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Good compact DAW controller?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Good compact DAW controller?
Panason
The Mackie Control is nice but it's big and expensive... Is there anything more compact? The Nektar Panorama P1 is the only thing I can see but the lack of dedicated mute buttons will surely annoy me...
The Behringer options look a bit too cheaply made and the Presonus stuff seems to be tailored for Studio One...
I'm moving to Bitwig so the P1 will work well but it's a little too minimal...
hw408
Ive seen these before but never really thought about them. Hardware for controlling the daw software.

Is the appeal for this basically having hardware level controls for audio being mixed? and a transport control.. I wonder if they add anything for a mainly midi out type of daw project.
Sinamsis
Dude I’m pretty sure the Behringer XTouch (the big one) is the Mackie Control. Doesn’t Behringer own Mackie? Anyways that’s what I use. It’s relatively cheap and has automated faders. Works reasonably well with Ableton and Logic. Not small, but I don’t know how much smaller you can get and still have automated faders and an adequate number of faders.
Panason
Sinamsis wrote:
Dude I’m pretty sure the Behringer XTouch (the big one) is the Mackie Control. Doesn’t Behringer own Mackie? Anyways that’s what I use. It’s relatively cheap and has automated faders. Works reasonably well with Ableton and Logic. Not small, but I don’t know how much smaller you can get and still have automated faders and an adequate number of faders.


Thanks. That's the thing, it would be cool to have something like that minus the faders for a small desk... which is why I have audio interfaces for mixing in the DAW and not a digital mixer.

Anyway, maybe I can squeeze it in since the Push is out. How do you find the X- Touch? I watched the promo video and the rotary encoders looked rather wobbly... I was surprised they actually included that footage. Do they work smoothly and consistently?

I understand there is a Windows-only editor for programming it to work as a MIDI controller?
Sinamsis
Panason wrote:
Sinamsis wrote:
Dude I’m pretty sure the Behringer XTouch (the big one) is the Mackie Control. Doesn’t Behringer own Mackie? Anyways that’s what I use. It’s relatively cheap and has automated faders. Works reasonably well with Ableton and Logic. Not small, but I don’t know how much smaller you can get and still have automated faders and an adequate number of faders.


Thanks. That's the thing, it would be cool to have something like that minus the faders for a small desk... which is why I have audio interfaces for mixing in the DAW and not a digital mixer.

Anyway, maybe I can squeeze it in since the Push is out. How do you find the X- Touch? I watched the promo video and the rotary encoders looked rather wobbly... I was surprised they actually included that footage. Do they work smoothly and consistently?

I understand there is a Windows-only editor for programming it to work as a MIDI controller?


If you don’t need motorized faders you could consider a KMix. The touch strips are not that sensitive. There’s also the APC 40 mk II which is slimmer and much more compact, and if you use Ableton you get access to the AB crossfader which is awesome.

I guess I’m not that particular, but the X Touch is good enough for me. The faders could be a little smoother, which is most apparent with automation. Ha maybe they could use some lubrication, I haven’t been bothered to look into it as it doesn’t bother me. I haven’t done anything with MIDI as it’s pretty much plug and play with Ableton and Logic, my two main DAWs. I use it at a very basic level. Transport control and faders (with scribble strips, which makes it for me). So take anything I say with a grain of salt. Again, I really bought it for the automated faders and transport control, so if you don’t value that look elsewhere. But if you’re not looking for that, you could just get any MIDI controller and set it up.
Panason
Thanks but what about the knobs above the faders? Those are what I'm worried about and what I'll be using more than the faders.

and yeah, the LED strips above the knobs is what I'm after, for working with plugins and seeing track names. I tried Maschine mk2 but it's all over the place... Will not be using Live anymore which is why the Push 2 is being sold.
Sinamsis
Ha sorry I should’ve been clear. The knobs aren’t bad to me. I was trying to say the faders are more of an issue than the knobs but even those aren’t bad. Again, I’m not super particular so take it with a grain of salt. But the reviews are generally positive. And you can get them for a decent discount second hand. But they are bulky.
Panason
Thanks!

hw408 wrote:
Ive seen these before but never really thought about them. Hardware for controlling the daw software.

Is the appeal for this basically having hardware level controls for audio being mixed? and a transport control.. I wonder if they add anything for a mainly midi out type of daw project.


Yes, and for controlling VST or device parameters . You can set up virtual devices in the DAW to control MIDI hardware and use the encoders on the controller for the most common parameters.

Just being able to move around the timeline with the wheel and start/stop the sequencer with the buttons is much nicer than using the mouse!
droningspaghettimonster
there was a recent discussion in the fb group for bitwig. they say that push or apc mkii are the best/most full featured controllers for bitwig in regards of available and supported scripts. i'm myself thinking about either buying apc or push1. why not hold on to push? i think push 2 is much more appealing due to the piano roll being displayed on the screen
ayruos
The Novation Launchcontrol (and it's various XL/Mini editions) could be of interest?
artieTwelve
droningsphagettimonster wrote:
t i'm myself thinking about either buying apc or push1. why not hold on to push?


Same here. I've been watching ebay. I think I might pick up a cheap Push 1 and see if it's what I need. If I decide I want the Push 2 instead, I'll sell it and pick up that one. I'm using Bitwig but no where near it's full potential, so I'm thinking the Push 1 is all I need for now.
Panason
droningsphagettimonster wrote:
there was a recent discussion in the fb group for bitwig. they say that push or apc mkii are the best/most full featured controllers for bitwig in regards of available and supported scripts. i'm myself thinking about either buying apc or push1. why not hold on to push? i think push 2 is much more appealing due to the piano roll being displayed on the screen


Thanks. The Panorama P1 is specifically configured for Bitwig by Nektar. The Akai doesn't work for me as it has no screen. The extension for Push 2 on Bitwig is 3rd party, and was really laggy and just bad last time I tried it ( with Bitwig 2.3)... The Push also lacks ff/rewind and marker / locator buttons for working on the timeline. seriously, i just don't get it The 64 pads are kind of useless to me and take a lot of space... launching clips is fun for mindless jams but makes it impossible for me to focus on arranging a track.
Step sequencing on Ableton + Push is disappointingly lame, too...

I'll check again with Bitiwig 2.4 to see if there are any improvements.
Sinamsis
This probably won’t be the fanciest, or sturdiest, but looks compact and well featured at a good price.

https://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/korg-nanokontrol-studio/j315 11000000000?cntry=us&source=3WWMWXGP&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI2s3fidup3gIVD7j ACh3D8g35EAQYBSABEgIb1_D_BwE
Panason
Yes that's pretty neat along with the nanoKey Studio which will probably be my "keyboard" after Push is gone...at least that sort of resembles a piano keyboard!

It looks like a decision between the compactness of the P1 and the comforts of the evil Behringer...

ayruos wrote:
The Novation Launchcontrol (and it's various XL/Mini editions) could be of interest?


Thanks. I like having a dedicated screen on the controller focused on specific things- to reduce the time spent looking at the computer screen....and not having to remember which one track 5(for example) is.... so this and the Akai stuff won't do it.
Panason
There's also this



Icon Platform M+ with display.

but I trust this company even less than Behringer!
cretaceousear
FWIW: I have the cheaper Nektar Impact 49 k/b - and Nektar made a decent job of making their software pick up knobs and stuff in Reaper. Been a while since I used it but you can select a midi channel in Reaper, twist a knob on the k/b and it gets auto assigned.
I used it to control some VSTs so no need for anything to be motorised.
I can't understand why these sort of interfaces haven't taken over everywhere...
Panason
cretaceousear wrote:

I can't understand why these sort of interfaces haven't taken over everywhere...


Probably because the hardware market is so destroyed by software that not even hardware to control the software is deemed a profitable enterprise by the sheep herder bean counters who call the shots. Dead Banana

And then we have the lobotomised Apple fanboys who see hardware with actual physical controls as old-fashioned and like to think they're in some kind of sterilised Star Trek future while they fondle their touchpads.... seriously, i just don't get it

It's the dictatorship of the majority...
Apparently the majority of people using DAWs largely make music-by-numbers and don't realise how shit using the mouse and staring at a screen is because they never knew anything else.. and they're too young to realise they are going to get RSI.

The pros just use the Mackie which costs a grand.

Yeah. I don't need long motorised faders eating up my desk space either... just a quality controller without fucking rubber buttons. you kids get off my lawn
Dave Peck
have you considered the Artist MIX daw controller from Avid/Euphonix?
damase
Does this type of thing really help when doing a mixdown?

I use ableton, but not for live play or soft synths or beats only for recording/editting/mixing... ive considered the push before because it looks nice and is seamless integration but i always reason it down that ill just be switching between the push and keyboard/mouse because it seems so many things just need that mouse.

What i mean is, does it really pull you out of the computer to be more productive overall? It seems a lot of what i do when mixdowns is all arrangement view: copy/paste/duplicate, level adjustment, new track, plugin prameter adjust, shifting clips around the timeline, fade adjustment... i just really want to know if there is a better way to do all this or if i should continue to chug away at it with keyboard/mouse
Panason
Quote:
copy/paste/duplicate, level adjustment, new track, plugin prameter adjust, shifting clips around the timeline, fade adjustment... i just really want to know if there is a better way to do all this or if i should continue to chug away at it with keyboard/mouse


Yeah you can do pretty much all of this (except perhaps copy paste or move clips) with a control surface.
It just provides tactile quick access to most commonly used controls and parameters so you can avoid the mouse and computer screen quite a lot.

It works as an interface for mixing, as physical transport controls for the DAW's sequencer , and a controller for plugins and other DAW devices. With one of these and a trackball you get possibly the most painless way to work with a DAW.

Dave Peck wrote:
have you considered the Artist MIX daw controller from Avid/Euphonix?


wow, hadn't thought of Avid. that looks neat ... ...they also have THIS for pro-tools !
damase
Quote:
It works as an interface for mixing, as physical transport controls for the DAW's sequencer , and a controller for plugins and other DAW devices. With one of these and a trackball you get possibly the most painless way to work with a DAW.


Thanks, i do understand the theory of it, and theory i should really really need it as im a hardware lover but computer mixer... ill have to try something out. That protools dock does look amazing, i need something like that but ableton. I dont really need the ableton array of push pads. Thanks for your thoughts, good topic
Phil999
damase wrote:

What i mean is, does it really pull you out of the computer to be more productive overall?

it depends. Some people know one workflow only (as Panason said), some know several workflows, be it from the analogue days or just because they like to work fast with tactile control.

I like to work with DAW controllers. Soloing and muting and level adjustment is much quicker, that alone is worth the investment and desktop space for me. And since several NLE's like DaVinci Resolve and Adobe Premiere support the Mackie protocol today, a DAW controller is even more useful at my place. In NLE's it's often only the transport wheel and the start/stop buttons that are handy while the motorised faders aren't being used often (although very useful sometimes to quickly shut down a loud windy audio track that you didn't see coming).

When I'm on the road I use iPads as a DAW controller replacement. I couldn't work with ease without DAW controller (and MIDI or OSC controllers in general).

Tip: you don't have to put the DAW controller in front, occupying most precious desktop space. It can be put on the left or right.
Panason
Yep. However, my experience with the Push suggests it is best to have the computer screen not too far from the DAW controller, and the mouse ( ideally trackball) next to the controller. If you have a mouse/ trackball with extra buttons you can use the mouse driver or a 3rd party one(Steermouse/ USB overdrive on the Mac) to map those extra buttons to things like Duplicate or pointer/pen toggle for even mo' better control. The computer keyboard can go in a slide-out tray under the desk as it won't be needed much.
Phil999
Panason wrote:
The computer keyboard can go in a slide-out tray under the desk as it won't be needed much.

that's another good tip. And the trackball, or mouse with programmable buttons.

Personally I always have a 3dx controller with me that I not only use for 3D applications, but for all other software including DAW's. Lots of programmable buttons. Needs a bit of xml editing to program the 6-axis cap for key commands though.

Edit: xml editing for key/joystick/mouse commands is only for the 6-axis cap. The buttons are of course directly (and easily) assignable, with labels of your choice. And there are lots of buttons on the bigger 3dx devices.

https://www.3dconnexion.co.uk
damase
I dont really want to go down a route of third party apps or scripting for assigning functionality shortcuts to hardware buttons... that said, if one of these controllers did have a couple assignable buttons it would be valuable i think to get that copy/paste/duplicate behavior... imo every time i would have to adjust my arm to the keyboard instead of the controller is just another reason the controller isnt perfect
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