Ever since i bought the original starter 2 rack, a long time ago, and until today, i have been listening to my AE synth in mono on a pair of semilousy small speakers.
This is mostly because of lack of space and time, add to that some laziness, and my previous job that was sucking every ounce of energy out of me.
After a thread in here about recording your AE (thank you Carek) i decided to buy 3 things, a small Behringer mixer (XENYX 1202), a small Behringer USB audio interface (out of stock won't get it until mid June), and the Apple camera connection kit. I also decided that i was time to make a better setup to get more out of my AE.
I do own a pair of decent powered "studio monitors" (ESI nEar 06) but they have been packed away ever since i moved to my current house.
The mixer arrived yesterday, so today i cleared a (very small) corner of my basement work table, broke out the nEar 06 monitors from storage, hooked up AE / mixer / monitors.
I must admit that i got totally blown away by the difference. I bought a second hand AE a few weeks back that had the MULTI FX, and ooh my god, i got goosebumps from playing around with the setup today. I should have done this along time ago.
I still need more space, and i am planning to move some stuff around (read: throw out) in the basement and build an extension to my work table to make a dedicated space for the larger AE that will manifest itself when my two new 2x20 cases arrive.
Let's be honest here: if you're using substandard monitoring, it's the equivalent of trying to paint with glaucoma while you've got Ray-Bans on!
Monitoring systems should be Item #1 for ANY musician, as this is how you're able to know exactly what you're doing. Bad monitors = bad mixes. Or more correctly, bad monitors really belong in mixing as 'checks' at the very end, sort of like Hitsville USA's (ie: Motown's original Detroit studios) car speaker in a box on the monitor bridge to make sure that their mixes were "car radio ready". But they MIXED on...hmm, a lot of the time, it was bigger Altec setups, definitely nothing like car speakers.
In here, I actually have THREE monitor subsystems, all under the control of a Presonus Control Station +. The "mains" are Altec 3841s fed by a Crown DC150A, "critical mix" is a pair of KRK 9000Bs (Frisco-era) driven by a Crest FA601, and my "checks" are Lantana TADs with an Alesis RA100. The Altecs are rather Westlake-like, while the TADs more resemble present-day center speakers but with an HF emphasis control. And while that might seem a bit of overkill, really, it allows me to get a much better result than just a single monitoring chain.
I've been using mine in MONO since I got it too, though I usually process that into stereo once recorded for use in my projects - I'll probably invest in the multi-FX at some point, though I'm actually eager to try using two lo-fi delays to create a stereo output for the AE instead, has anyone tried this yet?
Oh and the DT 770s / 880s are my go-to headphones of choice as well!
Actually, for stereoizing effects from a mono out, you might want a look at the Nux Tape Core Deluxe. It's a tape delay emulator with a mono in + stereo output, works very similarly to the much more expensive Boss RE-20 but costs over $150 less. And yeah, you can feed it CVs via the expression pedal input.