Best controller for Cubase to replace mouse and keyboard

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. :slight_smile:

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?

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).

If you are looking for total control on a shoestring, then you might look in direction of Raven Slate.

Everyone looking to get a controller should probably ask themselves a few questions (and then share the answers):

  1. Do I want to use this for composing/arranging etc., or for mixing?
  2. Do I want to control plugins with this or ‘just’ the mixer (pan, fader, solo/mute etc.)?
  3. Do I want actual tactile feedback or not?
    (and maybe more questions like these)

I know many are happy with the Raven, but I’ll just point out that there are a few things about it that I find questionable, and the most ‘obvious’ one in this context is the lack of tactile feedback. I sometimes see users ask about a control surface and give out their own examples which will include controllers from Mackie and Avid, and then the feedback and also maybe what they end up choosing will be something completely different. That’s a bit counter-productive I think.

Anyway, I really think the above questions need to be answered by anyone looking for “a controller”.

Hello Guys, I have the opportunity to buy both used gear Mackie MCU pro and Behringer X-touch for the SAME price.
I have C10pro and use a lot plugins per channel, and edit a lot of MIDI and Audio, but not to many channels at the same project, maybe 30 or 40 max.

What should I do? What you guys do if were me?



Since Mackie moved it’s factory to China, the quality decreased. But I would still prefer original Mackie hardware over Behringer, which is also using Mackie protocol but might don’t have all needed dedicated buttons. Thanks to the fact it is using Mackie Control protocol anyway, it cannot be better than the original Mackie, from my point of view.

anyone else?


Btw for total control you can also go for Yamaha Nuage. But that is the top class.

Sure, but I have limited budget for this, which is arround $500.00, so Nuage is out the list.

Why does the FaderPort 8 and 16 look like the old Steinberg Houston ?

I agree with the others. Any device that looks like the Mackie and runs the same protocol will act essentially the same. Mackie at least used to have the better quality (don’t know about what they’re like after production moved to China).

If 500 is your limit then you really don’t have a lot of choices, and they’ll all use a Mackie protocol most likely.

I would recommend you go to a store if you can and just try them out. Pay attention to the feel of the faders. Do they feel like plastic or feel more substantial? Do they wiggle or do the feel solid in their tracks? Try to automate them and then play them back and listen - how loud are they when they move? When they move, do they “jitter” or is the movement smooth? Press the buttons; do you like how they feel?

Also consider form factor. The X-touch, the Mackie and the Faderport 8 all probably have slightly different from factors. Imagine what they’ll look like on your desk and also move your fingers across and get a feel for how close things are together and if you like it.

In my personal opinion you can’t beat a keyboard and trackball combined with key commands and macros as far as editing goes. I know for quick trims the wheels on controllers can be convenient, but generally anything else is slower… in my opinion…

Nice Folks,
Keyboard and Mouse actually will never get out the way, that’s I preatty sure about and thinking that faders inside the DAW should not or should slightly be touched in order to preserve the gain structure, so, at the end, my main use of it should be just some automation with a real feel.
And of course have something in my desk to impress the client (??).
I’m really start to think that a CC 121 might be a better go to, am I wrong?

Forgive me if I repeat what others said before, but some thoughts on what you’ve written…;

  • Controller location: The way I work, in post production (TV mostly), I end up tweaking EQ settings with the trackball. I basically do one pass of editing/EQ-ing/leveling of dialog/production sound (this is a one-man job type show btw). So when I do this I don’t really mind having 8 faders above my keyboard and trackball.

  • Gain staging with faders: I don’t really agree with the idea that faders shouldn’t be touched or should be touched very little to preserve gain structures. Honestly I think that at this point the two concerns are a) not clipping plugins, which doesn’t happen often these days, and b) not clipping the output. Other than that the faders are meant to be moved. That’s what they’re there for.

  • Noisy faders: I almost always place my dialog tracks in “touch” + “trim” mode automation. When this is activated the faders rest at zero gain change. If I write automation at -10dB (down from “no change”) then after I press stop the fader moves back to zero, but the -10dB is written to the tracks automation lane (i.e. combined with what was there before). This way many of my faders are always resting at zero even when automation is playing back, and that way I don’t have to listen to 8 or 16 noisy faders moving rapidly back and forth. For later stages when I mix, which again is for TV, I use VCAs and groups and I typically place them in “latch” automation. This is when I balance dialog, music and fx and more against each other. There is far less movement on those faders so again less noise.

  • How many faders?: Even though I could and have been able to mix using a single unit I prefer more faders. I’ve used the Presonus Faderport single fader at home and it does what it’s supposed to do, but I prefer more. With at least 8 faders I can more easily move my hands to the desired channel, and of course if I want to have more different types of channels up at the same time or simply more of one type then 16 faders or more is better. In my case I don’t normally have more than 8 channels for a TV show, so having 16 faders is better for me if I want to have access to for example 8 dialog channels and 8 b-roll channels next to each other. For film you can easily get far beyond 8 channels of course.

The deal with having more channels up at the same time is you can more fluidly ride levels against each other. I think that’s obvious as a concept, but I think it should be pointed out that for many people it’s also actually useful practically.

So again I think people need to sit down and figure out what they really want and need and that involves thinking about what you’re doing and how you’re doing it right now… and then take it from there.

Personally, when I do mix music (mostly for post) I absolutely feel more faders are better. I still tend to do all plugin tweaking using my trackball, but for levels I just can’t stand not having faders… and for me more is often better.

I agree, faders are meant to be moved, but, forgive If I am wrong thinking this way, instead of moving them I, personally, prefer moving the gain staging or using a VCA in order to not mess up with the plugins gain action. But of course, a little move on faders wouln’t change much. About clipping, sure clipping this must avoided.

Well, sorry if you feel I’m “nit-picking”, but you don’t move “gain staging”, “gain staging” is something you do. So you can set the gain at any number of different ‘stages’;

  • when recording
  • event gain (before channel)
  • trim (beginning of channel)
  • in plugins (sometimes input, sometimes output, sometimes neither or both)
  • using the fader

Any time you change the level you are basically “gain staging”. Just keep an eye on what the goal is and choose the appropriate location. If the recording is a good average level, if the plugin is behaving well, then you can simply adjust the fader and there’s no need to adjust elsewhere.

The VCAs change the fader-gain of the controlled channel, it is not a separate gain stage. Just think of VCAs as virtual controllers.

I’m sorry, I’m afraid I might use the wrong term (sorry for poor english) of what I really meant when say “gain-staging”.
I was thinking about something like “event-gain” or “trim” as you said or something like this.
What I trying to say is I would like to change levels when mixing without change the plugin action over the event.
For instance, let say I found a sweetspot of gain, eq, compression and fx response. My goal is not changing this Sweetspot with volume track fader, if I need to lower or increase level. Is that make sense?

So, if I am working in Nuendo for example I might have let’s say a human voice on an audio track. I will

  1. set the initial level using event volume in the project/edit page. I do this directly on the event itself. So this now is the first point of possible gain change.

  2. Then on that channel I might have an EQ and then a compressor, on pre-fader inserts. So both of those will get the level after step 1 above.

  3. Then I will use the fader to ride that human voice the way I want it. If I lower the level now it won’t do anything to anything that happened before - it won’t change anything in step 1 or 2. That’s because in step 1 the change was done before the audio track/channel, and in step 2 it was done _pre-_fader.

  4. I might then use a brickwall limiter in a _post-_fader insert. This is just a ‘safety’ to avoid any signal going above a specific value. If I hit this limiter hard it will sound bad. But as long as steps 1, 2 and 3 above were done well it actually rarely limits the signal at all. But, if I end up increasing the level using the fader in step 3 above then it will change the amount of limiting in this plugin, because the plugin is after the fader.


So as long as you place your plugins in inserts that are _pre-_fader you can adjust your fader without changing what happens in those inserts.

PS: This of course excludes what happens when you send the output of your track to a group or output and then have inserts on that group or output. If you do that then again you have to consider what the fader does - because those inserts would be after the fader on this channel.

So at this point, my only concern should be my busses channel right?
I not the case, the mixer controler should work fine with my major applications.
Thank you very much Mattias!