Nautilus Extended Monitor Options Series
Congratulations on your purchase of the Nautilus NEMO
DMC-8. As a mastering engineer, I've often heard recordings
that would have sounded better if the engineer had an easy
way to A-B their mixes with great commercial recordings.
I've always been personally willing to compare and learn
from the sonics of other engineers, but today it's not
convenient like it was back in the analog days. The DMC-8's
high sonic resolution and level-matching will assist you in
making the most out of audio references to optimise your
mixing (and tracking) skills.
The DMC-8 accommodates the variety of available recording
systems today by allowing the recordist to adjust the
individual levels of different playback sources on the front
panel. When you level-matching the sources, you can
reference next to other big names in the business without it
being a volume contest. This referencing technique can be
the key to developing a deeper sonic understanding of
balance, texture, dimension, level, eq and more - if you're
willing to listen, compare, adjust, innovate, and
Key: Set your mix levels for the proper gain structure of
your console or Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Have good
healthy signal output, but leave some headroom and don't try
to achieve the loud levels of today's hot albums. Trust that
the mastering process will be the place to bring up the
volume levels and shape the frequency balance in the context
of the whole album (and the context of other commercial
albums). Concentrate on making a great mix for each song -
then the mastering engineer can take it to the next
I hope the DMC-8 gives you insights into your mixes (and
tracking) so that you achieve the frequency balance and
fidelity that you want. You can reference to your own
previous mixes as well as commercial recordings - in order
to keep a consistency in vocal levels and instrumental
qualities. As in any mixing process, you'll still want to go
check your mixes in the car or on home systems. Keep using
the "listen, compare, adjust and innovate" method and watch
the ever-improving results you'll create.
SET-UP PRECAUTION: When installing your DMC-8 be sure to
turn off the power on your power amplifiers or powered
speakers. For your first set-up, be sure all volume controls
on the DMC-8 are turned all the way down. Once you have
connected the DMC-8, turn on your equipment in the order of
the signal flow: (1) console first, (2) DMC-8 second, (3)
power amps/powered speakers last. Use care when plugging in
the Virtual Dynamics power cord.
The reverse rule applies when powering down the equipment -
turn off the power amp first, the DMC-8 second and the
console last. In all cases, turn off your power amplifiers
or powered speakers whenever you turn on or off the DMC-8.
If it's not convenient to reach your power amps, another
idea is to unplug the DMC-8 speaker outputs before turning
it on or off. Even though I only recommend turning off the
power amps, that can be another way to protect your speakers
from transient thumps. Use caution if you have your DMC-8 in
a rack with switchable power strips.
2nd IMPORTANT PRECAUTION: The DMC-8 may be rack mounted. Use
adequate ventilation for all equipment, including the DMC-8.
If you set the DMC-8 directly on a producer's desk or
tabletop, I recommend that you set the unit on top of
vibration isolators or rubber feet (included) to keep
surfaces free from scratches or marks. If you set CD players
or any other equipment on top of the unit, carefully use
flattened glass marbles (available at any pet store in the
fish section), rubber feet or other vibration isolators to
separate and protect your equipment. Use caution so that any
stacked equipment is stable and does not slide or shift from
any light physical contact. Click
here for information on vibration isolators.
At the left are 2 VU meters for left and right stereo -
these are standard in their operation. 0 VU represents a +4
calibrated line output level. The meters are lit by LEDs for
The first button - "Stereo Buss" sends your mix to
either "Speaker A" or "Speaker B," depending on your speaker
selection. The stereo buss button toggles with the 2 Track
1, 2 Track 2, and 2 Track 3 buttons. Only one button will
light at a time sending only that selected signal to the
Speaker A or Speaker B outputs. There are 2 pad switches on
the back of the DMC-8 in case you need to lower the level of
The next button - "2 Track 1" sends the balanced
audio signal from a 2 track recorder, such as an analog
machine, DAT machine, Masterlink or stand-alone CD burner to
the "Speaker A" or "Speaker B" outputs. Again, only one
source button at a time will send a signal to the speaker
If you are using a mixing console, this input can receive
the console's monitor buss* output (you may have to increase
the output of the console's monitor buss). This will enable
you to hear any channels you solo on the console. After you
solo, re-select the stereo buss input for more precise sonic
resolution. The sound of the stereo buss is better because
there are fewer electronics in it's circuit path compared to
the console's monitor buss output.
The next button - "2 Track 2" functions identically
to "2 Track 1." It can select either another balanced 2
track machine or digital audio converter (DAC).
The next button is labeled "2 Track 3" and functions
identically to "2 Track 1" and "2 Track 2" but the
connectors are RCA's designed for a consumer CD player,
MiniDisc, computer or other unbalanced audio signal.
The next button is labeled "Speaker B" which
determines whether the "Stereo Buss," "2 Track 1," "2 Track
2," and "2 Track 3" signal goes to the Speaker A output or
to the Speaker B output. When the button is selected (lit),
the 2nd set of speaker outputs receives the stereo audio
signal from the source switches described above. When this
button is depressed a second time (unlit), it goes back to
the default setting which sends the stereo signal to the
Speaker A outputs. It does not interact with any other
buttons on the unit.
The next button is labeled "Mono" and when depressed
(lit), it sums the stereo left and right signal into one
mono signal that is being sent to Speaker A or Speaker B.
When depressed again, it returns the signal to the original
stereo sound. These changes only affect the sound coming
through the studio monitors. It does not interact with any
other buttons on the unit.
The next button is labeled "Mute" and when it is
depressed (lit), it turns off the audio signal selected by
the source buttons so that there is no audio output to
either set of speakers. When it is depressed again, it
toggles back to the "on" setting.
The next button is labeled "Dim" and when selected
(lit) it lowers the volume of the studio monitors somewhat
(per your adjustment) so you can still hear what's playing
back, but more quietly. Like if mom walks in the room.
The first knob is a "Meter Range" selector switch. It
is a detented switch with 5 positions, each one giving a
different appearance of signal strength displayed by the VU
-The first position to the left selects the -4 position,
which means that the meter sensitivity has been reduced by 4
dB. A normal signal strength of 0 VU (+4 dBu) would appear
to read minus-4 VU on the meter, even though there is no
change to the audio level at all. This is a meter adjustment
-Moving the switch to the second position toward the right
selects the -2 position. A normal signal strength of 0 VU
(+4 dBu) would appear to read minus-2 VU on the meter, even
though there is no change to the audio level.
-The third switch position pointing straight up selects the
0 position, which means that the meter sensitivity is
standard and there is no change in it's sensitivity. A
normal signal strength of +4 dBu would read 0 VU.
-The fourth position going to the right selects the +2
position, increasing the meter sensitivity by 2 dB over
standard 0 and the fifth position going to the right selects
the +4 position, increasing the meter sensitivity by 4 dB
over standard 0 VU.
The second knob is the "2 Track 1" volume knob.
This controls the level of the 2 Track 1 source. This knob
is active only when the 2 Track 1 button is selected.
Turning this knob up all the way gives unity gain.
The third knob is the "2 Track 2" volume knob.
This controls the level of the 2 Track 2 source when the
corresponding button is selected. Full up is unity gain.
The fourth knob is the "2 Track 3" volume knob
for the unbalanced RCA inputs. Unity gain is around "18" on
the dial face, giving extra gain. There is a switch on the
back of the unit that pads down this input in case you need
to lower the level of this input.
The fifth knob is the "Speaker B" level control.
Unity gain is all the way up, so it is intended as a trim
control to adjust the signal strength going to the 2nd set
of speakers, in case the 2nd set is louder than the 1st set
of speakers. If you find that the first pair of speakers is
louder than the second, switch the outputs so that the
louder pair of speakers is set to "Speaker B." When the
"Speaker B" button is not selected (unlit), this volume knob
has no effect, because it only applies when "Speaker B" is
If you are not using a 2nd set of control room speakers, you
can use this feature for studio speakers by connecting the
Speaker B outputs to the appropriate amp or powered monitors
in the recording studio. (This is an either-or feature. Both
sets cannot be selected at the same time.) This enables
musicians to hear a playback over speakers instead of their
headsets. Use the Speaker B level control to adjust the
studio speakers to a comfortable level when the musicians
Some engineers like to have a set of speakers in a lounge or
other room to reference the sound in a different
environment. This feature can be used for that purpose,
which can be a good way to remain more objective at mix time
by going in to the lounge to see how the mix sounds on a
The sixth knob is the "Dim Level" volume control
so you can adjust how low the control room speaker volume
goes when you press the dim button (lit). This is handy when
you need to comfortably talk to someone sitting in the
control room for a moment, and then return to the exact
previous listening level when you press the button a second
time. Unity gain is when this control is up full.
It's also a handy feature if you want to switch to a softer
listening level at mix time to see how the mix hold up at a
softer volume - in case you want to return to the previous
volume quickly. The optional Nautilus MBR-8 remote triggers
the dim function when the talkback button is engaged, and
undimmed when talkback is un-engaged. While the DMC-8 does
not have talkback, forthcoming Nautilus gear will have it.
Only use a Nautilus Master Technology remote to operate this
The big volume knob
The last knob to the far right of the unit is the volume
knob for the control room speakers. It is the last volume
control in the audio chain, and is always engaged unless the
"Mute" button is depressed. Even if the "Speaker B" button
(and corresponding volume knob) is selected, the big knob
still controls the final overall gain sent to the speakers.
However, if the volume knob of "Speaker B" is selected and
turned all the way down, there will be no signal available
at the large control room knob, simply because the Speaker B
knob (when selected) is in front of the large knob in the
circuit. Keep this in mind if you happen to use the Speaker
B function for speakers in the lounge area or recording
studio area. With a little experimenting, you'll find the
The back panel
Graphics notwithstanding, the back panel from left to right
- IEC connector for AC power with super-beefy strain relief
for high-end power cords - the four holes accommodate tie
wrap-style securing straps in case you are rack mounting the
unit at an angle.
- On-off power switch - It's common in many studios to leave
the audio power supply on to a console or other primary
piece(s) of gear - the DMC-8 is a good candidate to leave on
24 hours a day. Bulb life is excellent in this unit - you
may want to "stagger" the selected source (Stereo Buss, 2 TR
1, 2 or 3) left on at the end of a day, that way the "over
night" bulb usage will be spread out and extend the time
before a replacement is needed. I've used the same switches
for years without needing a bulb replaced. (Remember... turn
off power amps for on/off use!)
- Voltage selector switch (for 220 European voltages)
- Remote control switching socket
(for switching the first 4 functions/buttons on the front
- Dim logic phone connector intended for use with the
Nautilus Master Technology MBR-8 remote talkback unit, or
connections from forthcoming Nautilus gear. The Dim Logic
input allows dimming of monitors connected to the DMC-8 when
a talkback "trigger" signal is enabled. When using a
qualified technician, a console's dim command can be
connected to the DMC-8 so that the monitors dim even when
using a console's built-in talkback feature. Future Nautilus
products will include talkback and studio headphone control
that will interface with this unit.
Always use the best possible cables to connect your DMC-8 -
cables make a difference in the sound!
- Stereo XLR balanced line-level output connectors for
"Speaker B" which sends the selected source to the
designated 2nd amplifier or self-powered speakers. These
speakers can either be for the control room, studio speakers
or other alternate speakers. These XLR outputs are disabled
when the front-panel "Speaker B" button is deselected
- Stereo XLR balanced line-level output connectors for
"Speaker A" which sends the selected source to the
designated 1st amplifier or self-powered speakers. These
outputs are disabled when "Speaker B" is selected.
- Stereo XLR balanced line-level "Source Select" outputs.
Important: This output is sending full line level at all
times. If you connect this signal to any other device other
than a Nautilus product for which it is intended, only use
audio equipment that has it's own proper level adjustment
This is simply a line-level output of whatever source is
selected, either Stereo Buss, 2 Track 1, 2, or 3. Aside from
being a great way to send a signal to an external recorder
for copies, the Source Select output can be connected to an
external talkback /headphone
distribution amplifier that has it's own level controls. It
can be used (simultaneously with standard control room
operations) to send audio to a speaker system in another
room - but that other speaker system must have it's own
volume controls. This is perfect if you have a consumer
stereo system in a lobby or meeting room that can accept
line level signals.
- 2 Track 3 - RCA connectors for a typical CD player to be
plugged directly into the unit. This can also receive the
unbalanced outputs from a Masterlink or other professional
unbalanced device. These connectors are active when "2 Track
3" is selected on the front panel. Note: When any
professional equipment is plugged into the RCA connectors,
set the level-adjustment pad switch to the proper level to
avoid overloading the input. When the pad switch is down,
the level is lower.
- 2 Track 2 - XLR connectors for the stereo return (output)
from a line-level mixdown machine such as a DAT recorder, an
analog tape machine, a stand-alone Masterlink or CD
recorder, etc. These connectors are active when "2 Track 2"
is selected on the front panel.
- 2 Track 1 - XLR connectors for the stereo return (output)
from a mixdown machine such as a DAT recorder, analog tape
machine, stand-alone Masterlink or CD recorder, professional
cassette recorder, etc. These connectors are active when "2
Track 1" is selected on the front.
* Optional: When not in use with a Digital Audio
Workstation, the DMC-8 can accept the monitor buss output
from a console. This enables the user to switch to a source
selection (like "2 Track 1" - with the monitor buss
connected) and solo on the board during tracking or mixing.
You may need to raise the console's monitor pot in order to
match the gain of the stereo buss. This is normal. Then when
a more precise audio path is desired, simply switch back
over to the Stereo Buss selector for the highest resolution
signal. However, it limits the number of 2 Track return
sources, but you will know which feature is more
- Stereo Buss unbalanced (1/4" phone) connectors to receive
the audio output of an unbalanced "studio in a box"
recording unit such as a Roland VS unit, or D-A converters
(or a computer digital card) with unbalanced audio outputs
(an adapter may be required as such cards usually have RCA
outputs) or other audio console that does not have XLR
outputs. When these connectors are used, the balanced XLR
stereo buss connectors are disabled.
- Stereo Buss balanced XLR inputs to receive the analog
output of a professional analog or digital audio console, or
balanced outputs from a professional D-A converters (such as
those offered by Prism, Apogee, Pro Tools, MOTU, etc.), or
any other source that is intended to be the final audio
output that goes to a mixdown machine. The two 6 dB pads
enable you to lower the input level. When the pad is engaged
the audio level out of the stereo buss thru is also lowered
(lower position is lower gain).
Option: While it is not advisable, these "Stereo Buss"
inputs can also receive the outputs of the console monitor
buss as described above. This will enable you to use both "2
Track 1" and "2 Track 2" as stereo returns. In this case,
you can put either 2 Track machine in the input mode to
monitor a more accurate stereo buss signal, while retaining
the solo functions of the console monitor buss. When used in
conjunction with the DMC-8, the Nautilus DMC-2 can be used
to allow additional monitor and headphone functions while
retaining the integrity of the DMC-8's stereo buss as your
primary listening source.
- Stereo Buss Thru 1 & 2 (through) sends the analog
stereo buss signal directly to two dedicated mixdown
machines. This enables the highest quality stereo buss to be
made available at the control room monitoring stage, while
sending the stereo buss signal onto the dedicated machine it
was intended for.
If you are not using dedicated mixdown machines:
Even though I prefer the sound of a dedicated Masterlink or
other mixdown machine, digital audio workstations often do
not need this since they can "render" or "bounce" a stereo
mix internally. The computer (or digital console) can then
burn a CD, thereby eliminating the need for a mixdown
machine. However, DAWs and digital recording desks (like
Roland VS-1680's, AKAI or Tascam units) still must send an
audio signal to the speakers, and so they are equipped with
their own monitor buss outputs which provides the analog
signal intended for the speakers.
These units also have a digital output which can be plugged
into a dedicated digital mixdown machine or into a D to A
converter (DAC) for better quality sound. This analog output
from a DAC is ideal for the DMC-8 stereo buss input (either
balanced or unbalanced). The Stereo Buss Thru then enables
the stereo signal to be routed to a patch bay, stand alone
mixdown machine, cassette deck, or other equipment meant for
analog stereo signals.
Using excellent D-A converters, an analog signal to a
dedicated mixdown machine can sound quite good, perhaps
superior, depending on the system being used (particularly
if outboard equipment such as compressors, reverbs, or
analog summing mixers are being used in the mixdown process,
thereby requiring analog to digital conversion).
The Stereo Buss Thru is similar to the "MIDI Thru" commonly
found on synthesizers. However, the Stereo Buss Thru audio
signal is in no way related to a MIDI signal.
The DMC-8 can be a very powerful tool for making
level-matched comparisons. Listen to the sound of a
"rendered" or "bounced" stereo file from a DAW and compare
it with a Masterlink's analog or digital recording (without
the "bounce" process). If you have a digital patch bay, you
can send one digital signal to 2 sets of D-A converters and
compare the sound. Check your previous mixes with your
current mixes to be sure you like where the vocal level sits
in your latest mix (every song has a "life" of it's own and
can end up with different over-all levels, even though all
the sounds and gain structures are relatively the same).
Compare an analog tape deck (gotta love that) with a 96K or
higher A-D converter-to-digital recorder.
Click here for information and
insights about effective A-B techniques
The DMC-8 is also a powerful mastering tool. While the
individual level pots are not detented, they are
precision-tracking and will stay in place if they are not
tampered with. If you calibrate your outputs levels from
different sources, you can compare your mastered product
with other sources to examine the tonal and level
differences. The discrete Class-A resolution sound speaks
for itself (and problems associated with long cables and
passive systems are not an issue).
Nautilus Master Technology warrants this product to be free
from defects in materials and workmanship for a period of 1
year. Any servicing requires the unit to be returned to
Nautilus for repair by qualified service personnel. Parts
and labor during the one year period are free of charge,
except for any shipping charges.
Any damage to the DMC-8 other than normal professional usage
voids this warrantee. When shipping the unit to Nautilus for
any reason, use original packing box and materials, or other
similar or better care. Nautilus is an Earth-Aware company.
Please recycle and re-use plastic or any non-biodegradeable
Repairs beyond the warrantee time period will be charged a
repair fee for parts, labor, and shipping. The quality of
design and component integrity of this unit is of the
highest standards, and you may expect to enjoy the use of it
for many years. Any questions or comments, please contact us
and we will be happy to take care of your needs. We are
committed to sonic and service excellence.
Best wishes, and now go cut a hit! Yikes... did you actually
read all of this? Cool!
comments or info, emails
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Copyright 2008 John Vestman