REVIEW: SPL Marc One Monitor and Recording Controller

SPL’s new Marc One brings the practical application of switching between monitoring sources without a lot of hassle, and is a great tool for optimizing mixes.

Size-wise, it’s not that much bigger than a typical 2-channel DAW interface, with a front panel that covers switching between two sets of speakers/monitors, along with a level control knob.

With a Stereo/mono selector that also has a stereo reverse function, the user gets a comprehensive ability to work the mix for various applications, such as video or TV work. In the middle position, all input signals are equally loud. To the left, the analog stereo inputs get louder and the USB input signal gets quieter. So, it blends between analog inputs and digital input (USB) – very useful, indeed.

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A headphone level control and 1/4” connection allows the user to connect the headphones of their choice. Now, the crossfeed control is where it gets interesting. SPL calls this feature the Phonitor Matrix, which has three parameters: Crossfeed, Angle and Center Level. In the Marc One, the center level is preset to -1 dB and the speaker angle to 30°.

If you’re mixing on headphones, you get a pretty standard stereo spread. But listening on speakers, BOTH of your ears are picking up the audio from opposite speakers, like a bit of audio “spill over,” which gives a bit of extra feeling. The crossfeed control allows the headphone mix to respond more like a room mix, which for users who may have to (or prefer to) mix on headphones, they’ll get a better overall result. Ever hear a friend’s recording that they mixed on headphones, and you know it sounds like they mixed on a set of cans. With this function it can severely reduce that effect.

The back panel has line outs for connecting to headphone amplifiers, as well as being used as an additional output source. Speaker connections are here as well, with one set having the additional output for a subwoofer. Inputs for analog signals from a DAW or recording unit, and a USB connection reside here too. No need to worry about pairing active and passive speakers, there’s a set of dip switches that can configure the unit to handle that consideration.

While we didn’t have a second set of speakers with a subwoofer, we connected a set of Mackie CR4BT monitors, and a set of Cambridge Soundworks stereo speakers, along with a pair of Blue’s Lola headphones. The ability to listen to a mix and toggle through them was a nice treat, being able to not mix to the speakers, but get a good overall idea of the coloring each brought to the mix. The Phonitor Matrix Crossfeed feature however was a big deal, it allows the user to really reduce the stereo isolation. Listen to a drum mix with proper panning of the toms and cymbals and it sounds far livelier. Users of virtual drums or loops that are also panned properly makes for a livelier placement in the mix. Doing multiple instrument sources such as a chorus or even gang vocals really shows where the panning really can be an art in the mix.

There are a lot of devices out there allowing for switching between speakers, in some cases, they’re built into the DAW itself. However the big deal of not having to download an additional software app to run this or control the audio path is wonderful. The Phonitor Matrix isn’t a gimmick either and gives the user the ability to do a ton of work on a set of headphones, either due to preference or not to bother others, get really good results, THEN start to tackle mixes on their speakers of choice. It’s a good piece of studio kit that can help mixing workflow, and overall results.


Excellent sound routing options, Crossfeed function is great, simple to use





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