Question for those using control surfaces


I’m considering buying the Avid Artists Control. However, at $1,350.00 I want to make sure it is really going to add value at that kind of investment.

My initial impression is that it is great for the faders and the transport. It also looks great for doing things like being able to move two paramaters of plugins simultaneously. However, things like track routing and plug-in finding look much easier using the mouse.

I’m wondering what people are using it (or other controllers) most for, and when, or how often, your controller is being bypassed for the mouse.

Thanks for your information.

You’re on the right track there. Faders, EQ’s, AUX levels, solo/mute and transport are so much easier with external controller. When it comes to plug-ins, we’re getting into twilight zone: if your controller and your plugins interact seamlesly, it’s great. If not, it’s a lot of tedious configuration work before you can use your controller for them. For routing, selecting your pluins editing etc mouse is a perfect interface.

Avid Artists Control is a bit expensive one, though. M-Audio ProjectMix looks very nice one: 9 touch-sensitive faders, 8 rotary knobs and loads of buttons for half price of Avid. And Behringer (ouch! … the infamous B-word) BCF2000 / BCR2000 combo is pure bargain (no touch-sensitivity on faders, though): 2xBCF+1xBCR for less $$$ than ProjectMix.

Thanks Jarno.

The touch screen on the Avid (where you can touch/select a Cubase Channel) and all the key command functionality was also attractive, though I have read of touch screen failures. If there are any users using the touch screen, perhaps they can chime in.

You’re absolutely right there. They are nice features. But only 4 faders … I wouldn’t be happy with it. But maybe I’m spoiled, because I have 25 faders in front of me.

When it comes to touch screens, I would rather invest in real touch screen monitor … something like ViewSonic VX2258wm. Combine this with 2 B-crap fader and 1 rotary controller. Now use some creativity on how to mount these as a nice control surface and you’ll have an ultimate workstation.

If you’re looking for a touch screen solution, then check out V-Control Pro. It is an iPad app that can be used to control ProTools, Cubase and Logic. It’s works exactly like a hardware controller, with buttons for shortcuts and all, but the coolest thing is that it will soon also include the ability to control any of your plugins via the iPad. IOW, it will enable you to bring up the plugin or softsynth screen on your iPad and change parameters with your fingers. There’s currently nothing in the market that offers this functionality, at least not that I know of. You can get this (including the iPad) for less than half of any worthy hardware controller. Here’s their website if you’re interested:


It’s a nice one too… but what does it offer when compared to reasonably priced touch-screen monitor? More limited interface, bigger price tag… And IMO no touch screen controller is substitute to real hardware controller. It can be a great addition, but nothing beats the feel of a real fader knob under your finger.

Edit: Answer to my question: it’s wireless! And that’s a huge advantage if you’re a one man band in a one man studio.

Take a careful look at the Novation Automap line of controllers. The Nocturn is a simple yet very powerful, relatively inexpensive, small footprint device that complements almost any other controller. I use it along side my Mackie Universal for most of my VST/ VSTi parameter duties, as it’s so handy to access and program as opposed to digging through the Mackie to get to the parameters.

There is also the Novation Zero SL MK II, which is touch sensitive, but not motorized.

The ability to quickly and easily program a controller is one of the things I didn’t really understand starting out. IMO, Automap technology is unsurpassed for that task.

I also agree that the Behringer’s are an amazing value. I’ve had both the F and R pretty much trouble free for over 5 years. Overall, I found the R more useful.


And there’s the reason why I wouldn’t accept it as my main controller. Motorized faders are simply something I couldn’t live without when it comes to DAW controller/automated mixing console. I can live without touch-sensitivity, since I can always use other methods to control the point when I start/stop the automation. But if the physical fader doesn’t follow the virtual one, it’s useless. Same with rotary knobs: regular potentiometers instead of digital endless ones makes controller more a headache instead of the tool which should help you.

Novation’s automap is an interesting concept, though. If they just built the hardware to match the idea…

Understood … but I disagree about the Nocturn, it does have encoders and I think is built really well.

I would probably have changed the design of how the encoder sit/ line up on the unit, but other than that I have no complaints. I don’t like that the 4 encoders on each side line up differently so that 1 and 5, 2 and 6, etc. are in different places on the different sides of the unit … makes it difficult to intuitively grab the control you want.

While it is a ‘supplement’ for studio work, as opposed to a primary control surface, it works brilliantly with the Automap software and is portable, too.

But I agree that Novation should produce a full size 8+1 motorized 100mm fader unit. I really don’t understand why they haven’t other than viewing the market for that as not large enough to warrant the development.


Another nice and cheap alternative is the ICON QCON or even cheaper the IControl.

I don’t use the Avid - I have a WK Audio ID Console (now supported in Cubase too and working really well) which is admittedly a lot more money but it really has made my life so much better I cannot imagine living without it.
I get full access to everything - all inserts, tracks, VSTi, a complete edit section - there is very little this cannot do.

Has it obsoleted the mouse?
No. I still use the mouse for selecting plugins, as it is simply much faster that way although editing plugs has never been more fun as this is like working on a proper console. I would never go back to mouse based mixing again.

Off topic but what is the simplest way to assign for say kontakts inside volume fader to mod wheel?Cant get my head around it.tnx in adnvance if you can help

Thanks for your reply Neil. I went ahead and bought the Artist Control, but I know I’ll still be using the mouse as well. We’re living in a hybrid world. Accepting that, and using it to one’s advantage, is the attitude I’m taking.

BCF2000 here with BCFview virtual screen (its kind of tough without it :blush: !) - so far haven’t felt any need for anything else yet! It costs around 200 bucks! You can set it in Makie Control mode and it maps itself with everything, mixer, EQs, plugins :slight_smile:!
Here’s how it basicly works: - setip - EQs - VST plugins