Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

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Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

Post by benprusinski » Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:27 pm

Hi all,

Apologize if I asked this before but, using Cubase is painful with the mouse and keyboard. I have a Komplete S49 that is great for the MIDI keyboard playing functions and controlling my Komplete VST plugins. BUT looking at a dedicated controller to manage the mouse/keyboard controls in Cubase in a non-keyboard type controller.

So far, these are the candidates:

Steinberg CC121- looks great but non motorized faders are bad
Nektar P1- looks nice but wanted feedback on those who own the P1 and thoughts on using it for Cubase?
Mackie MCU Pro- EXPENSIVE is it worth it?
Presonus Faderport- is this any good?

Other options? I rather have dedicated controller so I can avoid the typing and mouse clicks and have good easy touch tip controls.

Also since I use Ableton and other softwares like Reason and Bitwig, having a one size controller is a plus as well.

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Re: Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

Post by Martin.Jirsak » Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:53 pm

Hi,

I'm sorry, isn't it kind of duplicate of your other post?

- CC121: If you really want a controller for Cubase, I would recommend to go for this. For me personally, the biggest issue is, the fader is too loud.
- P1: The faders are not motorized, so it's unusable for real mixing. And the faders are to short for real mixing.
- MCU: If you don't want to mix 8 channels at once, it doesn't make sense. Quality of MCUs went down, when they started to make it in China. I'm not sure, now, if MCU can follow selected tracks. I'm 100% MCU can do so in the selected Bank. But can switch the Bank when you select any track out of the current Bank?
- Faderport: Low quality. The buttons are very noisy. 8-Faders, make sure you really need them.
- iCon: I saw it few days ago, and I was surprised positively. The faders are surpassingly quiet. But rubber buttons feels really cheap.
- Behringer BCF 2000: Very short faders, which are very very noisy. They are motorized, but not touch-sensitive, so you cannot rewrite (correct) your already written Volume automation. Display is missing, and buttons description is missing.
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Re: Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

Post by benprusinski » Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:41 pm

Hi Martin,

Yeah sorry bout that it was before I actually had installed and started working with Cubase! Anyways, I want quality item with motorized faders that will let me mix/remix in Cubase 9 Pro and that does not cost a small fortune. I work most of the time in Cubase and Ableton so a cross platform option is great but not mandatory since I already have a Push controller for Ableton and spend 90% time in Cubase for composing music. One of the sales engineers at Sweetwater told me to try the nanoKorg have you used those with Cubase?

Something like this:

http://www.korg.com/us/products/compute ... okontrol2/

OR

http://www.korg.com/us/products/compute ... ol_studio/

I heard that people had issues however in getting the Korg to work with Cubase but one guy has a fix:

http://blog.greggant.com/posts/2013/08/ ... ubase.html

Anyhow, I am open to folks here as to what controller they had best experience with Cubase 9 Pro since mouse and keyboard is a pain to deal with for me. I've considered touch screens but waiting until Steinberg developers work the bugs out on this area.

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Re: Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

Post by J-S-Q » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:00 am

I used to have a CC121. It's somewhat limited in it's features but it's a really nice quality controller. If you use the Cubase channel EQ a lot then it's pretty good. The fader is motorised by the way.

I used to have a Mackie MCU Pro setup years ago but I didn't like it that much. For anything more in depth than volume/pan/mute I found it too fussy trying to read the 6 channel scribble strip displays and work out what parameter I was adjusting.

The Eucon controllers are way better than MCU but they are more expensive than anything you've mentioned so you may not want to spend that much. I used to have an Avid Artist setup which was good and now I've got an S3 which is even better (although not cheap!).

I also have a Panorama P6. To be honest I don't really use the DAW control features on it but I know some people love it so maybe you should try and test it for yourself.
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Re: Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

Post by greggybud » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:03 am

Martin.Jirsak wrote:
Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:53 pm
Hi,

I'm sorry, isn't it kind of duplicate of your other post?

- CC121: If you really want a controller for Cubase, I would recommend to go for this. For me personally, the biggest issue is, the fader is too loud.
- P1: The faders are not motorized, so it's unusable for real mixing. And the faders are to short for real mixing.
- MCU: If you don't want to mix 8 channels at once, it doesn't make sense. Quality of MCUs went down, when they started to make it in China. I'm not sure, now, if MCU can follow selected tracks. I'm 100% MCU can do so in the selected Bank. But can switch the Bank when you select any track out of the current Bank?
- Faderport: Low quality. The buttons are very noisy. 8-Faders, make sure you really need them.
- iCon: I saw it few days ago, and I was surprised positively. The faders are surpassingly quiet. But rubber buttons feels really cheap.
- Behringer BCF 2000: Very short faders, which are very very noisy. They are motorized, but not touch-sensitive, so you cannot rewrite (correct) your already written Volume automation. Display is missing, and buttons description is missing.
Actually, I turn the motorized faders off probably half of the time. It really depends on the scenario, but there are times it can be distracting and simply not necessary.

MIxing multiple channels at once is just one of many advantages. I think you have to decide if you want a full controller where you can view 8 at a time (then bank switch) or just 1 channel.

I'm told MCU protocol does not allow bank switch when you select a track in Cubase. Did it ever work? When you focus a track in Cubase, the MCU will focus the correct channel, but you are going to have to manually press bank switch to get to that focused track. Hope that makes sense.

iCon makes a lot of different controllers. I'm assuming you are referring to either the Qcon, QconPro or QconPro X? FWIW, I just spoke with the Mixware rep in the USA and he claims the QconProX is not replacing the QconPro...they are still both in production. "Quiet" is relative. In the past Icon had problems with jittering or vibrating faders that caused a lot of noise, but I think that has been resolved. I like the rubber buttons, but I think there should be a felt click to verify execution was successful.

A lot of users rant about the Behringer X Touch. It looks to have a good bang for the buck, but is much smaller, a cheaper feel, and lacks things such as adjustable scribble strip.
J-S-Q wrote:
Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:00 am
For anything more in depth than volume/pan/mute I found it too fussy trying to read the 6 channel scribble strip displays and work out what parameter I was adjusting.
Again, isn't the horrible scribble strip MCU protocol? Anyway, yes...for every VST and VSTI that I use very often, I have manually changed the parameter titles because if you don't...it looks like a jumbled mess. I think anything over 6 characters is going to get crowded. But once you have done that, everything is set for the future. For quick VST/VSTI editing I just use a mouse. But for more in-depth editing I use the controller. This is from the perspective of a QconPro user.
Last edited by greggybud on Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

Post by Martin.Jirsak » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:12 am

It's not possible to mix with KORG naniKontrol at all. Fats are not motorized and so short.
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Re: Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

Post by benprusinski » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:14 am

Ah well that rules out the Korg then. Hmm it is hard to pick a good controller :-(

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Re: Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

Post by cameron206 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 2:23 am

I have an Icon Qcon pro, and it is awesome.
I had a second gen MCU back in the day.. I like this more.
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Re: Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

Post by benprusinski » Fri Jul 21, 2017 2:24 am

Thanks I'll check out the Icon and Avid controllers. Hopefully the local store has some to try out.

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Re: Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

Post by benprusinski » Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:05 am

Has anyone used JLCooper controllers with Cubase and if so, what was your experience? Hans Zimmer uses the Fadermaster with Cubase.

http://www.jlcooper.com/_php/product.ph ... clipsebtxm

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Re: Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

Post by J-S-Q » Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:23 am

greggybud wrote:
Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:03 am
J-S-Q wrote:
Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:00 am
For anything more in depth than volume/pan/mute I found it too fussy trying to read the 6 channel scribble strip displays and work out what parameter I was adjusting.
Again, isn't the horrible scribble strip MCU protocol? Anyway, yes...for every VST and VSTI that I use very often, I have manually changed the parameter titles because if you don't...it looks like a jumbled mess. I think anything over 6 characters is going to get crowded. But once you have done that, everything is set for the future. For quick VST/VSTI editing I just use a mouse. But for more in-depth editing I use the controller. This is from the perspective of a QconPro user.
As far as I'm aware, all MCU protocol controllers are limited to 6 characters on the scribble strip display. That's one of the reasons that I much prefer Eucon where typically you will see about 10 characters (but up to 24 depending on which letters are used).

Currently the big drawback on Eucon controllers is that when you hide tracks in Cubase, they still show on the controller, which is not the case with MCU. In most other departments, Eucon is better.

I think to really get to control surface heaven you have to spend £20k+ on a Nuage or Avid S6.
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Re: Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

Post by J-S-Q » Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:30 am

benprusinski wrote:
Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:05 am
Has anyone used JLCooper controllers with Cubase and if so, what was your experience? Hans Zimmer uses the Fadermaster with Cubase.

http://www.jlcooper.com/_php/product.ph ... clipsebtxm
Yes, I've seen videos of Hans Zimmer using that controller. I think he just uses it to control MIDI volume/expression/modulation. i.e. one very specific task, not general DAW control.

I don't think the faders on that controller are motorised and there are also no LED displays. Therefore I can't see why you would buy this over an Avid Artist Mix which will give you motorised touch sensitive faders, OLED displays and the Eucon protocol which is much more in depth than a simple MIDI controller. Maybe I'm missing something but the Avid controller seems a way better choice for about the same price.
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Re: Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

Post by greggybud » Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:08 pm

J-S-Q wrote:
Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:23 am
As far as I'm aware, all MCU protocol controllers are limited to 6 characters on the scribble strip display.
I just counted on my QconPro (MCU) and its 7 characters. But what that really means is unless you want things to look like a jumbled mess where you have no spaces between channels, you are limited to 5-6 characters per channel.

I'll guarantee if you open a VST plug-in without first going to the Cubase Remote Control editor, it will look like a mess. So go to the remote control editor, and decide what parameters are most important. Some plug-ins will have way too many banks of 8 so I often delete the majority of them, change the 7 character name to 5 or less, and then you are set for the future...unless you can't remember your 5 character abbreviations. :lol: It's far from perfect, but getting closer could set you back $20k. Also, keep in mind there is no Cubase Remote Control editor for something like the built-in Cubase EQ. So the built in EQ will always look messy.

TBH, my main issue with any MCU controller is having to use the manual bank select when you have selected a new channel that is further than 8 channels away in Cubase.
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Re: Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

Post by benprusinski » Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:05 pm

Thanks guys. I will check out a friend's Avid mix controller. He also has the Mackie MCU controller. I figure that after having some hands on time with these then I can make a more informed decision. I checked and Sweetwater does not carry the Icon Qcon gear which surprises me as they have a large selection of gear.

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Re: Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

Post by cameron206 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:42 am

I had an Avid for a bit.. the Artist Control V2-
I hated it.

The support is *flower* for Cubase.
It was slick-looking though. . . but my Icon kills it. My old MCU killed it.
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Re: Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

Post by MattiasNYC » Fri Jul 28, 2017 2:49 pm

J-S-Q wrote:
Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:23 am
Currently the big drawback on Eucon controllers is that when you hide tracks in Cubase, they still show on the controller, which is not the case with MCU.
Interesting.

Now, does the controller also intelligently re-map DAW channels to controller channels? What I mean is that if the controller is showing for example channels 10-17, and I hide four channels "in the middle", numbers 13,14,15,16, will the controller move channels over or just make those four "empty"?
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Re: Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

Post by cameron206 » Sat Jul 29, 2017 2:08 am

No. They will just still be there, not hidden at all.
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Re: Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

Post by J-S-Q » Mon Jul 31, 2017 6:14 pm

cameron206 wrote:
Sat Jul 29, 2017 2:08 am
No. They will just still be there, not hidden at all.
Yes, that is correct unfortunately. I have a workaround using some additional software (Autohotkey) that allows you to kind of hide tracks with Eucon. See this video for an example:

https://youtu.be/EGXZ2rzhNss
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Re: Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

Post by J-S-Q » Mon Jul 31, 2017 6:18 pm

cameron206 wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:42 am
I had an Avid for a bit.. the Artist Control V2-
I hated it.

The support is *flower* for Cubase.
It was slick-looking though. . . but my Icon kills it. My old MCU killed it.
I tried an MC Control briefly but I sent it back. The touch screen is not very nice. Still, personally I'd take anything Eucon over anything MCU without a doubt. The Avid S3 is really the one to have although it's obviously not the cheapest. Add an iPad with the Pro Tools Control app and you can do everything the Artist Control did but without the dated touchscreen.
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Re: Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

Post by cameron206 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:19 am

J-S-Q wrote:
Mon Jul 31, 2017 6:18 pm
cameron206 wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:42 am
I had an Avid for a bit.. the Artist Control V2-
I hated it.

The support is *flower* for Cubase.
It was slick-looking though. . . but my Icon kills it. My old MCU killed it.
Still, personally I'd take anything Eucon over anything MCU without a doubt.
totally not trying to battle...but have you used an ICON? Its glorious, even though it is stuck on the dated MCU protocol. The build quality is excellent, and it is reliable.
I have a little Arturia keyboard next to it, with an additional 16 rotary controls and 2 banks of 8 buttons each set to a Generic template- to give me that flexibility the MCU protocol lacks... and I never miss that Avid board AT ALL.
Like, there is no functionality I am missing... with the exception of jumping to named markers on the touchscreen. (of course, it was super inconsistent.. but when it worked it was great!)

The shame with BOTH of these controllers is the software! The devices themselves are great.
Eucon control is a joke in the Cubase world. Obviously it is barely supported, and each company blames the other.
Whereas MCU Protocol is a hundred years old and stuck in the mud. (Let me toggle LEDs, ffs!) But at least it is STABLE.

Having used both, I think the MCU protocol is more reliable and USE-ABLE than EuCon...right now, with Cubase.
With the Avid, I would often leave my desk, with everything up and running.. and come back to find Eucon had disconnected and I needed to power-cycle my hardware, kill Cubase and restart. Clearly this ruins workflow, and couldn't be tolerated.
With MCU... although I am stuck doing only what Mackie thought was useful back in 1997 (plus 8 assignable functions!).. at least it is always ready and willing.
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Re: Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

Post by Martin.Jirsak » Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:09 am

cameron206 wrote:
Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:19 am
Having used both, I think the MCU protocol is more reliable and USE-ABLE than EuCon...right now, with Cubase.
Same here (not with Cubase only). It's a nightmare to keep EuCon connected. When I was using it, I had to learn dedicated procedure his to start my system to ensure EuCon is connected. MCU protocol is old but reliable. Unfortunately it's not true for Mackie hardware anymore. If iCon is reliable, go for it.
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Re: Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

Post by J-S-Q » Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:23 am

Well maybe I'm lucky but I use Eucon all day every day and I literally never have any connection/stability issues. I did have issues some years ago with a wifi card but I managed to solve that.

As for "Eucon control is a joke in the Cubase world" -I'm surprised you would say that. Steinberg actually created Eucon in partnership with Euphonix, whereas MCU was originally developed for Logic. You can assign virtually any Cubase function to buttons/touchscreen. You can remap plugin parameters (which you can't actually do with Avid's own Pro Tools). You can create macros. Instantiate plugins and change routing easily (which was virtually impossible last time I used MCU). You can access all the 'Control Room' features, including volume. Apart from hiding tracks which I talked about above, I can't think of many things you can't do with Eucon.

Everyone's experience and tastes are different though, I guess.

I have used an Icon on Pro Tools, but not Cubase. Awesome controller for sure. Yes, the build quality is great. Still... Having to use MCU let's it down for me personally (and the lack of colour coded channels which I do find very valuable when navigating a large session).
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Re: Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

Post by cameron206 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:20 am

You are lucky!

I wished I could have had a stable setup. The thing was so elegant looking.
I tried hard, though, and neither Avid nor Steiny had any answers other than "check with the other guy".
Maybe it got better with Cubase 9?

And you are SO right about the flexibility of the touchscreen controls! That was really awesome... when it was working.
I especially loved having different banks of buttons for different stages- recording/editing/mixing/etc.
BUT- adding a cheap midi controller and running a generic remote replaced that functionality generally.. I am a simple man. :)
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Re: Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

Post by adrien » Wed Jul 31, 2019 2:00 am

Hey everyone. I'm looking for a controller to complement my S61 Mk2. Wish they put some faders on that beast.

Has the story changed much in the last 2 years?

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Re: Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

Post by J-S-Q » Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:28 am

The soon to be released Avid S1 looks interesting although it will presumably not solve the existing issues that come with Eucon/Cubase (most notably, you cannot hide/show tracks on the control surface).
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