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Big knob coloration (sound samples)
Old 6th August 2012
  #1
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Big knob coloration (sound samples)

EDIT: *** BIG KNOB DOES NOT COLOR THE SOUND (or not that much), go see post 36 for additional testing and results ***

Here is a test I did to see how much coloration I was getting from the big knob.

First file (A) is the original file (I decided to go with a MONO recording)

File (B) is line out of sound card going back in line in of same sound card.

File (C) is line out of sound card going into big knob, going out of big knob back into sound card.


You will see, A is very clear, B is slightly soft, and C (the big knob) does not have any more detail, bass seems boosted.

All levels were match average RMS.

I will remove the big knob from my monitoring chain. It is a good unit, have served me well, but this type of coloration is unacceptable.

Might still use it for talkback and headphone amp, but that's it.

Very sadden by this, and I have never noticed before! I must admit, it is not a big deal since you compensate for such a thing, but I would like to know how come the sound is SOO awful coming out of the big knob... This is a night and day difference!
Attached Files

A_original.wav (2.67 MB, 1382 views)

B_soundcard_line_out.wav (2.67 MB, 1308 views)

C_big_knob_out.wav (2.67 MB, 1510 views)

Old 6th August 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I tried with all the different inputs and outputs combination just to make sure it was not only one input or one output that was defective...

Well bad news, it sounds bad on every channel.


Good news is that you can still work with the big knob and get things done.

Bad news is that this thing colors the sound and takes out all the details.
Old 6th August 2012
  #3
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superburtm's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Yup. I use mine as a headphone amp. Or if my desk is tied up with a mix and i have to do an overdub session using pro tools i will use the knob.
Old 6th August 2012
  #4
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🎧 10 years
The incredible thing is that if I try powering my speakers directly from the sound card, it sounds ok. Then I have to power down the amp, unplug, plug in big knob, etc. and when I power everything back up with the big knob, it seems like my ears don't "hear" the coloration, like if there is some kind of psycho acoustic thing going on, making it hard to hear the big knobs coloration.

The A/B test I created here clearly shows the flaws of the big knob, but in real life, it seems like I can't hear it clearly (because I do not have a switch that can take the Big Knob out of the chain instantly... dunno if that would be possible? Would be the ultimate test...)

Clearly, I will have to stop using it while doing more critical work.
Old 6th August 2012 | Show parent
  #5
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superburtm's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I wouldn't beat yourself up too hard. The BK will not stop you from producing a great product. If and when you find a more sexy solution, then great.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tenkas ➡️
The incredible thing is that if I try powering my speakers directly from the sound card, it sounds ok. Then I have to power down the amp, unplug, plug in big knob, etc. and when I power everything back up with the big knob, it seems like my ears don't "hear" the coloration, like if there is some kind of psycho acoustic thing going on, making it hard to hear the big knobs coloration.

The A/B test I created here clearly shows the flaws of the big knob, but in real life, it seems like I can't hear it clearly (because I do not have a switch that can take the Big Knob out of the chain instantly... dunno if that would be possible? Would be the ultimate test...)

Clearly, I will have to stop using it while doing more critical work.
Old 6th August 2012
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I know it won't stop me because I have been using it for over 5 years, but I am just a little concern, because it seems to color the sound A LOT.

I don't mix much with the big knob, but it would be nice to know what is "really" going on in the mix, not just "guessing" because the big knob is adding some low end or just robbing all the high end out of the sound.

I compare lots of gear and most of the time, the difference is very subtle (like the difference between converters, preamps, etc) but this big knob is affecting the sound in a way that even my mom would notice instantly.

Nevertheless, I find the big knob, for the price, is an excellent product that have served me well and I do not want to "bash" on mackie gear, but I am just bringing the facts on the table.

hear it for yourself.

I am also surprised that not many people participate in these kind of threads. Seems like many people just want to stay in the dark and ignore science...
Old 6th August 2012
  #7
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javd007's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Yep. I returned mine and bought a SMpro mpatch2. While not as fancy, is 100 percent passive with 0.0 coloration and it's cheaper. It just "works" check it out.
Old 6th August 2012
  #8
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Bob Vinsick's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
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.
Old 6th August 2012 | Show parent
  #9
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theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by javd007 ➡️
Yep. I returned mine and bought a SMpro mpatch2. While not as fancy, is 100 percent passive with 0.0 coloration and it's cheaper. It just "works" check it out.
If you understand how it works, there is not really such a thing as "100 percent passive with 0.0 coloration"... as the setting of the pot changes, the impedance relationship changes, and that means a changed tonal balance.
Old 6th August 2012
  #10
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Yes, being passive does not net us artifact free sound by any stretch. It can be just fine for most use, but to claim nothing happens when passing audio through a pot is not correct.

We record the outputs of monitor controllers here as well, don't have a Mackie around to test but having heard it in the past agree it does get in the way more than you'd think.

War
Old 6th August 2012
  #11
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javd007's Avatar
 
🎧 10 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 know. However for all intensive purposes it's uncolored.
Old 6th August 2012 | Show parent
  #12
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead ➡️
Yes, being passive does not net us artifact free sound by any stretch. It can be just fine for most use, but to claim nothing happens when passing audio through a pot is not correct.

We record the outputs of monitor controllers here as well, don't have a Mackie around to test but having heard it in the past agree it does get in the way more than you'd think.

War
War did you record the out of the GAIN TRAIN from Kush audio?

how clean is it? Seems to be the best deal for clean and cheap.
Old 6th August 2012
  #13
Gear Addict
 
Alex_HS's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I often read about coloration of BK, but did not think that the difference would be so huge. Thanks for examples.
PS: a couple of days ago finally connected my Presonus Central Station and enjoy the improved sound compared to digitally controled volume in soundcard's mixer (tc konnekt 48+Remote). DAC - Apogee PSX-100, monitors - KS Digital C55-Coax. It's a pity that we had to return Weiss DAC-2 to it owner.
Old 6th August 2012
  #14
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pasarski's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Yes the diffrence is huge, too huge. Hard to believe that the unit is not defective.
Old 6th August 2012
  #15
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🎧 15 years
I did an FFT using Voxegno span using the largest block size to average the spectral response on the original and BK wav files . The result is the same as I heard ( BK being allot darker ...)

[IMG] [/IMG]


This is pretty a surprising result , leading me to speculate about you having a defective unit , bad cabling or something like that ; this is just to horrid of an out come to believe mackie f'd up this bad !!!

Just my $.02!!
Old 6th August 2012
  #16
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T.V. Eye's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Wow, just listened to the samples. What a difference. Hard to believe that such a unit can degrade the sound so heavily. I mean, this is not a thing I would call "colored" any more.
Sure, our ears/brain can adapt to a different sound quit fast and get used to it, and if you don´t A/B all the time I can imagine that you won´t recognize it all the time.
But in comparison the difference is huge, this really is "night and day" and totally unacceptable.

Usually I´m not that picky, I use a little to no real high end gear myself, and sometimes I don´t hear any difference at all with some shoutouts when it comes to like "converter A vs B", and even if I hear a difference often it´s so small that I would say I don´t mind at all. But as I said, a little coloration is one thing, but this sounds more like it´s been recorded through a cassette deck, not passed to a monitor controller or any other piece of studio gear made to be transparent.
I´m sure you done this test with care, checking the right levels, settings (-10 vs +4 or whatever you can switch an that gear) etc., but I can´t believe that this is what the unit should sound like. My guess is there must be something broken in it or it´s got a production fault.
How long do you have that unit? Can you give it back to the seller or get another unit?
Old 6th August 2012 | Show parent
  #17
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theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by javd007 ➡️
I know. However for all intensive purposes it's uncolored.
But maybe not for all intents and purposes.


Mind you, I don't have enough experience with them to have a personal opinion on the Mackie BK. And, while there do seem to be a number of people who have come to that conclusion, I'd have to take a look at just who holds that view and what they say to support their case. A bunch of people saying something here usually leads me to be more skeptical...
Old 6th August 2012 | Show parent
  #18
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tenkas ➡️
War did you record the out of the GAIN TRAIN from Kush audio?

how clean is it? Seems to be the best deal for clean and cheap.
Oh my, we most certainly did and it's the cleanest most neutral sound one could hope for.

Seriously.

I've got the files around here somewhere, but yes it is awesome and tracks left / right flawlessly at all levels too.

War
Old 6th August 2012 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead ➡️
Oh my, we most certainly did and it's the cleanest most neutral sound one could hope for.

Seriously.

I've got the files around here somewhere, but yes it is awesome and tracks left / right flawlessly at all levels too.

War
You just know how to sell... I want one!!!!
Old 6th August 2012
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I am waiting report of the same test using a different Big knob unit (mine is about 5-6 years old) Maybe a more recent one wont color as much.
Old 6th August 2012
  #21
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jordanvoth's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Keeping mine until the money for the UBK appears out of thin air.
Old 6th August 2012
  #22
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🎧 15 years
So what are the most viable replacements for a Big knob then? Both cost and quality wise?
Old 7th August 2012 | Show parent
  #23
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hasbeen's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by creegstor ➡️
So what are the most viable replacements for a Big knob then? Both cost and quality wise?
I had a Big Knob for years. I loved it for the features and never had a problem with the sound at all. I finally got a passive Coleman. Yes it sounds cleaner and clearer. But I sure wish it had all the stuff my Big Knob had.

Coleman is a good bet for a next step up.
Old 7th August 2012
  #24
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madgansound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I bought one when they first came out years ago based on it's great feature set. I think it lasted around 2-3 weeks in the studio, maybe? Too bad because I wanted to like it but the adverse effect it had on my monitoring could not be overlooked. Sounds like I'm jumping on the hate train I know. But just figured I'd mention it FWIW since this thread happened to pop up.
Old 7th August 2012
  #25
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I have done MANY major label projects and have had no complaints .
My BK has been in operation since '06.
Old 7th August 2012
  #26
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madgansound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
In all fairness, so has a lot of Mackie gear but that certainly doesn't make it right?

Or wrong.

But being used on a 'major label' release certainly doesn't qualify it has not having issues. If you comfortable with it that is awesome. You saved a lot of coin with your monitoring solution
Old 7th August 2012
  #27
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
That's what they say in futures for PreSonus Central Station...
"Passive audio path: no op amps or IC's in main audio path"
Never tried it....just wondering...
Old 7th August 2012 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysoulman ➡️
I have done MANY major label projects and have had no complaints .
My BK has been in operation since '06.
Yeah I know, lots of people using them, I didn't complain for 5 years.

Major stuff are being released using even Behringer gear.

I am not saying: You can't get the job done with it.

I am just saying: Here is what it sounds like.

Everything in audio is RELATIVE.


P.S. : I mean, the Big Knob colors the sound much less than many rooms.... But if you want a transparent signal path, the Big Knob is not the ticket to that.

Enjoy, make your own conclusions and get the music done.
Old 7th August 2012 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tenkas ➡️
Yeah I know, lots of people using them, I didn't complain for 5 years.

Major stuff are being released using even Behringer gear.

I am not saying: You can't get the job done with it.

I am just saying: Here is what it sounds like.

Everything in audio is RELATIVE.


P.S. : I mean, the Big Knob colors the sound much less than many rooms.... But if you want a transparent signal path, the Big Knob is not the ticket to that.

Enjoy, make your own conclusions and get the music done.

@phillysoulman, when you say in your signature "More Bass In All Frequencies" I think that is what you are getting with the big knob... hehe (or less highs...)
Old 7th August 2012
  #30
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Solution to big knob problem:

Use your sound card Main Out to power your main monitors.

Use the big knob for headphones, other monitors, various inputs and talkback.

That is my solution for now.
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