CC121 still worthwhile buying?


I have been interested in getting one, but one thing is that it´s nearly ten years old now and relatively expensive.
Have you gotten much greater worklow enhancements using the unit contrary to using mouse and keyboard?

I use mine all the time. Particularly useful to me are the transport controls and the record/solo/mute bank. I also have the 4 quick buttons set up which can be a great help, and of course the fader is superb.

How have you set up the 4 quick buttons? I personally find the transport so convenient to handle with the keyboard´s keypad section. Have you used the the eq controls to control the track quick controls? How is that working out? Now i´m checking out the nektar panorama P6, since people recommended it with cubase. The thing is that is a controller really speeding up the workflow using mouse and keyboard only?

I have the buttons set up as Mixer, Transport Panel, Undo and Redo. I don’t use the EQ controls at all, though maybe I should!

I use the eq controls all the time! The fader channel buttons are really useful too, and the fader is great for writing automation

Do you use sends and quick controls also?

I use quick controls a lot, Mainly they are assigned to some Control Room functions such as dim, reference level, talkback. but I often find I reassign them temporarily depending on a specific task, for instance during mixing sessions I use them to switch between different sets of monitors.

Sends - sometimes, for instance if adding delay spins etc. I use them then fine tune with automation.

Just for routine setting send levels, not so much. I tried for a while but it didn’t stick in my workflow somehow.

I find mine really useful and use it all of the time.
Slightly off track but I have been looking for a decent cover for mine - I have a couple of Decksaver covers for other kit - they are made from clear polycarbonate and are well sculpted.
I contacted Decksaver to ask if they could do anything for the CC121 - they replied saying that if enough people requested one they would consider making some.
If anyone using the CC121 is interested could they contact Decksaver.
By the way - I have absolutely no connection with Decksaver .

Can the CC121 fader be used to record automation? (For example, a volume automation track). I see guys on Youtube doing this with other control surfaces.

Got the CC121. Mixed emotions: I just love the way everything is simple, user friendly and intuitive. Could be the only controller I need.
That being said, is there anyone who can actually use the eq encoders? So unreal. Got to twist the knobs about 4 times to get +6dB. Am I doing something wrong? And before you ask, I do have the latest firmware.

Yes, I use it for that all the time. Very easy to record and also to fine tune existing automation using the fader.

Thank you Ian. Do you like the device? It just seem overpriced for one track. I’ve never had a control surface before, and really just don’t know what to do. Seems like several folks have problems with the Faderport 8. The Behringer X Touch seems to be better, but that thing is HUGE.

The Steinberg seems that it would work fine, but it is old now, and I wonder how useful it would be for just one track.

Yes, it’s old and pricey, but it’s very well made and does a lot of good stuff. it follows your track focus and it’s also very easy to cycle through your track list on the unit itself, so it being only being a single track unit does not present much of a problem. It’s very well integrated into my work flow so I make a lot of use of it. The EQ section is very useful for quick straightforward adjustments using the stock EQ, which I use a lot for basic tasks. I’ve tried quite a lot of control units and the fader on the 121 is IMHO by far the best feeling - I come from the age of large format analogue mixing desks and this thing feels like a proper, classy fader with a firm but light response - most other controllers feel like, err, controllers! The big AI knob has the same solid feel and is just as useful as the fader. A big plus is that the unit takes up very little space on my desk and it’s very solidly made, quite heavy and with a good feel to the other buttons and knobs as well. The 2 scenarios where I use it most are firstly during tracking sessions, where it’s great having a unit that does transport, basic EQ and sends, fader duties, mute/solo/audition buttons and control room management all together. On mixing sessions I use it extensively for writing and editing automation.

For those 2 studio scenarios, in my case, it’s more or less perfect. It’s very easy and intuitive to use and speeds up that type of work immensely. In mix sessions I also use it as a monitor controller, switching between different meters, sets of monitors, reference levels etc together with channel mute/solo/listen and quick EQ features of course. For complete control of every aspect of a DAW it probably doesn’t hold up so well. more so now we’re on C9.5 than was the case when I first started using it with C5 and it’s more limited feature set.

I had an Avid Atrist Control for quite a while but despite it having 8 faders found it didn’t make much of a difference to my workflow. Typical projects of mine have 50 or more tracks and it was actually harder to navigate to the one you wanted to work on. It was useful for laying out and balancing simple submixes though! Despite having quite a large touch screen the deep access was often more faff than just using keyboard shortcuts and the size of the thing meant I was always leaning over and peering at things. The “feel” of the thing wasn’t half as good as the Steinberg either.

I’ve also tried the X-touch but didn’t get on with it - you get a lot of features but the thing doesn’t really feel as robust or accurate as the 121 or the Avid. You do get a lot of features for the price with the Behringer though, for sure. Again, like the Avid, it wasn’t a large format fully featured desk nor was it a compact quick controller. It worked fine but I found it had more features than i was using, just my accustomed workflow I guess. And although the thing did the job just fine, It just had a bit of a budget quality feel to it. Fine for light use I’m sure but in professional studio type scenario I’d worry about it’s physical work capacity. (That’s not a Behringer quality rant BTW, they’re generally pretty good nowadays and I use an ADA8000 and 8200 which have never let me down and are great units for the price and my purpose)

Would I buy a 121 nowadays? (I’ve had mine for a quite a few years). To be honest, I’m not sure, but it’s so ingrained in my workflow in my own studio now that it often seems very strange and slow if I have to work without it. If it broke down, I’d certainly look for a S/H replacement and would consider buying another one new. If I was going through a significant studio upgrade, I would of course look around and try the currently available alternatives but would still consider keeping it as part of a new setup, and I think it might be hard to find something else of the same quality that would work as well for me.

I wish Steinberg would invest more in the 121- it’s a great concept, and If they were to bring out other modern controllers, aligned to modern versions of Cubase, of the same build quality and well thought out feature sets, I’d be paying close attention to them.

Thank you Ian for your detailed response. I appreciate it.

I have a CC121. I was late to the controller game and have had this less than a yr. It works well, is solidly built, and helps with my workflow. And it’s accurate. I thought I’d never use the center section for EQ, but I find myself using it a lot now. I use it for writing automation. yes, it’s a old design. But it’s still totally worth it in my opinion.

I bought one in 2015. I wasn’t sure as it was old tech and I already had an old Novation Remote SL which i used for transport and quick controls but I have to say it’s great and I’m so glad I bought one. It’s got a great feel and it’s perfect for Cubase. Automating levels is a doddle with it. I love all the Cubase integrations like the e button to bring up the track window and more importantly the keyboard button that brings up the vst instrument window for a track. It’s so much quicker than fiddling around with a mouse.The AI knob may only be one control is great for automating stuff or even just fine-tuning; you just put the mouse over the knob you want to change and then fiddle until you’re happy. :wink: I find it easier to use it for the EQ section too as you spend more time listening and less concentration on clicking and dragging. All in all i’d say that it makes my workflow far simpler and less fiddly.

Any news on how/if to fix this eq issuse?
I just bought a cc121 today plugged it in… it’s solid and cool… but I’m very very disappointed with the eq like you mentioned. I thin that the design such have had an arrow on the knobs which only went from 0 - 10 as opposed to the continuos design!

Please stringergb how can i speed up the responsitivity on the eq knobs? My mouse with cat alt and shift is still loads easier and more accurate and faster. Nice build apart from that: but i would have assumed that’s the most important thing! Bit annoyed how crap that eq section is.

I seem to recall that there was a firmware update that greatly improved the EQ controls sensitivity and response - mine works fine.

oh great! i’ll update the firmware - it’s a very solid nice controller for cubase though! filter for eq lp and hp should have been included maybe though. I hope it is better after the firmware update x

thanks for the reply x

I bought mine two years ago and I must say it greatly improved my workflow. I use the fader, which selects your selected audi/midi/VST channel automaticly all the time.

The problem is that in Cubase 9.5 and Nuendo 8.3 the selection of the VST-Outs is broken. You can select it, but when you select a midi channel or
an audio channel afterwards, VST out is still selected, so CC121 is stuck with the values of this VST Out Channel and doesn’t switch to the values
of another channels anymore.
Here is the discussion I had on Cubase Issues Subforum.
Martin Jirsak confirmed the issue. Steinberg is aware of it but it’s unclear if and when they are going to do something about it.
In Cubase 9.0.4 everything works as expected.
If you are not working with VSTs I would highly recommend it. If you are composer working with Midi and Multi-Out VSTs I will wait untill
the issue is fixed.

Update: The track selection issue is fixed in Cubase 10.0.15, Cubase 9.5.5 and in Nuendo 8.3.2