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Sad state of DAW controllers in 2020
Old 2nd January 2020
  #1
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JoaT's Avatar
Sad state of DAW controllers in 2020

After a move to get back in the box I have decided on Cubase / Console 1 based system.

What annoys me beyond imagination is the sad state of options available as DAW control surfaces. How is it even possible it is still that bad??

I mean, what we have basically is shabby implementations of ancient Mackie MCU/HUI protocols, standard user configurable generic midi controllers, proprietary "hack" systems (Console 1 is an example of this, as it is a midi controller that is normally hidden from the system and operated through it's own vst interface) or novelty approaches that rely on middleware software and extensive user configuration to work.

Then we have EuCon, which, as promising as it was is now a protocol owned by Avid and poorly supported by any other manufacturer. This is a real bummer as I momentarily got exited about s1 and Avid dock, only to notice Steinberg has issues in getting them to function properly because of things involving EuCon implementation, financial realities and whatever corporate-can't-do the situation actually involves.

We also have Artist Mix series EuCon controllers which seems to be so bad you shouldn't throw your hard earned cash in their general direction.

There are some hacks to get an old d8b or Procontrol / control24 to work with any daw as well. But the idea of buying something with 20 year old electronics and motorfaders inside it doesn't appeal at all.

On top of these we have a nearly total lack of touch screen support across the daws. You know, the modern kind that supports multi touch zooming, gestures and so on.

I mean, seriously?

Why hasn't this solved a long time ago? Where are the plentiful options of cheap-midpriced-expensive daw control surfaces that run on modern protocols that are able to provide lightning fast response via cat5 or wireless connection? Where are elegant combinations of touch screens, moving faders, joysticks and oled displays that distill 40+ years of human interface design and workflow practices to sensible priced pieces of hardware you can actually use to work faster than with a mouse? The kind that work with ANY daw or editing software? The kind you can expand to fill your needs as they grow and/or your budget allows?

Surely this is not too much to ask. Or is it, as we still don't seem to have that?
Old 2nd January 2020
  #2
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
i use a Tascam US-2400 that i have had since the day they came out.

works perfectly with cubase Pro 10.

i know its old, but i think it is an awesome controller.

Buddha
Old 2nd January 2020
  #3
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JoaT's Avatar
Yeah. I have had Behringr BCF-2000, BCR-2000, Xtouch, Jlcooper MCS 3800, Mackie d8b, Behringer x32 and MCU. Have used Control24 and Comman8. No.

I'm talking about something that implements motor faders, control buttons, pots and buttons and a tablet sized screen to something that can be used as a daw controller out of the box AND customized EASILY to fit your preferred workflow.

I don't need semi permanently dedicated faders for channel volumes or a few parameters (like console 1 fader's alternate fader functionality or "pans to faders" or such as can be found on MCU implementations). I need the faders to act as I need them to act. As channel faders mimicking the screen or mapped as anything I wish, as I wish and when I wish, and with ease. The customization of the control surface should be even EASIER than that of the DAW, as it provides a more limited set of visibility.

Avid s1 / Dock looks like a really good concept as it comes to potential. Would be more than willing to spend 7k on that kind of a system if the software functionality and inter-app support would be working. It is incredibly frustrating that after all these years there is still no such thing in existence.
Old 2nd January 2020
  #4
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CrankyChris's Avatar
 

Agree. It seems like they could have come up with more solid and universal options with standards for different daw compatibility.

If they can create an 8-16 channel analog mixers with full channel strips (knobs) on all for $1k, you’d think they could do the same/similar for a dig. controller that doesn’t have to deal with actual audio.

Last edited by CrankyChris; 2nd January 2020 at 03:34 AM..
Old 2nd January 2020
  #5
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chrischoir's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoaT View Post
After a move to get back in the box I have decided on Cubase / Console 1 based system.

What annoys me beyond imagination is the sad state of options available as DAW control surfaces. How is it even possible it is still that bad??

I mean, what we have basically is shabby implementations of ancient Mackie MCU/HUI protocols, standard user configurable generic midi controllers, proprietary "hack" systems (Console 1 is an example of this, as it is a midi controller that is normally hidden from the system and operated through it's own vst interface) or novelty approaches that rely on middleware software and extensive user configuration to work.

Then we have EuCon, which, as promising as it was is now a protocol owned by Avid and poorly supported by any other manufacturer. This is a real bummer as I momentarily got exited about s1 and Avid dock, only to notice Steinberg has issues in getting them to function properly because of things involving EuCon implementation, financial realities and whatever corporate-can't-do the situation actually involves.

We also have Artist Mix series EuCon controllers which seems to be so bad you shouldn't throw your hard earned cash in their general direction.

There are some hacks to get an old d8b or Procontrol / control24 to work with any daw as well. But the idea of buying something with 20 year old electronics and motorfaders inside it doesn't appeal at all.

On top of these we have a nearly total lack of touch screen support across the daws. You know, the modern kind that supports multi touch zooming, gestures and so on.

I mean, seriously?

Why hasn't this solved a long time ago? Where are the plentiful options of cheap-midpriced-expensive daw control surfaces that run on modern protocols that are able to provide lightning fast response via cat5 or wireless connection? Where are elegant combinations of touch screens, moving faders, joysticks and oled displays that distill 40+ years of human interface design and workflow practices to sensible priced pieces of hardware you can actually use to work faster than with a mouse? The kind that work with ANY daw or editing software? The kind you can expand to fill your needs as they grow and/or your budget allows?

Surely this is not too much to ask. Or is it, as we still don't seem to have that?
Are controllers even necessary at this point? seems like DAWs are more powerful using a mouse and keyb these days.
Old 2nd January 2020
  #6
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CrankyChris's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
Are controllers even necessary at this point? seems like DAWs are more powerful using a mouse and keyb these days.
For some things, sure. But riding faders is nice for final mix duties - also, the workflow is much nicer/faster and it’s easier to mix with your ears (as opposed to eye) when you’re twisting knobs.
Old 2nd January 2020
  #7
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
Are controllers even necessary at this point? seems like DAWs are more powerful using a mouse and keyb these days.
The objective is, at least for me, to sit with the band, maybe play an instrument and be able to at least track, playback, change plugin Parameters, mute, solo, etc. Sadly, the best remote DAW controller is Logic`s. and I'm very done with that DAW.

I think in the eyes of the vendors, the model is still an engineer in a control room even though increasingly I see the absurd spectacle of an engineer with his laptop sitting on top of an essentially dead 48 channel Neve or API board.

Yes, remote control should be getting really good right now...but where's the money in that?
Old 2nd January 2020
  #8
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chrischoir's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrankyChris View Post
workflow is much nicer/faster and it’s easier to mix with your ears (as opposed to eye) when you’re twisting knobs.
not sure I agree with this since faders lack the precision of enveloping, but if it makes your workflow better I can understand
Old 2nd January 2020
  #9
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bitman's Avatar
It's kind of a dead market.

There are a few who are passionate about control surfaces, I was one.
I went as far as to make a control surface dll for Cakewalk that permitted chaining up to 5 bcr2000s in a 32 channel mixer with 4 page assignable vertical encoders per track, usable and sends, comp,eq.

When I had to quick mix for clients I used 4 bcf2000 Control surfaces and still have them in front of me even after closing up shop. but find myself just using a mouse.

I am of the mind the control surfaces are largely met with meh outside of profession situations where you must mix fast.
That limits the market.
Old 2nd January 2020
  #10
Lives for gear
 

What the op has failed to do is peruse the recent "what do you want" thread.

The op will then realize that HIS view of options HE wants in an ?-priced controller.....utterly don't jive with what any other two guys will EXACTLY pay for.

Read the thread. The hopeless part is that no one agrees about the feature set. Much less ergonomics.

You'd think there'd be some basic agreement.....but...nope.
Old 2nd January 2020
  #11
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Sigma's Avatar
What about the Slate Raven?
Old 2nd January 2020
  #12
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e-are's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoaT View Post
After a move to get back in the box I have decided on Cubase / Console 1 based system.

What annoys me beyond imagination is the sad state of options available as DAW control surfaces. How is it even possible it is still that bad??



Then we have EuCon, which, as promising as it was is now a protocol owned by Avid and poorly supported by any other manufacturer. This is a real bummer as I momentarily got exited about s1 and Avid dock, only to notice Steinberg has issues in getting them to function properly because of things involving EuCon implementation, financial realities and whatever corporate-can't-do the situation actually involves.

We also have Artist Mix series EuCon controllers which seems to be so bad you shouldn't throw your hard earned cash in their general direction.


There are some hacks to get an old d8b or Procontrol / control24 to work with any daw as well. But the idea of buying something with 20 year old electronics and motorfaders inside it doesn't appeal at all.

On top of these we have a nearly total lack of touch screen support across the daws. You know, the modern kind that supports multi touch zooming, gestures and so on.

I mean, seriously?

Why hasn't this solved a long time ago? Where are the plentiful options of cheap-midpriced-expensive daw control surfaces that run on modern protocols that are able to provide lightning fast response via cat5 or wireless connection? Where are elegant combinations of touch screens, moving faders, joysticks and oled displays that distill 40+ years of human interface design and workflow practices to sensible priced pieces of hardware you can actually use to work faster than with a mouse? The kind that work with ANY daw or editing software? The kind you can expand to fill your needs as they grow and/or your budget allows?

Surely this is not too much to ask. Or is it, as we still don't seem to have that?
Where did you hear this? I have 3 artist mixes and a artist control and they are absolutely wonderful. From plugin control to sends to programming my personal favorite key commands. The artist control is touch screen. I have used many controllers including the slate thingy and the artist series are by far my favorite. Avid has stopped support of the artist control but it still works great. BTW, If you have an old ipad or tablet laying around, Steinberg has an app that is great. Same functionality as the avid control and just as good. All this works great with console one.
Old 2nd January 2020
  #13
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JoaT's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bitman View Post
It's kind of a dead market.

There are a few who are passionate about control surfaces, I was one.
I went as far as to make a control surface dll for Cakewalk that permitted chaining up to 5 bcr2000s in a 32 channel mixer with 4 page assignable vertical encoders per track, usable and sends, comp,eq.

When I had to quick mix for clients I used 4 bcf2000 Control surfaces and still have them in front of me even after closing up shop. but find myself just using a mouse.

I am of the mind the control surfaces are largely met with meh outside of profession situations where you must mix fast.
That limits the market.
I agree with you on this but it merely just illustrates my point. At this point I'm passionate about a workflow and way past the "faders that mive by themselves are cool".

This is about the kind of controllers that sort of would do what something like view- and shortcut customizations and templates do in a daw. Lay the relevant controls in front of you as you need them in a way that allows you to work much faster and more efficiently than with a mouse. Controllers that are past the "blinking lights and moving faders to enhance wow-factor" phase.
Old 2nd January 2020
  #14
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JoaT's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by e-are View Post
Where did you hear this? I have 3 artist mixes and a artist control and they are absolutely wonderful. From plugin control to sends to programming my personal favorite key commands. The artist control is touch screen. I have used many controllers including the slate thingy and the artist series are by far my favorite. Avid has stopped support of the artist control but it still works great. BTW, If you have an old ipad or tablet laying around, Steinberg has an app that is great. Same functionality as the avid control and just as good. All this works great with console one.
Artist series have had a lot of bad press about the quality of the units, expecially cracking shells that get sticky and whatnot. And they are eol.

Is this steinberg app the cubase remote? There was some info on the net that it is not very comprehensive or good. It has like 2 stars on the apple store. I have considered that along with Neyrinck vcontrol, but have not pulled the trigger yet.
Old 2nd January 2020
  #15
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e-are's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoaT View Post
Artist series have had a lot of bad press about the quality of the units, expecially cracking shells that get sticky and whatnot. And they are eol.

Is this steinberg app the cubase remote? There was some info on the net that it is not very comprehensive or good. It has like 2 stars on the apple store. I have considered that along with Neyrinck vcontrol, but have not pulled the trigger yet.
I can only speak for myself and I do have a friend with 2 artist mixes and both of us love them. As far as the app, some people have problems connecting with their DAW. If your DAW and ipad/tablet are connected to the same wifi, it will connect with no problems. I think the app was $7, or something like that.
Old 2nd January 2020
  #16
Lives for gear
 

I use 3 Avid Mix Artists and a Transport in Nuendo. Works great. Haven't had any issues. Build is pretty good for what you pay for. Not sure why the O.P thinks they are that bad. I wish the faders were a little quiter but it's a small issue all considered. I prefer this setup over the Nucleus I had used. Sure I'd like to see more options out there but I don't believe users are aware of how expensive it can be to put a full function controller out there that works on multiple platforms. Otherwise we'd have a boat load of options available.
Old 2nd January 2020
  #17
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JoaT's Avatar
There's been a lot of threads about the cracking of the cases with Artist series. I have no personal experience about them and thought they were pretty cool as a concept. Maybe I should look into them again, eol or not. They don't pop up used on our local channels a lot, which can be either a sign of them being tools that don't get upgraded to something better or a sign of them dying on people. I need to investigate them further now that I have found a few users who seem to be happy with theirs. =)
Old 2nd January 2020
  #18
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Plush's Avatar
Artist Mix is fantastic as is the EUCON protocol.

But you have to set it up right and use a DAW which is made to use Artist Mix (MAGIX Sequoia)
Old 2nd January 2020
  #19
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How the hell do you crack the case on an Artist. I guess if you are shipping them but in standard use unless you're doing hand stands on them I don't get it.
Old 2nd January 2020
  #20
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Matti's Avatar
Artist Mix had problems with cracking case near the faders but that was some 5 or more years ago under Euphonics name, not since.
Eucon is the best protocol I know of and is usable with most major DAWs and NLEs.
Had one for some years and used it with Protools and Cubase +Adobe Premier
-Regrettably I sold it while downsizing my system after retiring

Matti

P.S. Added a picture with it and the free Eucon app for the touchscreen
Attached Thumbnails
Sad state of DAW controllers in 2020-20180421_153756.jpg  

Last edited by Matti; 2nd January 2020 at 09:46 PM..
Old 2nd January 2020
  #21
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telecode's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
Are controllers even necessary at this point? seems like DAWs are more powerful using a mouse and keyb these days.
I find i a little handier to use knobs and faders compared to dragging mouse on screen.

I just use the Mackie integration on my midi controller with Cubase when mixing. It works as it works it is what it is. I guess really depends what kind of studio setup and workflow you have. In my setup ,i can't afford the desk space for a dedicated control surface .
Old 2nd January 2020
  #22
Gear Addict
 
Tobias Enstrom's Avatar
I use one of these. Works with most DAWs and has everything but the touch screen that the OP wanted.

I use it with Logic X

Old 2nd January 2020
  #23
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e-are's Avatar
As far as touch screens are concerned, Again, the apps for tablets are really good. Logic has one. Actually, most major DAWs have them. Pair that with a tablet and you'll need nothing else. I actually disconnected my Avid Control because the app is that good and more functional. Still using 3 Artist mixes.
Old 2nd January 2020
  #24
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Quetz's Avatar
I've developed an overhaul of the Mackie control protocol that lets you really use an MC device to its full potential, but it's Studio One only at the moment.
It'll support the X-Touch, original MCUs and Icon Qcon Pro X/G2/Pro original from the get-go.

It's due for release soon, if you're interested to see what a standard controller is capable of when it's modified by someone that doesn't like using a mouse, you'll probably find it quite interesting..

I'm hoping to port it to other platforms in the future.

There's a thread Here plus a somewhat pre-release rudimentary website Here.
Old 3rd January 2020
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e-are View Post

The apps for tablets are really good.
Except.... as discovered in the other thread....there are those who demand buttons, knobs, faders, and don't want touch display in any form for the controller.

Which then leads to the answer to the op of why things are as they are.

I believe the other thread is at the following consensus....the manufacturer (in the other thread) is gonna have to tool up for 8-10 totally different configurations just to please half of the requests/reject features.

And even then may not be able to sell 100 pieces of each yearly.

A lot of guys reject the avid stuff in the other thread.

So there you go. You just can't please enough of anyone to make manufacturing tool-up profitable.
Old 3rd January 2020
  #26
I can work either way, mouse and keyboard, or controller. But I do use the Matrix2 at work with PT, and I do like having those knobs and faders in front of me.
Old 3rd January 2020
  #27
Gear Maniac
 

I’ve tried a lot and the nucleus was the only one that I dug. If ssl can take a page from the x-desk and six and come up with an small nucleus that is priced for independent artists I think it would be great.
Old 3rd January 2020
  #28
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JoaT's Avatar
I was not aware of Avid's free eucon control software that forms a functional basis of s1 and dock. Downloaded it yesterday and initial testing with just that and ipad already show it is awesome for controlling cubase. Now I am having a strong gas for avid dock, as it seems it just implements a few tactile controls on top of this software making it even more awesome.

The downside of all this is still that eucon control is not available on many daws. Out of the ones I own I can get cubase under control with this, but my Reaper, Reason, Flstudio, Cakewalk and Live will not benefit from the investment.
Old 3rd January 2020
  #29
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DeadPoet's Avatar
I don't think there is a one-solution-will-do-everything approach. Composers need other stuff than video guys and I'm a mostly-audio-guy. The keyboard is for editing, I want the controllers for mixing.

Just like you I've searched high and low for the best solution for me and this is what I use at the moment:

3x Icon Platform M+/X+ with the scribble strip screens:
- works perfect as 24 motorized faders
- has the scribble strips
- costs nothing compared to all of the others
- small footprint
- customizable via the included software. I have for instance assigned a "flip faders" and "sends" to a few of the buttons so that I can automate sends more easily


Ipad Pro 12.9" with Lemur software:
- design your own custom layout, switches, knobs, sliders, macro's,... (lemur generates midi, Cubase has this awesome thing called Generic Remote which is a lot more powerful than you'd think)
- has nog tactile feedback so I replaced it a few weeks ago with:

Behringer X-Touch Mini:
- supercheap and very customizable as well through the Generic Remote protocol. It mainly controls my inserts and sends atm but I have room for expanding it.



Herwig
Old 3rd January 2020
  #30
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG BUDDHA View Post
i use a Tascam US-2400 that i have had since the day they came out.

works perfectly with cubase Pro 10.

i know its old, but i think it is an awesome controller.

Buddha
Perfectly? So how do you you join a vca group from the controller? No? You can't even select multiple channels! It can only do a very tiny part of what Cubase 10 can so I have do disagree about perfectly.
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