Central Station Mod

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Central Station Mod

Postby macrae11 » Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:03 pm

I have a question about a gear mod that I am just in the beginning of exploring. I'm using a Presonus Central Station for a monitor controller. It's a great product, very flexible and I've had great luck with it. I have two problems with it.

1) When turning down to the minimum volume the image begins to shift, making it impossible to make mix decisions at a very low level.

2) The dim is only 20 dB which I find is not quite enough. Ideally i'd like 30 dB.

If I could get the dim to go a little lower it might take care of both problems.

So my question is: Can I increase the dim attenuation by just adding another resister in series, or by changing the current resistor? If so what value of resister would produce a 10 dB drop?

If that doesn't work, would a different volume pot provide less image shift at low level?
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Re: Central Station Mod

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:35 pm

macrae11 wrote:...
1) When turning down to the minimum volume the image begins to shift, making it impossible to make mix decisions at a very low level.
...
Isn't that a comment on the quality of the control itself? I know I've seen that before on headphone distribution.
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Postby macrae11 » Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:40 pm

Well that's what i'm wondering if upgrading the pot would fix things up. However I've seen similar things happen on much more expensive volume controls.

Not that that means anything I suppose.
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Postby oddioguy » Sun Oct 28, 2007 7:50 pm

Do you have a schematic for your unit?
My gut on this is that it will be more involved than an easy pot swap. (The other alternative is "don't make mix decisions at low volume" :-D )
Typical pots in most units are "economical" to say the least. A better pot may help.
As for the "dim", again you are going to need a schematic to determine if a single resistor governs this function, or whether you are going to have to calculate a whole new pad.
This assumes that the unit actually works in the analog domain at these stages.
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Postby Malcolm Boyce » Sun Oct 28, 2007 9:15 pm

oddioguy wrote:This assumes that the unit actually works in the analog domain at these stages.
Not necessarily the pad, but the pot is most likely analog. Monitor output controls are usually post D/A.
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Postby macrae11 » Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:46 am

oddioguy wrote:Do you have a schematic for your unit?

This assumes that the unit actually works in the analog domain at these stages.


I have a block diagram of the unit and I sent an email to Presonus to try and get a proper schematic. I'll post the block diagram if someone tells me the best way to upload pictures to a post.

The unit is all passive analog. There is a DA but it hits the converter before it goes to the switching network
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Postby oddioguy » Fri Nov 02, 2007 10:12 am

macrae11 wrote:
oddioguy wrote:Do you have a schematic for your unit?

This assumes that the unit actually works in the analog domain at these stages.


I have a block diagram of the unit and I sent an email to Presonus to try and get a proper schematic. I'll post the block diagram if someone tells me the best way to upload pictures to a post.

The unit is all passive analog. There is a DA but it hits the converter before it goes to the switching network

Best way to post a pic is Photobucket.com or Imageshack.com (no account needed) and hotlink.
...although the block diagram won't assist too much...
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Re: Central Station Mod

Postby oddioguy » Fri Nov 02, 2007 10:15 am

Malcolm Boyce wrote:Isn't that a comment on the quality of the control itself? I know I've seen that before on headphone distribution.

Yup, and depending on what control can be shoe-horned into the unit, it may be neccessary to buy a handfull of them and audition each one.
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Postby Alain Benoit » Fri Nov 02, 2007 2:34 pm

Allright allright, you guys can all relax I'm here now. Both pad and control pots will definitely be in the analog domain. The potentiometers will likely be stereo if not multiple stereo stack for each output such as on my console. The fact that image is not the same at lower levels shows that there is likely a single stereo pot, what is likely happening is that in the lower resistance part of the carbon film the values are not the same between each of the two, ie: bad tracking. This is the result of a less than expensive pot. Things could get worse as you continue to use it and the wiper wears on this film. As this is your main go-to pot I would recommend replacing it altogether with a Vishay or Bournes product that would give you better performance.
As far as the dim goes, changing it is not a big deal I have done this on occasion, yet it is not typically as simple as a straight resistor swap for a higher value, like Thom alluded to earlier it is likely a "T" or "H" pad network in which a formula will have to be applied.
A schematic would help but given enought ime I could likely still do this without. As far as the block diagram goes, pretty much useless.

Hope this helps, let me know and I can hook you up with the goods.
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Postby macrae11 » Tue Nov 20, 2007 1:52 pm

Hey I heard back from Presonus the other day. Apparently they don't give out schematics for any of their products :roll: So how much turnaround would you need for this little project Al?
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Postby Alain Benoit » Tue Nov 20, 2007 3:21 pm

I dunno bring it tommorrow!!
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Postby macrae11 » Tue Nov 20, 2007 3:26 pm

No can't, Danny's doing a drum session tomorrow night. We'd need to do it sometime when we have some down time.
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Postby Mathieu Benoit » Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:57 am

Bump!

Did this mod ever get done? I'm assuming not. Regardless, I've now decided that I want to buy a central station, probably within the next few weeks or so. That being said, how much do you like it? I'm looking for something to pair up with my faderport. But I want the ***MacRae Seal Of Approval*** first.

Also if I get it, I could try to get Alain to mod it for me as to your specifications, then you can borrow mine while Alain mods yours. Then...Voila! No down time needed. Just a thought.
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Postby macrae11 » Wed Apr 23, 2008 11:45 am

That's a very interesting proposition. It's a great unit. The only issues I have with it are the ones mentioned above, which when it comes down to it are quite minor. I've actually significantly reduced the "image shift" in the volume pot by adjusting my speaker trims to a much lower level, thus allowing the "sweet spot" of the pot to be at a much lower volume. Still not perfect, but more than usable.

It's basically completely neutral, at least I don't hear it doing anything to the signal. The DA is marginal at best, but I just use it to listen to the computers internal soundcard. Nothing critical. Lots of options on it, but I'm finding I'm starting to outgrow it a little bit. For example it can only handle up to a 2.1 mix, so no surround sound. It can also only handle up to 3 pairs of speakers, but if you are using the 3 speaker selector with a sub, like we are, you can only have two pairs. Right now this isn't a problem, but I'd like to pickup another pair of speakers at some point.

I don't think these limitations really have all that much to do with your situation, so I would say go for it. There's nothing else like it in it's price range.
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Postby Mathieu Benoit » Wed Apr 23, 2008 12:35 pm

I'm gonna go for it then. It gives me really quick and easy control of my monitors, and gives me talkback. That along with the Faderport... What else could I possibly need?
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Postby macrae11 » Wed Apr 23, 2008 12:54 pm

mmmmm... this and this a couple of these, one of these wouldn't hurt. Oh and while you're at it you might as well pick this up.

:mrgreen:
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Postby Mathieu Benoit » Wed Apr 23, 2008 1:47 pm

macrae11 wrote:mmmmm... this and this a couple of these, one of these wouldn't hurt. Oh and while you're at it you might as well pick this up.

:mrgreen:


Alright.

U87? Agreed! Actually Al and I probably going halfers on one this summer.

API Strip? Very cool... but totally an Al buy, not a Matt buy.

MC Mix? This is very sharp! Jon was actually looking for something like this. I'll get him one for Christmas, if we do enough contracts this year.

UAD pack? Abso-friggin-lutly! I've had my eye on this stuff for a while. They now have a Transient Designer plug-in.... *drool*

SSL board? That would seriously get in the way of buying that personal jet I've always wanted.



Ah crap! Now I'm gonna be broke again... :-|
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Postby macrae11 » Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:17 pm

Drumwaiter wrote:Ah crap! Now I'm gonna be broke again... :-|


At this rate, you probably shouldn't plan on having that change ever again.
:-P
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Postby Mathieu Benoit » Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:22 pm

macrae11 wrote:
Drumwaiter wrote:Ah crap! Now I'm gonna be broke again... :-|


At this rate, you probably shouldn't plan on having that change ever again.
:-P


I better start getting big broadcast composition gigs soon then, and a lot of them! Either that or start selling Alain's stuff for money... :twisted:
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Postby Mathieu Benoit » Thu Jun 12, 2008 2:18 pm

hey Andrew... I'll be picking up a Central Station sometime this summer, would you still be interested in the swap?
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Postby macrae11 » Thu Jun 12, 2008 5:10 pm

Potentially, although I've tweaked the levels quite extensively so that it's almost a none issue now. Danny has to have the gain almost wide open to have the volume where he likes it, but now at least we're both listening in the linear section of the pot.
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Postby Mathieu Benoit » Wed Jul 30, 2008 10:11 am

Andrew,

Quick question... Knowing my setup fairly well (as I think you do.) How would you go about using the central station w/remote, and intergrating it into my current setup. I would want the talkback mic to back in through my fireface so that it can be routed however I want in there. I also don't need the central station for cue mixes, as I already have 4 independant headphone mixes coming out of the fireface. So would I just use the line outputs to send the TB mic signal back to the fireface?

How do you use yours?
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Postby macrae11 » Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:45 pm

I have mine set up after all conversion coming out of protools. So I can't route back into PT unless I physically repatch it through the bay. I know that talkback is always going to my headphone amps so I never need to repatch.

I do all my cue mixing from PT, but the Central Station allows me to blend a little of the main mix into the headphones of the performers. Both my headphone amps can have two inputs/channel and I can blend between the two. This is great for doing easy swaps from one session to another. For example. For full band sessions, I want everyone to be on there own completely independent mix, but for a simple voiceover, I just want the talent to hear the mix bus, which is exactly what I'm hearing. With the central station, I can just change the cue input to listen to either the mix bus, or any other input. (Great for when I want to let the band hear the demo, which is playing through the G5 internal sound card.)

I would recommend patching it this way, as I don't see the need to go back into the fireface with the talkback, unless you want to record it for some weird effects.


So I would patch it this way

Fireface main outs > CS Input 1
Computer soundcard out > CS Input 2
K2600 Digital Out > CS Digital Input ( So if you want to just sit down and play, you just hit the digital switch to hear your keyboard.)

CS Cue out > Headphone amp input
CS Speaker Outs > To the speakers obviously
CS Main Out > Anywhere you want, PA, Al's Control Room, Just remember no volume control on this output.


My two cents anyways.
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Postby Mathieu Benoit » Wed Jul 30, 2008 3:13 pm

macrae11 wrote:Fireface main outs > CS Input 1
Computer soundcard out > CS Input 2
K2600 Digital Out > CS Digital Input ( So if you want to just sit down and play, you just hit the digital switch to hear your keyboard.)

CS Cue out > Headphone amp input
CS Speaker Outs > To the speakers obviously
CS Main Out > Anywhere you want, PA, Al's Control Room, Just remember no volume control on this output.


Now... Tell me if I undertand this right. The Cue out is going to the "main" input of the headphone amp? So that the talkbalk goes to all mixes correct? I guess for some reason I thought I had to go back through my fireface to do this... Silly me. The way you describe is way simpler... TB mic straight into HP preamp.

Another thing is that I don't have a soundcard in my computer. Would I even want one though?

I'm very excited though to free up a whole bunch of outputs from the fireface when I get the central station.

That and I like big knobs- er.... I mean wait a sec... That totally came out wrong. :oops:
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Postby macrae11 » Wed Jul 30, 2008 3:25 pm

That's correct the Cue out goes to the main in on the amp. Then the aux in on the headphone amp is for the independent signal you send from Cubase through the FF to make individual mixes.


I really like having another soundcard. That way all the OS bleeps and bloops go through it, so I don't hear them when I'm working. If I want to watch a vid on Youtube or something I can just flip over to the computer input on the CS. If I want to I can always run the OS audio through my Protools converters using Core Audio.

If I were you I would just pick up a $20 soundcard and have Sub throw it in there for you. Right now you have to use software faders to control OS audio levels right? So if you ran from a soundcard direct to the CS you'd lose all that mousing around. For me the goal is to eliminate all monitor controls from software.
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