Drawmer CMC3 Compact Monitoring Controller
The Drawmer CMC3 Compact Monitor Controller consolidates the feature sets of Drawmer's 3 most popular monitor controllers: Whilst retaining the famed accurate, and transparent audio quality of the MC2.1, it has the precision and control of the MC3.1 and the low profile, compact design of the CMC2. It is equally at home in a serious home studio as in a professional recording facility.
There is one thing that should always be absolutely guaranteed - that you can rely on the accuracy of your monitor controller. Can you trust the audio that your current monitor controller is providing? Is it coloring the sound? There are far to many monitor controllers available that do in one way or another - Drawmer monitor controllers do not flavor, color, warm, improve or brighten the signal, the active circuit has been designed to faithfully produce the audio signal whilst removing many of the problems that a passive circuit will bring. For all Drawmer monitor controllers it is imperative that what you record is exactly what you hear.
Accurate & Transparent
With the same Drawmer pedigree as the MC2.1, the CMC3 circuit is just as transparent and accurate. It has been designed to remove the limitations that a passive circuit brings, such as the ability to increase the volume for quiet passages and improved mix checking, without adding the artifacts that lesser quality active circuits introduce. You hear exactly what you've recorded!
The CMC3 supports 3 sets of stereo monitors, plus a dedicated mono speaker/sub-woofer output, each can be switched individually and simultaneously and in any order, especially useful for A/B comparisons. You can listen to multiple speakers with the same sub-woofer, or turn the sub-woofer off altogether.
The volume control utilizes a paralleled custom quad pot for excellent channel matching and smooth feel, as does the secondary preset volume control on the front. This provides repeatable calibrated output level for the monitors, so that at the flick of a switch the engineer can hear the mix at the same predetermined volume, time after time, without having to meticulously adjust controls.
The CMC3 is very well connected with 4 stereo inputs in total: 1x SPDIF digital input (24-bit/192 kHz), using the same DAC chipset as our established MC3.1 monitor controller, 2 stereo balanced jack inputs, plus a 3.5 mm jack with variable level control for your Smartphone/MP3 Player.
In addition, it has a 2 professional quality headphone outputs with a separate amplifier and level control, that provide the same audio quality and mix checking as the CMC3 does through the speakers. Talkback is also included with internal or external microphone, level control and audio routing to a dedicated mono output jack & headphones.
Advanced Mix Checking
The comprehensive mix checking facilities of the CMC3 include dim, mono, phase reverse, left and right cut as well as an easy access mute switch, allowing you to check the quality of your recordings: tune into your mix to hear any unwanted artifacts, test the effectiveness of the stereo mix, check for phase cancellation, listen to the stereo difference. Features that many monitor controllers lack.
Compact, Tough and Secure
The CMC3 packs a lot of features into a small unit. The whole package is presented in a very low profile desktop enclosure of just 3.5c m high with a footprint of 27x16 cm (10.5” x 6.5” x 1.4”). Whilst being smart and stylish the rugged, all steel enclosure will withstand the knocks and bumps of the studio, and, coupled with the high quality components used, the CMC3 is built to last. In addition, a Kensington security slot provides protection from thieves.
- Ultra low noise and transparent circuit design
- Source switches can be active in any combination. 4 Inputs in Total - 1x Digital SPDIF (192 kHz/24-bit) & 2 on balanced analog 1/4" jacks & 1 3.5 mm Front Panel Aux jack for your Smartphone/MP3
- 3x Speakers Plus a Mono Sub can be switched individually & simultaneously or give A/B comparisons
- Timed relay protection on all speaker outputs to prevent power up/down bangs
- Volume can be set via the Variable Front Panel Knob or a Preset Control. Each has paralleled custom quad pots for excellent channel matching and smooth feel
- 2x Headphone Amplifiers with Individual Level Controls with easy access to the jacks on the front
- Front Panel 3.5 mm AUX Input & Level Control for connecting MP3 player, smartphone or tablet etc
- Built In Talkback with Level Control, Internal or External Microphone, and Internal Routing to a Mono Output Jack & Headphones
- Comprehensive Mix Checking facilities Include Dim, Phase Reverse and Mono, Left and Right Cut as well as an easy access Mute switch
- Kensington security slot (also called a K-Slot or Kensington lock)
- Very low profile desktop enclosure with a footprint of just 18 x 16 cm
- Stylish and Rugged Enclosure will withstand the knocks of the studio
- Designed and manufactured by Drawmer in the UK
|Input Connectors||1/4-inch TRS|
|Output Connectors||Digital RCA, 1/4-inch TRS|
The Drawmer CMC3 sounds great and transparent, and it seems like it’s built very well. However, there are a couple of flaws that I've noticed, but nothing that I feel hinders it’s functionality for me and my setup. For others and their use, this may impact their decision to purchase or not purchase this unit.
Master Volume Knob:
With the Drawmer, if you have the master volume at “1” or below, the audio is heavily weighted in the left speaker; maybe by about 50% or so. This is well below my listening level, so not a deal breaker. Everything above “1” provides a full stereo image.
All of the inputs and outputs on the CMC3 are extremely clear with no interference or noise, except for the headphone 1 output. This output has some low noise that is consistent at all listening volumes. The headphone 2 output is just fine. I run a separate headphone amp for tracking sessions so this isn't a huge issue for me, but I wanted to make note of this for someone who might be relying only on this unit. I'm assuming it’s just something with the power routing inside the box. It’s still plenty usable for basic tracking/listening on your own, but I would chose the second headphone output for any critical listening or for sending your client a feed.
i was really interested in the onboard talkback and hoped it would be great, but it left me disappointed. The talkback is nice a nice feature and ducks the signal well (-20dB). However, since both the button and the microphone are built into the same metal casing, you get a very loud metallic “dunnnng” sound in the headphones when you press the button. This sound is quite a bit louder than your voice level. For an artist with quieter headphones, this would simply be a strong annoyance, but for tracking drums or anyone with louder than average headphone levels, this could potentially be damaging to persons hearing. I'm assuming this would not occur if using the external mic option, but I haven't tried it as I’ve decided to just stick with my previous talkback setup.
Overall, I’m very happy with the CMC3. If it weren't for the few flaws, this would have been a 5 star review. It sounds great, it feels "heavy duty" like it's built with quality components, and the mix check options are fantastic! I'm loving all of the features that are available at the click of a button and within arms reach. This gets 5 stars in all of those areas (and those are the important areas in my opinion)!
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