Recommendations for Control Surface

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revbob23
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Recommendations for Control Surface

Post by revbob23 » Thu Oct 17, 2019 7:56 pm

Hey, new user doing a rebuild of my studio after being closed for a bit.
Replacing my current DAW with Cubase 10 Pro and looking for a control surface that works with my current workflow.
I do audio for video (music, voice over, snd fx) and looking for specific features:

1) Shuttle/Jog wheel that allows scrub to frame, full integration with Cubase 10
2) 8-16 motorized faders for active mixing
3) Short cut buttons for channel features, editing,markers and fx - so I don't have to keep going back to keyboard/mouse
4) Transport controls

Its cool if its a combo of control surfaces, but I really hope to cover the above.
I'm using a Win 10 Pro 64 system and Motu interfaces.

Please base this on current experience and currently available products with support- I need to rebuild my client base and need everything to be reliable and tested as I move forward.
THanks

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Re: Recommendations for Control Surface

Post by revbob23 » Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:13 am

Anyone?
This is a serious request.

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greggybud
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Re: Recommendations for Control Surface

Post by greggybud » Tue Oct 29, 2019 5:38 am

The serious reply would probably be Yamaha Nuage. I have never used one, but I'm pretty sure that is as close to Cubase as you can get based on other users experiences.
https://usa.yamaha.com/products/proaudi ... index.html

If that is out of your price range, I would suggest you do a search in forums such as Gearslutz and read about all the different controllers plus all the general complaints. A few of them include any DAW controllers that use Mackie Protocol and how that hinders workflow. Generally, everyone wants something different in a DAW controller. And they always want it for less money than what is available and can't believe a company hasn't built one that suits their needs.

As for your requirements, there are many that would do the job, but I strongly suggest you do your research. What do you mean by "editing, markers and fx?" IMO, there are few users who are completely happy with any DAW controller other than the Nuage for the reasons above. A DAW controller with any DAW is like pushing a square peg through a round hole. Any DAW controller can do the simple mix console functions of pan, solo, mute, etc. But DAWs go many depths further, and unless you have the money for Nuage, I question whether or not you would be fully satisfied.

Some things are just better with a mouse unless you have a physical disability.
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Re: Recommendations for Control Surface

Post by jb » Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:26 pm

Mackie based hardware solution for jug wheel/transport/fader:

Behringer x touch, presonus faderport, icon, mackie.
This will give you hardware based transport controll with shuttle functions, 1 to 35 channel(s) fader control with or without scribble strip(s) depending on the version(s) you buy.

Combine this with a (multiple?) Wireless tablet solution (cubase icpro, metagrid, lemur or touchosc) for controlling shortcuts, buttons and faders.
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Re: Recommendations for Control Surface

Post by Denis van der Velde » Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:55 pm

The Mackie Control Pro is still a good one.
Actually i changed it to the CC121 from Steinberg.
Because i did not need the full 8 faders anymore.
You can buy mine if you want to.
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Re: Recommendations for Control Surface

Post by skijumptoes » Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:28 pm

Yeah MCU controller is the best for the price i think, i love using mine with Cubase for the points you highlight. The X Touch is a good budget option using the same protocol.

Plus, you're not tied to Steinberg with the hardware - it's fully universal.
Last edited by skijumptoes on Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Recommendations for Control Surface

Post by Vital Few » Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:34 pm

greggybud wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 5:38 am
The serious reply would probably be Yamaha Nuage. I have never used one, but I'm pretty sure that is as close to Cubase as you can get based on other users experiences.
https://usa.yamaha.com/products/proaudi ... index.html

If that is out of your price range, I would suggest you do a search in forums such as Gearslutz and read about all the different controllers plus all the general complaints. A few of them include any DAW controllers that use Mackie Protocol and how that hinders workflow. Generally, everyone wants something different in a DAW controller. And they always want it for less money than what is available and can't believe a company hasn't built one that suits their needs.

As for your requirements, there are many that would do the job, but I strongly suggest you do your research. What do you mean by "editing, markers and fx?" IMO, there are few users who are completely happy with any DAW controller other than the Nuage for the reasons above. A DAW controller with any DAW is like pushing a square peg through a round hole. Any DAW controller can do the simple mix console functions of pan, solo, mute, etc. But DAWs go many depths further, and unless you have the money for Nuage, I question whether or not you would be fully satisfied.

Some things are just better with a mouse unless you have a physical disability.
Yamaha Nuage is a league of its own and in my world, the only serious hardware controler on the market. Considering what you get, then it's not expensive. It's a pro tool that gives you full control over Cubase/Nuendo/Pro Tools.
The system is easy to use, extremly versatile and build your system as you wish. Nuage give full control over the entire workflow.
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Re: Recommendations for Control Surface

Post by jcbfoos » Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:06 pm

Liine Lemur and a large touch screen. Samsung makes one for about $500.

Endless customization and works great with Cubase.
Mac OSX 10.12.x - Cubase 10.0.x - MOTU 1248 - Insane PC running VEP - lots of plugs and libraries...

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Re: Recommendations for Control Surface

Post by Home Studio 87 » Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:10 pm

DTouch for Cubase..... multi mixer ans All the macro/shortcuts
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Re: Recommendations for Control Surface

Post by GlennO » Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:52 pm

The answer depends on what your budget is. I've never tried a Nuage, but I assume it works well with Cubase.

Otherwise, the Avid Artist product line is probably the best bet for control surfaces with Cubase at the moment under $2K. For me, Eucon works better than Mackie protocol. For example, the fader banking follows the track selections in Cubase in Eucon, but not in Mackie. A combination of an Artist Mix and an Artist Control will do what you want.
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Re: Recommendations for Control Surface

Post by AlakaLazlo » Tue Oct 29, 2019 9:46 pm

You should take a serious look at the Slate Raven. I'd been using MCU + 2 expanders for years, but got tired of constantly dealing with jittery/bad/noisy faders. The Raven is far superior (but not perfect!) and Slate's included Batch Commander software makes it a game changer.
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Re: Recommendations for Control Surface

Post by J-S-Q » Tue Oct 29, 2019 10:34 pm

GlennO wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:52 pm
The answer depends on what your budget is. I've never tried a Nuage, but I assume it works well with Cubase.

Otherwise, the Avid Artist product line is probably the best bet for control surfaces with Cubase at the moment under $2K. For me, Eucon works better than Mackie protocol. For example, the fader banking follows the track selections in Cubase in Eucon, but not in Mackie. A combination of an Artist Mix and an Artist Control will do what you want.
I would agree with this but I think the latest incarnation of this would be an Avid S1 (Just about to become available) combined with an Avid Dock. Do your research if a Jog/Shutttle is important to you though. In my experience, this feature does work with Eucon controllers but not as well as one would like. :)
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Re: Recommendations for Control Surface

Post by skijumptoes » Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:31 am

The world of Eucon always looks confusing to me, aren’t they locked via some authentication software? It seems a platform which is far more open to failure (reading all the unhappy reports here) and you’re never sure which devices work well with Cubase, some have large screen displays for example and different buttons/faders.

Mackie/MCU is far more universal as a controller and auto fader banking, as much as I’d like it, has never truly caused me a problem. But, I use the Mackie as the primary controller, rather than a slave to my mouse/onscreen navigation.

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Re: Recommendations for Control Surface

Post by J-S-Q » Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:44 am

skijumptoes wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:31 am
The world of Eucon always looks confusing to me, aren’t they locked via some authentication software? It seems a platform which is far more open to failure (reading all the unhappy reports here) and you’re never sure which devices work well with Cubase, some have large screen displays for example and different buttons/faders.

Mackie/MCU is far more universal as a controller and auto fader banking, as much as I’d like it, has never truly caused me a problem. But, I use the Mackie as the primary controller, rather than a slave to my mouse/onscreen navigation.
I've used Eucon with Cubase for I guess around 6 years and it's been more or less bullet proof for me. I don't know about 'locked' -you just need to install the Eucon software in much the same way you would need to install software for an audio interface. I guess you might say the protocol is locked in that nobody other than Avid is licensed to manufacture Eucon compatible hardware.
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Re: Recommendations for Control Surface

Post by GlennO » Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:57 am

skijumptoes wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:31 am
The world of Eucon always looks confusing to me, aren’t they locked via some authentication software? It seems a platform which is far more open to failure (reading all the unhappy reports here) and you’re never sure which devices work well with Cubase, some have large screen displays for example and different buttons/faders.
No authentication is required. The gripes around here about Eucon are not about reliability. They are about how Cubase doesn't take full advantage of it. It's a very powerful protocol, and gets active support and regular updates from Avid. Cubase is behind on using all the features of the protocol.

One other factor, and this probably marks me as a shallow person :), but the design of the artist series controllers is damn sleek. It just looks good on your desk.
Cubase 10, MacOS 10.13, Avid Artist Mix

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Re: Recommendations for Control Surface

Post by ChrisDuncan » Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:15 pm

I have a Mackie MCU. It's reliable and built like a tank.

I owned a Behringer X-Touch but sold it. It works fine and supports the MCU protocol, but the angle of the LCD made it hard to read, even after propping it up to about a 15 degree angle. Additionally, while it certainly costs less than the Mackie, it also feels cheaper in terms of construction. That doesn't really affect functionality, just my subjective perception. The only other thing is that there is absolutely zero support for it from Behringer. There's a user forum that's just north of a ghost town and I had some initial configuration issues that were difficult to resolve because of the lack of support.

The NuAge looks very sexy and certainly appears to be an excellent choice. However, you're talking a serious five figure investment to go this path. The 16 channel fader module is $13,000 and the master section is $11,500. I'm not sure how much better a spend of $25,000 is for a 16 channel control surface versus something like a Mackie MCU ($1,300) and an 8 fader expansion ($900). The Mackie solution is roughly 10% the price of the equivalent NuAge. While I'm sure the latter has a few more bells and whistles, I'm not sure how that justifies the other 90% of the price.

That said, if someone would like to give me a NuAge for free I'd certainly play with it. :)
Control Room: Cubase 10.0.30 | Windows 7 64 bit | 24 gigs memory | Yamaha TF5 | Mackie MCU
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Re: Recommendations for Control Surface

Post by revbob23 » Wed Oct 30, 2019 8:47 pm

First off, thanks to everyone for taking time to respond.
I will probably be asking specific questions.

To clarify a few things, as I said in the original post, I would prefer personal experiences with gear and not recommendations off of articles and reviews.
I can google reviews just fine - what I am not getting is solid info on Shuttle/Jog wheel integration with Cubase 10 Pro - which is very important to me.
I of seen in a few places that gear that worked fine with Cubase 9 has had issues with Shuttle control for Cubase 10, so I am trying to get confirmation on what works specific to Cubase 10 for shuttle controls - and how well they work.
Price range? I'm flexible, but I am pretty sure a Nuage Fader bank and Master control set up will run about $20,000 and that gets too steep for me at the moment. Once I have my client base back, I can consider dropping more $$$ - but ideally for now, with how much it has been getting a new PC, new software, and upgrading gear - $1000-$3000 range preferred, up to $5k if it really covers all the bases.

Thanks again.

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Re: Recommendations for Control Surface

Post by revbob23 » Wed Oct 30, 2019 8:53 pm

ChrisDuncan wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:15 pm
I have a Mackie MCU. It's reliable and built like a tank.
Mackie MCU ($1,300) and an 8 fader expansion ($900). The Mackie solution is roughly 10% the price of the equivalent NuAge. While I'm sure the latter has a few more bells and whistles, I'm not sure how that justifies the other 90% of the price.
How well does the MCU Jog wheel and scrub controls work with Cubase Pro 10?
Can you get pretty good precision if trying to scrub to a video frame for example?
Are you using the MCU with the fader extender? How are they together when changing fader banks?

THanks!

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Re: Recommendations for Control Surface

Post by revbob23 » Wed Oct 30, 2019 9:03 pm

Denis van der Velde wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:55 pm
The Mackie Control Pro is still a good one.
Actually i changed it to the CC121 from Steinberg.
Because i did not need the full 8 faders anymore.
You can buy mine if you want to.
How does the Jog/Shuttle controls compare between the CC121 and the MCU?

While I am interested in the CC121, I really want banks of faders - I often mix a handful at a time and can't stand using mouse or touch screens for mixing.

Thanks

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Re: Recommendations for Control Surface

Post by ChrisDuncan » Thu Oct 31, 2019 2:13 pm

revbob23 wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 8:53 pm
How well does the MCU Jog wheel and scrub controls work with Cubase Pro 10?
Can you get pretty good precision if trying to scrub to a video frame for example?
Are you using the MCU with the fader extender? How are they together when changing fader banks?

THanks!
My setup only has the MCU, not the extender. Also, I make minimal use of the jog wheel, so I can't really speak to either. As for how well it works with Cubase, I find it rock solid. Hope this helps.
Control Room: Cubase 10.0.30 | Windows 7 64 bit | 24 gigs memory | Yamaha TF5 | Mackie MCU
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Re: Recommendations for Control Surface

Post by skijumptoes » Thu Oct 31, 2019 2:26 pm

revbob23 wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 8:53 pm
How well does the MCU Jog wheel and scrub controls work with Cubase Pro 10?
Can you get pretty good precision if trying to scrub to a video frame for example?
Yup they work great for jog control.

If you swap from Beats to SMPTE on the MCU then you can jog to each frame super easy - plus each frame is a physical 'click' on the jog wheel, the MCU's have that nice soft click as you jog. Scrub mode adds a little more inertia so can sometimes jump 2 frames - but it's nice to match up the sound to the video using scrub so it depends what you prefer.

Using beats mode then each jog is a beat (Snaps to). And using scrub mode it's about half a beat per wheel 'click' - with the same added inertia/free flowing effect (i.e. doesn't snap to a beat).

Extender Fader banks work well too and all controls span across - in fact, that's the only way you can use extenders, and you have to ensure you assign them in the correct order in Cubase setup or they can be reversed.

The main downside of the MCU is that you have to familirise yourself with some of the controls and there isn't an official 'up to date' template that i'm aware of that you can stick on the front - but i created labels for mine, and have my F1-F8 keys all labelled for custom actions, so really pleased with how it's setup. It takes a few days to get use to though - but it is well worth learning ALL the functions.

Also, if plugin control is of interest you can re-organise the plugin parameters within Cubase using the Remote Control Editor - this is a really big pro for Cubase and MCU in my eyes. Many other DAWs you have to map via text files or third party apps.

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Re: Recommendations for Control Surface

Post by greggybud » Thu Oct 31, 2019 4:41 pm

skijumptoes wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 2:26 pm
Also, if plugin control is of interest you can re-organise the plugin parameters within Cubase using the Remote Control Editor - this is a really big pro for Cubase and MCU in my eyes. Many other DAWs you have to map via text files or third party apps.
What you say is absolutely true, especially the Cubase remote control editor, and upon first look, would most likely convince others that a DAW controller is beneficial for VST plug-ins parameter adjustment.

But here is what is never mentioned and rarely thought of...the reality: (my background is the QconPro, however I think it would work the same on the Mackie since both are MC protocl)

To bring any VST into focus, you must press a few buttons and then scroll through every VST that is in your library including the Steinberg factory VSTs. Do you want to scroll through at least several dozen if not hundreds of VSTs every time in order to edit a single VST? Next, on the DAW controller once the VST is focused, press a button to shift through the button/knob banks (always 8 per bank) For myself, unless rare situations where I know I'm going to be editing a VST for a while, it's just more immediate to use the mouse to achieve my editing goals.

These are just Cubase users facing reality.
viewtopic.php?f=198&t=168630

If you want a DAW controller for mainly Jog Wheel uses, yes, I think it should work for that precision, but I would test it first to be sure. I'm not a Jog user either.

Good luck!
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Re: Recommendations for Control Surface

Post by Denis van der Velde » Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:18 pm

revbob23 wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 9:03 pm
Denis van der Velde wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:55 pm
The Mackie Control Pro is still a good one.
Actually i changed it to the CC121 from Steinberg.
Because i did not need the full 8 faders anymore.
You can buy mine if you want to.
How does the Jog/Shuttle controls compare between the CC121 and the MCU?

While I am interested in the CC121, I really want banks of faders - I often mix a handful at a time and can't stand using mouse or touch screens for mixing.

Thanks
The CC121 from Steinberg is integrated much more then any control. You can use the AI knob as parameter setter or as JOG wheel.
And you have the same transport buttons 8x with the option to turn on / off loop cycle.
What it makes fast is that it acts per channel, solo, mute etc. What i use most is the buttons to go directly to the VST Instrument, and the track mixer / effects. The AI knop functions in most C10 (and Wavelab) functions, even in most Steinberg plugins. Somo other plugins do work if they implemented the feature. Other plugins not. What i did not like of the Mackie of 8 / 16 tracks faders, it is a big thingy that cannot stand next to you. If you have a mouse / keyboard and on top a Note Keyboard Midi, there is little room for a big thing like the Mackie MCU Pro. Even additions Extension make it even bigger. The MCU is now disconnected and i do ALL with the CC121, mouse , keyboard. A matter of approach. The 8 / 16 moterised faders are not missed out so much by me. The only obstacle can be live mixing, what works better with the 8 / 16 MCU setups. The CC121 has little flaws and works as a good in between options. I can recommend it to anyone who has a mouse on one side and the CC121 next the other side. The MCU took too much room and i did therefore (because of distance) not so much with it. The CC121 is now much more in use and surely is a good options when you dont like opening windows with your mouse, and many things can be done way faster. A matter of feel and approach. Still the Mackie MCU Pro is a good implemented thingy and works very well with C10.
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Re: Recommendations for Control Surface

Post by skijumptoes » Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:51 pm

greggybud wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 4:41 pm
What you say is absolutely true, especially the Cubase remote control editor, and upon first look, would most likely convince others that a DAW controller is beneficial for VST plug-ins parameter adjustment.

But here is what is never mentioned and rarely thought of...the reality: (my background is the QconPro, however I think it would work the same on the Mackie since both are MC protocl)

To bring any VST into focus, you must press a few buttons and then scroll through every VST that is in your library including the Steinberg factory VSTs. Do you want to scroll through at least several dozen if not hundreds of VSTs every time in order to edit a single VST?
I use my Mackie more for parameter tweaking VST controls/Sends/Channel Strips/Jog/Variaudio Correction than i do the faders for volume - probably 80% of it's use is for such tasks, so i'm not sure what you find so tricky? I prefer to use my ears rather than eyes and the mackie is perfect for that, for me it's not about being a mouse replacement as such.

For plugins i just press the plugin button and then use the first V Pot/Rotary to scroll through the 16 Insert slots and tweak whatever plugin is on each, i don't even look at the plugin windows as i know them so well. Plus, if i bank to another track then it stays on that insert/channel strip component which is great moving along likewise channels and my templates are all set up as so. I think having good templates is key to a great workflow with a controller.

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Re: Recommendations for Control Surface

Post by greggybud » Sat Nov 02, 2019 12:42 am

skijumptoes wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:51 pm
i'm not sure what you find so tricky? I prefer to use my ears rather than eyes and the mackie is perfect for that, for me it's not about being a mouse replacement as such.
I didn't say tricky did I? . I said the reality of numerous button presses, and or knob turing, to get a desired result instead of using a mouse. I'm sure you could count the number of steps on any MCU vs. clicks with a mouse.

I too use my ears, but also use my eyes. You can move a control on screen using a mouse for a VST or you can move a physical control on the MCU. Both achieve identical sonic results so I'm not sure, with the exception of graphic displays such as EQ's, how staring at a MCU vs. staring at a screen is an advantage?
skijumptoes wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:51 pm
For plugins i just press the plugin button and then use the first V Pot/Rotary to scroll through the 16 Insert slots
Yes, that is just 1 of many steps...scrolling through the inserts. Once you decide on which insert to open a VST, now you get to scroll through hundreds of VST's to load whatever you wish in a blank insert, assuming you don't already have a VST in the slot. If you say "I use templates and the plugs are already loaded" then you must be using a combination of a lot of templates and eventually if an idea progresses, you end up enabling/disabling, hiding etc.
skijumptoes wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:51 pm
and tweak whatever plugin is on each, i don't even look at the plugin windows as i know them so well.


You forgot you need to shift parameter banks because you are limited to 8 unless that parameter happens to be in the first bank. And under MC protocol, you don't mind the character limitation that often forces you to heavily abbreviate when initially setting up a parameter in the Remote Control Editor?

If you don't need to look at the plug in windows because you are familiar I would think that to be an exception. Sure I can do this with UAD compressors & limiters and tools with few parameters that I use frequently. But even something as simple as the Cubase mono delay, I find it more quick to look at the plug-in on screen as opposed to looking at 8 abbreviated parameters on the MCU plus potentially shifting to the 2nd bank if one of the 8 mono delay parameters is not in the first bank.
skijumptoes wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:51 pm
Plus, if i bank to another track then it stays on that insert/channel strip component which is great moving along likewise channels and my templates are all set up as so. I think having good templates is key to a great workflow

It does stay on that insert, but I don't understand this advantage with templates?
For me, templates are just beginning stepping off points to start an idea that can morph into a song. Once the idea is developed, the template is pretty much lost due to customization of how the song is progressing. I'm going to delete or at best disable tools I don't think will be used in my developing song. Years ago, i used to keep certain "bread n butter" tools in templates, but over time, I felt it was better for my workflow to keep things more clean from the start when developing an idea. Any of these tools can be loaded very quickly using presets. And even better work-flow set-ups using Track Import.

Here is the newest complaint thread at GS. A new one gets started about every month with the same complaints. :D
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-c ... t-one.html
Windows 10 64bit, Wavelab 9.5, latest Cubase version, 64 gig all SSD,s (Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050ti driving 2 32" LG ultra wides and 1 28" all @2560x1080) iCon QconPro, Metagrid, 4 MidiTimePiece's = 32in/outs,, UAD-2, NI, Waves, Arturia, and lots of hardware synthesizers most of them controlled by MidiQuest 11.

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