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DAW Control Surface?

Discussion in 'Consoles / Control Surfaces' started by lessthandmb, Jan 27, 2003.

  1. lessthandmb

    lessthandmb Guest

    Do you really need one or could you go on without it? I have the aardvark Q10 soundcard and am using sonar 2.1 xl and I was hearing about these Control Surfaces...what does these things do except let you control some of the software?
  2. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer Active Member


    > Do you really need one or could you go on without it? <

    I have no use for a control surface. They're so, like, 1990. :)

    Mixing on a DAW effectively is very different from mixing on a large console. If I were mixing a live show I'd surely want a physical console so I could grab any knob quickly. But for me, mixing on a DAW using its native abilities is far more efficient. I set the sliders to get a basic mix, then play the tune until I hear something that needs changing. I stop, draw in a level change using envelopes, then continue. When I'm done, I'm done! All changes thereafter follow what I drew, and I can modify the envelopes easily later if needed.

    One great thing about envelope editing is you can use it to raise or lower only tiny sections like one syllable. In fact, I rarely use compressors anymore for vocals or other sources that vary in level, since it's more precise to zero in and change just what needs changing with no pumping, or other artifacts.

  3. TheRealWaldo

    TheRealWaldo Guest

    DAW Control Surfaces> An expensive way to make your studio look more complex than it really is ;)

    Some people prefer 'hands on' editing, as they aren't as used to keyboard and mouse. Alot of them look cool too, but there really isn't any absolute need for them, just preference...

  4. lessthandmb

    lessthandmb Guest

    Envelopes...those are those lines that go across the wave form and you double click them to make points that udjust the volume, right? So the control surface would let you control each point without the clicking?
  5. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Personally, I prefer using a control surface. I have been using a TASCAM US-428 to control Cubase, and then Cubase SX, and I love it. My problem with it is the lack of motorized faders, so I have just sold it, and am purchasing another larger motorized fader unit.

    I like having my fingers on the faders and pots, that may be just because I am more old school, and like the feel of hardware under my fingers!

    I agree that some tweaking of the envelopes at certain parts of *certain* tracks is a nice feature of DAWs, but with motorized faders, the control surface will follow those changes just fine (this is the main problem I had with the TASCAM unit...following automation data). I make these subtle changes with my mouse also, and certainly it is easier to draw fades and dynamic automation data with a mouse.

    It is more than just faders however, it is also possible to tweak EQ settings, panning, and many other parameters. Some people have even suggested that it is better to turn off the computer screen altogether, and mix with only the control surface! That is a bit too extreme for me, but that is how it was done in the days before DAWs, there *were* no screens to watch! According to this school of thought, it really forces you to use your ears, focus, and concentrate on the music... again, I am not saying I buy into this philosophy, but it makes for an interesting discussion topic!!!

    I am looking into the different flavors of digital mixers that can also act as a control surface. I was first looking at getting a anew analog mixer for my control room and cue monitoring, and then *also* buy a control surface like the Mackie Controller. After giving that some more thought, I have decided to save some money, and buy one unit that will perform both tasks. Here are a few that can do that:

    TASCAM DM-24
    Behringer DDX3216
    Yamaha 02V and the new 01v96 (along with any of the "0" series)

    These are cool control surfaces in that you get 16 faders at once rather than 8!

    Good luck!
  6. mixman77

    mixman77 Guest

    We appologize for the inconvenience, but this member's posts have been deleted.


    [ January 29, 2003, 12:41 AM: Message edited by: SonOfSmawg ]
  7. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer Active Member


    > Envelopes...those are those lines that go across the wave form and you double click them to make points that udjust the volume, right? <


    > So the control surface would let you control each point without the clicking? <

    No, and that's the whole point! With envelopes you can stop playback, see exactly where you are by looking at the waveforms, zoom way in to add nodes and make changes as precisely as needed, and those changes are permanent. Unless you decide to change them. If you want to add a fade or crossfade, you draw it. If it fades too soon or too slow you can easily adjust it.

    With a control surface you have to ride the faders, learn all the parts that need to come up and down, make a lot of mistakes as you try to anticipate a needed adjustment but miss and so have to go back and do it again, etc. Yes, an inexpensive control surface is as good as the automation on a million dollar console of only ten years ago. But for me envelopes are even better.

  8. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Actually, I think the best solution is to use *both* the mouse and the control surface! For those really subtle changes and for drawing in automation data, use a mouse...no doubt about that! But for me, most of my channels are not automated, but remain constant for the entire song, for these, it is nice to have the real faders to work with.

    It is just a matter of choice, and both solutions work just fine!
  9. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer Active Member


    > It is just a matter of choice, and both solutions work just fine! <

    Agreed, and I'm not trying to be argumentative. :)

  10. lessthandmb

    lessthandmb Guest

    Thanks everyone for all your help. I decided not to purchase one just yet since there are far better things that I think i just be spending $ on. Is their anything that i need thats under 800? Im looking for something that everything could go through before goin to the Q10...is there anything like that? Something that makes it sound better or gets rid of hum or something?
    Pardon my lack knowledge...

  11. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    I didn't think you were, and I hope I didn't come off that way either! :)

    Jeremy: If you are that early in the studio setting up process, I would agree with Ethan that there are better things to spend your money on...like nice mics or monitors for example. The control surface should just be icing on the cake since it really does not change your sound. Invest first in the things that are going to effect how you sound, then go for the things that make your life easier!

    One other point, with control surfaces, you can get your mix 95% of the way there using faders, and then go in and fine tune some automation data with a mouse!
  12. Pez

    Pez Active Member

    Jeremy, no, you don't need anything else in front of the Q10. Just plug in your mics and go for it. There is phantom power on the first 4 inputs only. Be sure to plug into them and hit the phantom power button on the left of the Q10 before recording with a mic that needs power.
  13. lessthandmb

    lessthandmb Guest

    So no pre amps or anything yet? I have two studio projects B1s used for micing amps and vocals, and I plug my A/E guitar straight into one of the guitar inputs on the Q10. I havnt recorded my full band yet and thats what Im planning to do. Hopefully have everything ready by summer. Im thinking about a vocal mic, a drum mic kit, and maybe room mics? Any suggestions on mics or anything else?

    I dont know how i would be able to learn anything without the help of everyone here at RO....


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