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Big knob coloration (sound samples)
Old 7th August 2012
  #31
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
Tenkas, your Big Knob is defective…

I've done your test starting with the exact same file as you provide.
I've recorded one of the big knob's monitor output.

My Big Knob doesn't color the sound as yours…
There is a subtile difference between original and BigKnob's file, but it is really SUBTLE! Not as pronounced as yours It seems to increase low bass frequencies a bit, but not so much

this is my file :
Attached Files

Big Knob Pieca.wav (2.02 MB, 1331 views)

Old 7th August 2012 | Show parent
  #32
Lives for gear
 
javahut's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tenkas ➡️
Solution to big knob problem:

Use your sound card Main Out to power your main monitors.
Yes, if your sound card/DAC has decent audio outs and a decent software volume control (at least 24 bit), along with maybe hardware switched main output levels that can be reduced, you should be able to get clean, balanced, unaffected audio monitoring. The myth about software volume control reducing noticeable bit resolution is just that... a myth. In reality, you're only reducing the number of bits used to describe the audio level. And once levels are reduced, the detail at the lowest bits will more often than not be below the threshold of your hearing level and perception of that detail. And even more importantly, it will be below the noise level of your monitoring system.

If you have a good impedance match from your DA outputs to your active monitors, there will be a greater chance of having much less audio quality degradation at a wider range of levels using a well designed software volume control (i.e., Total Mix) than the possible discrepancies in most analog volume controls. The only time you would notice a difference in bit depth would be if you lowered the volume by, say, 40db and then reamped it back up by 80db (for example). And you would never do that, or else you wouldn't have needed to lower the level by 40db in the first place.

YMMV
Old 7th August 2012 | Show parent
  #33
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
As I'm considering to change my Big Knob for something better, I've done some more test :

This is an original stereo file and then the file recorded thru the big Knob from a monitor output, not such a big difference… My converter is RME Multiface II
(files are level matched)
Attached Files

Stereo Original.wav (5.80 MB, 1546 views)

Stereo Big Knob.wav (6.32 MB, 1607 views)

Old 7th August 2012
  #34
Gear Maniac
 
HitzHits's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Dear GS,

it has been many years ago and by no means I would blame the BK for anything. I could hear a significant difference when taking it out of my chain.

As everything it is very subjective. I swapped my BK at that time for an SPL 2control and the difference was clarity and detail - different world imho.

Just my experience of this piece of equipment.

the O
Old 7th August 2012 | Show parent
  #35
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by pieca ➡️
Tenkas, your Big Knob is defective…

I've done your test starting with the exact same file as you provide.
I've recorded one of the big knob's monitor output.

My Big Knob doesn't color the sound as yours…
There is a subtile difference between original and BigKnob's file, but it is really SUBTLE! Not as pronounced as yours It seems to increase low bass frequencies a bit, but not so much

this is my file :
Thanks!

nice to see that my unit is in "really bad shape" hehe.

Would like to test it on more units...

Also I am wondering if the impedance match of my preamp ins and the mackie out could cause this "low frequency bump" Might be only in the recording chain, and not in the actual monitoring chain.

The next test I will try is recording the output of one single speaker with and without the Big Knob. That will take out the possibility of the recording chain affecting the sound of the Big Knob.

And since I can't really hear that big of a difference when I plug in the Big Knob (I have no way of switching quickly), this might reveal that the problem here is when "recording" the Big Knob.

Thanks for doing the test!
Old 7th August 2012 | Show parent
  #36
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Wow real revelation here.


Here are some files I recorded (recorded the output of the speaker with 2 different microphones, clean pre, etc)

Levels of the speaker was match between the two versions using a 1KHZ tone.

No ITB level matching was done, and none was necessary.


The big knob does not color the sound significantly like I stated in the first post.

Seems like recording from the big knob colors the sound, but in a real world monitoring chain, the coloring is negligible.

MIC1 had a low cut (wanted to hear more the difference in the highs, and had some rumble caused by traffic)

Recording D is big knob in the chain with MIC1
Recording E is no big knob MIC1

Recording F is big knob in the chain MIC2
Recording G is no big knob in the chain MIC2

MIC2 has a lot of bass, traffic noise, watch your levels!


This has been very interesting and revealing, showing that you must test your gear AS IS, and not developing a different method of usage that you would normally use the product for.


I am keeping the BK, yeah!
Attached Files

D_big_knob_out_MIC.wav (2.70 MB, 1257 views)

E_NO_BK_out_MIC.wav (2.70 MB, 1269 views)

F_big_knob_out_MIC2.wav (2.78 MB, 1229 views)

G_NO_BK_out_MIC2.wav (2.78 MB, 1210 views)

Old 7th August 2012
  #37
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
HOLY CRAP! That is unacceptable...but, they maybe onto something. Remember when folks used to put tissues over NS10 tweeters? Maybe they designed this with the old NS10s in mind.
Old 7th August 2012
  #38
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
go download room eq wizard or rmaa. Measure your sound card then run it again through the big knob in the chain and then you will know exactly what it is or isn't doing to your chain
Old 7th August 2012 | Show parent
  #39
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tenkas ➡️
Here are some files I recorded (recorded the output of the speaker with 2 different microphones, clean pre, etc)
Tenkas, your test isn't really exact, your room combined with the mic affect way too much the sound to be able to notice any coloration from the BigKnob…
Old 7th August 2012 | Show parent
  #40
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by pieca ➡️
Tenkas, your test isn't really exact, your room combined with the mic affect way too much the sound to be able to notice any coloration from the BigKnob…
But both will be affected in an equal matter....its kinda like a football teams says they lost cause there was snow on the field.
Old 7th August 2012 | Show parent
  #41
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by pieca ➡️
Tenkas, your test isn't really exact, your room combined with the mic affect way too much the sound to be able to notice any coloration from the BigKnob…
False,

It's like if you are saying: Well you wont be able to hear a 6dB cut in the highs because your rooms and speakers are affecting the sound.

They are both affected by the SAME acoustic, so a serious drop in highs or a boost in bass would be automatically noticeable.

One mic is an omni, that is why whe are a lot the room, but the room is treated (not the best) but 8 4x2 panels of equivalent of GIK or Ethans traps.

If the microphone can't hear a difference, then there is NO difference.

Recording the output of the mackie was a mistake because there is somthing going wrong when the big knob is interacting with the inputs of my soundcard. Might be impedance mismatch or something alike.


I mean, in the first files I posted, there is an OBVIOUS difference that I can hear.

When recording the output of the speakers with a mic, there is nothing I can hear different. Voila, the proof is done.
Old 7th August 2012 | Show parent
  #42
Lives for gear
 
loopy's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Vinsick ➡️
I had a Big Knob in my studio for 1 day and I noticed a defference in sound from it to the Samson control (whatever it's called). From looking at the block diagram of schematic, there is too much circutry in the signal path. The sound was different and definitely colored.
I did the same thing and while people laugh at the Samson C-Control I don't hear any of the coloration I heard with the Big Knob.

I'm not one who usually hears these super fine differences that some people claim to hear so believe me it's pretty obvious.
It's not defective either as I exchanged it twice before giving up.

Samson sounds the same as direct from my audio card.
The Big Knob does not.
Old 8th August 2012 | Show parent
  #43
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Did you put the mic a few inches from the monitors ?? That will keep the room out . If you use REW you can also shorten the impulse window and get a "quasi-anechoic" measurment .

It's gotta be a bitch to make and market audio gear , audio folk are a little wacky and the power of suggestion is a force to be reckoned with !!


( of course it goes W/O saying that all the posters in THIS thread are Perfectly flawless promulgators of the scientific method !!)
Old 8th August 2012 | Show parent
  #44
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I don't think you can make much better test than the round DA trip compared to the BN inserted in the loop. Unless something was wrong in the setup that should lead to the more accurate results. The more variables you insert in the test the worse IMO, with your mic test you're adding pre distortion to mic and monitors one to the room noise floor to cables to big knob to ADA...
A.
Old 8th August 2012 | Show parent
  #45
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy_bt ➡️
I don't think you can make much better test than the round DA trip compared to the BN inserted in the loop. Unless something was wrong in the setup that should lead to the more accurate results. The more variables you insert in the test the worse IMO, with your mic test you're adding pre distortion to mic and monitors one to the room noise floor to cables to big knob to ADA...
A.

Yes I am adding variable but you could also argue that only recording the output of the Big Knob is not a real good test because that is not how the unit is used in the real world.

Is there a way (with a DI) that I could safely record the output of my power amp?

That would be a good test, since no one believes the microphone test (which I think is the best test there is because it represents exactly what you are hearing and how you are using the unit).


If I can record the output of the power amp, I will do it. I have behringer big metal DI and a Radio JDI. I have never tried to record the output of a power amp so I do not know if there is any danger.. just want to be sure.

By the way, the microphones were about 1.5 feet in front of the speaker.

Something is just wrong with my Big Knob when I try recording it directly from my sound card, like if it does not like having it's output pluged in the IN of my soundcard.
Old 8th August 2012 | Show parent
  #46
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Your going the extra mile that 9 out of 10 DIY'er never do tenkas; you are to be applauded !!


T[IMG] [/IMG]

This is a screen shot from REW of my 8" aluminum woofers w/o x-overs .............

The light blue was taken W/ the small element omni measurement mic about an inch from the phase plug !! ; It is really close to the factory spec sheet for the driver Nice and smooth down low until the metal cone gets excited ( "bell" ringing)


The green is a mere 24" back !!! that's one thing REW teaches you .. The room starts screwing with the spectral response PRONTO !!! as you move away from right in front of the box! .

Thanks for your earnest efforts and sharing !!
Old 8th August 2012 | Show parent
  #47
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tenkas ➡️
Yes I am adding variable but you could also argue that only recording the output of the Big Knob is not a real good test because that is not how the unit is used in the real world.
Then why not plug both the BN and a direct out so they match and have a friend switch between. See if you can spot one of the systems accurately in a blind test. That way you'd know if the BN makes a difference for you, in your room and setup.
A.
Old 8th August 2012 | Show parent
  #48
Lives for gear
 
KBOY's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Just wanted to add my experience with the big knob..

If you go over 0 on the input meters the sound starts to fall apart. Keep it below or at 0 and it doesn't seem to screw with the sound as much.
Old 8th August 2012 | Show parent
  #49
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by flatfinger ➡️
Your going the extra mile that 9 out of 10 DIY'er never do tenkas; you are to be applauded !!


T[IMG] [/IMG]

This is a screen shot from REW of my 8" aluminum woofers w/o x-overs .............

The light blue was taken W/ the small element omni measurement mic about an inch from the phase plug !! ; It is really close to the factory spec sheet for the driver Nice and smooth down low until the metal cone gets excited ( "bell" ringing)


The green is a mere 24" back !!! that's one thing REW teaches you .. The room starts screwing with the spectral response PRONTO !!! as you move away from right in front of the box! .

Thanks for your earnest efforts and sharing !!

Thanks for the praise... heh.

I know that the room colors the sound, but it is the same room in both cases.. I mean with my monitors, I can hear a difference between +1 dB in the highs and no EQ at all. I don't know why it should be different here. If there is a difference, it will show.

To show you the difference, I could even take the 2 files from the first post (B and C) and record them through the speakers to show that there is a huge difference even when recorded. (just to prove my point that if the difference is that great, we should hear it clearly on the mic recording, but this is not the case for now).

I just need to find the right stuff to record the output of my power amp, and this should conclude all test possible.
Old 8th August 2012 | Show parent
  #50
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by KBOY ➡️
Just wanted to add my experience with the big knob..

If you go over 0 on the input meters the sound starts to fall apart. Keep it below or at 0 and it doesn't seem to screw with the sound as much.
I will try the test without going over 0. Did you find out about this by ear or by testing?
Old 8th August 2012 | Show parent
  #51
Lives for gear
 
KBOY's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tenkas ➡️
I will try the test without going over 0. Did you find out about this by ear or by testing?
I found it out by ear.. My partner at the time who had it (I had the central station) was freaking out because his playback sounded funny. Sounded distorted.... When I checked it out it did sound weird. When I got the levels right going into the BK it sounded fine again. I did no testing, we only wanted it to sound right again so moved on after it was fixed.

YMMV
Old 8th August 2012
  #52
Gear Addict
 
T.V. Eye's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
After reading this thread I remembered that a friend of mine used a BK for a few years, so I asked him about coloration, and he told me exactly the same. Coloration was never a big problem as long as you keep the levels fairly low, not super transparent, but no problem working with. But if you feed it to hot, things get worse very quick. Looks like it has a very limited headroom.

I wonder that there are no mods for this unit. I guess it didn´t sell to bad, there should be a lot of units out there.
Old 9th August 2012 | Show parent
  #53
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
ok my last post and test for the big knob.

Conclusion: It is good enough for me, I am keeping it, and it does not color the sound that much (even in the yellow zone, but NEVER hit the red)

Here what I did is I miked (close miked, about an inch from each driver) my monitors (B&W 802).

There are woofers, mid drivers and tweeters. Each were recorded seperatly with the big knob in the chain and not in the chain.

When the file starts it NO, it means there is no Big knob in the chain.


File N and O is my speakers mike about 1 foot away (much further than the other tests above).

N is my speaker miked playing file C (the file that revealed that the big knob was really colored when recorded through my sound card)

O is my speaker miked playing file B, the file that did not have the big knob in the chain originally.

You can clearly hear that there is a big difference between N and O, and this is just to prove my point that if there was a big difference between Big knob or not, the mic would actually pick it up and it would be easy to hear the difference.

Everything in these test was calibrated in an SPL meter, each mike position is always exactly the same when comparing 2 files

So here are the files, this was fun, I am done here.
Attached Files

H_Big_knob_mic_woofer.wav (2.69 MB, 1212 views)

I_NO_Big_knob_mic_woofer.wav (2.69 MB, 1218 views)

J_Big_knob_mic_mid.wav (2.78 MB, 1175 views)

K_NO_Big_knob_mic_mid.wav (2.78 MB, 1160 views)

L_Big_knob_mic_tweeter.wav (2.69 MB, 1166 views)

M_NO_Big_knob_mic_tweeter.wav (2.69 MB, 1177 views)

N_Big_knob_mic_of_C.wav (2.72 MB, 1157 views)

O_Big_knob_mic_of_B.wav (2.72 MB, 1256 views)

Old 9th August 2012 | Show parent
  #54
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
By the way, if anyone else wants to do these kinds of test with a big knob, it would confirm what I have tested here.
Old 9th August 2012
  #55
Lives for gear
 
mirrorboy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by creegstor ➡️
So what are the most viable replacements for a Big knob then? Both cost and quality wise?
I have had the SPL 2 Control for a while and LOVE IT!!!

Bout the same price as the Gain Train I believe but WAY more features.

Also, I'm pretty sure the GT is a passive box (not 100% sure tho).

Anyways, the SPL is an active box with two Stereo Inputs, Two Stereo Outputs, 1 Mono Output for a Sub, Mono function, Dim function, two gorgeous, discrete headphone amps with a proprietary technology called 'crossfeed' (which makes listening via phones more realistic....and you can also adjust the amount of 'crossfeed').

Built like a tank and it's a beautiful piece of kit at a GREAT price point.

I researched A LOT before buying. For a couple months, actually.

To me, it sounds transparent and clean. Tons of headroom and the big silver volume knob is BIG!!

Quick, crappy iPhone pic below.

Good luck with your search!!


Scott

P.S. I did a whole record using the Mackie Big Knob once and while the difference b/w it and the SPL 2Control is not night and day....well, let's just say I wouldn't mix using the Big Knob ever again.
Attached Thumbnails
Big knob coloration (sound samples)-imageuploadedbygearslutz1344500986.874072.jpg  
Old 17th August 2012
  #56
Gear Maniac
 
BushmasterM4's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I ran many tests on mine when I got it 4 years ago. Alot of a/b ing (I mean alot) !!! I did so because of the few reviews by individuals (not pro reviews) who stated a coloration of the sound. Well I never heard any. Just follow the directions on setting up a proper gain structure and your good to go. I did the record test too and my mixes were the same. So to the original poster, not sure why your recording from the BK effected the sound. But your right on monitoring mixes It doesnt change a damn thing. Keep on using it. Just like anything, people post the bad experiences, but seldom the great ones. Look at the specs on the thing... flat !!! Also all pro-reviews state the BK is a keeper. As I stated, set the gain structure up according to the manual and your good to go !!!
Old 17th August 2012 | Show parent
  #57
Kush Audio
 
u b k's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tenkas ➡️
If the microphone can't hear a difference, then there is NO difference.

False. The kinds of distortions you measure on gear can (and will) be masked by the mic's self noise, capsule distortions, the room's distortions, your preamp's distortions... all of it. You've introduced way too many variables, and needlessly so.

It's so simple: just go out of your d/a, thru the BK, then back into your a/d. Do another loop without the BK, and analyze the differences. If you're feeling spunky, try hitting the BK at different input levels to see how the input amps respond under pressure, and check the L/R imaging drift at different volume knob positions.

In addition to the usual freq response, pay particular attention to the phase distortions on the low end and high end. Phase distortion on a monitor controller is one of the most critical specs, it's one of the main determinants of the transient fidelity and clarity of the soundstage.


Gregory Scott - ubk
Old 17th August 2012 | Show parent
  #58
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k ➡️
False. The kinds of distortions you measure on gear can (and will) be masked by the mic's self noise, capsule distortions, the room's distortions, your preamp's distortions... all of it. You've introduced way too many variables, and needlessly so.

It's so simple: just go out of your d/a, thru the BK, then back into your a/d. Do another loop without the BK, and analyze the differences. If you're feeling spunky, try hitting the BK at different input levels to see how the input amps respond under pressure, and check the L/R imaging drift at different volume knob positions.

In addition to the usual freq response, pay particular attention to the phase distortions on the low end and high end. Phase distortion on a monitor controller is one of the most critical specs, it's one of the main determinants of the transient fidelity and clarity of the soundstage.


Gregory Scott - ubk

Hi Gregory,

Thanks for taking time to chime in here.

I would love to get the gain train, but for now, must resist.

Go listen to files N and O

Read the post and you will understand that N and O are, and they are representative of the fact that the mike would pick up the difference (if it was as big a a difference like in my first post).
Old 4th December 2012
  #59
Lives for gear
 
NeoHippy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I listenened to most of the files here with my senn HD650...and I think there is a too big difference. It colors the sound a lot imho. I couldnt accept that....why spend thousands of $$ for monitoring and then ruining everything with a big knob....

cheesr
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