Control surface

The Avid Dock and S3 is out there. Personally I’d like every opportunity to stay away from Avid (let alone the ethical & moral considerations of buying from a company like that); Nuage is indeed gorgeous and up to the standard I’ve seen from Yamaha consoles more broadly for many years now. However, is way too upmarket for me (and many of us I suspect) in the ‘home producer’ work room; on the corporate side, sure.

Again: (say) an 8 or 16 fader /banking and transport set up, v-knobs etc are now de rigueur; perhaps throw in an iPad dock for channel focus. Yamaha could nail this if they wanted, and I suspect a substantial 21st century independent /home studio market if priced reasonably (eg: the lesson from SSL Nucleus). ~USD$5k? From personal experience with a number of commercial systems: I would totally want to avoid any EN protocol; go USB 3.0, more than enough power and speed there; friction-free set-up one would hope. I would also avoid ‘all in ones’ eg: mic press, monitor sections etc. Just a great surface. Damn shame the TASCAM US-2400 went away …

Seems to me odd that there is such an enormous gap in the product range between Steinberg IO (small muso things) then the quantum leap to Nuage and/or other digital consoles.

My 2 cents anyways. Another Xmas wish.

I agree. Apart from the iPad bit.


Totally agree.
Steinberg is sleeping.
I won’t go for protools because I love the speed editing nuendo offers.
But Nuage is too expensive and Steinberg CMC playskool things are just a joke.
Avid have released their Protools Dock thing, the same thing with 8 faders, around 2000€, it would be marvelous.
Hey steinberg! Wake up!

The more I work with Nuendo, the more I like it. It takes considerable getting used to optically and from a usability perspective, coming from Logic Pro X and Studio One. They could start almost from scratch and I really like a lot of the UI they do. Nuendo has a long way to go here.

But once you know where stuff is, the functionality is mind-blowing.

I’ve been looking for surfaces for a long time. Big surfaces for my home studio are too big as you say. No place here for such a desk! And small ones are combined with all kind of stuff I don’t need. Or are for “mobile” users. I mean the PreSonus Faderport seems to be a really great product, but fader doesn’t move when on USB power. USB 3 could be something here! And the FaderPort is a 1 channel solution.

I also tried the Contour Design ShuttlePro v2, which was too limited and small. I constantly needed to switch configs to use all the things I do in my workflow. It wants to be too many things for too many software packages. It comes with configs for Photoshop for crying out loud. It’s too generic to be specific. It’s all but nothing really, in the end.

Something solid, as you said, in the lower 4 digit figures, that works well, is programmable and brings functionality / configuration templates out of the box for most systems would be a killer. No attached crappy audio interface, no other non-sense. Just good transport, jog wheel, fader, channel selection, channel strip things. I didn’t think about it, but I’d be very interested in such a product that could fit on a desk.

Everybody wants more for less. Nothing new there.

I would say however that first of all users can’t agree on what they’d want for which price, and secondly that Steinberg/Yamaha has made it very difficult to create something that wouldn’t either a) compete with already existing stuff like Avid Artist series or Mackie-based controllers, or b) cannibalize the Nuage market.

do you have experience with Avid Artist? Is it useful? Drivers stable? Works with Nuendo?

I sure get a lot out of mine. Works well with Nuendo, to the extent that I push it.


I have experience with it on a few different setups, all PT though.

The the Avid version (not Euphonix) seems more rugged, but I could be wrong. I’d say the price seems right on for what it is and considering quality. My personal usage has been 90% fader usage. There are reasons I end up not using rotary encoders in different setups, one being the layout. The D-command’s dedicated EQ / dynamics sections are layouts I love. I think the CC121 has a dedicated EQ layout as well. So anyway, my point is simply that for anyone using mostly faders there are some concessions at least I can live with. I’d consider something like the Behringer for example, despite it not having ‘deeper’ control than Mackie, as long as the faders are relatively quiet and good quality (which I doubt btw). So to me the Artist is a pretty good deal it seems.

The SmartAV Tango seemed to fit the bill - bomb-proof construction, great integration with Cubendo, huge configurable touch screen. But the company could not sell enough of them, even at about 6000GBP, and folded last year.

My one is still going strong. Just hope it will work with Windows 10 when Microsoft eventually updates my machine (without my permission!).

I think you want one of these.

Black clothes?.. 5 o’clock shadow?.. That Dane-Cook-Of-Audio look?..

…or maybe DTouch…

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I just went to my local retailer and asked about the Artist Control. He said he could not get one anymore. Apparently Avid recently released a new product, the Pro Tools Dock, where you have to slide in an iPad and use their PT Control app:

And with this product introduction they kind of announced the end of life for their Artist series. It seems they cannot produce them anymore.

So either I find a reseller that still has PT Artist in stock and buy a product with obsolete tech, or I look at the PT Dock. Why only 1 fader? Sigh. Looks like they now want you to bundle the dock $1k with the S3, which is $4k. Great…

Maybe it’s the wrong time to buy. Maybe this is the first in a series of new products and there will be one with more faders later that sits in between the dock and the S3. Maybe just wait.

Right now I’d say wait. Although the Artist mix is pretty decent (faders are ok, pots are imho rubbish). And The old big stuff is glorious (I also have two Euphonix silver MC / S5MC systems that still works well although EOL.

I’m curious that no one mentions the MCU here.

For $2500 I’ve got the Master Unit and 2 Extenders.
24 Channels.
75% for me is the Touch Faders - which DO individually hide/show in sync with the Mix Console, unlike EUCON.

Solid Transport, Jog, Zoom, Select, Locate, Markers.
Really nice EQ Layout. Sends, Cues, all the Channel Strip stuff (rarely used).
Channel Edit window open/close.
All 4 of my Monitor sets with a button push.
Other Functions - assignable - like Open VSTi or Rack.

Cubase and, I’m assuming, Nuendo integration is excellent.
When I watch the Nuage Vids . . . Nuage is, of course, much nicer (better be) but a lot of the same functionality is there.

I also added a Behringer X-Touch Compact ($399) - a very solid unit - to give me an additional 46 totally programmable buttons, 16 push knobs, and 9 faders.
I have a bunch of MIDI CCs on the faders (for Hollywood Orch mostly), plus a ton of edit commands, Track Versions stuff, Click on/off and volume, Control Rm volume, Listen on/off (selected track), etc.

Anyone not sure how to set that up (combined MIDI CCs to VSTis AND Generic Remote same unit) I’d be happy to advise.

It’s a very solid setup for $2900 total (add $1100 and get 9 faders from Avid . . )
Definitely not a PRETTY as the Avid stuff but . . . WHO CARES!
It’s a workhorse setup for a donkey price!

What’s not to like?


There were a couple of long threads on Gearslutz and I made the point there that we have everything from cheapo X-Touch to Avid Artist on the low-end, through the 5k mid-range gear and up past Nuage to the pricey s6. So I probably just thought I’d mentioned it here as well.

And I agree with you that value proposition is great.

It’s good to hear that faders mirror what is shown/hidden in the mixer. This was a concern of mine since I’m considering getting a new controller for home.

So thanks for sharing!

PS: What “mode” are you running it in? I know some people have had issues with the controller not following the visibility of the mixer, so I’m wondering if it might be worth sharing that for those who might have selected the wrong “mode” of control…

“Cubase” mode within Cubase.

This takes advantage of a lot of the enhancements Steinberg have coded into the MCU functionality.
There is also “Compatibility” mode within Cubase. This emulates “Standard” MCU functions, but lacks the enhancements.

“Mackie Control” for the Surface itself. You can - with a key press on boot - opt for HUI mode (which I do with PT).
No good for CB.

There was an problem with channel visibility and a few other issues (which I was quite vocal about here) around the first Cubase 8 version,.

They fixed that quite a while ago. Since then my experience has been bulletproof.
I am using the latest actual Mackie units, which are very well built. Cannot vouch for other units.

I assume all the same functionality applies to Nuendo.


You probably can’t assume that unfortunately, but hopefully it does.

I like everything about the MCU except footprint and the “return” time of faders after I stop touching them, but that’s on PT which may be different under HUI (is it?) - in other words if I’m in touch/trim write mode and am at for example -2dB then as I release it should return to 0dB gain but it takes a second or so, and during that time I might need to write again. But so when I then touch the fader I might actually then trigger a -2dB value since it hasn’t yet returned to zero. Like I said, perhaps that’s only for HUI or PT, but it really gets in the way…

Other than that, good value.

I think the MCU seems to be a great value, too. Looking at the MCU I noticed the rotary extension unit, the C4 Pro. It seems it was discontinued. Any idea why? This would be a great addition to the MCU Pro, especially for tweaking plugin params.

Does the MCU also have a software to control custom functions or do you have to configure this all in the DAW itself? What are the pros and cons between EuCon Protocol and the Mackie Protocol? Is one higher resolution or can access functions beyond what you can configure with key commands?


I can’t answer the other questions, but both Eucon and the Mackie protocols work not by using key commands but by connecting “directly” with the DAW. One of the reasons “protocol-devices” appeal to me is that they might give access to commands for which there are no key commands, and/or because you can end up not having to “waste” a key on a key command and instead trigger it from the controller.

The way I’m currently set up I’m using a Contour Shuttle Pro v2 and it sends key commands. But this means that whatever it does the keyboard also does. In addition I have a Presonus Faderport, but for ergonomic reasons I end up using it almost exclusively for fader automation. But had I used more of its buttons more frequently it would have “freed up” keys on both the keyboard and the Contour.

Know what I mean?