Grace Design m905 Monitor Controller - Black
The Grace Design m905 represents a new benchmark for audio playback quality. DAC performance is on par with the finest esoteric mastering equipment available. The redesigned s-Lock PLL ensures ultra-low jitter clock regeneration. An asynchronous USB class 2 interface allows the m905 to act as the master clock of the computer’s USB audio buss, effectively eliminating interface induced jitter for computer audio playback. And finally, meticulous analog circuitry measures with outstanding numbers in dynamic range, distortion and noise performance, ensuring bracingly open, detailed and musical playback of any input source.
All main audio and power supply circuitry is housed in a 2U rack mount mainframe, while system control is managed by a sleek, ergonomic remote control unit. This new RCU is a combination of dedicated hardware and a color graphical LCD display. All primary monitoring features are accessed via hardware switches and a rotary encoder, while all system information is presented by the graphic LCD and illuminated switches. This hybrid design allows for the solid feel and function of traditional hardware with the added power and functionality of a graphical user interface.
Now supported is DSD 128x (5.6448MHz) via DoP v1.1 (DSD over PCM frames). DSD audio can be sourced from the AES3, S/PDIF or USB digital inputs. While still a niche playback format, DSD has held its ground over the years, and now more and more content is available via download. And playback is now supported by a number of players. DSD sounds stunningly natural, especially rendered through the rest of the playback circuitry of the m905. So If you’re the type to seek out this kind of fidelity, the m905 is a great way to enjoy it.
The GUI is designed so that any engineer unfamiliar with the m905 can use the system immediately and confidently. Then with a minimal time investment, advanced functions can be accessed and controlled with ease. Additional features include: naming individual inputs and speaker outputs, calibrating level offsets of any input and output, setting preset levels, and much more. The setup menus only ever drill down one level, so the main operating screen is always one button away. And when returning to any previously visited setup menu, its previous edit status is remembered, keeping redundant navigation and editing to a minimum.
The m905 offers the ability to transfer up to 10 channels of digital audio (8-channels of ADAT and two of AES3, or S/PDIF or TOSLINK) over USB to a computer, making the m905 capable of operating as a standalone USB audio interface. This is an advanced feature as there are clock issues to be aware of, but it works and is documented in the owners manual.
With stunning sonic performance and timeless design, the m905 is a mark of genuine progress in the pursuit of high quality audio production. Intuitive, reliable and beautiful, it is the perfect studio centerpiece – home base for your ears, eyes and hands.
- Analog inputs – unbalanced (standard or the optional RIAA phono input), balanced (2nd pair balanced available on m905 Analog), CUE, talkback mic
- Digital inputs – 2x AES3 (Single or dual-wire), 1 S/PDIF, 1 TOSLINK, ADAT (selectable in 4 pairs, or 2 pairs in S/MUX), USB, DSD128 (5.6448MHz)
- Audio circuitry designed for completely transparent and musical playback performance
- Asynchronous Class 2 USB playback supports up to 24 bit/192kHz
- Mastering quality DAC circuitry with configurable de-emphasis filtering
- s-lock dual-stage Phase Lock Loop for ultra low jitter clock regeneration
- Hybrid RCU with hardware switches, large level encoder and graphical LCD
- LCD display shows input, level, output, SPL and DAC status plus a full calibration menu
- RCU includes built in microphone for talkback and onboard SPL meter
- SPL meter features include level, peak, fast and slow modes, A & C weighting
- Precision .5 dB step level control for speakers and headphones
- Reference headphone amplifier circuitry, with outputs on both the RCU and ACU
- Dedicated mono, dim, mute and sub mute switches
- Digital loop thru outputs that can be configured to pass incoming digital signals or as a digital speaker output when monitoring digital PCM sources
- Mono mode can be set to L+R summed, L only in both channels, or R only in both channels L solo, R solo, L-R and sub solo modes are available
- 3 available stereo speaker outputs, with two assignable mono sub outputs (or single stereo sub output)
- Multi-mode SUB/ DAC/ METER out
- SUB out mode for stereo or multiple mono subwoofer outputs
- DAC out mode for a fixed DAC output fed by the selected digital input
- METER out mode fed by selected input signal (digital or analog), configurable with a fixed level or to follow the monitor level
- Detachable RCU tilt base
Excellent gear, well built, high performance, really flat and transparent sound, very happy with this element in my studio
Endless options to create that pleasuring sound your each were wishing for.
Best monitor controller on the planet. Easiest to configure and great customer service.
It’s the perfect monitor controller. I have owned a bunch of other ones over the years and this is without a doubt the best. Yes, it’s pricey but if it’s as important in your setup as it is for me and my studio, it’s definitely worth it. Grace customer service is always on point for any and all questions as well.
I’m very happy with my m905. It has improved my work flow. It’s layout is logical and functional. I bought it for the DA converters originally and they are perfect for my needs. Pristine, open , detailed and easy to listen too. I have been listening to hi res copies of my favorite recordings through it and it has been a revelation.
The controller is a bonus for me. I was not aware of how much it would improve my small studio.
The guys at Grace are just a phone call away and had no problem talking me through some of my initial confusion when I first set it up.
The Grace M905.
If you've ever had the good fortune of employing this unit, you'll know that there isn't really anything quite like it on the market. Sure, it's "clean" and "transparent" and it won't crap out. Those are fine phrases, but they don't really do the M905 justice. The ease of functionality alone is worth the credit. If you've watched the small promo video of the Grace team, one of the designers (Mike Grace's son, I believe) points out that they wracked their brains on the layout of the actual controller! "Ok .. where does the knob go on this thing ? Should it be here ?" Those questions matter. You can easily manipulate the controls as theyre angled up toward the user. That was a nice touch, Grace! The buttons feel easy and they shift around the audio paramters with no effort at all.
The sound is incredible. Very easy on the ears and very accurate. You can digitally mirror your main converter, if you have one, and thats a great feeling. Theres some real magic in the converter of the M905. You'll hear things in ANY audio signal that will make feel like you're hearing things. btw ... the internet is a very noisy place. Most monitor controllers won't reveal that either.
Features: One of my personal favorites of the M905 is its ability to solo each speaker AND the inclusion of the *L-R* function. What this means is you can not only get a sense of phase, (if thats what you're listening for), but you can get rid of the center image(s) and just hear the swishy sides. Also, you can solo each side's side, if you're into that kind of thing! Mono, L or R functions and if you'd like, solo either side, hit the mono button, and you've have a lot of one side coming at you.
There is one hiccup ... if there is such a thing with Grace, and that is you can't send mono to just one speaker. If you need to have mono from just one side, you'll have to shut off one speaker and hit mono either via the DAW or physically turn off the desired speaker and hit the mono button on the M905 controller. Oh. Darn. In the grand scheme of things its a 1.2 out of 11.
I could go into the rest of the unit's vast digital brain, but that would really be an entirely separate review because there is A LOT going in on the M905. The Asynchronous USB tech is unusual and I'm sure only aids in the superb level of clarity.
As some one else put it, "The Grace M905 is beyond reproach."
This thing will outlive a roach.
This thing is perfect !
I knew I would really like this unit but it has exceeded my expectations. For reference, I've owned 3 Avocets over the years including the latest Avocet IIA.
The DAC on the Grace m905 easily competes with the amazing Avocet DAC which might have a slight edge on the m905 DAC, but not by a lot and I might be splitting hairs at a higher mastering level than other might have the means to do or interest in doing.
Where the Grace does win vs the Avocet is features and ergonomics. It's really been a pleasure to use. I purchased it for my home setup and currently still have the Avocet IIA in my main room but I think really, they are just about equal in terms of DAC quality. So, if you regard features and ergonomics over DAC, the m905 is your best bet. If DAC is your top priority, you may need to critically listen to them both in your room to decide what's best but since currently the m905 is easier to get ahold of, I went with it and have zero regrets.
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