The Best Control Surface for Pro Tools

The Best Control Surface for Pro Tools

A control surface saves you lots of time, offering you the workflow that you need for composing and mixing efficiently, so in this article, we’ll reveal the best control surface for Pro Tools available on the market.

Quick answer:

Avid S1 EUCON – great choice if you’re looking for a compact and intuitive control surface that offers you speed and precision for bringing your projects to life.

RAVEN MTi2 – great choice for someone who is looking for an affordable control surface that has a 27” screen and is feature-packed.

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Table of Contents


About Our Top Choices

Avid S1 EUCON Desktop Control Surface

Avid S1 EUCON Desktop Control Surface
See price @ Sweetwater

More details…

It’s undoubtful that Avid S1 EUCON is the best control surface overall. It’s very compact and has a lot of built-in features such as touchscreen-integrated keys and responsive, touch-sensitive, motorized faders and knobs.

Pros
  • 8 touch-sensitive faders
  • Compatible with the free Pro Tools First
  • Control app for iOS and Android
  • High-speed EUCON Ethernet protocol
  • Compatible with other DAWs and production software, including Cubase, Logic Pro and Premiere Pro
Cons
  • Eucontrol software may glitch

Steven Slate Audio RAVEN MTi2

Steven Slate Audio RAVEN MTi2
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

More details…

It’s no wonder why Steven Slate Audio RAVEN MTi2 is the most popular among buyers. This control surface offers the best experience possible. It allows you to control every fader, send, pan, and other things easily with just a swipe.

Pros
  • 27″ touchscreen
  • FADERS 3.0 software
  • Supports Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Cubase, Nuendo, Studio One, Supports Digital Performer and Logic Pro X
  • Slate Remote
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Steep learning curve
  • Difficult to set up

Top 5 Best Control Surface for Pro Tools

  1. Avid S1 EUCON Desktop Control Surface
  2. Steven Slate Audio RAVEN MTi2
  3. Steven Slate Audio RAVEN MTZ
  4. Avid S3 EUCON Desktop Control Surface
  5. Avid Pro Tools Dock Control Surface

Best Control Surface for Pro Tools Reviews


Avid S1 EUCON Desktop Control Surface

Avid S1 EUCON Desktop Control Surface

Pros
  • 8 touch-sensitive faders
  • Compatible with the free Pro Tools First
  • Control app for iOS and Android
  • High-speed EuCon Ethernet protocol
  • Compatible with other DAWs and production software, including Cubase, Logic Pro and Premiere Pro
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Sweetwater

It’s undoubtful that Avid S1 EUCON is the best control surface overall. It’s very compact and has a lot of built-in features such as touchscreen-integrated keys and responsive, touch-sensitive, motorized faders and knobs.

Best features and specs

Avid S1 EUCON is operated by EuCon, which is responsible for thorough software/hardware integration and coincident full-touch control of Avid and other software functions over the Ethernet much faster than MIDI. Also, it offers intuitive operation as it works with the Control iPad app and Free Pro Tools.

User impressions

Users say that Avid S1 EUCON has an excellent built-quality and well-thought design. Also, it has a very sturdy and reliable iPad holder and responds fast to anything that you want it to do.

What we think

What we really like about Avid S1 EUCON is that it gives you an enjoyable experience and software integration, precision, immediacy, and speed that is crucial for transforming your creative ideas into polished and finalized projects.

Bottomline

Avid S1 EUCON is a great choice for someone who is looking for a compact and intuitive control surface that offers you speed and precision for bringing your projects to life.


Steven Slate Audio RAVEN MTi2

Steven Slate Audio RAVEN MTi2

Pros
  • 27″ touchscreen
  • FADERS 3.0 software
  • Supports Pro Tools, Ableton Liv, Cubase, Nuendo, Studio One. Supports Digital Performer and Logic Pro X
  • Slate Remote
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Steep learning curve
  • Difficult to set up
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

It’s no wonder why Steven Slate Audio RAVEN MTi2 is the most popular among buyers. This control surface offers the best experience possible. It allows you to control every fader, send, pan, and other things easily with just a swipe.

Best features and specs

RAVEN MTi2 has FADERS 3.0 multi-touch control software that lets you effortlessly control everything that your DAW has. Also, it provides you with a conveniently placed RAVEN Toolbar that has your DAW’s controls right under your fingertips.

User impressions

Users like RAVEN MTi2 because it helps with a workflow greatly by making it much more intuitive and time-saving. Some of the users say that they had a hard time trying to set it up and they needed quite some time to get to know all of the specs that this control surface offers.

What we think

What we like about RAVEN MTi2 is that it has a multi-touch display that was specifically designed for pro audio applications. Also, we found the GESTURES function extremely convenient as it lets you control key elements in your DAW.

Bottomline

RAVEN MTi2 is a great choice for someone who is looking for an affordable control surface that has a 27” screen and is feature-packed. Note that you might experience some difficulties while you’ll be setting it up and spend some time getting through the manual.


Steven Slate Audio RAVEN MTZ

Steven Slate Audio RAVEN MTZ

Pros
  • 43″ touchscreen
  • FADERS 3.0 software
  • Supports Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Cubase, Nuendo, Studio One, Supports Digital Performer and Logic Pro X
  • Slate Remote
Cons
  • Not exactly budget-friendly
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

Steven Slate Audio RAVEN MTZ is well-known and used by a majority of famous artists around the world. A 43″ multi-touch panel allows you to fully control and manipulate everything that you have in your DAW using just a few swipes.

Best features and specs

RAVEN MTZ offers you the possibility to tweak plugins with the help of your fingers, as you would be doing on the hardware. Also, it provides you with a conveniently placed RAVEN Toolbar that has your DAW’s controls right under your fingers.

User impressions

Users say that RAVEN MTZ is a beast with that big 43″ screen. It’s very easy to set up and calibrate. Also, moving faders on this thing feels really great and it’s easy to make any adjustments to various plugins. Some users, though, wished that its cost would be a bit budget-friendlier.

What we think

What is really great about RAVEN MTZ is that it’s compatible with a lot of different DAWs aside from Pro Tools. We find it very convenient that Slate has a free app for iOS users that lets you remotely access the Batch Commands, though you have to stay on the same Wi-Fi network.

Bottomline

RAVEN MTZ is a great choice for someone who is looking for a well-recognized control surface that has a 43” screen, which saves you a lot of time and speeds up your creative process greatly. Note that it’s not that budget-friendly, so think through whether you need it or not.


Avid S3 EUCON Desktop Control Surface

Avid S3 EUCON Desktop Control Surface

Pros
  • Customizable 12 control layouts
  • 16 faders
  • Ribbon controller
  • EUCON-enabled control surface
Cons
  • Not exactly budget-friendly
  • A bit overwhelming interface
  • Steep learning curve
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

Avid S3 EUCON Desktop Control Surface offers you more than enough functions that are packed into the sleek and ergonomic interface. It gives you all control that you need over EUCON-enabled software, which includes Cubase, Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Media Composer, and many others.

Best features and specs

Avid S3 EUCON provides you with an amazing opportunity to record and create tracks, instantiate plug-ins, write automation, manage the routing, and do many other things that you previously needed a mouse and keyboard for. It can become an extended unit if you happen to have Avid Pro Tools.

User impressions

Users like Avid S3 EUCON as it pushes you to think outside the box and, in fact, is absolutely great gear. Users are amazed by how much it influences and improves accuracy and speed when they’re working in Pro Tools. Users note that despite all of the functionality, the price could be a bit lower. Also, users had to spend a significant amount of time piecing together what was written in the manual and stop being overwhelmed by the interface.

What we think

When you happen to have a very advanced unit in your music production arsenal that has way too many faders, buttons, and knobs, you definitely want to differ sections easily. Luckily, Avid S3 EUCON gives you an opportunity to create up to 12 mixer layouts that can be recalled at any time. You can set these layouts for various tasks that you have, like mixing, tracking, and editing.

Bottomline

Avid S3 EUCON is a great choice for someone who is looking for an advanced, stylish, and versatile control surface that is feature-packed and gives you an opportunity to customize layouts for different tasks at hand. Note that it might not be for every budget and you have to spend some time to get through the manual and a bit crowded interface.


Avid Pro Tools Dock Control Surface

Avid Pro Tools Dock Control Surface

Pros
  • Compatible with FREE Pro Tools and Control iOS app
  • Mix of touchscreen and knobs
  • 16 soft keys
  • 2 programmable touch strips
  • EUCON-mappable monitor control
  • Compatible with Logic Pro X, Cubase, and other EUCON-enabled DAWs
Cons
  • Isn’t compatible with all sizes of tablets
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

Avid Pro Tools is a definite choice for those who value functionality and speed. It easily integrates into S3 if you have one, if not, it serves well as a standalone unit. It offers you a lot of controls, a channel fader, color-matched soft keys, and soft round knobs.

Best features and specs

Avid Pro Tools increases precision and speed thanks to the advanced combination of a knob, fader, switch control, and touchscreen. Having all of that greatly improves the time that we spend on creating better mixes. Also, it’s compatible with Logic Pro X, Cubase, and other EUCON-enabled DAWs.

User impressions

Users agree that Avid Pro Tools definitely saves time, is well-built, and is an absolute must-have for those who hook themselves on Avid devices. Also, it’s easily controllable and navigatable and it improves speed and accuracy while working in Pro Tools. Some of the users said that they wish other tablets would also fit in the dock except the iPad.

What we think

We like Avid Pro Tools because it offers a lot of benefits despite being very compact. It offers Attention Channel control, mighty touchscreen capabilities, Soft Knob mapping with the help of an iPad, and free Pro Tools or Control iOS app. Additionally, it has easily accessible functions, shortcuts, and software key commands, and you can interact with dynamics, EQ, and any other parameters from its surface.

Bottomline

Avid Pro Tools is a great choice for someone who is looking for a compact control surface that can be integrated into the existing S3 or used as a standalone unit. It offers you a lot of benefits and will save you time that will result in the production of better mixes. Note, though, that unfortunately, it isn’t compatible with all tablets.


Control Surface for Pro Tools Buying Guide

What is a control surface?

Basically, the control surface makes it easier to control different parameters that you have in your DAW with the help of your hands.

Why would you need a control surface?

A control surface adds a more natural feel to the process of producing your music and it helps you with the workflow and spicing up your creative juices. Also, it is surely more convenient to use while composing as you can do more than you will be done by just clicking on the mouse.

Important features

When choosing a control surface for pro tools, you may want to pay attention to the number of faders, compatibility with your gear, and design.

Faders

The number of faders available usually comes hand in hand with price, so the more faders you have on your control surface, the higher the price. Some of the manufacturers also offer a control surface with a single motorized fader which will be the best fit if you want to work on one track at a time.

Compatibility

The majority of the control surfaces are compatible with more than one DAW, so if you plan to work with more than just Pro Tools, you should check the other DAW in the characteristics of the particular control surface. Also, if you plan to upgrade your computer any time soon, don’t forget that the primary connections of the control surface should coincide with those on your upgraded computer.

Design

Whether the control surface is all-physical with touch-sensitive faders and banks or fully digital is a matter of personal preferences. You should decide for yourself whether you are more comfortable with touching and moving physical faders or you’re more than happy working with a few swipes.

How to choose the right one for you?

When choosing the best control surface for pro tools, you should decide what is more convenient for you to operate physical tumblers and faders or doing everything by swipes. The number of faders corresponds with the price, so you should choose based on your needs and budget. As we mentioned before, if you plan to work with more than Pro Tools, you should look for a control surface that is compatible with other operating systems or DAWs.


FAQs:

What does a control surface do?

The control surface lets the sound engineer control DAW or a digital audio workstation. It is controlled by either moving sliding faders, twisting a knob, or pushing a button instead of doing everything with mouse clicks.

Should I get a control surface?

The huge benefit of using a control surface is that you can work using your two hands and not lose your creative flow while trying to keep in mind all of the necessary information and hot-key combos. Another cool thing is that you can connect a pedal and start it right away and still have your hands free to play. Isn’t it awesome?

What is the benefit of a DAW control surface?

Before answering this question, let us briefly inform you what a DAW-controlled surface is. So DAW control surface is a MIDI device that lets you control and operate a DAW of your choice by using faders, buttons, knobs, and encoders. So the benefit of using such a device is that you can work inside your DAW and operate certain functions right away by pressing a specific button. Other benefits include recording virtual instruments, mixing your tracks, and triggering sounds, and all of it is done by using both hands.

What control surfaces work with Pro Tools?

All of the control surfaces that we handpicked and mentioned in this article work with Pro Tools. Additionally, you can find other manufacturers who offer control surfaces that are compatible with Pro Tools.

Do I need a mixer and control surface?

It all depends on your needs, as mixing console and control surface isn’t the same thing. Control surface controls and operates your DAW and no audio ever hits it while audio goes through the mixing console as an electrical signal and then it is divided between channels. Also, the mixing console offers great analog warmth and tone.

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