control surface for slave machine via Cubase on host??

Hello Everyone,

I apologize in advance in case my question sounds convoluted…

I’m trying to decide whether a BCF2000 or an X-Touch Compact would be better suited to my needs (for Cubase Pro 9.5).

I need to be able to do the following:

  1. Change the expression, dynamics, and volume for my Spitfire samples that are actually not in Cubase, but are loaded within Kontakt, which itself is loaded into Vienna Ensemble Pro 5, which itself is on a slave machine.
  2. I will also need to do the same as above, except with VE Pro 5 loaded on the host machine, not on the slave (mobile rig).
  3. Manipulate analogous controls as mentioned above, but for in-the-box plugins like Halion Sonic virtual instruments within Cubase.
  4. Manipulate track faders in Cubase.
  5. open, close, and select virtual instruments that are in-the-box in Cubase.
  6. open, close, and select 3rd party plugins in Cubase, like UAD or VSL or VE Pro.
  7. control those 12-band EQ thingies and all the other in-the-box Cubase plugins and fx.
  8. control the transport controls of Cubase via the control surface mixer.
  9. panning within Cubase
  10. switching between tracks
  11. …I heard “touch sensitive” is a good thing(?)
  12. …I heard motorized faders are a plus(?)
  13. …I heard it is better to use the faders to write CC automation rather than “DAW Host Automation”???

Thank you so much for your time!


I cannot imagine you can achieve all of these by using one controller only. Maybe in a very customised settings of the controller.

The limitation of sending MIDI controllers, it’s hard to get it’s real current value back to the controller. Fromm this point of view automation is much better. Once you get the value back to the controller, you need motorized faders and then also touch sensitive faders. Motorized faders without touch sensitive means you can’t correct already written curve. Then doesn’t make sense to motorized the faders.

Hello Martin Jirsak,

It is very nice of you to take the time to reply. Forgive me, because I am a musician and am very ignorant of midi, DAWs, engineering, etc. I have a few questions in regards to your response.

(1) Is this your meaning:
-A- “If you want a controller that has faders for mixing, but also for writing expression/dynamics/volume, then get one that is touch-sensitive + motorized, for greatest ease of use and efficiency.”
-B- “Regarding writing expression/dynamics/volume, it is best to use host automation in Cubase.”
-C- “To do all the things on your list, it will take a great deal of time to customize your control surface to achieve these tasks–whether you get the CC121, the CMCs, the X-Touch Compact, or the BCF2000—and you will have to master its manual too.”

(2) But with any controller out there, is it possible to edit the expression/dynamics/volume of a track if its Spitfire Audio instrument is NOT in Cubase, but is loaded into VE Pro 5, which is routed to Cubase?

(3) I know there are still CMC controllers floating around (new ones and used ones), even though they are discontinued. The whole reason I want more hardware is because I am a guitarist and have tendonitis. I want to keep my fingers curled and avoid using a mouse too. The one with faders is an economical solution with a low footprint… If I get the CMC controller that has faders, can I use the part of my fingertip on the very tip, near the edge of the nail, so I can keep my finger curled? Or does the fader strip only register the pad of your finger (ex: like where your fingerprint is), like I see in all the photos, which show someone holding their finger out straight, which I am assuming might unfortunately be the only way to achieve the proper angle?

Thank you so much for your time!


-A- yes.
-B- I have no clear preferences here.Sometimes MIDI CCs are better, sometimes automation. It depends, if you use the controllers more like a curves (automation), or like a dedicated values in dedicated time (controllers).
-C- There is not a big space for customising CC121 or CMCs. For the rest, yes, if you want to cover all cases by using one device only, you would need some customisation settings.

(2) If I’m right, you can assign any MIDI/automatible plug-in parameter to the automation line in VE Pro. Then you are able to write the value by any mentioned device.

(3) I’m not 100% sure, but I think, you can use any part of your finger.

“controllers more like a curves (automation), or like a dedicated values in dedicated time (controllers)”
–Would you be able to explain a relevant musical example?
“There is not a big space for customising CC121 or CMCs”
–Oh, I meant that it seemed like the CMCs and/or the CC121 could do everything you need for mixing in Cubase, right?
#2- “(2) If I’m right, you can assign any MIDI/automatible plug-in parameter to the automation line in VE Pro. Then you are able to write the value by any ment”
—I hope so!

Thank you,

Curves (automation): Expression; Volume; Breath controller…
Dedicated values: Sustain Pedal (if it’s a switcher); Attack/Release/Decay Time; Portamento On/Off / Time…

Yes, for “Mixing” (CC121 one track only), but not for the other activities like sending MIDI CCs or control other (plug-ins) parameters.

Excellent information, thank you, Martin Jirsak…

  1. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought that the AI knob on the CC121 (and on the CMC-AI) can browse presets and also edit parameters for Cubase and 3rd party plugins.

  2. May I ask you a question about a possible bug in Cubase? As you know, I’m trying to decide on a mixing surface or controller that can edit parameters like vibrato/dynamics/expression/etc. over the server of VE Pro 5 where Kontakt is loaded, and this is on the slave machine and Cubase Pro 9.5 is on the host, and the Akai APC 25 is connected to the host. Well, doing midi CC learn inside Halion Sonic works with the APC’s knobs. However it did not work with the Spitfire or other Kontakt instruments. I found some old threads you had commented on, and then checked the VE Pro View > Automap and tried to load parameters there, and then also drag stuff from the Kontakt window to the instrument parameter, such as dynamics, and then do midi learn, and wiggled the knob on my APC 25, and I was able to record the dynamics and stuff within the Cubase track… I was even able to record multiple parameters at once, and then view them by doing cmd+shift+I, or something like that… when I tried to do them as host automation using Automap, nothing worked at all. But I was happy I could at least affect the recording using the midi cc learn… However, while testing, I deleted my Spitfire violin and loaded my Spitfire viola, and the automation no longer worked. So I tried generic remote device again, I tried View > Automap (in VE Pro) again, I tried dragging CC from the automation pane to the instrument parameter again, I tried midi CC learn again in Kontakt, I tried restarting Cubase, restarting VE Pro, reconnecting to my slave, unplugging and reconnecting my APC 25… but nothing worked. I can still control Halion Sonic via midi CC learn, but not the instruments over the server on VE Pro. I had the same experience numerous times when I’ve tried this over the last few weeks, and I never know if it will work or not. I am not sure what to do, and I think even if I bought the CMC-FD, or the Korg Nano, or the X-Touch Compact, or the BCF2000, or the CC121, I don’t think it will matter, because it seems like it can’t reliably control these parameters if they are over the server, and now I don’t know how I will finish my projects.


  1. Yes, but not all plugins support this and you need the plug-in GUI to make the AI Knob assigned. I don’t know if this will work with VE Pro 5.

  2. I would recommend to make a new thread. Please, write step by step repro for easier following.