Grace Design m905 Monitor Controller
The Grace Design m905 - engineered from the ground up to provide unrivaled sonic purity with a comprehensive and powerful feature set! Includes both an impeccable analog I/O as well as digital DA section, including support for DSD64 and DSD128. This IS the best available.
The Grace Design m905 High Fidelity Stereo Monitor System is Grace Design's second generation stereo monitor controller, engineered from the ground up to provide unrivaled sonic purity with a comprehensive and powerful feature set.
The Grace Design m905 represents a new benchmark for audio playback quality. DAC performance is on par with the finest esoteric mastering equipment available. Grace Design's 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.
AES and S/PDIF connectors now support DSD 64x or DSD 128x via DoP Version 1.1 (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 (Dare we say "analogue"?), 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 Grace Design m905 cannot be recommended enough.
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 Grace Design 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.
Computer Audio Requirements
Regardless of the type of computer you will use to playback audio from, it must have at least one available USB port. The m905 ships with a standard USB type A to type B cable. The type A connector plugs in to the computer and the type B connector to the USB m905 input.
The m905's asynchronous mode USB DAC supports standard driverless operation on MAC to 192kHz and on PC to 96kHz. For sampling rates above 96kHz, PC users will need to download and install a free driver on their computer. This driver can be found on the Grace Design website - http://www.gracedesign.com/support/support.htm
Driverless operation basically means 'plug and play'. The m905 will automatically show up in your computer's list of supported audio devices as 'Grace Audio Device'. In most cases, simply choose that as your audio playback device and the system will work.
Different operating systems may pose their own set of complications in setting up the m905 as the audio playback device. In the event that 'plug and play' operation does not occur, you will need to look at some specific setup variables for your OS. In this case, we will direct you to a very well written and comprehensive document by friend and colleague of Grace Design; Charlie Hanson from Ayre Acoustics. http://www.ayre.com/USB.htm. This is an invaluable resource for computer/USB audio setup information for most all current operating systems, and we strongly urge you to familiarize yourself with the information pertaining to your specific OS.
Using the m905 for DAW playback
With the extremely high quality audio playback achieved with this USB interface, the m905 can be great option as an stereo output device directly from your digital audio workstation. For playback only, this will work very well. However, using it in conjunction with other USB audio devices connected to your workstation computer's USB will require some adjustments to your computers audio settings and for best results, some external clock routing between audio devices.
For Mac OS X, this is achieved by setting up the m905 in an 'aggregate audio device' setup, with the m905 as the output device. For Win 98 – Win 7, you must use 'asio4all' drivers- http://www.asio4all.com/. There is currently no support yet for windows 8.
With both of these setups, if you are using multiple I/O devices, you will need to pay careful attention to clocking. In Mac / Core audio aggregate setups, you are able to set which device is the clock master. However, this means that other devices will be sample rate converted, which we do not recommend.
Grace Design m905 Monitor Controller Features
- NEW - Now available in both original SILVER or BLACK finish
- Analog inputs - unbalanced, balanced, CUE, talkback mic
- Digital inputs - 2x AES3, 1 S/PDIF, 1 TOSLINK, ADAT (selectable in 4 pairs, or 2 pairs in S/MUX), USB, AES3 Dual Wire mode. AES and S/PDIF connectors support DSD64 or DSD128 via DoP Version 1.1
- Audio circuitry designed for completely transparent and musical playback performance
- Asynchronous Class 2 USB playback supports up to 24bit /196kHz and DSD64 or DSD128 via DoP Version 1.1, configured for two channels down from computer and 10 channels up to computer
- 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 meterâ?˘ SPL meter features include level, peak, fast and slow modes, A & C weighting
- Precision .5 dB step level control for speakers and headphones, volume displayed in absolute or custom reference level
- Reference headphone amplifier circuitry, with outputs on both the RCU and ACUâ?˘ Dedicated mono, dim, mute and sub mute switches
- 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
- 5 Year Transferable Warranty (requires registration, obviously)
Grace Design m905 Monitor Controller Specifications
- ANALOG I/O
- THD+N at Maximum Volume, 1kHz, 22Hz-22kHz BW
- +20dBu out <0.0008%
- +10dBu out <0.0008%
- 0dBu out <0.002%
- Intermodulation Distortion SMTPE/DIN 4:1 50Hz, 7kHz
- @+20dBu out <0.002%
- @ 0dBu out <0.0015%
- Frequency Response
- Balanced Inputs +/-3dB 3Hz to 1.25MHz
- Unbalanced Input +/-3dB 3Hz to 275kHz
- Dynamic Range
- 20-22kHz bandwidth 118dB
- 20-22kHz bandwidth and A weighting filter 121dB
- Output Noise
- 20-22kHz bandwidth, at -20dB gain -99dBu
- 20-22kHz bandwidth and A weighting filter, at -20dB Gain -102dBu
- Phase Deviation
- 20Hz to 20kHz <10 degrees
- 10Hz to 100kHz < 19 degrees
- Crosstalk any channel
- 100Hz <104dB
- 1kHz <100dB
- 20kHz <79dB
- Balanced Input CMRR
- 60Hz >90dB
- 1kHz >85dB
- 10kHz >70dB
- Gain Range -104dB to +13dB
- Channel Tracking Accuracy
- Maximum Output Level +26dBu
- Maximum Input Level
- Balanced inputs +29dBu
- Unbalanced inputs +21dBu
- Balanced inputs 88k Ohms
- Unbalanced inputs 53k Ohms
- Balanced outputs 300 Ohms
- Minimum load impedance 300 Ohms
- External Talkback Mic Preamp Gain +7dB to +70dB in 1dB steps
- DIGITAL TO ANALOG CONVERTER FIXED OUTPUTS
- Output Levels
- User selectable (0dBFS) -76dBu to +24dBu in 0.5dB steps
- Fixed output trim range (0.5dB steps)
- 1kHz, -1dBFS, (0dBFS = +20dBu), 20-22kHz bandwidth 0.0006%
- Dynamic Range
- 20-22kHz bandwidth, 0dBFS = +20dBu (AES17 filter) 117dB
- 20-22kHz bandwidth, 0dBFS = +20dBu (A-weighted) 119dB
- Input Lock Range
- 44.1kHz +/-400Hz
- 48kHz +/-700Hz
- 88.2kHz +/-1200Hz
- 96kHz +/-1300Hz
- 176.4kHz +/-2000Hz
- 192kHz +/-2000Hz
- 44.1kHz +/-400Hz
- 48kHz +/-700Hz
- 88.2kHz +/-1200Hz
- 96kHz +/-1300Hz
- ADAT LIGHTPIPE
- 8 Channels at 44.1kHz and 48kHz
- 4 Channels at 88.2kHz and 96kHz (s/mux) 44.1kHz +/-50Hz
- 48kHz +/-70Hz
- 88.2kHz +/-50Hz
- 96kHz +/-70Hz
- USB 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192kHz
- s-Lock - Capture Range
- 44.1kHz +/- 6Hz
- 48kHz +/- 7Hz
- 88.2kHz +/- 14Hz
- 96kHz +/- 20Hz
- 176.4kHz +/- 24Hz
- 192kHz +/- 30Hz
- Word Clock / Superclock Input
- Impedance (switchable) 75 ohm / 1Meg ohm
- Minimum Voltage 3V peak to peak
- Maximum Voltage 5V peak to peak
- Word clock frequencies supported 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192kHz
- Superclock frequencies supported N/A
- POWER SUPPLY / GENERAL
- Power consumption 60W
- Input Voltage 50-60Hz, 100VAC - 240VAC
- Main chassis IEC 2U 3.5" x 10.5" x 17"
- Remote control unit 8.9" x 5.1" x 2.2"
- Main chassis 7.8lbs
- Remote control unit 2.2lbs
Grace Design m905 Monitor Controller Includes
- The m905 Audio Control Unit (ACU)
- The m905 Remote Control Unit (RCU)
- The RCU tilt base and accompanying hardware, premounted to the RCU
- 25’ serial cable to connect the RCU and ACU
- m905 Analog comes with an ethernet cable and 2 serial adapter jacks . For RCU headphone operation a
- RCU cable ugrade is required. This is available from youe dealer or from the Grace Design factory)
- 6’ AC power cable which connects to the ACU’s universal power supply
- A bag with rubber feet and rack screws
- The owner’s manual and warranty registration (5 Year Warranty)
Grace Design m905 Monitor Controller Downloads
What We Think
The Grace Design m905 is pretty much the final word in monitor controllers. The big-brains at Grace have spent a respectable career making some of the finest professional audio designs ever made. And if you've created a stable full of products of the ilk common to all of Grace Design's wares, then you could probably rest on your laurels and coast a while... but not the folks at Grace. The m905 marks several leaps forward in regards to both analog and digital purity, ergonomic design, and seamless integration.
The m905 handles every possible stereo scenario that you can throw at it in regards to digital format... and with stunningly pure audio (ahem) grace. High Resolution PCM or even DSD, the m905's digital integration handles it. For total hi-fi purists looking to use their PC or Mac as an audio server, USB connectivity allows for cutting out the middle man, and delivers the goods directly (though some ASIO and driver dinking may be in order - but that's not that big of a deal, really; we'll help you get through it if you need it).
For the user who simply will be feeding analog signals to the m905 (or for those of you who need a little easier entry way into such a premium monitor controller), Grace now offers the Grace Design m905 Analog, designed to allow the addition of the m905 DAC Upgrade Kit at a later date.
If sonic accuracy, excellent design, and fantastic support with good humor and a smile are what you look for in a monitor controller, then the Grace Design m905 is just what the doctor ordered.
Alan Moon - Front End Audio
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