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Is anyone actually using his midi controller (faders) ? Control Surfaces
Old 12th March 2018
  #1
Gear Head
 

Is anyone actually using his midi controller (faders) ?

Hello,

i was wondering how many of you are actually using your midi controller(s) in day to day work, meaning the likes with motor faders etc. to control your virtual mixing console/DAW ?

The thing is, i'm thinking (again) of buying one, because it seems like a fancy thing to have, but deep down i sense that it will sooner or later end as a dust catcher, cause i'm really working the fastest with mouse and keyboard. And i know of a few guys whose (even very expensive) controllers shared the same fate. I have an Alphatrack (single channel controller) laying around, which gets rarely used as a remote control when recording acoustic intruments.

So, in theory it sounds nice to have like 8 channels in direct access...is it just a thing of learning to get used to it ? Or is it spending lots of money for a gadget ?
Old 12th March 2018
  #2
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by noisekeeper View Post
Hello,

i was wondering how many of you are actually using your midi controller(s) in day to day work, meaning the likes with motor faders etc. to control your virtual mixing console/DAW ?

The thing is, i'm thinking (again) of buying one, because it seems like a fancy thing to have, but deep down i sense that it will sooner or later end as a dust catcher, cause i'm really working the fastest with mouse and keyboard.
Do you record other players and singers, or is it just you?
Old 12th March 2018
  #3
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Do you record other players and singers, or is it just you?
It's mainly for production (so just me)...do you suggest that other players should handle the controller for me ? Or that it would be nice to impress them ?
Old 12th March 2018
  #4
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by noisekeeper View Post
It's mainly for production (so just me)...do you suggest that other players should handle the controller for me ? Or that it would be nice to impress them ?
I'm suggesting that if you're using a mouse to overdub instruments and vocals, arming and unarming and muting and unmuting, you're very slow compared to someone with average skills on a control surface. This can and will suck the energy out of players and singers. Even if it's just you, the control surface will make you more efficient, which might make your music better.
Old 12th March 2018
  #5
Gear Head
 

Ah ok, thanks for the thought ! I'm most of the time working in the box, so this struggle doesn't often occur to me (yet).
So you're using a controller for these tasks regularly ? How about the faders - do you adjust levels with these too ? I'm very devoted to ergonomy and time saving tools, but i think alone reaching over to the controller takes longer than moving and dragging the mouse a few inches ?
Old 12th March 2018
  #6
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by noisekeeper View Post
Ah ok, thanks for the thought ! I'm most of the time working in the box, so this struggle doesn't often occur to me (yet).
So you're using a controller for these tasks regularly ? How about the faders - do you adjust levels with these too ? I'm very devoted to ergonomy and time saving tools, but i think alone reaching over to the controller takes longer than moving and dragging the mouse a few inches ?
I use the control surface for everything except tweaking plugins and automating pan moves. For me, it's just better and faster. And when I work on a rig that only has a mouse or trackball (which I do fairly regularly), I'm slower which makes me grouchy.
Old 12th March 2018
  #7
Lives for gear
 

I bought one of those NanoKontrol units made by Korg for $39. Its all I needed for riding channel faders and writing volume envelopes.
I do most of the rest of the mixing using a mouse. The controller is great when you simply want to ride several faders at once and save that volume riding.
Old 12th March 2018
  #8
Lives for gear
 

still the fastest way of adjusting levels (main mix, aux mixes); less needed while tracking...
Old 12th March 2018
  #9
Gear Nut
 

I used an MCU with Logic for a long time. I studied the manual and learned every bit of its functionality, which is pretty thorough in Logic. I still couldn't get past my muscle memory and stuck to key commands for everything except for the jog wheel (which I loved) and adjusting levels during tracking. But I only had eight faders, so it was a disjointed experienced that I bypassed when under pressure.

I'm running Raven MTi now, and I still ignore most its functionality in favor of the keyboard. But the 24 channel external mixer is helpful, as is touch screen plugin adjustment. Much less of a disconnect than I was experiencing with the hardware controller. I'm still pretty sure I could live without it though.
Old 12th March 2018
  #10
Lives for gear
I hate moving faders with the mouse.

When I produce/mix, I definitely use mouse more with the plugins. It's just easier for my brain to keep track of the changes I'm making to the plugin.

There's 2 main times I use the faders:
1) When producing, if things are clashing and I just need to move things away so I can focus on a certain part. It's quicker for me to drop the fader a little bit than to mute.
2) When finishing my mix, I definitely prefer a physical fader over mousing the faders. It's not the same feeling. To me, the best metaphor would be for cooking, where you can either follow the recipe (use the mouse) or you can take the recipe and make it your own (physical fader).

Here are the sleeper reasons I use the controller:
1) Transport. I wouldn't be able to run my sessions without transport control at this point. My brain wants a button instead of the keyboard.
2) Keystrokes!!!!!!!!!!!!
Old 12th March 2018
  #11
Gear Head
 

Thanks to all for sharing your experiences so far !

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
still the fastest way of adjusting levels (main mix, aux mixes); less needed while tracking...
Adjusting levels is most interesting to me, since i liked the "old days" with hardware consoles a lot.
Good to know that it works for some people at least...i think i'l give it a try then.

CPhoenix, thank you...you actually describe exactly what i was thinking i'd use it for (fine tuning levels at the end of a mix). I'm a freestyle cook often, too :D
You use your controller for keystrokes ? How many can you assign to it (which one is it) ? I've setup about 25 vital key commands that i can access very quick on the keyboard...last year i also got a game controller (Razer Nostromo) cause i thought it would make things even faster/easier (never got used to it though). So i wonder how you do it on a controller /faster than on a keyboard ?
Old 12th March 2018
  #12
Lives for gear
 
foamboy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I'm suggesting that if you're using a mouse to overdub instruments and vocals, arming and unarming and muting and unmuting, you're very slow compared to someone with average skills on a control surface. This can and will suck the energy out of players and singers. Even if it's just you, the control surface will make you more efficient, which might make your music better.
Once again, a very insightful post from Brent. We sometimes forget all the "little" things that can speed up a project and keep us in a good creative space.

fb
Old 13th March 2018
  #13
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by foamboy View Post
Once again, a very insightful post from Brent. We sometimes forget all the "little" things that can speed up a project and keep us in a good creative space.

fb
foamboy, i assume you at least get some promo or money by Brent for such posts ?
Old 13th March 2018
  #14
Lives for gear
 
foamboy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by noisekeeper View Post
foamboy, i assume you at least get some promo or money by Brent for such posts ?
Ha ha! Naw, his comment was just timely for me. I have recently incorporated my NI kybd to control Cubase and I couldn't believe how natural and handy it was to have simple controls like transport and mute and solo.

His post just "spoke" to me, that's all.

fb
Old 13th March 2018
  #15
Lives for gear
 

Main time I use it if for bringing up lead parts then dropping them back when the vocals come in. My only beef is there is a slight time delay which you need to anticipate but that's rarely a big issue making broad strokes like that. You simply have to keep an eye on your channel levels so you don't crank things too high or maybe set your trims so you cant max things above a specific level.
Old 13th March 2018
  #16
Engagement Manager
 
Sniperschool's Avatar
I have several (4) Euphonix MC Mix's and always have at least one connected for writing fader automation and mutes towards the end of a session
The ability to do so on multiple faders/tracks at the same time is important to me

Also having the DAW mixer automatically bank to display the faders/channels I touch saves a lot of 'mousework'

I've never really used the plugin editing/pan controls but the transport controls are useful
Old 14th March 2018
  #17
Gear Addict
I use my artist mix all the time, in fact have been wanting to get a second one for a while now
Old 20th March 2018
  #18
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by noisekeeper View Post
Thanks to all for sharing your experiences so far !



Adjusting levels is most interesting to me, since i liked the "old days" with hardware consoles a lot.
Good to know that it works for some people at least...i think i'l give it a try then.

CPhoenix, thank you...you actually describe exactly what i was thinking i'd use it for (fine tuning levels at the end of a mix). I'm a freestyle cook often, too :D
You use your controller for keystrokes ? How many can you assign to it (which one is it) ? I've setup about 25 vital key commands that i can access very quick on the keyboard...last year i also got a game controller (Razer Nostromo) cause i thought it would make things even faster/easier (never got used to it though). So i wonder how you do it on a controller /faster than on a keyboard ?
I use a Faderport 8. I think it only has 11 assignable buttons. I'm honestly not too happy about that, I wish they had a section for more buttons. I also have a Contour Designs ShuttlePro.

The ShuttlePro and my mouse allow you to assign the modifiers Shift and Alt to a button, which is awesome b/c you can hold "shift" on your controller and then press a button. So, I remap many functions to "Shift + [letter]" so I can get the most out of the small amount of space on the shuttle pro and mouse. I keep the controller assigned to just the few functions I need to navigate through a project while I'm working. And my editing stuff (delete, re-record, split, etc) are on the shuttlePro.

I use the keystrokes as much as possible. I hate using my keyboard, so I have enough buttons to not use it. Right now, if there's an unassigned button I use the mouse. I'm still fine-tuning my workflow though.
Old 20th March 2018
  #19
Gear Addict
Use my MCU every day, can't imagine working without motorized faders, and I don't even use it that much for automation. I simply like the workflow of dealing with my audio tracks on a control surface without needing a mouse or a screen.

Still wishing for a pimped version with a meter bridge motorized pots though. Have been considering getting a Qcon Pro X just because of the meter bridge, but skeptical of Icon's build quality/support.
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