Avid finally released long awaited iPad control surface ProTools|Control. Ever since Avid acquired Euphonix, they have been one of the leading control surface manufacture. I believe Avid started making pro-quality DAW control surfaces with ProControl system that I used to own and love, then released ICON (D-Command, D-Control, Discontinues), S6 series, S3, and Artist Series and have been leading the industry for years.
Euphonix, the company Avid acquired was know for the very precise DAW control protocol they developed called EUCON. Most of DAW control surfaces used system called HUI (which Mackie and Digidesign developed back then) and having EUCON enabled on their devices put them to the top of the industry.
EUCON is way more precise and detailed than HUI. For example, let’s say your are drawing using pencils. Imagine having only 5B to draw (HUI) very detailed picture, or having multiple kinds like HB, 2B, 3B, etc. (EuCon). You may be achieve the quality with one kind, but it’s way easier with different tools.
Not only that, EuCon uses ethernet as connection while HUI uses MIDI (via MIDI cable or USB cable). Ethernet is way faster than MIDI/USB so you get the faster reaction with EuCon as well.
If you are a kind of person says “I don’t mind having less precise control, it sounds more musical!”, let alone the above mention, set up is WAY easier with EuCon. On HUI, you’d go through several drop down menus and select inputs and outputs for every 8 channels. EUCON? Single check-box.
Though Avid’s control surfaces are great, they don’t have the best reputation. Mostly because of their price tags. Large format surfaces cost at least $10,000. And even smallest of all Artist Mix with 8 faders costs $1000+. So, you needed to spend at least $1000, ($800 used) to experience the EUCON awesomeness. How about the new iPad ProTools|Control? FREE. No catch, or in-app-purchase. FREE.
As I mentioned above, setting up EuCon is extremely simple. First, you need to create account at avid.com and register as ProTools|Control user. That allows you to download EuControl 3.3. Once you have EuControl installed on your computer, connect the computer and iPad to the same Wi-fi network. Open control surface set up page and check the EuCon checkbox. That’s it.
So I listed all the good stuff, is there anything not so great about this? I wish I could say no, but there are several.
If you already own a Artist Control, you cannot use that and ProTools|Control simultaneously. Yes, they do the something except the plug-in control and four faders, but having iPad size display is way better than working on small and not-so-great touch sensitive panel on Artist Control…
Another bug, that the company is already aware of, is the metering issue. EuControl 3.3 and ProTools 11.3.1 and below don’t like each other much, so it doesn’t display the signal on meters. This isn’t an issue on the ProTools|Control, my Artist Control and Mix stopped showing signals… Hopefully Avid will release the update soon, they may not though, since they want everyone to upgrade to the ProTools 12.
ProTools|Control is amazing. I’d jump on it, if I were you. It’s free, you most likely have an account with avid already. I’d say, try it at least. You may like this, may not.
If you have extra money though, get Artist Mix as well. Both makes the workflow AMAZING!