Control Room in place of hardware monitor controller

Hey there,

So I’m doing some studio changes and moving some gear to a second studio, part of which is our Dangerous Music D-Box, which functions as a monitor controller (mix summing also). As we do primarily film based work though, Im moving away from using summing mixers for practicality. Its just more trouble than its worth re: stems etc. But I digress.

In any event the new system will be without a hardware monitor controller. We’ll be using a RME HDSPe linked to a Lynx Aurora 16, the latter of which has no hardware level attenuation. I believe the RME may or may not have monitor control at the software level but I prefer the simplicty and ease of use of the hardware controller.

So I’ve never really used the Control Room in Cubase (not typically recording multiple musicians and require multiple monitor sends etc). Ive kinda gone down that path and its a PITA the ass going back to older sessions if changing the way this is setup. My question was, is it viable to use the control room for functions of a hardware monitor controller? I know this doable, using the IO for monitor feeds etc. But more to the point, is it possible to have a controller mapped to monitor output levels? Mapped to switch between monitor/input sources? Something like the CMC (although discontinued). We do have a CC121 to hand though. We do use a bunch of external FX, only require 2 monitor sends, preferable for switchable input sources.

So anyone using software monitor control which is relatively painless? I have my eye on the Coleman Audio M3PHMMKII monitor controller if going the hardware route.

I use the Control Room every day. Just using with the mouse. For the volume I use a hardware 5.1 volume controller by SPL.

I’ve done two tutorials:

Thanks for the reply Tim. Informative videos. Indeed, Control Room can cover these needs. I was wondering though if the Control Room parameters (namely output source/Monitor volume etc) can be controlled or mapped to either a hardware Steinberg controller or third party controller. Working within the software would take some getting used to again after using hardware controllers. I guess i could go for a volume attenuator (cheaper than a fully blown monitor controller) to cover that and keep the other monitor control functions in the box, as you seem to do.

I use an Avid Artist Transport as my monitor controller. Works perfectly. It was recently discontinued but you might still be able to find one.

You can assign the wheel to control volume and you can assign pretty much any Control Room function to the buttons (even a few that are not available as normal Cubase key commands, such as having a separate button to select each Source). You can also get some visual feedback on what you are listening to because the buttons you have assigned to choose different Sources and Monitors will light up to show which one is currently selected. If you enable Mute or Dim, the button will light up etc. (Not all of the functions will do this though). All in all, it does the job very well.

I had a CC-121 quite a few years ago and if I remember rightly, you can use it to control volume levels and select speakers. Not as programmable/flexible as an Artist Transport though.

I would still strongly suggest that you get a hardware controller for your monitors. It’s an added Safeguard in case the computer goes completely upset and instead of blowing up your speakers, you can quickly turn the volume down

Yes that’s certainly a valid concern but I’ve been using Control Room as a monitor controller for many years with daily use and I’ve not had a single glitch so I’m pretty confident in this setup.

i use it all the time
room consideration like eq cuts or boost
etc etc
only one pair of monitors at one time eg i liked to hook up my ns 10s with a sub or together with my mackies or krk
should i need to.
there is the surround option i guess but i need to look into that i guesss

I hear what you’re saying, but I want to protect my $5.5K investment! It’s been only a few times in the past year or years that Cubase has gone crazy. But then again I’m still using Cubase 6.5 because version 8 doesn’t work for me.

That’s entirely possible. You can even have a setup where the volume/filter/phase settings for your sub can be different depending on if you are listening to your Mackies or your KRKs.

I have my Control Room set up so that Monitor 1 is a pair of Amphion One15’s and then Monitor 2 is the same One15’s AND a subwoofer (configured using one of the surround output options, and a Waves surround plugin to control what signal is sent to the sub). I then have two further pairs of monitors on outputs 3 and 4.

Well certainly seems doable. I think we will keep the CC121 for other duties and look to another controller. Also would much prefer a hardware volume attenuator at least. There is also the question of headphones. The D-Box offered 2 headphone outs. So will need to invest in a headphone amp anyway. So if going for a headphone and a volume attenuator, it makes me wonder that a hardware monitor controller is a good option.

I think like anything, if you get used to it, it will work for you. I’ve tested it and it works very well. I was just too used to my monitor controller hardware and didn’t want to give it up.