Getting started with control surfaces (N00B thread)

Hi guys, I’m new to cubase and control surfaces (but have prior, early-gen MIDI experience). So I’m using cubase to run midi sequences to external hardware, and I have several control surface options that I want to start using. But I’m having trouble getting started.

Can someone point me to the best docs/videos/etc. to match my initial “use cases”?

The first one: My main sound module is a Yamaha Motif Rack XS. A very tedious task with doing cover tunes is matching up the best patch for the parts. What I want to do is have a “setup” profile on one of my control stations so I can turn a knob and have it send a program change on the set MIDI channel, which cubase will then forward on the proper midi channel to the Motif.

I have several choices of control surfaces to choose from right now:
-Novation Launch Control XL (8 ‘tracks’, each with 3 pots, a slider, and 2 buttons)
-M Audio Axiom 61 (9 sliders, 8 knobs)
-Steinberg CMC-FD (got it free with Cubase, but doesn’t have a lot; just 4 soft sliders, a shift button, and 4 channel/bank buttons).
(I also have a keyboard version Motif XS-6 out in the “studio”, but I plan on leaving that out there and doing all the up-front programming in my home office).

SO, I’m thinking the Launch Control would be best for this job. Can someone tell me if what I want to do is feasible? Maybe set up 16 of the pots to correspond to 16 midi channels to send out to the motif so I can scroll through patches while the sequence is running? Another question is around possibly using the control station to change the MSBlLSB (bank select) on the motif. Unfortunately, I have to use match to match the bank select (MSB*128+LSB) in order to set the bank in the cubase track (e.g. my Drum Voice Preset Bankis 8096). I don’t know if there would be any feasible way to set up something to switch between the 16 different banks on the Motif, in which some are in a consecutive range, but others are not.

Thanks guys. Appreciate the help! I want to “learn to fish”, so pointing me to what would be the best resources for this would be awesome! (Oh, and if anyone can validate that I can in fact accomplish what I’m looking for, that too would be great!!)

Step 2 (for performance time) would be setting up the pots to send MIDI volume control on each channel (so I’d have what amounts to a little mixer for all the MIDI data). But I’m getting ahead of myself!!

Welp, I still would love to be pointed to tutorials, but my first ‘use case’ is now obsolete. :slight_smile: I figured out I can set up the Motif as a “Midi Instrument” and select the patches by name (but sadly I haven’t figured out how to add the user bank elements to the pulldown yet).

So I guess midi volume and transport controls are my big ‘wants’ for control surfaces at this time.

Since I’m not using Cubase for recording, nor “creating” live- just using it for show control and playing MIDI tracks for a lame cover duo/trio/quattro (not sure how many we’ll end up with!)- does anybody have any suggestions about good ways to use control surfaces? I’m sure as I progress I’ll probably think of some things, but there’s probably useful stuff to use it for that I’ll never think of on my own…


You can easily set up just about any midi controller to send program change data to your synth.
Have a look at the behringer BCR2000 you get a lot of knobs for your money , many knob overlays available for synths and it actually shows you the parameter values using leds. Something you dont get that on he launchcontrol i think, it seems to be really focused on use with ableton and quite expensive

With a custom case it can also look great

Choosing a controller all depends on your whishes :slight_smile:
Do you need moving faders, knobs, a keyboard?

The Panorama series have amazingly deep integration with Cubase and 3rd party plugs. Worth looking at as it will save you a load of hassle as they are ready to roll straight out the box.