Control Surfaces Buying Guide

What is a Control Surface?

Small Control Surface

Desktop Control Surface

Console-style Control Surface

Advantages of control surface

 

Before purchasing control surface, you must know – what is control surface? What types are available? What are the benefits? What are the pitfalls? Do I really need a control surface? And many more questions… our suggestion is – don’t buy anything until you are not well informed about it.

 

What is a Control Surface?

A control surface is a hardware device, which controls the functions of the software mixer. It connects to your computer and helps you to manipulate the music software physically through MIDI. There are three types of control surface available in the market. They are –

 

Small control surface

The name implies, it is very small in size. It doesn’t take much space in your desktop. You can easily plug into your computer beside your keyboard and mouse. It is perfect for personal recordings. Usually, this type of control surface consists of single fader or knob, transport control, selection, pan, solo and mute. Additionally, some manufacturers also offer automated fader and wireless operation.

 

Desktop Control Surface

It is large control surface. Naturally, you will get more controls and features form small control surface units. You can more than one tracks at once. You can specify each fader to control individual tracks. It will help you to edit more tracks at once. Usually it comes with additional controls to navigate your software interface and switchable mode of operation.

 

It is recommended that, read carefully the manufacturers manual to get the complete list of features. Usually, the setup process of it is pretty straightforward. Most of them come with lots of inbuilt templates for Cubase, Pro Tools, Logic, Live and many more… some most advanced controllers also offer you to program your own mods.

Developing your own mod is very time consuming and need lots of hands on experiences. But once you do that, you can get enhanced and customized work.

 

Console-style Control Surface

When you are dreaming about your studio, you can see, there are lots of knobs, faders, blinking lights in front of your eyes. You can fulfill your dream by using console-style control surface. It has a big screen and big board. It simply replicates the recording console. It has the ability to integrate your music software not only that, it can integrate your studio equipments also and provide you a modern and enhanced music production environment.

 

Advantages of control surface

Using control surface, you can experience a completely enhanced sequencing experience. it is similar to, working with a standalone multi-track recorder with tape like transport button. Not only that, you can use it like a automated digital mixer too, specifically if your control surface has plug in effects like compressors, reverb etc…

Another great advantage of control surface is – you can work with MIDI tracks. Using this you can combine multiple tracks into 2 channels. This will help you to setting global volume. Additionally, you can use hardware fader for each track, every channel of your multi-timbral module. Control surface helps you to mix your MIDI tracks easier.

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