10 Best Studio Monitor Controller in 2020

Best Studio Monitor Controller

1. Overall Top Pick
PreSonus Central Station Plus: Studio Control Center with Remote Control
2. Runner Up
PreSonus Monitor Station V2 Desktop Studio Control Center
3. Runner Up
BEHRINGER Power Amplifier, Black (CONTROL2USB)
Best Budget
Mackie Big Knob Series, Passive 2x2 Studio Monitor Controller (BIG KNOB PASSIVE)
Top Notch
Dangerous Music MONITOR ST Remote-Controlled Source and Speaker Switcher
PreSonus Central Station Plus: Studio Control Center with Remote Control
PreSonus Monitor Station V2 Desktop Studio Control Center
BEHRINGER Power Amplifier, Black (CONTROL2USB)
Mackie Big Knob Series, Passive 2x2 Studio Monitor Controller (BIG KNOB PASSIVE)
Dangerous Music MONITOR ST Remote-Controlled Source and Speaker Switcher
$649.95
$329.95
$188.99
$64.00
Price not available
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1. Overall Top Pick
PreSonus Central Station Plus: Studio Control Center with Remote Control
PreSonus Central Station Plus: Studio Control Center with Remote Control
$649.95
2. Runner Up
PreSonus Monitor Station V2 Desktop Studio Control Center
PreSonus Monitor Station V2 Desktop Studio Control Center
$329.95
-
3. Runner Up
BEHRINGER Power Amplifier, Black (CONTROL2USB)
BEHRINGER Power Amplifier, Black (CONTROL2USB)
$188.99
-
Best Budget
Mackie Big Knob Series, Passive 2x2 Studio Monitor Controller (BIG KNOB PASSIVE)
Mackie Big Knob Series, Passive 2x2 Studio Monitor Controller (BIG KNOB PASSIVE)
$64.00
-
Top Notch
Dangerous Music MONITOR ST Remote-Controlled Source and Speaker Switcher
Dangerous Music MONITOR ST Remote-Controlled Source and Speaker Switcher
Price not available
-

Last update on 2020-08-15 at 10:30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you have an impressive studio setup, complete with lots of different inputs, outputs, speakers, amps and studio monitors, then it can quickly get confusing for the person in charge of such a suite of equipment.

This is where ingenious devices like studio monitor controllers can really become important. By allowing you to run all your studio monitors from one simple desktop box, you can make adjustments with the flick of a button.

This does away with the annoying, iterative process of changing all the settings locally on each of the monitors until you find the perfect arrangement. This can really speed up the recording process and add that much needed ease of automation.

So, convenience and practicality are major reasons for investing in a good studio monitor controller. There are other advantages as well, which will be covered in this comprehensive review.

If you want to get a handle on all the terminology and specs before you make a costly purchase, then this is the perfect resource for you.

In this article we will cover the best studio monitor controller products available on the market right now and discuss what sets them apart from the competition.

Behringer Power Amplifier (XENYX CONTROL2USB)

Sale
BEHRINGER Power Amplifier, Black (CONTROL2USB)
53 Reviews
BEHRINGER Power Amplifier, Black (CONTROL2USB)
  • Premium, ultra-low noise and high headroom studio control and communication center
  • All-in-one Master Volume controller, Source selector, Monitor switcher and Talkback box
  • 4 stereo inputs with independent level controls plus additional Monitor Mix input for your DAW
  • 3 independent and adjustable Monitor outputs to connect up to 3 sets of studio monitors
  • Built-in Talkback microphone with Level control for direct communication with musicians

Last update on 2020-08-15 at 10:30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

We start with one of the best studio monitor controller models that you can get without breaking the bank. This is a high-quality product that gives a large capacity for various input and output types.

For example, it includes 4 individually adjustable stereo input ports and can handle 3 similar outputs.

One of the most convenient features of this premium product is the inbuilt talkback mic, which allows you communicate directly with recording artists even if you are physically separate.

Pros
  • Simple black design with a clean interface
  • Good amount of input and output capacity
  • Low noise device
  • Features an in-built talkback mic
Cons
  • Not an overly ergonomic port setup
  • Other models have more dynamic headroom

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon


Video: “XENYX CONTROL2USB High-End Studio Control and Communication Center”



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Mackie Big Knob Passive, 2×2

Sale
Mackie Big Knob Series, Passive 2x2 Studio Monitor Controller (BIG KNOB PASSIVE)
228 Reviews
Mackie Big Knob Series, Passive 2x2 Studio Monitor Controller (BIG KNOB PASSIVE)
  • Excruciatingly simple 2x2 monitor controller
  • Choose between two sources and two monitor pairs
  • Pristine audio quality
  • Sturdy built-like-a-tank design
  • Classic Big knob volume control

Last update on 2020-08-15 at 10:30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

As the name of this product suggest, it is targeted less at sophisticated studio setups and more at rough and ready DJ setup where simplicity and ease of use are most important.

The design revolves around this principle, featuring a large metal knob to control the overall levels.

It can accommodate 2 inputs and 2 outputs and has robust electronics to compliment the simple design. If you want something to use out of the box, this may be the controller for you.

Pros
  • Extremely simple design
  • Accessible and easy to use
  • Clean electronics help to reduce distortion
  • Highly portable
Cons
  • Not suitable for advanced studio recording sessions
  • Only accommodates 2 inputs and 2 outputs

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon


Video: “Mackie Big Knob Passive | Gear Review”



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PreSonus Monitor Station V2 Desktop Studio Control Center

PreSonus Monitor Station V2 Desktop Studio Control Center
26 Reviews
PreSonus Monitor Station V2 Desktop Studio Control Center
  • 4 stereo input pairs plus one S/PDIF digital input into three selectable sources
  • 3 stereo pairs of individually selectable speaker outputs with level controls
  • Cue section with Source select and input- and output - level control
  • Large Main level control plus Main Mute, Mono and Dim switches with variable Dim attenuation
  • 4 screaming-loud stereo headphone amplifiers with volume controls and independent source selection

Last update on 2020-08-15 at 10:30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This product has some nice features that make it superior to the simpler version featured above, but you will have to pay a bit extra for the privilege.

First of all, this controller can accommodate both digital and analogue signals, and it can feed to 3 stereo output monitor pairs. The great thing about this model is that it features individual button and dial controls for each output, so you can adjust and mix in real time with ease.

There is also a solid state, build in condenser mic which has its own levels and gain controls, so that you can talk to the recording artist above all the noise of the music.

Pros
  • Each input and output source can be separately controlled with ease
  • Good amount of input and output capacity
  • Low self-noise
  • Features an in-built talkback mic
Cons
  • Isn’t compatible with all input types
  • Other models have more dynamic headroom

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon


Video: “PreSonus Monitor Station V2 Review”



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PreSonus Central Station Plus: Studio Control Center with Remote Control

PreSonus Central Station Plus: Studio Control Center with Remote Control
12 Reviews
PreSonus Central Station Plus: Studio Control Center with Remote Control
  • 3 sets of stereo analog inputs and 2 sets of 192 kHz S/PDIF digital inputs
  • 3 sets of stereo speaker outputs with Select switches and trim pots
  • Transparent passive audio path with no op amps or integrated circuits
  • Onboard talkback microphone and talkback input
  • Dual 30-segment, fast-acting, peak-hold LED metering. Remote controllable via included Control Station Remote (CSR-1)

Last update on 2020-08-15 at 10:30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is another excellent product from one of the best studio monitor controller manufacturers in the business. This comes with its own perks, as you get good peace of mind and solid underlying engineering.

One of the major design principles of a good controller is that it should not process or amend the underlying signal. This product achieves this goal with a simple, transparent audio path and no inboard amps or sources of distortion of noise.

This device features a good suite of input and output ports and can accept both analogue signals and 192 kHz digital inputs, which is an industry standard.

Pros
  • Accepts both analogue and digital input signals
  • Reputable manufacturer
  • Good amount of input and output capacity
  • Provides a transparent audio path
Cons
  • This Studio Controller is a little on the expensive side, might not fit a smaller budget

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon


Video: “Presonus Central Station Plus Unboxing & First Impressions”



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Dangerous Music MONITOR ST Remote-Controlled Source and Speaker Switcher

Dangerous Music MONITOR ST Remote-Controlled Source and Speaker Switcher
1 Reviews
Dangerous Music MONITOR ST Remote-Controlled Source and Speaker Switcher
  • Mastering-Grade Components : Components selected for both performance and sound, tested to draconian tolerances, breathe the analog soul back to life for stunning imaging, headroom, punch and detail.
  • DC-Coupled : No transformers that color your sound or filter caps that smear stereo. Instead, DC coupling with massive voltage rails and Mogami point-to-point wiring for simple, electronic elegance. Bandwidth from...
  • Audio Transparency : A pristine canva
  • As with every Dangerous Music product, painstaking measures are taken to create complete functionality with ZERO audio compromise
  • Expansion to 5

Last update on 2020-08-15 at 10:30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is another product which definitely deserves to be included on a list of the best studio monitor controller types. To see why you need to look at the specs. This is a fully DC controller system, which means there are no transformers in the system that could color or distort the signal.

This means you get maximum signal transparency and integrity. What’s more, the convenient design of this set up means that you can physically separate the remote controller and the actual input and output unit.

This enables you to create your perfect recording set-up, giving you considerable freedom to customize your recording suite.

Pros
  • Accepts both analogue and digital input signals
  • Uncompromised signal integrity due to DC system
  • Perfect audio transparency
  • Good amount of input and output capacity
Cons
  • Other models have more output capacity
  • Premium product with a premium price-tag

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon


Video: “Dangerous Monitor ST/SR: Remote and Front Panel”



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JBL M-Patch 2

JBL Professional 2 Multi-Channel Passive Stereo Controller and Input/Output Switch Box
92 Reviews
JBL Professional 2 Multi-Channel Passive Stereo Controller and Input/Output Switch Box
  • High quality, passive volume attenuator
  • Great monitor switching device
  • 2 x Input channels, 2 x Output channels
  • Combo, RCA, & 3.5mm input connectors
  • Xlr outputs (balanced or unbalanced depends on the inputs selected)

Last update on 2020-08-15 at 10:30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is a simple and functional device which might not have all the features of fancier models, but which gets the job done, nevertheless.

It has a large central knob which gives you fine control over the output levels, and there is a port to connect headphones so you can listen to the recording directly.

There is no built-in mic and the circuitry could give better signal fidelity, but for the price, it represents good value for money.

Pros
  • Accepts both analogue and digital input signals
  • Good audio transparency
  • Affordable
  • Simple, functional design
Cons
  • No inbuild talk mic
  • Only has 2 input and 2 output ports

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

 



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ESI MoCo Passive Studio Monitor Controller

Last update on 2020-08-15 at 10:30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

There is a lot to like about this superb, small controller. It stands out from the crowd because of its sleek, colorful design, and the slanted surface makes it more ergonomic and easier to adjust from a seated position.

It doesn’t have a lot of extraneous features, but it does fill a gap in the market by allowing you to adjust and switch of speakers remotely. What’s more, it contributes very little noise or static even at the highest volume levels.

The interface is clean and easy to navigate.

Pros
  • Sleek design is aesthetically pleasing
  • Ergonomic, slanted surface
  • Low self-noise
  • Simple, functional design
Cons
  • Very limited features
  • Limited output and input capacity

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon


Video: “ESI Audiotechnik MoCo”



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Palmer Monicon L

Palmer Monitor Speaker And Subwoofer Part (PMONICONL)
13 Reviews
Palmer Monitor Speaker And Subwoofer Part (PMONICONL)
  • Mute and mono buttons make it possible to mute the outputs and merge the stereo output signal into a mono master signal
  • permits convenient and precise volume control of the monitors from the workstation
  • Inputs and outputs of the controller are equipped with XLR connectors and the 3. 5mm stereo TRS sockets usually found on computers

Last update on 2020-08-15 at 10:30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is another single-use style control which has one simple goal and achieves it with style.

In this case, the controller allows you to remotely control monitors and subwoofers separately, and merge the mono output signals, as you may require.

This is a totally passive device which avoids adding any disturbance or distortion to the system.

Pros
  • Elegant design with wood trim
  • Aux input accepts a wide variety of inputs
  • Passive system
Cons
  • Limited features
  • Limited output capacity
  • No talkback mic

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon


Video: “Palmer Monicon L Passive Monitor Controller”



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Dangerous Music SOURCE Portable Monitor Controller

Dangerous Music SOURCE Portable Monitor Controller
2 Reviews
Dangerous Music SOURCE Portable Monitor Controller
  • Portable or rack installable (kit optional) Two Speaker outputs - can be engagned simultaneously Headphones can monitor single or multiple sources Two Analog inputs: 1/8" mini stereo and XLR/TRS combo jack Two...
  • The Dangerous SOURCE provides the critical link between your ears and the music
  • Every tracking and mixing decision hinges upon what you hear: how to locate the microphone's sweet spot for the perfect vocal, where to place the panning to define each instrument's space, or creating the perfect...
  • Use the built-in headphone amp on the front of SOURCE to connect up to two pairs of headphones to discretely monitor any of the four selectable sources either individually or at the same time
  • Plug an iPod into AN2 and jam along with your favorite music through AN1

Last update on 2020-08-15 at 10:30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

With a name like this you expect it to deliver some serious acoustic quality, and it doesn’t disappoint. It can accept two outputs simultaneously and there is also an option to plug in headphones to monitor the output signal in real time.

This is very useful for simple connections to laptops. It doesn’t focus on full audio fidelity because it does have a built-in preamp to allow you to boost the signal.

Digital analogue converters also allow you to switch between the two. It can be conveniently powered by the in-build USB port.

Pros
  • Contains digital analogue converters and preamps
  • Aux input accepts a wide variety of inputs
  • Powered from any USB device
Cons
  • Can contribute to noise or distortion in final output
  • No talkback mic

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon


Video: “Dangerous Music Source Monitoring System Overview – Sweetwater”



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BEHRINGER MONITOR 1

Sale
BEHRINGER MONITOR1,Black
30 Reviews
BEHRINGER MONITOR1,Black
  • Premium passive stereo volume controller and attenuator
  • Active-free circuitry guarantees purest signal path
  • Large Volume knob for extremely precise level adjustments
  • 2 high-quality XLR combo inputs and 3.5 mm (1/8”) stereo input perfectly connect to your DAW
  • 2 high-quality XLR outputs and 3.5 mm (1/8”) stereo output to connect to your studio monitors

Last update on 2020-08-15 at 10:30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is another extremely good offering from one of the most trusted names in the industry. This is a premium passive device where the active free circuitry guarantees good signal preservation and makes sure that your outputs will be crystal clear.

The controls are easy to navigate and highly tuneable.

Although it may have limited special features or input/output capacity, this product more than makes up for it with its build quality and acoustic engineering.

Pros
  • Simple, functional interface with two buttons and one knob
  • Aux input accepts a wide variety of inputs
  • Active free circuitry leads to reduced distortion
  • Stylish, minimalist design
Cons
  • Only accommodated 2 inputs and 2 outputs
  • No talkback mic

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

 



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What To Look For In A Studio Monitor Controller?

There are lots of things that go into making a good studio monitor controller and the best ones will have their own special features. But to compare products from different manufacturers you need to know what specs are most important and will actually make a difference to your use of the final product.

With that in mind, here are some of the most important factors for you to take into account.

Inputs and Outputs

Probably the most important consideration will be the number of inputs and outputs you need. This will depend on your personal circumstances and your intended use for the monitor controller.

If you just want if for a simple acoustic session with one instrument and one listener, then a simple, small, functional 2×2 set up will probably suffice.

If you need to output to a bunch of different studio monitors or accept inputs from a number of different signals (such as for a live performance), then you’ll probably need a much higher capacity piece of equipment. 3×4 setups are common, but even larger devices can be found if required.

Audio Quality

Another consideration should be the headroom and general audio quality of the device. It is important that your controller can handle high power inputs without clipping or unduly distorting the signal.

For interface devices like studio monitor controllers, fidelity and accurate transfer of the signal is key. This means they should not contribute any audible noise or distracting static to the overall audio experience. To minimize this noise passive systems are preferred over active systems.

Other Features

There are a few other features that might be on your wish list for the best studio monitor controller. For example, if you want to communicate directly with an artist in a recording booth, then a built-in mic is very handy.

A separate output port for headphones is also essential if you want to be able to monitor the signal in real time. The final thing that a good device should have is a clean, easy to navigate interface.

1. Overall Top Pick
PreSonus Central Station Plus: Studio Control Center with Remote Control
2. Runner Up
PreSonus Monitor Station V2 Desktop Studio Control Center
3. Runner Up
BEHRINGER Power Amplifier, Black (CONTROL2USB)
Best Budget
Mackie Big Knob Series, Passive 2x2 Studio Monitor Controller (BIG KNOB PASSIVE)
Top Notch
Dangerous Music MONITOR ST Remote-Controlled Source and Speaker Switcher
PreSonus Central Station Plus: Studio Control Center with Remote Control
PreSonus Monitor Station V2 Desktop Studio Control Center
BEHRINGER Power Amplifier, Black (CONTROL2USB)
Mackie Big Knob Series, Passive 2x2 Studio Monitor Controller (BIG KNOB PASSIVE)
Dangerous Music MONITOR ST Remote-Controlled Source and Speaker Switcher
$649.95
$329.95
$188.99
$64.00
Price not available
-
-
-
-
1. Overall Top Pick
PreSonus Central Station Plus: Studio Control Center with Remote Control
PreSonus Central Station Plus: Studio Control Center with Remote Control
$649.95
2. Runner Up
PreSonus Monitor Station V2 Desktop Studio Control Center
PreSonus Monitor Station V2 Desktop Studio Control Center
$329.95
-
3. Runner Up
BEHRINGER Power Amplifier, Black (CONTROL2USB)
BEHRINGER Power Amplifier, Black (CONTROL2USB)
$188.99
-
Best Budget
Mackie Big Knob Series, Passive 2x2 Studio Monitor Controller (BIG KNOB PASSIVE)
Mackie Big Knob Series, Passive 2x2 Studio Monitor Controller (BIG KNOB PASSIVE)
$64.00
-
Top Notch
Dangerous Music MONITOR ST Remote-Controlled Source and Speaker Switcher
Dangerous Music MONITOR ST Remote-Controlled Source and Speaker Switcher
Price not available
-

Last update on 2020-08-15 at 10:30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Conclusion

All of the products in this article have many advantages and disadvantages. Some are moderately priced while others fall in the expensive end of the spectrum.

Before you make a purchase you should give serious thought to how you will use the controller, as this should dictate what features and specs you should prioritize.

Remember to buy from a reputable seller and a trusted brand if you can, and always try and get a warranty included in the purchase.

With a great studio monitor controller like the ones featured in this article, you should be rocking out in a recording session in no time!