Shopping for Converters & Studio Monitor Controllers

I am now half way through the migration from OTB (via my 32 channel digital desk) to ITB. At present, I’m using an Artist Series set up (MC Control, Transport & 2 Mix units) controlling my Nuendo 7/8 DAW. But all of the audio is still running through my DA7 desk, which feeds my Equator 5.1 array, my Mackie HR824 MkI monitors and my Roland MA-8 Cubes.

The goal now is to run these 3 monitor sources directly from the Controller/DAW. This means I’ll need a good AD/DA converter and, I’m guessing a Studio Monitor Controller as well. My current AD/DA is my RME RayDat card running ADAT to my desk. I’m wondering if I should stick with RME audio interfaces to go with my card or if I’ll be okay running an Antelope Orion 32 (whichever version) to the RayDat. That’s the 1st big question. After that come the logistical questions.

  1. Can I run the monitors directly from the audio interface controlled by the DAW/Controllers or will I still need the Studio Monitor Controller?
  2. If I have to have the Studio Monitor Controller, which one will run a 5.1 array with 2 stereo setups, that allow for “A,B,C, Switching?”
  3. The other factor I have to consider is that almost every Mic Pre/Audio Interface I’m considering to replace the desk (Focusrite 8 Channel, Audient, API 3124, etc.) comes with it’s own AD/DA converter. So, should I just use those and just get a 16 channel DA converter to feed the 3 sets of monitors?

I don’t know anything about these devices, since I’ve always used a desk. I’ve only seen D-sub connectors used on analog desks back in the early 90’s. So, I also don’t know if they’’ be required now for this new arrangement. Therefor any and all advice would be very much appreciated. I’m looking for the fewest possible number of parts with the simplest I/O routing. Ideally, I would love to control all of the monitor features directly from the MC Control via Nuendo.

Can you guys help me with this?

Intuitively it would seem to me that if you’re getting the Orion 32 you might as well ditch the RayDat. I say that because one of the selling points of Antelope is the ability to run their interfaces at full capacity over USB (or whatever). So, if you ran that Orion via ADAT into the RME you’d be using one more device than you had to. So if ‘less is more’ then that’s what I’d do.

When it comes to going digital out of the mic pres I honestly couldn’t say. I guess if some of them have ADAT outputs for example than it would make sense to not connect the Orion via ADAT to the RME, that way freeing up more ADAT inputs for the mic pres. If you’re thinking of running the mic pres directly into the computer (presumably via USB or something if they have it), then my concern would probably be drivers interacting. As a matter of fact, I think you should look into how Nuendo deals with multiple interface brands/drivers accessed at the same time. I don’t even know if it’s possible. (I guess that was of no help after all… lol)

For monitor control I would probably see if Control Room works first. In my setup I have an Equator 5.1 system and I use Control Room to switch between the full 5.1 playback, LCR+LFE which I use for bass managed stereo content, 2.0 stereo (going to L/R Equator only), and a digital AES out that goes to my Grace headphone amp. I have all of that selectable on the numeric keypad on my keyboard via the key commands. In addition to switching inputs/outputs I do bass management using Nuendo and plugins, set reference level, dim etc. Very convenient and easy. So I would start there and see if it is enough for you before spending more money.

Good to know. I can re-purpose my Raydat Card into another PC

Now that’s exactly the information I’m looking for. I would like to run the entire monitoring system directly from the Nuendo CR! I’d like to go ADAT out to the DA converter to the powered monitors. I’d control the volume, balance and everything else, as you described, right from the CR, ideally from the MC Control hardware and/or my Xkeys! Can you send me the set up instructions to do that?

My knowledge of “control” ends at the keyboard though unfortunately. I don’t have an Avid controller with Nuendo so I don’t know if/how it interacts with control room.

I’ll try to remember to upload or PM some images of my setup later tonight or tomorrow. It’s not unlikely that I’ll forget, so just PM me if I do.