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lookatthisguy
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Debating Control Surface Options for Film Scoring

Tue Jun 16, 2020 12:06 am

Hey all,

I see several questions about control surfaces in the forum lately, but I'm considering buying one for myself as I'm heading off to grad school to study screen scoring. Without being too wordy, here's what I'm considering.:

For years, I really wanted the AVID (formerly Euphonix) series of Artist devices, and I'm seeing some reasonable prices on them used now that they're long discontinued, but of course I'm going into that a little blind with respect to how functional they are/how easy/fast it is to choose a parameter and tweak it using the Control's touchscreen. To that end, I'm not finding a lot of clarification on the replacement devices, the S1 and the Pro Tools Dock in particular. (I'm also not sure yet if using the Avid Control app nets me enough of a gain over Logic Remote to consider even going that route.) On the other side of things, I'm considering either the Behringer X-Touch or the Icon QCon Pro G2, but those look more in line with the Mackie MCU—which I'm only not really considering because even used, the prices are up there, and the others are slightly smaller I think—and I'm not sure yet how the workflow goes for adjusting parameters beyond basic track controls, so I don't know how satisfied I'll be with those.

I'd love to hear from anyone with experiences with those, or with any other control surfaces I'm not considering or unaware of, especially if you're doing scoring work as well. What's everyone using out there? How happy are you with it? I've watched a ton of interviews of film composers in their studios, but can't always tell what everyone is using, hence my decision to ask. Thanks all!
[ 2019 16” MBP: 2.3 GHz 8-Core, 64 GB RAM, 2 TB; OS X.5.4; LP X.5.
Early-'08 Mac Pro (3,1): 2.8 GHz 8-Core, 16 GB RAM; OS 10.11.6; Logic X.3.3. ]

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MikeRobinson
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Re: Debating Control Surface Options for Film Scoring

Wed Jun 17, 2020 8:33 am

Does the faculty at the graduate school offer any suggestions? Have they told you yet what their official software suite is going to look like? It may well be that they're a "Pro Tools plus AVID" shop and will expect you to do likewise.
Mike Robinson
"I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
Logic Pro X, MacBook Pro, 88-key MIDI controller.
Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
 
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robinloops
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Re: Debating Control Surface Options for Film Scoring

Wed Jun 17, 2020 8:52 am

Not a control surface but extremely useful for video editing (I use mine for logic). I highly recommend a contour shuttle pro. It isn’t a midi device and works via existing key commands. Great addition to a control surface for logic and very useful with video editing software.
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Ploki
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Re: Debating Control Surface Options for Film Scoring

Wed Jun 17, 2020 2:49 pm

i bought this now:
https://www.nobcontrol.com
haven't received it yet.
i had Emagic Logic Control (Mackie precursors).
Also used Euphonix Artist - plasticky finnicky garbage, especially the touch screen.
Also used old old old DigiDesign C24 - don't get me started.

The only controller that i used and really liked was Avid S6. That thing is built FINE.

Frankly, i sold everything i had and bought Nob Control because i'm just faster with a mouse. Faders just took so much space and just annoyed me most of the time. I'm sure its great if you're used to analog workflow.

+1 for shuttle tho! I have one, but i don't use it that much anymore...
But i always missed Jogwheel and Transport from my Emagic Logic Control :)
2018 Mini i7 | 2018 13" Quad i5 | Mini: Mojave 10.14.6 / MBP: Catalina 10.15.1 | Logic 10.5
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robinloops
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Re: Debating Control Surface Options for Film Scoring

Wed Jun 17, 2020 4:19 pm

Ploki, I have a method that turns it into a jog wheel (outer ring) and horizontal/vertical zoom (inner ring) plus various playback controls with the buttons (but I only use the jog wheel). The outer wheel for jog is set so the further you turn the outer wheel the faster it jogs. I can share if you like.
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fisherking
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Re: Debating Control Surface Options for Film Scoring

Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:00 pm

Ploki wrote:
i bought this now:
https://www.nobcontrol.com
haven't received it yet.
i had Emagic Logic Control (Mackie precursors).
Also used Euphonix Artist - plasticky finnicky garbage, especially the touch screen.
Also used old old old DigiDesign C24 - don't get me started.

The only controller that i used and really liked was Avid S6. That thing is built FINE.

Frankly, i sold everything i had and bought Nob Control because i'm just faster with a mouse. Faders just took so much space and just annoyed me most of the time. I'm sure its great if you're used to analog workflow.

+1 for shuttle tho! I have one, but i don't use it that much anymore...
But i always missed Jogwheel and Transport from my Emagic Logic Control :)


huh! i was planning that a few years ago (& discussing it here on the forum); did they confirm your order? i heard that they had stopped production (probably not true). let us know how u like it.
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lookatthisguy
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Re: Debating Control Surface Options for Film Scoring

Thu Jun 18, 2020 2:01 am

MikeRobinson wrote:
Does the faculty at the graduate school offer any suggestions? Have they told you yet what their official software suite is going to look like? It may well be that they're a "Pro Tools plus AVID" shop and will expect you to do likewise.


Good questions! The program is all Logic and Pro Tools. They do recommend the Korg nanoKontrol (which I own already), or the Behringer I mentioned, but I don’t know if there’s a way to use pan pots or faders for anything beyond panning and levels.

I know the Avid devices can do that, hence my reason for asking for input. I have read that the later series Avid-branded Artist devices were less flimsy than the Euphonix models, so I was hoping to hear about those, though I do appreciate your input, Ploki. Same to the rest of you so far!
[ 2019 16” MBP: 2.3 GHz 8-Core, 64 GB RAM, 2 TB; OS X.5.4; LP X.5.
Early-'08 Mac Pro (3,1): 2.8 GHz 8-Core, 16 GB RAM; OS 10.11.6; Logic X.3.3. ]

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facej
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Re: Debating Control Surface Options for Film Scoring

Thu Jun 18, 2020 2:41 pm

The Mackie Control/Logic Control/X-Touch can do far more than control panning and levels. Read the Mackie Control section of the "Control Surfaces Support" document. I have an X-Touch and a nanoKontrol. Stopped using the nanoKontrol about 5 seconds after I got the big faders ;-)

If you are going to be doing both Logic and ProTools then...X-Touch and at least 1 iPad. The iPad does great with Logic Remote, and with Avid Control. Avid Control for Logic? well, it's really different...but sort of works, yeah.

Usable S1 (1295) + iPad (329) is $1624. X-Touch ($600) add an iPad (329) nice combo.

https://help.apple.com/controlsurfacess ... ac/10.3/#/
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Ploki
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Re: Debating Control Surface Options for Film Scoring

Sat Jun 20, 2020 12:03 pm

fisherking wrote:
Ploki wrote:
i bought this now:
https://www.nobcontrol.com
haven't received it yet.
i had Emagic Logic Control (Mackie precursors).
Also used Euphonix Artist - plasticky finnicky garbage, especially the touch screen.
Also used old old old DigiDesign C24 - don't get me started.

The only controller that i used and really liked was Avid S6. That thing is built FINE.

Frankly, i sold everything i had and bought Nob Control because i'm just faster with a mouse. Faders just took so much space and just annoyed me most of the time. I'm sure its great if you're used to analog workflow.

+1 for shuttle tho! I have one, but i don't use it that much anymore...
But i always missed Jogwheel and Transport from my Emagic Logic Control :)


huh! i was planning that a few years ago (& discussing it here on the forum); did they confirm your order? i heard that they had stopped production (probably not true). let us know how u like it.



yeah, it's STILL on its way, greece (Where they come from) had flights cancelled due to covid, etc..
They do batches apparently, and they run out of each batch like 2 hours after the mail "fresh batch is available" :) I was pretty fast the last time and got through.

i'll report back, hope its as good as it looks because I'm not gonna start midi mapping now
2018 Mini i7 | 2018 13" Quad i5 | Mini: Mojave 10.14.6 / MBP: Catalina 10.15.1 | Logic 10.5
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Ploki
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Re: Debating Control Surface Options for Film Scoring

Thu Jul 02, 2020 2:56 am

I got it. Been playing with it for an hour or so...
it's... different. special. fun. no fuss.
The knob can do various things:
- key strokes
- scrollwheel
- click+drag
- master volume (not in my case since i have an RME UFX+ which doesn't do OS level volume unlike FF400)

I've already setup a profile for scrubbing, and it works better than any midi controller i tried for it for some reason.
The feel of controlling elements on screen is just spot on, it's great. The knob is big and heavy and the the precision of element control is impeccable (not to mention it works normally with precision modifies such as Shift/Cmd for some plugins).

best of all, you don't need to assign anything anywhere.
you plug it in and can instantly control any on screen parameter. pure bliss.

This is really a DAW/Mixing/Editing workflow controller however - since you're limited to a single parameter on screen, and it's not as robust as hard-assigning midi.

however it's the first controller i actually think i'll use.
2018 Mini i7 | 2018 13" Quad i5 | Mini: Mojave 10.14.6 / MBP: Catalina 10.15.1 | Logic 10.5
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skijumptoes
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Re: Debating Control Surface Options for Film Scoring

Thu Jul 02, 2020 4:22 am

You can use the Eucon/Avid control app for free, i'd try that out first on an ipad/android tab. You may find that a control surface doesn't add to your workflow, and it'll save you a lot of money and hours configuring. The app provides a very good indication.

MCU is great when you consider it's age, but the character limit on the displays is a real pain to navigate a project, unless you're smart with your mixer groupings you will probably default to mouse as it's quicker.

I really like the Eucon system, but as Ploki touched on their controllers aren't great quality in the lower price ranges. However, the ability to be able to focus Eucon on different applications across a network is really handy for video work.

You can pick up the old emagic Logic Control units cheap and run them via MIDI connection as they have MCU support - i have one and it works fine.

Much depends on your needs - What do you envisage the primary role of the controller? If it's mixing the Console 1 is pretty good to consider, although it's a specific purpose. If it's performing with instruments then the Komplete Kontrol S Mk2 integrations are pretty good if you're a Komplete user.
 
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Ploki
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Re: Debating Control Surface Options for Film Scoring

Mon Jul 06, 2020 6:55 am

After a few more days with the NobControl i'm absolutely in love with it. It takes 0 desk space and it's silent.

One thing about the Logic Control i had before was that it's HUGE, and the motorized faders are loud.

The only thing i could miss it for was using faders for headphone mixes, because that's literally the only scenario where i sometimes wish I could move more than one fader at once.

I use nOb control in conjuction with Elgato Stream Deck (small one, 5x3 buttons) and I don't need anything else.
It's not performance oriented since its just a single knob, but i have a couple of cheapo pot-only controllers when i need that (rarely, since i map everything on my Roli 5D touch anyway)
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mdee
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Re: Debating Control Surface Options for Film Scoring

Tue Jul 07, 2020 11:20 am

I have a Behringer X-Touch I might be willing to part with.
Bought new January 2019 and has less than 5 hours of use.
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lookatthisguy
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Re: Debating Control Surface Options for Film Scoring

Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:47 pm

I may check in on that when I'm ready to buy, mdee!
[ 2019 16” MBP: 2.3 GHz 8-Core, 64 GB RAM, 2 TB; OS X.5.4; LP X.5.
Early-'08 Mac Pro (3,1): 2.8 GHz 8-Core, 16 GB RAM; OS 10.11.6; Logic X.3.3. ]

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lookatthisguy
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Re: Debating Control Surface Options for Film Scoring

Tue Jul 21, 2020 1:50 pm

skijumptoes wrote:
You can use the Eucon/Avid control app for free, i'd try that out first on an ipad/android tab. You may find that a control surface doesn't add to your workflow, and it'll save you a lot of money and hours configuring. The app provides a very good indication.

MCU is great when you consider it's age, but the character limit on the displays is a real pain to navigate a project, unless you're smart with your mixer groupings you will probably default to mouse as it's quicker.

I really like the Eucon system, but as Ploki touched on their controllers aren't great quality in the lower price ranges. However, the ability to be able to focus Eucon on different applications across a network is really handy for video work.

You can pick up the old emagic Logic Control units cheap and run them via MIDI connection as they have MCU support - i have one and it works fine.

Much depends on your needs - What do you envisage the primary role of the controller? If it's mixing the Console 1 is pretty good to consider, although it's a specific purpose. If it's performing with instruments then the Komplete Kontrol S Mk2 integrations are pretty good if you're a Komplete user.


I realized I forgot to reply here! I've been using Logic Remote, and downloaded the Avid remote app and experimented with it a bit but still have to do a deeper dive into it. The ability to mix is a big one—I absolutely want motorized faders—but I'm really most interested in the ability to record automation with tactile controls. If I can get away from the trackpad as much as possible, choosing parameters quickly on the surface itself, that's all the better. As for Komplete: I just finally bought it so I'll be looking more into how that works, but I do fully anticipate my next MIDI controller will be an S88 for that reason.
[ 2019 16” MBP: 2.3 GHz 8-Core, 64 GB RAM, 2 TB; OS X.5.4; LP X.5.
Early-'08 Mac Pro (3,1): 2.8 GHz 8-Core, 16 GB RAM; OS 10.11.6; Logic X.3.3. ]

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Ploki
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Re: Debating Control Surface Options for Film Scoring

Wed Jul 22, 2020 3:48 am

i find writing automation with nObcontrol 1000x better than any midi controller ever.
resolution is generally better, resolution MODIFIER works (and can be permanently enabled), not having to assign stuff to the controller if its not auto-asign is a godsend.
i remember using the MCU predecessor and accessing all the pages for plugin control was always such a pain in the ass.
i really can't recommend this enough :D

it's the only controller i intuitively used - as opposed to most DAW controller i forced myself to work with.
2018 Mini i7 | 2018 13" Quad i5 | Mini: Mojave 10.14.6 / MBP: Catalina 10.15.1 | Logic 10.5
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