I have just discovered everything about ‘Eucon’…
How much this can be so powerful when it comes down to intuitive mixing…
It could be a ‘marketing’ buff… but from what I’ve gathered, this Eucon bandwidth(?)/speed is definitely on another level compared to other protocols… (but then, what are the disadvantages and why DAWs do not implement this better protocol…?)
If Avid Mix fader controllers work fine on Cubase, I might consider, saving up for a purchase.
Anyone here using Avid Daw controller exclusively on Cubase with Eucon protocol, who had
enough experience with MCU also… gave me some lists of advantages and ‘feel’ of it?!
I am definitely looking for a dedicated fader daw controller here
I have no plan yet to switch my daw, but I am looking/searching for the ‘best’ automation-motorized fader unit for Cubase.
Also to run this, do I must have Ipad along with it…? or on any mac osx, it runs fine? I run on Mac osx Mojave, Cubase Pro 11.
Unique features (in the past, like commands triggering).
Instability (it was always a pain to make it working after the new system start; very often the devices were not found in the network, the settings became lost, etc.).
Cheap hardware (even though it’s quite expensive device, the real feel of the hardware is cheap; plastic cheap faders, poor displays in the past).
But to be fair, it might be different nowadays.
Comparison to Mackie Control hardware, the sensitivity and speed was the same at the end (Mackie protocol is using PitchBend data for the Faders, so you get 16.384 steps, which is totally OK). With Mackie, I also don’t have a feeling of any latency. The real Mackie Control hardware feels more solid.
For me, better combination is real Mackie Control hardware + an iPad DAW controller app for the commands (like MetaGrid, for example) comparison to EuCon Artist Control or Artist Mix.
Btw, for Avid Artist series itself, you don’t need iPad at all.
I loved Eucon after using it via the free ipad app that Avid make available on play and appstores (Try it if you haven’t already), after using it for a few weeks i was really curious to try the hardware, but the options were quite confusing as they varied so in price… And really, i just wanted to pick something up secondhand on the cheap to test the water.
Luckily i spoke to my friend who’s long time pro tools user and he let me borrow his.
As @Martin.Jirsak has said already, regarding the pros and cons. The integration goes really deep and is potentially streets ahead of MCU - the softkeys alone are brilliant for standard tasks, and being able to set them up and page through them gives you so much flexibility - never been a fan of the tiny F1, F2 etc. keys on the Mackie.
Also the character count vs MCU is so much better too. That’s the main place where i find MCU lacking (Along with the auto-bank issue).
But the instability can’t be understated. There’s times where you just can’t get anything to connect so you start resetting the hardware, re-installing the software, restarting etc. And it wasn’t the hardware as i couldn’t even get the ipad app to connect either when it was being stubborn.
Strangely, i never had an issue with only using the ipad app, only after i used the hardware. Perhaps if they added a manual connect option (by IP Address?) instead of how it auto detects - maybe would help these kind of issues? Really don’t know, but it seemed like the whole discovery mechanism would fail.
Also, another really common issue was that i couldn’t get to the instrument parameters - sometimes Eucon would fail to even show those controls. If you’re only interested in faders/sends/pan parameters then you wouldn’t even notice this though.
There can also be slight lag when adjusting parameters, in general the mixer section seems fine, but when you get to adjusting plugins you can see the parameters lag and then make a big step to catch up.
Because of those slight issues, it feels less ‘direct’ than an MCU to me and less like hardware, maybe that’s because of the years i’ve used MCU so it’s second nature in use.
The model i had didn’t offer a jog wheel too so i think that took a way from that feel of being hardware. With the MCU, i find the transport buttons very ‘hittable’ - it’s almost like they were designed to be whacked with a glancing blow and they will respond. It’s been bulletproof over the years.
The Avid was delicate in comparison. With the MCU most of the time recording takes i’m spinning the jog wheel to locate start points, and punching in and out using the record/stop buttons. The avid controller didn’t offer that kind of control to me.
Never had an issue with the faders on the eucon, but i was also surprised at how cheap they felt for the cost of the unit.
It really depends on what you want i guess. There’s something reliable about the MCU protocol, it doesn’t require any additional layers to operate, as it’s just basic MIDI Note and pitchbend messages coming in to the DAW.
Eucon is just a whole different beast with it’s server based approach, and as such more prone to failures i guess. I’m running Win10 by the way. And i still use Eucon via tablet with my MCU for the softkeys.
I should really try metagrid some day, but i love how Eucon reads the Cubase commands in so you can pick them vs looking up or assigning key commands in Cubase - which i believe is the metagrid method. Also, you get pages and pages of softkeys to start you off.
Yes it’s easy just register with Avid (https://account.avid.com/), and then you download the software which your app connects to. I was hesitant to register to start with. But it’s super easy. And the software gets registered to your account - so all very legit.
Like you, i was thinking “This can’t be free, it’s Avid!!” but it really is, and it’s such a great insight to how the hardware would work. Also gives you a great idea of which hardware would suit your needs.
I have just tried it on my Cubase Pro 11
My 1 hour verdict: Definitely it is no good to write automation with my finger on touch screen haha (not for me lol)
But, Soft keys <— insane number of pages???
Also basically, this AVID CONTROL connects ‘every’ parameter loaded (VST, 3rd plugins, just everything), so… that is pretty amazing, but this control app would be at its best if I have actual avid Eucon ‘hardware’ with it! Touch screen is definitely not for me… sadly.
Also, I was surprised, how flawless it is, on Cubase?! so far, so smooth integration.
I played with it only for about an hour or so… but, still with my tablet, the soft keys would be a ‘huge’ bonus to my setup!
Eucon protocol seems to me, like just another daw… really deep.
But will it help my workflow?! will it be straightforward like MCU? I am not sure yet… I will have a crack at it, a bit more But thanks for letting me know, this app existed!
I think… just like you stated, maybe it would be the best, to have hybrid setup. some of MCU, some of Eucon
Just to add, as a non avid-hardware user, this Avid Control app being free is a huge gain for me… amazing how they just provided the service? I have not tried Cubasis IC app? but this Avid Control app, with just soft keys function alone is a big plus simply wow.
Haha, you are going through the exact same emotions as i had to start with. It felt like the second coming when i was looking through the control parameters. I couldn’t believe the level of control.
That’s when i started craving the hardware too, as you say, touchscreen vs real faders is no comparison. There’s a few tweaks in the tablet app settings which help… but not much, and i was searching online stores, ebay, reverb… anywhere for a cheap unit to give me a step into the Eucon world.
But after borrowing one from a friend. All i can say, from my experience, is try to use it for a week or so as much as possible - and see how reliable the Eucon connection is, particularly after machine restarts and/or connecting/disconnecting devices. It’s that communication which was the main issue for me, regardless of hardware.
I think the app is great for bringing awareness as to which of the Avid Mix controllers would suit you most in a hardware sense too.
See for me, i really like the units with the screen in the middle (avid artist control), and i like the pots being positioned more for parameter/plugin control than standard pans:-
…but it’s only got 4 faders. And as above, after using the MC Mix i’m quite put off trying the hardware again. And those transport buttons, wish they were wider rectangular buttons in a less fancy arrangement.
Keep us updated though, as i’m really curious to see how this pans out for you.
though, I am surely ‘not’ certified to evaluate the pros and cons of Eucon protocol, mainly because I do not have Avid hardware with me…
my first impression:
It seems to me, all the other S1, S3, S4 Avid dock transport controllers run with Ipads or tablets.
‘That’ really is a ‘turn down’ for me… (This is just my opinion hehe)
Because the reasons, why I am looking for a Cubase controller is…
I am into vintage music, therefore I crave for vintage gears and vintage style of creating.
I would looove to try one day, having a proper mixing desk, having my own analog console (that could 100% analog, hybrid, but with ‘hands-on’ feel)
For now, I cannot afford a console… and for me, I would probably use Cubase for the rest of my life, because I’ve been a cubasist since sx1 or sx2… lol
Avid Faders moving could be smoother? It may have more buttons for quick softkeys… but…
I don’t know… the Ipads combination seems odd… for me… cause it makes you ‘look’, and that makes extra screens to look at! unconsciously!..
Maybe I prefer a simpler way of controlling and automating… that was the main reason why I was curious about and starting to check on ebay, reverb etc looking for an old Euphonix MC Mix, cause 2nd hand ones are pretty affordable, and easy way to access Eucon
But I am not too convinced yet…and because:
Cubase key commands are powerful enough.
On Cubase, I can even add my own macros, I still wonder… what is so special about. softkeys though…? Cubase has macros and PLE…?! doesn’t it?! it basically does the same endless job right? and I can assign that to Function keys of Cubase controller (MCU)…?
haha it may sound odd and ridiculous to confess…but I’ve been using this for the past 2 weeks, I fell in love with MCU template on my old maschine mk1…(that I hardly touched before…) if I could get a real MCU then I would but no decent deals around my area yet… maybe MCU style is enough for me. Or maybe Avid Control ‘app’ cannot do ‘any’ justice to the Eucon protocol…
I see, it can load up 3rd plugins parameters on the spot, many many pages of softkeys and what not. But something feels less connected… I don’t know what it is but this, connection with MIDI, this MCU controller responsiveness feels more ‘intact’, at least to me…?
Man I really wish I could borrow one MC mix or Artist mix to fairly compare and feel the connection myself… but with Avid Control app… I am slightly less convinced… at least for now.
It could have been a dumb move, but I got myself a low budget fader controller, BCF 2000… (it was almost a steal…)
Maybe Pro Tools with Avid control accessories would perform at its best. Or maybe my internet is not too fast lol but ah… I cannot say much unless I get to try the real one, Mix with my own hands, maybe one day
Thank you for your detailed notes! it really helped me! and I am excited to find out more!
Seriously though, Steinberg really needs to make its own mid-budget exclusive DAW controller, upgraded 121 with high-resolution moving 8 faders… screen would be good too!
Oh! actually I was really curious about how Eucon worked?! and so many engineers told me that, Eucon responsiveness and speed, and how it works with higher resolution, got me wondered, wanted to know how great it is?
But I guess I could not evaluate that, unless I actually have Avid hardware with me… sadly the things cost too much for a trial… haha
Avid Control seems nice, GUI is ok, many easy touches for softkeys I guess but… yeah, I really just wanna try the fader controller…
Oh! also I did not know before, that Cubase could also handle Eucon… hehe silly me…
If you want that vintage feel then the MCU delivers that. It’s kind of the point i was trying to make before vs Avid controllers. It’s rugged, dependable and you can be relatively rough with it. Which is what i like too, to get away from the screen.
I think you’d be amazed at how fragile the Avid artist controllers are in person when you have one in your hands. I was.
In regards to being more old-school in your approach, I have my MCU on a movable pedestal, like a more rugged version of this:-
And that allows me to completely separate from the computer, and take it into a corner where i have a stool and my amps for playing guitar, or to the side of a keyboard - again, which is away from the computer. Yet i still have a great level of control to set inputs, levels, ecord takes, adjust inserts/sends etc.
I just hate over-doing it in front a screen, so any excuse to get off into a nice dimly lit side just makes me feel better better, which then allows my creativeness to flow better. Also cracks down on procrastination - put me near a screen and i’m checking this forum every 10-15 mins for example! If i’m not doing music, i’m usually talking about it or reading about it. haha.
But the audio geek in me does crave one of the screened Avid units to have as a desk fixture, as i love controlling plugins via the MCU… But how the V-pots are positioned so high up on the MCU, it’s quite a reach when you’re playing keys, or such like. And you can’t really rest your hand due to the faders and buttons under your forearm/wrist.
Personally, I hate adjusting plugins via mouse on-screen, and much prefer to look at, and use hardware, thus using my ears to guide me rather than eyes.
If you want a cheap MCU then you should be able to pick up the darker MIDI units quite cheap, yes on the older ones you need MIDI ports on your audio interface, or buy a USB Midi device to use it - but they’re identical to use as the newer more expensive models.
In fact, my MCU is actually an Emagic branded “Logic Control” device which i invested in when i was using Logic 15+ years ago… One of these:-
They can be picked up super cheap as some people don’t realise they still work with modern DAWs., or have no way of testing them.
One final thing on automation though. Even with a motorised fader you will never get a super smooth automation line. I still go in and clean up any fades, i.e. if i have a start and an end point from where i was sliding the fader up or down - i’ll usually go in and delete the points in-between and apply a basic curve if needed.
When it comes to automation, they’re best when riding a signal, or something dynamic like that where you are reacting to the sound.
To me, personally, MCU is a classic. Just like, good old AKAI MPCs. It just has it.
V-pots, faders, eq, panning, fx, sends… I mean, that is all you need…
But of course, I have to recognize the enormous amount of controls you can have with Eucon.
It can be a beast. But I reckon it is certainly for the ones who can fully enjoy that while mixing.
I don’t wanna sound too biased or one-sided, but hopefully I get to have a crack at it one day
Whether it is Avid mix or Icon Qcon, MCU or even SSL? hehe
I reckon for me, maybe in the future, a real nice smooth motorized faders would really help my workflow Sometimes I just click on ‘Write’ and press start and then ride along the track,
just fine-automating the post-fader volume on a track that needs that extra authenticity you know?
For this type of job, I do actually need a real good fader that is well-synced with Cubase!
Acutally! that was my starting point to find about ‘Eucon’…
Many posts I read about… fader resolution, this and that,
Pro engineers say, Eucon provides the best precision when it comes to digital resolution…
So, there, I was… ooh… maybe I should get a Eucon faders…
yeah. I mean, I am just curious. Just wanted study more and find the best things for my taste
Actually last year, I was tempted to try out Pro Tools as my secondary DAW… then I just could not make my move… have you also tried Pro Tools, if so, not on the creating side, but on ‘mixing’ side, what’s so intuitive about PT that Cubase is lacking…?
In truth i think much of these comparisons between high resolution faders and such like is mainly based around the technical specs rather than usage.
If i use my eyes to mix i sometimes get a sense of OCD when looking at the screen, for example - if i move a fader and it goes from -0.2 to +0.1db and i want 0db. It annoys me, for no other reason that i can see that value on screen. So much so that i’ll reach for my mouse and manually zero it out.
The same is true if i’m adjusting EQ using the v-pots, if i want to be more precise i will ‘flip’ the v-pots controls down to the faders and use them to get more control… But again, if i watch the stepping on-screen it starts to pollute my mind as to how it should look, rather than sound.
BUT! When i look away from the screen, and use only my ears, embrace the hardware - And these small numbers that seemed so important visually. make not one bit of difference audibly.
Also. The quality of fader, it’s length, how it reacts when you touch it (i.e. you don’t want to ‘fight’ the motors), whether it moves when you remove your finger - these are all key factor too. The genuine Mackie units all have good quality build faders and motors, can’t say the same for the avid range.
Maybe those running top of the line mixing desks in a studio environment who spend 8 hours a day at the faders - resolution does become important and more noticeable for them. Who knows…
I suspect most pros working long hours in audio nowadays aren’t actually manually moving faders. Fader use is a hangover from live work whereby you’d have a band performing live and you’d move the faders to set levels in real time… Or you’d be reacting during live broadcasts.
Vast majority of mixing tutorials online, it’s very rare to see a pro producer reach for a motorised fader and make -any- adjustments in their DAW. Even when gain staging, it’s common in the digital domain to set your faders to infinity and then adjust pre-fader gain for each track.
I do see a big difference in using high resolution MIDI CC controllers (i.e. 7 bit vs 14 bit) - but not so much faders. If you take the MCU faders as an example i think pitch bend data is 14 bit which is 0-16,000 value range…approx (127*127 ish).
If you take a 100mm fader, that’s technically 160 values per 1mm of movement. Standard MIDI CC is 127 values across an entire rotary turn - as a comparison. So using MCU you have more precision in 1mm of fader movement than a standard MIDI controller.
Edit: Actually, i just googled and it looks like MCU is 1024 step resolution. So the above isn’t quite right lol, i thought that seemed a bit high. ^
Yes i used Pro Tools every week in a studio where i’d help a friend. And if i’m honest, It’s very hard for me to compare vs Cubase as they worked with nothing but audio stems…
As such the process was us working on raw audio and using minutes/seconds primarily as the timebase. Audio edits such as moving snare hits were totally freehand (i.e. i’m used to working to a grid with ‘snap’ enabled). And although i should’ve felt quite lost, it was still incredibly quick and efficient at working with audio in that manner.
There’s nothing that it does in regards to ‘sounding’ better though, it just feels that you have everything at hand in the single view. i.e. with how the plugins are laid out on the side. In other DAWs i find there’s more opening and close of sections to get to what you need.
In contrast to that workflow, my average Cubase project has many folders housing VST instruments, MIDI data, Audio takes, Loops, and Group busses… production merges with mixing and vice versa.
I did start separating the music production/composition stage from mixing for a while to compare how it would work in my own setup (Was using Logic Pro X at the time) - i.e. i’d export out to audio stems after i felt composition was done.
Then, bringing those stems into a completely fresh project for mixing. Meaning all faders were set to 0, no plugins instantiated - a completely fresh slate. But, unlike the studio whereby they had really well performed recordings coming in - i was forever needing to make changes to the underlying content so was unable to recreate a pure mixing environment.
So yeah, to really answer your question i’d say the workflow and simplicity of PT is it’s strong point, working with stems it really excels due to the clean environment. Most DAW’s evolved from being MIDI sequencers and had Audio functions added later, whereas Pro Tools grew from the concept of an audio workstation day one - which gives it an advantage.
Very similar taste, only I am a novice at it!
Yeah… Eucon looks amazing but I just cannot imagine myself looking and checking every parameter value changes on tablets. Of course, Artist mix/MC Mix, you don’t have to have tablet with it*. For me, just like how you said, tablets are best served if I use it as just a few hotkey commands touch screen (just my personal taste, I just simply don’t like not having hands-on feel!! haha) OR it is the best when it is used as Meter analyzer. I used to use my good old 4th retina ipad as 2ndary screen for my mac setting, keep my RME Digicheck on it all times… really helpful.
I guess Avid Control also has many many functions including meter viewer so, again, I am pretty confident to say, it would be at its best if someone uses it with actual Avid hardware controller
I just could not experience/feel its ‘power’ by having a short check out on the remote app…
I really wish though, mackie brings something anniversary eventful remastering version of MCU, slightly smaller form factor version
One day I hope I get to try PT too! But for now, I shall pass on MC Mix…
When I am done with using BCF 2000’s notoriously noisy faders, I will update myself on this forum
Something interesting hacks I found on the net*
You know, there is this digital mixer with I think 32 channels, someone hacked the system, and made it fully functional as DAW controller even on Cubase and has fully integratable MCU functions… I was pretty amazed. Um…
Oh! the name was ‘d8b’ and the hack tool was called ‘Pro-Box’… haha
amazing, it had meters for each channel, synced faders, all MCU function buttons…
That mixer on the second hand market is not so expensive… but I think it is difficult to order the Pro-Box unit…
Anyways, thanks again for your personal insight!
Oh, forgot to say this, I could not agree more, when I also work on my project…
I never render as proper audio tracks… digital world is so cruel… I just cannot fully commit myself.
Go back, tweak, edit, re-render, no no go back… haha so at the end,
it is just impossible to commit, render as all audio and start fancy-hand mixing…!
I think most digital world musicians/engineers feel the same… haha