Battle For The Station: Mackie Big Knob vs PreSonus Monitor Station V2

Battle-of-the-station Web

The Mackie Big Knob and the Presonus Monitor Station are both studio monitor control centres designed to give flexibility in selecting monitor mix sources, as well as selecting sets of monitors to be used.
For music producers, it is essential to achieve the best possible mix, and keep your monitors and room from lying to you.

So, here we are comparing and highlighting the two most popular and acclaimed studio monitor control centres available today, ‘The Mackie Big Knob’, and ‘The PreSonus Monitor Station V2.’

Mackie Big Knob:

The Big Knob is a simple, yet powerful desktop audio control center that lets musicians and engineers get right to the business of making music in four major ways: Level Control, Studio Monitor Selection, Input Source Selection, and Talkback & Headphone Control.

Level Control:
Using a big, convenient volume knob, Big Knob lets you adjust volume levels the way our ancient audio ancestors did, with a simple, intuitive knob, not with a mouse and screen. The end result is a higher degree of precision, and much quicker level adjustments.

Studio Monitor Selection:
When it comes to mixing, pros know it’s best to get a second and third opinion. So, Big Knob lets you quickly switch between three pairs of studio monitors, or 2 studio monitors and a subwoofer, or studio monitors and a home stereo, or any other combination of powered speakers.

Input Source Selection:
On the input side, Big Knob lets you connect up to four stereo input sources at once. This means you can simultaneously connect to your computer/DAW outputs, CD player, cassette deck, and even a turntable, using the premium onboard RIAA preamp.

Talkback & Headphone Control:
With its built-in Talkback mic and spring-loaded activation switches, Big Knob lets you quickly communicate with musicians in both the studio and tracking room. Big Knob also sports two high-powered headphone outputs with a discrete headphone mix bus, solving the communications needs of most computer-based studios.

In Addition,
“Big Knob features ultra low-noise op amps, extremely low-tolerance components and state-of-the-art surface mount technology. All of this ensures superb sound in critical listening environments and long-term reliability – even under daily, and nightly, studio use.”

The Presonus Monitor Station V2:

“With its ergonomic, intuitive layout; extensive features and I/O; and PreSonus’ famed sound quality, Monitor Station V2 provides a versatile, convenient, and affordable solution for managing your studio monitoring system from your desktop.”

Pro Monitoring Features:
Manage multiple audio sources and sets of monitor speakers, track using illegally loud headphone amplifiers, and talk back to your drummer—all from your desktop.

Source Switching:
Switch quickly and easily between up to four audio sources with a selection of input types.
The Monitor Station V2 provides a convenient desktop control center where you can switch between these sources without compromising the sound quality.

Managing Monitors:
With Monitor Station V2, you can switch between the three sets of monitors instantly! Not only that, you can set each set of speakers’ level individually so that when you switch between speakers, your monitoring level stay the same.

Talkback Mic with Level Control:
Monitor Station V2’s built-in, electret-condenser Talkback mic with level control, you can communicate with the talent over their headphones, no problem. A flaming red Talk button activates the mic and automatically attenuates the cue signal by 20 dB.

So what makes them different from each other?

For: The Presonus Monitor Station

The main difference between the Presonus Monitor Station Mackie Big Knob is the Monitor Stations’ incorporated headphone amplifiers. 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.

For: Mackie Big Knob

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 Knob features an external mic option for the talk-back circuit, but one step further with a foot-switch trigger. Handy for giving notes while your fingers are full of faders.

So which one is your best bet?

“The deal is that 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.”

About the author

The Artist Summoner

The Artist Summoner

Curating feelings from music, and filling up the court room, one artist at a time.