Pro Audio Asylum

Pro studio recording equipment and music production/industry.

Return to Pro Audio Asylum


Message Sort: Post Order or Asylum Reverse Threaded

Studio monitor volume controls rotation

74.120.12.135

Posted on July 2, 2012 at 00:22:54
Sumflow
Audiophile

Posts: 382
Location: On the road
Joined: June 7, 2012

Q. What is the philosophy behind active studio monitor volume controls rotation?

Many volume controls run flat out at zero and as you reduce the volume show -10, -20 on down to -50. My McIntosh decreases turned to the left, flat straight up, boosted turned to the right. But on the Yamaha HS 50M volume control, all the way counter clockwise shows "min," straight up shows +4db, and all the way clockwise shows -10db. Where is flat?
~~~
Hide it ~ nothing looks better..

 

Hide full thread outline!
    ...
RE: Studio monitor volume controls rotation, posted on July 2, 2012 at 01:48:54
John Elison
Audiophile

Posts: 17249
Location: Central Kentucky
Joined: December 20, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
January 29, 2004
I'm curious what the speaker output does when you turn the level control. If the volume continues to increase as you turn the level control clockwise to -10-dB, then it must be mislabeled. Perhaps it should read +10-dB.

Regardless of whether it is mislabeled, just set it to a position that works best for your particular application.

My Dynaudio BM6A MkII monitors have a three position switch for level control. It is labeled from top to bottom +4-dB, 0-dB, and -10-dB.

Good luck,
John Elison

 

RE: Studio monitor volume controls rotation, posted on July 2, 2012 at 02:09:04
Sumflow
Audiophile

Posts: 382
Location: On the road
Joined: June 7, 2012

Thanks John,
It works off all the way left, louder +4, loudest -10. It is hard to believe a monitor used in so many studios would have the silk screen printing off and not have had it fixed by now.

When I set the signal coming through the computer to full blast, I want to know where flat is on the monitors to give me an idea where I am on the pre-amp. I don't want color from the monitors messing up the sound I get from my pre-amp. I would rather have the computer and monitors flat, and control any EQ from the McIntosh loudness controls. Why guess at something that can be known?
~~~
Hide it ~ nothing looks better..

 

RE: Studio monitor volume controls rotation, posted on July 2, 2012 at 04:27:34
b.l.zeebub
Audiophile

Posts: 4018
Location: 52deg 28'N,1deg56'W
Joined: April 17, 2006
The printing is not off at all.

The +4dB setting is meant to be used if you feed them a pro level balanced signal (nominally 2.83V) and the -10dB setting if you send them a consumer level non-balanced signal (nominally 0.7V).

Consequently they will be louder with any given signal on -10 than on +4 as the on-board amps make up for the 11.79dB difference in the two.
(It is 11.79 difference because one is actually referenced to dBu the other dBV but I keep forgetting which is which.)

 

PS:, posted on July 2, 2012 at 08:44:45
b.l.zeebub
Audiophile

Posts: 4018
Location: 52deg 28'N,1deg56'W
Joined: April 17, 2006
Here is what wiki has to say on the subject:

"dBV
dB(1 VRMS) – voltage relative to 1 volt, regardless of impedance.[2]
dBu or dBv
RMS voltage relative to .[2] Originally dBv, it was changed to dBu to avoid confusion with dBV.[24] The "v" comes from "volt", while "u" comes from "unloaded". dBu can be used regardless of impedance, but is derived from a 600 Ω load dissipating 0 dBm (1 mW). The reference voltage comes from the computation
In professional audio, equipment may be calibrated to indicate a "0" on the VU meters some finite time after a signal has been applied at an amplitude of +4 dBu. Consumer equipment will more often use a much lower "nominal" signal level of -10 dBV.[25] Therefore, many devices offer dual voltage operation (with different gain or "trim" settings) for interoperability reasons. A switch or adjustment that covers at least the range between +4 dBu and -10 dBV is common in professional equipment."


Digital sources complicate things a bit further since 0dBFS can equate to all sorts of voltages.
With pro sources 0dBFS can quite easily be +18dBu (20Volts or so) because when digital audio started it was recommended that the rms output should be -18dBFS which was later revised to -12dBFS but in these days of the Loudness Wars an rms level of -6 to -3dBFS is quite common.

None of these settings are 'flat' per se as you adjust gain/headroom ie how far up you can turn your volume control before things start clipping.

 

RE: Studio monitor volume controls rotation, posted on July 2, 2012 at 09:19:13
John Elison
Audiophile

Posts: 17249
Location: Central Kentucky
Joined: December 20, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
January 29, 2004
The term "flat" does not apply to the level control. The term "flat" normally applies to frequency response. Therefore, if you want to set your monitors "flat" you would set all the equalizer switches to zero-dB. You can set the level control anywhere that provides the volume that you desire.

It seems reasonable that b.l.zeebub is correct that the +4-dB setting is to be used with a balanced connection and the -10-dB setting is to be used with an unbalanced connection so that the speakers play at the same relative volume level in either case. For example, +4-dBu = 1.227653-V RMS and -10-dBV = 0.316228-V RMS. The difference between these is 11.78-dB. Therefore, perhaps the volume level is increased by 11.78-dB as you turn the level control from +4-dB to -10-dB.

Good luck,
John Elison

 

RE: Studio monitor volume controls rotation, posted on July 2, 2012 at 13:24:21
Inmate51
Audiophile

Posts: 5575
Joined: July 6, 2005
Hey John, in the sense that the OP is asking about "flat", he's not referring to a frequency response curve. Rather, he's referring to no gain and no attenuation imparted by the control's circuit - i.e., "flat". It may sometimes be called "zero", but there's a lot of equipment where zero simply means EITHER no gain, OR, no attenuation.

OP, not being familiar with the particular product, but taking an educated guess, I'd say that "flat" using a +4 scale and pro equipment is where it indicates "+4", and "flat" using a -10 scale and consumer equipment is where it indicates "-10". Of course, the output characteristics of the source will affect where "flat" actually is, and where the best position is on the control - some sources run a little hot, others a little low.

And yes, all the variations on measuring and spec'ing levels can be quite confusing unless you've been steeped in them for years, which most audio folks, including me, haven't! I would say that the folks who can readily equate one to another, and easily move from one to another, and interface both are: audio electronics design engineers, studio techs, professional equipment repair techs, broadcast engineers, and not many other people!

:)

In any case, I'm mystified as to why the OP doesn't look at the manual or contact Yamaha.

 

RE: Studio monitor volume controls rotation, posted on July 2, 2012 at 14:16:30
John Elison
Audiophile

Posts: 17249
Location: Central Kentucky
Joined: December 20, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
January 29, 2004
Well, a potentiometer attenuates and only attenuates. Therefore, "flat," meaning no attenuation, would be the -10-dB setting regardless if whether you are balanced or unbalanced. There is no such thing as a no-gain position because the potentiometer has absolutely nothing to do with gain. The speaker has built-in amplifiers with fixed gains that never change regardless of the position of the potentiometer. The potentiometer is basically out of the circuit when set to -10-dB in the sense that it passes the incoming signal without attenuation. At any other position, the potentiometer attenuates the incoming signal.

Best regards,
John Elison

 

RE: Studio monitor volume controls rotation, posted on July 2, 2012 at 15:18:26
Inmate51
Audiophile

Posts: 5575
Joined: July 6, 2005
"Hey John, in the sense that the OP is asking about "flat", he's not referring to a frequency response curve."

So, we agree on that, right? You didn't mention that aspect of your previous post, nor in my reply, in this post. Obfuscating? ;)

"Rather, he's referring to no gain and no attenuation imparted by the control's circuit - i.e., "flat"."

I should have included "based on the signal level 'standard'" being referenced, but I thought the discussion had already established that. +4 is one, -10 is another.

JE: "The speaker has built-in amplifiers with fixed gains that never change regardless of the position of the potentiometer."

As I noted in my previous post, I'm not familiar with that particular product. However, I'd guess that it doesn't have a variable gain amplifier, but rather, the control is simply a pot.

I'm still puzzled about why the OP doesn't ask Yamaha or read the manual?

In any case, none of this has to do with EQ settings, but rather, signal level references, right? ;)

btw, the speakers with the combo mid and tweet, that's cool! I'll have to take a listen to them online sometime. :)

 

RE: Studio monitor volume controls rotation, posted on July 2, 2012 at 15:21:29
b.l.zeebub
Audiophile

Posts: 4018
Location: 52deg 28'N,1deg56'W
Joined: April 17, 2006
I haven't seen the schematics of these particular speakers but I'd bet my bottom dollar that those pots are connected to an active input gain stage.

 

RE: Studio monitor volume controls rotation, posted on July 10, 2012 at 16:16:36
Ivan Beaver
Manufacturer

Posts: 232
Location: Atlanta GA
Joined: September 1, 2007
One way to think of it is the numbers indicate how much level (in dB) is needed to drive the speaker to full output.

That is why the numbers get larger as you turn the level down. It takes more and more drive to get to the same level.

If the knob was calibrated in voltage-it would be the same way-the more the knob is turned down-the larger the number would be.

 

Level needed to drive the speaker to full blast.., posted on July 10, 2012 at 18:52:12
Sumflow
Audiophile

Posts: 382
Location: On the road
Joined: June 7, 2012

Thank you Ivan, that is for sure the clearest explanation and the only one that makes sense to me so far. What I was trying to do was set the sensitivity level input control knob on the studio monitors, to match the output from a McIntosh MA-6100 pre-amp.

My Mac’s guy Terry DeWick in Tennessee tells me the output load impedance from my preamp if I ever get it back, is +10 to +30. I think he said 1,000 om's. Below is what I got back from Yamaha Support:

Yamaha Support
Subject: Re: HS50 volume control [ref:_00D30F1z._50030NGbk9:ref ]

HI Sum: the volume control is setup for compatibility with the nominal output level of mixers etc. If your mixer is nominal at +4 set the control to that position and when the mixer sends a +4 signal then the speaker will be its full output. This is too sensitive for some setups where you don’t want to monitor really loud. I like to set the mixer at its nominal level where it is outputting +4 and then set the input volume on the speakers for as max loud as they will need to be in use. If you have access to a RTA you can set this for a specified level such as 85/95 DB. Hope this helps EB

HI Sum: So you mean flat EQ wise? Set the switches on the back to ")" and flat on the lo cut that is flat on these speakers. Volume doesn’t relate to "flat” it just sets the speakers input sensitivity. You just need to know where the output on the Mac pre is nominal at and set the volume for that position A Mac tube C22 pre has a 1.0 v l+r output which is "0" db so set the volume control to appx 2 o’clock on the speaker and you should be close.

HI This is a sensitivity control. Full open is most sensitive for a -10db output from the preamp. 12 o’clock is compatible with a +4 db output. 7 o’clock is compatible with a super hot hotput from the preamp of about +14

A thousand om's will keep me up all night :)
~~~
Hide it ~ nothing looks better..

 

Page processed in 0.019 seconds.