I’ve been researching issues with Mackie MCU Pro and Cubase. I’ve read a lot about issues with Cubase 7 and 8 but nothing about 8.5 (my current version) and 9 (if there are issues with 8.5 but not 9, I’d happily upgrade).
Specifically, I’ll be using the MCU Pro, two extenders, and the C4.
That’s exactly what I use (except the C4).
Works like a Dream.
Cubase actually adds a number of things that can be controlled beyond the default Mackie Protocol.
What you may have been reading about is the first vrsion of 8.
They had beefed up Mackie functionality in V7 (I wrote a long post about the new functions at the time) and then they went and broke it in the first version of 8.
I’ve been considering selling the X-Touch and buying a MCU. I don’t expect the functionality to be any different. What I’m mainly looking at is build quality, plus the fact that the displays on the X-Touch are at a bad angle for readability.
I had a D8B mixer for years, and the v-pots were smooth. The pots on the X-Touch are stepped, and while there’s no difference in the value transmitted, the clickiness feels cheap and clumsy. Are the v-pots on the MCU stepped, or smooth like the D8B? Would value your thoughts in general on whether the build quality of the faders, buttons, pots on the MCU have a more solid feel than the X-Touch.
Also, is the Steinberg Lexan overlay for the MCU accurate, or is it out of date for Cubase 9? While that’s not a major selling point, it would be nice if I didn’t have to keep a cheat sheet next to the controller.
I’m not Hugh, but I don’t think the display is adjustable on the MCU like it is on the QconPro. If that really is important to you, the QconPro can angle from 0(flat) to about 45 degrees. The 8 generic pots are stepped. Since it’s also MCU, the functionality is very close to the Mackie. I like the looks of the QconPro, but that is subjective.
Working with Cubase, I use it in Cubase mode instead of compatibility mode due to extra features…but the drawback is some of the functions will be incorrect when using the Cubase overlay.
But I’m not recommending it over the Mackie either. The QconPro was/is more popular in Europe due to the higher price differential between the 2 units. I don’t think that difference is as great in the USA, and my observation is a couple years old.
Icon has had their share of quality control issues with the Qcon from the start and is not up to par IMO with Mackie. The QconPro is very solid and well built, but I am referring to firmware issues and USA support which has changed. The QconPro X seems to have its share of issues too after 6 months…
You can still use the D8B as a DAW controller for example with probox, then you get all 25 physical faders and buttons via MCU and then you can customize everything else with the generic remote. I use this setup everyday and its working very well, and I cant be without it anymore… There are some drawback though, such as low resolution faders and the D8B do not have touch sensitive faders, (it has select buttons and a little wiggle on the fader also select the channel). And of course its getting old. I made a little video of it when I just got it if you are interrested. https://youtu.be/JJ0Y3bKF3ss
I took a look at Icon when I was shopping for a controller. Their latest model looked very cool, but it was vaporware. They even demoed it at the trade shows not working, as in “here it is, but we won’t turn it on.” It’s a shame really, as it looks like a nice design.
I’m not sure if I’ll go through the hassle of selling the Behringer and buying a Mackie as the X-Touch is working, but the cheap feel bugs me. I just don’t know if it bugs me $1100 worth.
I actually considered that at one point, but it looked like probox wasn’t being actively developed anymore. I also wanted something that would do the full range of plugin control, etc. I tried using HUI mode in the D8B, but with four character scribble strips plus the fact that my monitor is centered on the keyboard / mouse and the desk sits to the left, the ergonomics weren’t good.
Ultimately I swapped out the D8B for the Yamaha TF5, which also serves as a 32 channel USB audio interface.With the X-Touch in the center, I don’t have to twist around to read stuff. And don’t get me wrong, the X-Touch works, but I have to prop it up at a 30 degree angle to be able to read the strips, and the whole thing feels a bit cheap. But then, it was cheap.
Icons latest model, the QconProX, was released last fall. Look at the Gearslutz review I linked as it’s mixed reviews. I believe you can still purchase a QconPro, (silver version) but they may be close-out. Looks like the QconPro (black version) is still available.
The main differences other than aesthetics I see between the QconPro and QconProx is better fader resolution and I think with Cubase you get an actual metal face plate instead of a plastic slip-over. Also as you said the cheap feel. Some people see small as a benefit just like synths with mini keys. Others like large and solid built. Both Mackie MCU and QconPro fall in the second category as they are much larger, heavier and more space like at a real desk.
I think you may be referring to the QconG2 which was displayed at 2015 Winter NAMM a few years ago? The QconG2 was delayed for years, then modified, and later renamed QconProX that was finally released fall 2016. At NAMM 2015 it was just an empty box with the typical hype “out by fall 2015” probably competing with the X Touch which was also delayed for years.
Anyway if you want adjustable angled display the QconPro (black version) or Qcon ProX might be your only option for a unit in that price range. Note the Qcon Pro costs a bit less. But from what I read and my experience with Icon QconPro, in the USA they may not have the support that Mackie has.
While I used to play music for a living, these days I pay the bills as a software developer so I’m all too familiar with vaporware and products rushed to market way before they’re ready. For what it’s worth, the guys like me and the hardware guys at Icon who actually make the stuff really hate that, but Marketing pays the bills and thus typically calls the shots.
After seeing various reviews, vaporware at trade shows, problematic products, etc. I knew exactly what kind of shop they are, and that’s really why I shied away. Companies who prioritize quick to market over long term success are usually a bad experience.
Just pulled the trigger on a Mackie. They’re not exactly cheap, but I’ve bought their stuff for decades (including a little Tapco mixer back in the day) and it’s usually built like a tank. Greg Mackie is long gone but I’m hoping that tradition remains.
If not, I was sure to clarify the return policy before giving them the credit card.
I do not think the Mackie is pretty. And the display is a bit limited. /cons
I love the Mackie. It IS built like a tank. Has really nice faders. The touch sensitivity is perfect (I’ve used some touch sensitive faders that don’t register quickly). Everything works beautifully and appears will continue as such for a long time. The overlay is NOT accurate for the “Cubase” mode (which is what you should use), but after a bit I know where everything is anyway.
Make sure it has the latest firmware.
PS The knobs ARE stepped but don’t feel cheap to me. The jog wheel is wonderful.
I figured hoping for an accurate overlay was overly optimistic but like you said, you learn where stuff is.
I’m thinking the display angle will be a better fit for my environment than the xtouch. The Mackie is at a roughly 80 degree angle and the xtouch is flush with the surface. The only way you can read the xtouch display is to hover over it and look directly down, so I had to prop it up at a clumsy angle since I don’t work in that position. Perhaps I’ll have to angle the MCU a bit, but if I do I suspect it will be modest.
Just saw this great video on the MCU with Cubase 9. I don’t know if he goes by Tiho2012 here so I don’t know who it is, but thanks!.
It walks through all the basics and was reassuring to see it all playing nice with 9. Yeah, I could hear the pots and jog wheel clicking. Oh, well. The D8B was smooth. The D8B was also $10,000 back in the day. Besides, I can easily push the Flip button and use the faders.
As for cosmetics, it will actually match the silver face of the Yamaha TF5 pretty well. Mostly, though, I’m just looking for that Built Like A Tank feel.
I have a secondary room upstairs that’s also my development office. I may give the xtouch a try there as my office desk is a different setup than the Argosy console that the mixer and xtouch are on in the control room. Maybe it’ll work there for those occasional times that I work in there. If not, there’s always Craigslist.
The MCU landed today. The one nice thing about the xtouch was the space between channels in the readout. However, that’s of limited value if you can’t actually read the LCD because of the display angle. I might edit my plugin names to trim off a character and get a bit more separation.
That said, the angle of the display is perfect for my environment. I can now see the display easily regardless of my sitting position (leaned back in the chair or hovering over the MCU). That issue was the single biggest motivation to ditch the xtouch.
And yes, as with the other Mackie gear I’ve owned, this thing is built like a freakin’ tank. Stable, smooth and feels good under the fingers.
If you simply can’t afford an MCU, the xtouch is perfectly functional, provided you can position it at an angle where you can read the displays (or if you work hovering over the control surface and look directly down at it). However, if you can spare the extra money, the difference in quality between the two is immediately apparent.
Glad I spent the money for the upgrade. I’ll Craigslist the xtouch to appease the credit card deities a bit, and let someone else get some use out of it. As for me, very happy with the new addition.
I’m going to use the Cubendo Lexan template as even though it’s not 100% it’s in the ballpark.
I can’t get the thing to stay flat, so I was thinking about peeling the back and using the adhesive. However, I saw someone mention about it being so strong that it would strip the printing off the unit if you tried to remove it.