Mixing board that just controls track volumes for Cubase?

Hi, I have Cubase Elements 9.5 and I want a mixing board to physically move multiple volumes with sliders (not knobs) up and down at once. However, I don’t care about a mixer doing these things itself. I don’t need the mixing board to literally be the mixer. I cannot seem to find anywhere just a board that can tell a DAW what volumes to make its tracks. Almost like MIDI, instead of having a keyboard with its own sounds, you have a keyboard that just tells the DAW what notes it’s playing and the DAW handles the sounds. Does this exist, and if so, WHERE?!

Also, I’m 15, so don’t expect me to spend large amounts of money on equipment. I have an allowance from my parents that I’ve saved $170-something from. I didn’t realize mixing boards were so expensive.

It sounds like what you are looking for is a “controller”. You’ll generally be looking at two categories of devices:

  • fader controllers with touch-sensitive motorized faders

  • fader controllers without touch-sensitive motorized faders

Let me give you a really quick example so you can understand what the difference is between the two:

Let’s say you are working at night and you finish setting the levels of a song. You close Cubase, shut down your computer and go to bed. Next evening you want to work on a different song. You open Cubase and load that other song. Without motorized faders the faders of course only move if you move them manually. Since you loaded up a different song from the day before the levels for each channel is going to be different, but when you look at your faders you see where they were from the day before for the other song.

If you just start moving a fader now then it’s going to send a message of where it is. So if you had one fader at “0” in the old song, and in the new song it was almost at the bottom, then if you start moving the fader the volume is going to jump to “0” from almost at the bottom. That can be very frustrating.

- You would have to see if Cubase can make that transition smoothly. I don’t think it can.

WITH motorized faders the faders will move when you load up that second song and they will find the respective positions in your Cubase project. So now when you look down at your faders they represent the level that you find in the channels in your song. No jump when you move them.

- The same is true if you “bank” your faders; since you only have say 8 faders they can only represent 8 channels in Cubase at a time, and you can then move left/right in your mixer in “banks” of 8. So switching so that your controller represents channels 1-8 to 9-16 will give you the same problem if the faders on the controller don’t move/follow.

Also, it’s good for the controller to have tiny displays that sits in every channel and display the name of the channel. If you have a large project with many channels you need to know which channel the fader is corresponding to, and that’s why you need those displays.

Generally touch/motorized fader controllers are going to be quite a bit more expensive.
Generally touch/motorized fader controllers are going to be better quality the more expensive they are.

The cheapest controller I can think of with touch-sensitive motorized faders is the Presonus Faderport 8 or the Behringer X-touch. Both are $500+. Below that you start losing features like displays per-channel, get fewer faders/channels, fewer knobs etc. The cheapest single-channel controller is probably the Presonus Faderport (not “8”), followed by the Behringer version of the same thing, and then the Steinberg cc121 (which is probably the best of the three). But all of those are single-channel.

If you have $170 then honestly other than a single channel touch/motorized fader I don’t know what you can get, but it probably won’t be one with touch-sensitive motorized faders. I would also recommend you try to find one where the faders are 100mm.

Hopefully someone else can chime in on specific makes/models.

Thank you so much, this is very helpful