As more folks go “mixerless”, obvious shortcomings present themselves. For example, how do you get a talkback mic feed out to the musicians in the tracking room? If you connect nearfield speakers directly to a stereo output pair on an audio interface, how do you monitor reference tracks from a CD player? Or what if all you want to do is fire up a synth to work on ideas — do you really want to power up the computer just for this?
One solution is C•control. It’s one of five stylish new “C Class” products from Samson, and is equipped with all the basic control room monitoring facilities you’d expect from a recording console. Housed in a sturdy, half-rack case, C•control is fitted with four pairs of source inputs — three balanced TRS and one RCA. A possible setup, then, would have the monitor outs from an audio interface patched into the Mix In and a CD player plugged into the RCA, leaving the other two stereo balanced ins for synths, mixdown devices, etc. On the output side, there are two 1/4" stereo pairs and a stereo RCA out, along with three sets of L/R speaker outs and a L/R cue, which you could use for sending signals to a headphone amp.
On the front are a series of switches for monitoring the source inputs (all four can be monitored simultaneously), and enabling the three speaker outs.
Either speaker A or B, plus C outs can be active simultaneously, and there are separate volume knobs for A and B, so it’s possible to match levels between the two. The documentation suggests you connect Speaker C outs to a sub.
Another two buttons let you send a feed from the built-in talkback mic to the cue and 2Track outs. In my studio I was able to sit roughly 12 feet away from the talk-back mic; it had no problem picking up my voice when I used a footswitch to activate the mic.
As for sound quality, I noticed no signal degradation or coloration. What’s more, C•control had enough headroom for slamming mixes. During the time I used this box I found it to be a solid, effective solution for a variety of monitoring and signal routing jobs. I encourage you to give it a serious look.