to buy a second DA out of the game and... do I read this right, we can optionally add
    • Analog 16 channel Out / AES3 24 channel I/O
    • ADAT 16 channel In / USB 24 channel In

    This appears to incorporate 3 very important sections of what I would have in my hybrid or two DAW system. Very cool move, Grace.

     
  3. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Wish there was a shot of the back of the module.

     
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    For some sort of reference, here's what the back side of the 906 looks like.

    m906_rear.jpg
     
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    77 Sunset Lane.
    looks like a great product. one concern i would have is the control pad. the lcd display and those contact switches don't have a very long life and i'm sure it would be next to impossible to replace them. i would guess they will last 5 to 10 years much like the switches or pads on a electronic piano. i suppose no one expects their equipment to last longer than 10 years any longer. none of this stuff will be around in 50 years unlike a vintage LA2a or other old school gear that was built to last forever. military standards are becoming a thing of the past. brave new world.
     
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    I agree.
    I do not like LCD displays as well. The back-lights always diminish leaving it difficult for older eyes to see what you are doing. But it sure does look like a great product.
     
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    it's probably perfect for the market they are shooting for, hobby and home studios looking for the best they can have. i suppose pro studios for hire (farther and fewer between) will opt for something with a more robust control panel. but for the music making enthusiast with a desk top set up the form factor will hit the mark. it will sit well next to a laptop with all the connections hidden away in a rack. pretty cool.
     
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Oh wow, this is so ahead of the curve, Kurt. Far from "home" audio but indeed for any studio. Its cutting edge pro audio.
     
  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    i don't see whay you say it's ahead of the cruve. it's very much right at the mark for a self recording artist who wants great quality without a LF console monitor section. it's really what the market is shooting at now. i don't believe it will hold up in a pro setting. the talk back button would probably be the first to fail as it would probably be the most used. i bet if one button fails you would at best have to replace the whole assembly. i don't believe those are individual buttons instead it's one monolithic assembly. worse case, its replace the whole controller. how long do think those will be available? a lot of times these kind of things are produced in one big run. once they are all sold there are no replacements. five years at best. if they update it in a year or two, then less. no one supports legacy any more.

    i'm sure the audio quality is superb but i just don't have confidence in the little buttons on sfm touch pads. those things will not hold up. not meant for multiple sessions every day like in a pro room. for the composer or artist working in a personal studio setting they will hold up for 5 maybe 10 years but put it in a room where you have different engineers in and out and sessions running for 16 to 20 hours a day i just don't think it will hold up.

    those same kind sfm soft touch buttons on the ALESIS ADAT BRC's fail after a few years of use. i had a Kurzweil Ensemble Grand that failed after some hard playing. these are the same kind of soft touch keys that are on a qwerty keyboard and how long do they last with a single user? imagine multiple users on 3 or 4 sessions a day.
     
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Why I would choose this over a console or your basic monitoring process its a big topic.

    In a DAW world where we have both ITB and OTB processing options the core of the recording, mixing and mastering system is the monitor control system. When the monitor system is OTB, it allows for a more proficient way to monitor. In a pro audio world where we have so much more available to us in comparison to yesteryear, listening and being able to make better decisions is key.
    One of the weakest parts of a music production system is the monitor section. Traditional consoles are bias and weak in comparison to something like this above. Having converters and multiple I/O in the monitoring sections is simply brilliant.
     
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  11. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

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    I'd be willing to risk eventual failure of the controller. It would give me an excuse to make the 40 minute drive to the Grace factory.
     
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  12. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    sometimes i wonder if you and i even live on the same planet. :LOL: i don't know what kind of consoles you have worked with but i know the LF consoles i have owned and used all had great monitor sections with all the features any of the monitor controllers out there offer, as well as sounding great and (this is the big one for me) being SERVICEABLE! a button fails, you pull the strip and replace it in the field. that's what i mean by military grade construction. discreet parts, through the hole construction. it's the reason that people can still use 40 year old Neve's or MCI's.

    you don't see a need for a big console because you work more with VSTI's. you never track more than one or two things at a time and you work more as a composer alone than as a producer with multiple players all at the same time.

    with multiple players on the floor all playing at the same time, say a rhythm section, you'll have drums (8 mics) bass (DI and mic) 2 guitars (2 to 4 mics) a couple of keyboards or piano and Hammond (at least 4 mics) a vocal (1 mic) and then perhaps a live string section (how many mics? ) you are looking at managing at least 24 mics or lines in. i would hate taking on a task like that itb with a pile of mic pres another pile of eqs, compressors and the associated cabeling. with a console you have all the mic pres eqs and in a lot of cases dynamics in one package all laid out, all the outboard wired up to the patch bay, no menus or scrolling around staring at a screen and then mousing the controls. i would really hate that. it's much easier to grab a knob on a console with all the inputs laid out in front of you. plus for me analog processing (eq /compression) sounds better than digital. especially eq.

    tape will never be as dominant as in the past but there is still a niche' demand. consoles on the other hand are making a resurgence in the market with at least a dozen manufacturers commissioning new consoles all over the world. a lot of mixers are staying itb but for recording large live sessions off the floor that employ a but load of high paid musicians, itb will never be as efficient as working with a console. another upside to both tape machines and consoles is if they are properly maintained you can recoup your investment after several years. with tape machines the prices are actually appreciating.

    ..... if they have a replacement available.
     
  13. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

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    That's what I do, record through a console and mix ITB.
     
  14. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    :p
     
  15. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Well, I'm not here to upgrade you, insult you or change you but you do make it fun to discuss the past, present and future of pro audio so this response is simply to have fun as we are both about the same age and have both had 40 plus years in the music business.

    Being said... I am 99% sure I could run circles around you when it comes to multi track recording, mixing via large channel consoles or hybrid processing BUT ... I'm sure you could teach me a thing or two when it comes to mic placement but I don't think you could ever stand the test of being able to configure a serious pro audio rig that incorporates both DAW and console as well as I could. :)

    I say this with great confidence because I have used far more gear than you have in the last 2 decades and I know this because I have read hundreds of posts by you and I have also had a massive list of gear sent to me over the last 2 decades running recording.org. In fact, I don't know anyone that has had the privilege to use the level of hybrid gear I have. I know there are others out there but I without question am one of few in comparison to the average.

    LET ME SAY THIS . I'm by no meaning saying I am some great one, better than others but when it comes to knowing more about hybrid recording, mixing and mastering in the 21 century... I think I have you beat hands down. :) So... in respect TO THIS THREAD and Professional Monitor Controllers .... you really don't have a ^#$%ing clue what you are talking about. :)

    THIS BEING SAID! Does any of what you or I say matter? Is an analog consoles vs modular preamps better or is a DAW better than tape or is a LF vs SF consoles any different in principal.... Yes and no .

    Whatever we use I suppose that would depend on what you are interested in and what your clients are into. Some people STILL think vinyl records sound better than today's recording but that say's they are ^#$%ing clueless about high end digital audio then. The sound of today's music is miles ahead of tape.
    That being said, some console preamps are excellent value for the buck so that would be one reason I would choose a console. They look great too and they are fun to play with but they suck for editing and recall in comparison to digital audio. And that really is just touching the surface.

    Again, I'm typing fast here, busying working today while poking fun back at you, Kurt. You are a cool guy, I have always loved having you as a member and support here but you are the one (using your words towards me before you edited your above thread) living under a rock, not me. :cool:

    Back to the Grace m908 and monitor controllers in general. These links explain better than me what these types of monitor controllers offer. They are far better than any console monitor section for a variety of reasons.

    https://vintageking.com/blog/2018/01/monitor-controllers/
    http://dangerousmusic.com/product/monitor-st/

    All in fun :D
     
  16. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    i looked at your links and i just don't see anything a monitor controller can do that can't be done on a Neve or SSL, MCI etc. speaker selection, cue mixes. and even with the Dangerous there's those fu*&in membrane soft switches! planned obsolescence. i want something with massive hardwired switches and Daven attenuators! .

    there's not much to setting up a console and outboard. i've done it more times than i can remember. i could easily set up an audio interfaces ins and outs to a patch bay but i agree my biggest stumbling block is computers. i can run a basic computer and get on line or run a DAW and edit but the second it comes to the actual installation of software and computer configuration i get lost and i always will because i am not a computer geek. i am more of a mechanic rather than a technician. i don't have the kind of memory that can go back ten steps and recall some knit picky command configuration thing i did. understanding code and configuration is a must if you are going to run a computer as a recording studio. with a tape recorder all you have to do is understand music, people and have good ears. if i were still running my room, i would definitely have to have a Pro Tools person like Kyle to help. still i would love to have a small analog room capable of tracking a large group into 8 tracks sans any computers just for my own sh*ts and giggles.

    to clarify, i am not anti monitor controller. i would just choose one that is more serviceable rather than one with crappy surface mounted membrane soft touch buttons that everyone (including the manufacturers) knows degrade from environmental conditions and fail just like foam on a wall. it's rubber. it degrades over time. these are the same kind of touch pads that Behringer and Mackie use on their mixers and you hardly ever see one of those used where everything works. there's always one or two buttons that have failed. this stuff is designed to be easy and inexpensive to manufacture but not serviced. they just expect you to go buy something new. if you are ok with buying new gear every few years it's fine. if you want your thousands of dollars to last and not become a digital door stop look for something that can last a lifetime, this ain't it. i still have TEAC and TASCAM gear i bought in the 70's but nothing that had soft touch buttons has lasted more than a few years.

    a lot of people buy this stuff and use it a few times or for even a year or two, loose interest and end up selling it off. i see it all the time around here. some new studio starts up and they run for a few years at best and then they sell out. living in a College Town the students come and go. a lot of them start a bar band and partner up and build small studios and when they finish school they move back to their home towns and rather than divi-ing it up and hauling it across the country back home they just sell it for less than half what they paid for it new. for someone who only wants a few years of service but still demand high quality audio, this is a perfect box. if you're in for the long run, i'd look into something a little more robust.
     
  17. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    I understand your confusion and in all humbleness, I never knew how important an external monitor control system was until I actually starting using them. The Dangerous Monitor actually uses relays that are controlled by digital attenuators. They are so precise no LF Neve, API, SSL etc could come close to how detailed these are. At least this is what I'm told. They don't colour your monitor section are change pan positions etc as the levels change. They stay exact..

    The sonic quality of a quality independent monitor controller is one thing then there is the other BIG reasons which is, and external monitor controller has which nothing else has is the ability to monitor transparently in three ways. A console can only do it one way. If you ever did hybrid mixing or mastering you'd know how important this step is.
     
  18. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Most people are doing this as a hobby, then there are others who take it more seriously. I don't know very many people who buy high end monitor controllers that stay in this business who sell them off. They are way too important to dump. Once you use one, its about the last thing I would sell. If I sold one I would replace it with something better. Cheap monitor controllers are not worth the investment. Something like the Grace M908 looks to be the very best on the market now. Having converters and I/O in it, pretty damn pro audio cool if you ask me.
     
  19. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    for fun, Fab explain the DM ST well including mentions why he used the monitor ST rather than his Neve. There are numerous testimonials from people who use LF consoles that use a Monitor ST as well. I'm not trying to sell you on it but its worth watching this. Also, tell me if your monitor section of your last console does what this does?
     
  20. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    About the Neve etc...

     

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