The Mackie Big Knob and the Presonus Monitor Station are both studio monitor control centers designed to give flexibility in selecting monitor mix sources as well as selecting sets of monitors to be used. To achieve the best possible mix and keep your monitors and room from lying to you, it is very important to be able to reference your mix over different monitors including nearfeild, main, and reference monitors. Both the Mackie Big Knob and Presonus Monitor Station fill an indispensable role in the studio by enabling the user to select monitor sources as well. The ability to effortlessly switch from “pre-tape” (post mixer but prior to recording media) to “post-tape” (post mixer and post recording media) gives you the power to know exactly how every component in your signal chain is coloring your sound. This feature can also be used as a patching system of sorts as the monitor sources have an independent output on both of these monitoring systems. Another very important feature bother of these units have is a “talk-back” mic. This enables an engineer or producer to stay in communication with the artist or talent who may be isolated in a vocal booth. How would you like to be able to say to your vocalist: “That’s a great take Jenny, now come on in to the control room and let’s give it a listen”?
The Presonus Monitor Station
The main glaring difference between the Presonus Monitor Station Mackie Big Knob is the Monitor Sations’ incorporated headphone amplifiers. Using two main busses to route signal from, headphone mixes can be assigned to any of the four headphone amps from either the main mix or cue mix. This is particularly handy for sending a click track to a drummer or bass player while sending a completely different “more me mix” to a vocalist.
The Mackie Big Knob
Where the Big Knob lacks in headphone mix distribution is makes up for in signal routing options. The Big Knob features four stereo input connections for monitor sources including a nice phono amp for a turn table. There are three main monitor options to switch to with individual level potentiometers. This is a nice feature for leveling and balancing multiple sets of monitors without having to adjust your mix. Like the Monitor Station the Big Know features an external mic option for the talk-back circuit, but one step further with a footswitch trigger. Handy for giving notes while your fingers are full of faders.
So what’s right for you?
Both of these monitor control systems fill an indispensable role in the studio as they both poses the crucial features needed to both capture the best performance from your artist via the talk-back systems as well as the ability scrutinize your mix over different reference monitors. It all boils down to The Monitor Stations’ extended cue mix and headphone mix distribution ability to the Big Knobs’ advance routing capabilities. So here is the deal if you are tracking more than two artists at once and you need more than one headphone mix, the Monitor Station may be right for you, However if you would find it more advantageous to have an extra monitor source to select from than you definitely need to give the Mackie Big Knob a shot.