Control Surfaces?

Kingofpain678

Returned from the dead
I used to have a behringer bcf-2000 and i remember it being pretty cool but they don't make them anymore.
I'm curious as to what some of your experiences may be using something like a Faderport or behringer x touch one

for those that have used control surfaces do you feel as though they help to make the mixing process easier or quicker? allow for more/finer control?

I've looked at the korg nanokontrols as well but not having motorized faders seems like it would be a pain in the butt. I'm really not even sure how changing banks on one of those would work because if you went back to a previous bank the faders would all be in the wrong positions... i don't understand it.

anywho, thoughts?
 

Mickster

Well-known member
I use a Zoom R16. It serves as a stand alone 16 track recorder...or...an Audio Interface.... and a Control Surface. When used as an AI it's control surface function is pretty useful. Not having to use a mouse for "transport" functions and other functions is definitely a big plus IMO.
 

Kingofpain678

Returned from the dead
I use a Zoom R16. It serves as a stand alone 16 track recorder...or...an Audio Interface.... and a Control Surface. When used as an AI it's control surface function is pretty useful. Not having to use a mouse for "transport" functions and other functions is definitely a big plus IMO.

Does that have motorized faders? If not, how does it work when using it on more than 8 tracks? Say bank one is tracks 1-8, you move the fader of track one all the way down, then switch to bank 2 (tracks 9-16). The fader of what would now be track 9 wouldn't match the fader of track 9 in the DAW. Or does it just auto force the DAW fader of track 9 down to zero since the controller fader is at 0?
I've never understood how that's supposed to work
 

Mickster

Well-known member
Does that have motorized faders? If not, how does it work when using it on more than 8 tracks? Say bank one is tracks 1-8, you move the fader of track one all the way down, then switch to bank 2 (tracks 9-16). The fader of what would now be track 9 wouldn't match the fader of track 9 in the DAW. Or does it just auto force the DAW fader of track 9 down to zero since the controller fader is at 0?
I've never understood how that's supposed to work

The R16 does not have motorized faders.

When used as a stand alone recorder you set the fader volume for each track 1 thru 16 as you mix. The track fader volume is in memory so if you switch between banks the actual volume for each track is what is in memory...no matter the actual placement of the fader when you switched banks. When you start to move the track fader after switching to a different bank...the setting then changes to where you move the fader. So...you do have to check the volume setting before you move the fader if you want to put it back to the setting it was at before you moved it. Ok...confusing....yes...but you can get use to that. When used in a DAW...it sort of depends on the DAW you're using.

Sorry to be so vague. It's really not a big deal or hassle....but it's not easy to explain.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
I rather like my Steinberg CC121 - does exactly what I want. I actually tried to use a behringer X-32, but I just didn't need a fader per channel.
 

Kingofpain678

Returned from the dead
I rather like my Steinberg CC121 - does exactly what I want. I actually tried to use a behringer X-32, but I just didn't need a fader per channel.

i'm thinking a single motorized fader is probably the way to go. sure, multiple channel controller would be cool but realistically its not necessary. having a controller at all isnt even really necessary but i think it might make the experience a tad more enjoyable...
anywho, thank you for your input :D
 

JonTheMixEng

New member
Hey KingOfPain!

I used a faderport for about a week and it was fine if you're just looking to do some quick automation on a single channel. The new versions have a motorized fader, which is a must these days. Personally, I also had a StudioLive 24 controller when I was working in Presonus, and while its cool to look at, I never really got into it that much. At most ill automate 4 channels at once and besides that you can save time here and there with mix prep stuff like getting some levels set and panning.

If there was a company that cut out everything, but 4 faders and a display I would pick it up immediately. Maybe toss in a play/pause button.

8 Channel controllers aren't exactly that cheap either and can really take up some real-estate.
 

Doobystew

New member
Over the years I've tried all sorts of control surfaces and midi controllers and found that they're all just novelties and I always quickly go back to using a mouse.

I've also noticed when watching countless videos of well known engineers mixing that it's very common for them to have various control surfaces but only be using a mouse.

I conclude from this that the mouse and qwerty keyboard are just so completely integrated with the software in a way that control surfaces just can't be so from a technical perspective the mouse is just quicker and easier to use.

I think where control surfaces could be better would be if the person gets a lot of enjoyment out of using it to the point that inspiration that gives outweighs the inconvenience that comes with controllers.

I think a lot of people love the idea of a control surface, especially one with faders that looks a bit like a console. But I think in most cases, they're destined to gather dust once the novelty wears off.
 

randomguitarist

New member
For me the control surface is really useful. I have an x-touch and to make it really useful I spent some time setting my project templates to work the right way for me. Largely this was about setting up the templates in blocks of 8 channels for different things like guitars/keys etc, sensible default inputs and having these routed into 8 group buses etc. This way moving across fader groups is really seamless and makes tracking while playing a much better experience. I still have to use a mouse and kbd for some things but the surface is in constant use. When it comes to things like eq adjustments I am a lot happier using the x-touch as I can focus all my brain on the sound and not have to divert resources to looking at the screen. This is all according an older guy tracking and mixing.
 

Tadpui

Well-known member
I've had a 1-channel FaderPort for years now, and I still use it a lot. No novelty here, it's genuinely useful. I use it for track levels, panning, transport control, and writing automation. I still use the mouse/keyboard for everything else, like creating/naming tracks, adding FX, adjusting FX.
 
I use both a mixture of a PreSonus Faderport v1 w/ motorized fader and transport controls (stand alone controls for the transport controls are great btw...) and a Nektar Panorama P1 controller with Reaper. Faderport has motorized fader and buttons to switch between tracks. The Nektar is not motorized, but shows the controls on an LCD panel and the faders won't "jump" around, you have to actually move "past" where you were before it'll change the sound if that makes sense. The knobs on the Nektar are great too because they're full circle, so it doesn't matter where they are as there is no "stopping/starting" point.
 
Top