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Monitor Controller by Esi - the MoCo.

Discussion in 'Monitoring' started by miyaru, Dec 27, 2017.

  1. miyaru

    miyaru Active Member

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    Today I recieved my MoCo, a monitor controller from the German manufacturer Esi. It is passive and can handle two stereo sources and two pairs of monitors.

    It sounds very neutral, and is extremely quiet. It also has L/R swap functionality, mute and mono. Two things to consider: it has no status lights whatsoever and the housing is made of sturdy plastic.

    http://www.esi-audio.com/products/moco/
     
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  2. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Looks nice, how does it handle volumes, smooth and even?

    moco_large.jpg

    moco_sub1_large.jpg
     
  3. miyaru

    miyaru Active Member

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    Handles it OK, works nice and even......
     
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Good to know, I'm needing another monitor controller. Some monitor controllers have volume (L R C) inconsistencies at low volumes.
     
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    i've read that this is a problem with passive monitor controllers but not active. the image will shift as you turn the volume up and down especially at lower levels.
     
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  6. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Exactly where I am going with this. Could be that this build is better or miyaru hasn't had it long enough to start noticing this. Lets hope its a good design as it looks good.
     
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    actually, i believe it was Boswell who wrote that. i understood it as an issue with all passive summing.
     
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    I believe you are correct. But its also why I ended up sticking with the Dangerous Monitor ST for my last hybrid system. We've had a few discussion about passive monitor controllers over the last decade and I'm looking for one thread in particular that really explains it all. I believe Bos chimed in on it.
     
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Here is the post I was thinking about but there are a few good ones where Boss explains much more.

    https://recording.org/threads/event-opal-monitors.54150/page-4
     
  10. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    Since that previous thread I've fitted a 40dB toggle switch to my SM Pro passive monitor controller specifically to deal with the problem of image drift when listening at low volumes.
     
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  11. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    image drift when listening at low volumes. Well defined!
     
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Bos, which do you have and how much are these? I've never heard of this company. http://www.smproaudio.com/index.php/en/products/monitor-controllers
     
  13. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    My apologies, I don't mean to be hijacking your thread or detracting away from something you just bought and should be thrilled about. We're always dissecting pro audio around here and I am the worst of the bunch when it comes to researching and hashing through it all. Again, my apologies, hope you are listening close to the imaging (for image drift) and report back any findings.:)
     
  14. miyaru

    miyaru Active Member

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    Yeah, will do that..... Most of you guys/girls here are pro's. I'm just an enthousiastic in recording stuff. Does not say I'm not serious, but because it is not my way of making money, my budget is tighter than most of you overhere.

    I will report back, and the - 40db switch could be a handy thing. Before the MoCo, I was adjusting the volume on my audio interface, but it adjusts volume in the digital domain. So playing at low levels thins out the bit depth of your signal then, wasn't handy too......A thing to consider!

    At first I was looking for a Presonus Central Station Plus ( https://www.presonus.com/products/central-station-plus ), but these are hard to get second hand for a nice amount of money though. These are passive too, but seem to do it good. And also the thought that you heve a remote cable over your desktop instead of a bunch of cables. But my current setup just doesn't justify the purchase of such a device. It would be more expensive than my monitors. (which are from Presonus too - the Eris E8).
     
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  15. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Cool,

    Generally speaking here: Learning about what gear does shouldn’t ever be about money. We all have a budget and get what we can afford but that should never get in the way of learning and passing on what we discover along the way!

    Some very inexpensive tools work awesome just as some very expensive products actually suck. In fact, I have actually paid a lot of money for analog products that don’t do near the job inexpensive software does much much better on a computer.

    The thing to be aware, that we aren’t buying something that is actually fooling us or screwing us in other ways.

    Here’s to having thick skin in this business!!!

    Cheers!
     
  16. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    I've had an M-Patch 2 ever since they first came out. That model was the one that escaped before SM Pro Audio found their tin of red paint.

    I also have a couple of their original Nano Patch units that I often use for inserting between mixing desk and power amps when I'm doing PA on live recording gigs. In addition to doing level matching, the Nano Patch is like its bigger siblings in having a handy mute button.
     
  17. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    So...i don't have a controller, but I'm really intrigued by this...so be patient with Donny the moron for a min, LOL...how is the toggle implemented? Meaning, is this something you use in place of the actual volume control, like a pad switch? And it corrects the disparity you noticed in the stereo image when gaining down for lower listening levels?
     
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  18. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    The problem with standard multi-gang anti-log pots is that, at the lowest resistance end, it is very difficult to get precise mechanical (and hence resistance) matching between gangs. At the low end of a 10K pot, one gang may be reading 10 Ohm (-60dB) while its neighbour may be 20 Ohm (-54dB). That 10 Ohm difference creates a 6dB differential in output level between channels. The relative resistance difference at the higher end creates less level difference, even allowing for the log encoding. This means that adding a 40dB pad ahead of the pot for low-level listening brings the operational range into the higher end of the pot where the mechanical matching tolerance causes much less signal level difference.

    The toggle switch (4-pole for balanced stereo signals!) is indeed like a pad on a microphone. However, the resistance values have to be computed carefully to achieve a compromise that allows not only for the loading of the variable pots on the pad but the loading of the loudspeaker inputs on the variable pot.
     
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  19. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    And how is that calculated? Presumably there's a concrete set of figures that define that, but you also mentioned "comprise"... And is that accomplished simply by listening?
    I think it's quite fascinating that some passive controllers have this 6db difference at lower levels...I mean, I mix at 73-75db all the time, it's probably my most-used volume level, not counting periodic checks at higher levels (FM Curve), but those higher levels aren't common for me for mixing sessions. This DB difference seems dramatic to me... I'm trying to picture in my head mixing at 74db with one half of my stereo field being shy (or gained up) 6db,... It would drive me crazy!
    I know you have an extensive history of electronic and technical design, pal...have you ever mentioned this disparity to any of the companies who make the models affected? I dunno...I might be overplaying this - or quite possibly misinterpreting it - but this sounds like a pretty big issue to me. Obviously it bothered you enough to design a circuit fix for it.. so it can't be all that small of an issue, no?
    Or am I missing something? (Which is certainly possible, LOL ;) )
    -d.
     
  20. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    I only used 6dB as an example because it make things more evident where the numbers came from. I would be surprised if any decent passive monitor controller were as far out as that anywhere in its travel. Having been involved some time ago in the commercial design of a multi-stage switched attenuator, I know it's one of the compromises a manufacturer of the continuously variable type has to accept, unless cost is no object.

    The usage instructions of some rotary passive attenuator units give matching figures between channels, usually specified as a small dB difference, but crucially usually only over the first 40 - 50dB of attenuation.

    I think the point is that the continuously variable types are not meant for serious use at high attenuation levels, which is why I added the "pad" switch to the unit I have. The pad resistor value calculations are not difficult - just the usual pair of simultaneous equations. The tricky bit comes in deciding what trims to make to the resistor values to best adjust for the variable loadings.
     
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