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Control surfaces?

Tue Apr 06, 2021 4:47 pm

Hi all. Got a more general question this time. I’ve been a Logic user for many years, and have made some viable audio products with the DAW we all know and love. But I’ve never owned a control surface. I do all my automation and mixing on the screen. Draw automation lines, use the mouse for hand-fades etc.

How much does adding this element to your home studio really improve your workflow?

I should say that I don’t usually work with bands etc - on most of my projects it’s just me, playing all the instruments one by one, with maybe a guest vocalist or instrumentalist coming in to overdub something at some point.

Does having a physical board with motorized faders really make a difference in your day to day with Logic?

What are your experiences working with/without one?
Logic 10.4.8. Intel iMac, still running High Sierra
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Re: Control surfaces?

Tue Apr 06, 2021 5:13 pm

It really depends on how you adapt to it and your use cases. I've known people to spend thousands on a sexy controller, stick it in front of the desk, and barely use the play/stop buttons because they are so mouse focused in their work flow, they didn't adapt to the new possibilities.

Personally, hands on faders for mixing and automation is great, as is the ability to balance a mix with your eyes closed rather than having the screen steal your attention, and obviously writing automation by feel gives a performance aspect to things.

But none of that stuff might be important to you, if your workflow is painting in notes with the mouse, and precise straight line automation drawn in with the mouse, and so on. Also, if you are running projects with 80+ tracks, having 8 faders might not be as much of a draw as you think if you're always having to flip fader banks around in groups of 8 (though Logic does it's best to be useful here).

So, other peoples' experience aren't really going to tell you what you want to know - whether one would be useful to *you*. Only you can assess that...
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Re: Control surfaces?

Tue Apr 06, 2021 5:28 pm

Great answer. I’m leaning toward continuing to work without one, though I ran into a producer buddy of mine the other day who almost made fun of me when I told him I mix on the screen, and it made me insecure lol. I just feel like I wouldn’t use it that much beyond play/pause and maybe the scrub wheel. :)
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Re: Control surfaces?

Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:39 am

Inge wrote:
I just feel like I wouldn’t use it that much beyond play/pause and maybe the scrub wheel. :)

This and controlling the faders, solos, mutes,rec, markers and pans is a different experience than using the mouse and the keyboard for these tasks just because of the feel! Yeah, turning, moving, pushing real objects rather than virtual ones on a screen can be addictive!

There's a lot if cheap controllers on the market so why not see by yourself what it feels like to use say, for example, a Korg nanoKontrol2? Sure it's limited, it's not a Mackie Control but for a few $ spent it could be a very fun and useful tool to use.

Just saying :wink:
Logic Pro 10.6.3, 10.5.1, MacOs Catalina 10.15.7, 2012 iMac 27" 3.4 GHz i7, 1TB HD W/ Fusion drive, 8 GB ram, MacBook Pro Early 2015 (Retina, 13-inch), Behringer X-Touch, Focusrite Saffire Le w/ thunderbolt adapter - > firewire 800/400 cable, Korg nanokontrol2, Korg MicroKey 27, Alesis VI61
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Re: Control surfaces?

Wed Apr 07, 2021 6:43 am

I just picked up the aforementioned nanokontrol 2 as I used to mixed/automate etc all onscreen and with the mouse.

The price was great to try it as it’s only $99. The faders for on the fly automation of modulation expression etc are great but actually havi physical buttons again for solo, mute, play, record, (plus all the keystrokes I have on the Mac keyboard) has made everything faster and after a few days more intuitive.

There are quite a few cheaper ones to try and see if you like it.
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Re: Control surfaces?

Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:31 pm

My absolute favorite control surface is my iPhone. I run Logic Remote on it and can control the recording process over by my mics and instrument without having to push buttons on the computer. Beyond satisfying - makes things so easy.
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Re: Control surfaces?

Wed Apr 07, 2021 2:58 pm

Logic remote is great. I use on iPhone (mostly for recording booth control when recording my vocals). With an iPad, you can use landscape view to access multiple faders at once.

Personally I couldn’t live without a control surface with physical motorized faders.
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