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Being able to access your nearly all your DAW controls in a single tap is a massive game changer. The control and intuitiveness a dedicated controller adds to your studio is unparalleled. But buying the best control surface for Logic Pro X isn’t easy. So to help you out, we put together this detailed guide. A control surface isn’t a must-have for a bedroom producer, but it’s a powerful tool to have when you’re ready to upgrade to a more serious setup.
It brings all essential controls to your fingertips, freeing you up from the awkwardness of multiple screens. Hardware controls not only give you finer control over your DAW, but also give you greater creative freedom and flexibility. You might not find the best use of a control surface if you’re the only one in your home studio.
But the moment you’re recording others — a band, other artists — you’ll find that a dedicated controller is almost a necessity. While most control surfaces work well with Logic Pro — it is one of the most popular DAWs in the world after all — there are some that perform better than others.
In this roundup of the best control surfaces for Logic Pro X, we’ll look at some of the top options you can buy right now. As with other guides, we’ve divided this into two parts. In Part II, I’ll cover the essentials you should consider when buying a control surface, as well as how to get the most out of your current setup.
His first experience with electronic music production dates back to Cubase 3. He lives in San Diego and freelances as a producer and part-time DJ. In the first part of this guide, we’ll do a deep dive into the top Logic Pro X control surfaces you can buy right now. To be more specific, we’ll look at the top controllers based on different requirements live performance, home studio, etc.
Do keep in mind that like the rest of this website, these selections are aimed squarely at serious home producers who want to upgrade their skills and equipment. With that caveat out of the way, let’s start by looking at our top choice for the best control surface for Logic Pro X in PreSonus, which makes some of my favorite amateur-targeted studio monitors, also makes a fantastically flexible control surface, the FaderPort.
Affordably priced yet feature-rich, this control surface gives you immediate access to key DAW features at your fingertips. A large volume control knob and a master fader let you control key parameters. And a small size means that it takes up little space on your desk. Great compatibility and robust build quality make it our best control surface for Logic Pro X for producers on a budget.
It doesn’t clutter the unit with a gazillion buttons and screens. It is specifically designed to be easy to use — and gets top marks for that. At the heart of the FaderPort is an innovative and highly satisfying degree encoder. Anything you need to move and select and draw and drag will be handled by this encoder.
So it’s a good thing that the build quality on it is fantastic — it can take a beating, and then some more. Complementing the encoder is a single mechanized fader. The fader is also touch sensitive — a feature often found missing in more expensive Logic Pro X control surface.
If you’ve ever felt dissatisfied by your fades and automations, you’ll love using this fader — external hardware make it much easier to get fine control over your automations. Moving a mouse around feels hardly as intuitive as dragging a touch sensitive fader — and this one works wonderfully well. The rest of the controls are designed around a single goal: to complement your keyboard-mouse, not to replace them. I appreciate this approach, especially since most producers are already used to the keyboard-mouse combo.
Far too many control surfaces try to do everything and the kitchen sink, forcing producers to retrain their habits. This unit recognizes that that is neither feasible nor desirable. Build quality is solid throughout. I particularly like the dimensions. It’s small enough to take minimal space on your desk, yet not so small as to make the buttons and faders unusable. I prefer this smaller footprint over some of the larger control surfaces that take up too much desk space. What’s left to consider is compatibility.
Which is expected since they’re from the same brand. If you use Studio One, buying this control surface is an absolute no-brainer.
That said, you’ll find that the PreSonus FaderPort is also one of the best control surfaces for Logic Pro X, with tight integration out of the box. The buttons are a little hard to press. There are also reports of compatibility issues with the some versions of macOS Catalina. Recommended for: A powerful, capable, and most importantly, affordable control surface for home studios.
Excellent compatibility with most DAWs, a touch-sensitive motorized fader, and an excellent encoder make it one of the best control surface for Logic Pro X in Right out of the box, the sleek and compact design of the device is lovely to behold.
The top panel comes in black matte while the rear has an orange hue. The slim design makes it easy to move about with this surface control; it fits in a backpack easily and will be great for DJs that move around.
On the top right of the device, there is a Send All button. South of this is the Solo button. Below the Mute button are the Record-Arm buttons. As per Akai standard, this control surface is of solid build. It feels strong and reliable to touch. The knobs are small but not so small that they’re hard to use. The entire unit itself is small enough to fit comfortably on a desk. It’s also light enough that you can drop it into your gig bag and carry it around.
The included software editor is powerful and intuitive enough that you can also customize the integration as per your needs. Although it does not have as many features as some other surface controllers on the list, it offers great value for the price. It lacks Device control, which I found to be a surprising decision from Akai. The knobs might also feel a little small if you have large hands.
Some users report issues with the lights not lighting up — even when the rest of the unit works fine. A small quibble has to do with the quality of Akai’s gel buttons. These gel buttons can be found on all of Akai’s lower-tier devices, from MIDI controllers to control surfaces, and it’s never a good experience using them.
They feel sticky and not tactile enough. Akai, if you’re reading this, please find better gel buttons on your devices! It is affordably priced and works great out of the box.
Perhaps it’s not the most full-featured controller around, but if you’re looking for the best control surface for Logic Pro X on a budget, you’ll love this unit. With regards to their design, I found the Behringer X Touch to be a rather thick and clunky control surface. It is not as slim as many of the control surfaces I have tested.
I’d even say that when placed on a desktop, you might have to raise your chair height an inch or two if you are sitting while operating it. The height and thickness make it a tad uncomfortable reaching for the faders and make it hard to see the display properly while sitting. Despite the less than ideal thickness, this control device performs rather superbly, especially for serious producers. Aside from the physical dimensions, the device has connectivity options galore.
While testing, I connected the device to Logic. It offers a really stunning functionality level with all the faders, knobs and buttons.
The device supports the MCU protocol quite extensively. The transport buttons here feel really firm and sturdy and are very functional. For example, they have lights to show their current status. The jog wheel also enjoys this design feature.
That said, it is not as firm as the transport buttons and feels rather cheap and tacky. The large, chunky size, however, makes up for this lapse. One of my favorite features — something few control surfaces in this budget offer — is the small LCD scribble strips at the top of each channel fader. This instantly tells you which track or parameter you’re controlling. The standout feature for me, however, has to be the motorized faders.
It’s one of the rare control surfaces on the market with a whole array — nine — of motorized faders. As mentioned earlier, the interaction with Logic is one of the best features of this device. It has full support with Logic as well as other DAWs. Despite the integration with Mac OS, the lack of a Mac editor is jarring. The build quality is a little disappointing considering the price.
The motors on the faders is tacky and feels liable to break. The lack of customization options in the editor is also a letdown. Recommended for: Gigging musicians that have a home studio will find the functionality of this device quite ideal. It’s also great if you want to move from a small home setup to something that’s more professional.
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However, today most of the digital mixers can be used as control surfaces too. But digital mixers are very costly and generally out of pocket for home recordists. The best option for home recordists is, using dedicated DAW control surfaces. These are cheap and when it comes to controlling the DAW they have more functions than any digital mixer. From just 1 fader to several faders and limited control to extended control, there are several types of control surfaces available in the market.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we recommended. Read more about Affiliate disclosure here. There are many reasons behind using control surfaces for home studios. Control surfaces make our workflow faster than operating with a keyboard and mouse.
They are designed with dedicated controls for separate operations like the transport bar, faders, and assignable buttons. These things make our workflow faster than the keyboard and mouse where we have to struggle with keyboard buttons to remember and slipping on the faders with the mouse.
With controlled surfaces, you can extend the scope of your eyes. Yes, you can tune out your eyes from the computer screen and make some fun with analog-style controls. Actually, an analog environment is a basic need of any studio. No matter how much this digital world captures the audio recording, the feel of the classic analog environment will always be in demand. And a control surface can fulfill this demand in a better way. Control surfaces are a good example of a classic analog-style user interface with a powerful digital environment working behind it.
Faders are used to control the gain of tracks in mixer and DAWs. The gain is measured in dB. When we increase the volume by 1dB the amplitude of the wave doubles.
This doubling nature of dB makes the faders more complicated in balancing low-volume instruments. And with a computer screen and mouse, you have to struggle hard to achieve your balance.
Here control surfaces help us, where you can play with subtle changes in faders and get a better mixing than computer mouse and keyboard. Obviously, a control surface can change the look of your studio. If you managed to get a big control surface you can be able to change the whole look of your studio.
If you are going to automate your songs then a control surface is a must for you. With control surfaces, you can easily achieve the best automation in no time. As compared to digital mixers with the same number of faders and controls, control surfaces are far cheaper.
You can get control surfaces with a fraction of the cost of digital mixers. I know, you are wondering which is the best DAW controller for logic pro x? There are many control surfaces are available in the market that supports Logic Pro X.
They are under your pocket length, full of features, and also have a great-looking user interface. This tiny powerhouse will surprise you in every stage of your recording and mixing session. Presonus Fader Port is a perfect combination of low budget and powerful control surface.
You can get it with just a fraction of money than other standard control surfaces. This 5. If you are searching for the best control surface for logic pro x then this will be my 1st recommendation.
Presonus Fader Port has dedicated transport control. However, many control surfaces have dedicated transport controls but imagine a control surface you can hold on your hands when operating. This is an added advantage of Presonus Fader Port and makes you more comfortable in a long recording session. Due to the doubling nature of dB , in the low ends, you struggle in balancing your faders on the computer screen.
In the low ends like below dB, a very small movement of fader can change the sound dramatically. Here a full-length mm physical fader helps you to optimize your mixing. With hardware faders, you can play with those small volume changes without struggling with your computer mouse. Presonus Fader Port has not only mm standard fader but the faders are motorized too. The motorized fader helps you to create some awesome automation in your tracks.
Along with transport control at the bottom, Presounus Fader Port has a full range of dedicated transport and edit buttons. Presonus Fader Port has 24 buttons covering 40 different functions, and all these features you get in a compact 5.
This feature is useful for musicians who record individually. However, you have to spend a good amount of money, if you are going to own this amazing gear. Although, this is a high-priced gear even it is far less than a good digital mixer. There are digital mixers available in the market at a low price but they have some major limitations like non-motorized faders and lack of display panel etc.
If you go for one with the above features, you have to invest at least the double amount of money from Mackie MCU Pro. This control can help you in all the major operations in Your DAW. You can add effects on your DAWs tracks. Mackie MCU Pro comes with an inclined display panel for the monitoring of your recording process.
This display panel in this MIDI mixer controller is very useful for the visual monitoring of tracks. In Presonus Faderport you just get one motorized fader, but with Mackie MCU Pro you get 8 full-length motorized faders as well as a master fader for controlling the master volume. With these full-length motorized faders, you can seamlessly and accurately mix your projects as well as do some amazing automation. Panpots and track buttons Solo, Mute, select, record : Mackie MCU Pro has 8 dedicated panpots above the faders as well as track buttons for each track.
VPot Assign and fader banks : This area is just above the master fader. VPot assign is used for adding plugin effects on a selected track, assigning send, Equalizing a track, etc. The fader bank panel is used to switch the track banks, and channels. As you know Mackie is known as one of the best manufacturers of audio mixers, obviously the look of Mackie MCU Pro will tell you about their rich history of manufacturing mixers.
A vintage-style finish makes it a beautiful gear for your studio. These 2 expansions will not only increase the beauty of your studio but also are very useful gears. And if you want to add some other functions like controlling sequencers or plugins of your digital audio interface then you can use Mackie C4.
Many Hollywood studios use Pro Tools for the best workflow and quality. I personally love Pro Tools as it is one of the fastest DAW and accelerates your workflow dramatically. But Avid is not limited to Pro tools or its award-winning Video Editing software.
There are many more gears and software Avid has. And one of them is Avid Artist Mix. Avid Artist Mix is a versatile control surface and can increase your workflow dramatically. If you get this control surface in your studio, it will not only increase the workflow but also give a charm to your studio. It comes with 8 full lengths ie; mm motorized faders and the same number of panpots as well as other track buttons like solo, record enable mute, etc.
The one feature I really miss in this control surface is the master fader. Avid Artist Mix has a long display where all the operations can be monitored. You can monitor each track individually in the display panel. The second thing we miss in Avid Artist Mix is a dedicated transport panel. However, Avid cleared that it is a control surface for mixing and not for recording controls. Even, it should have a transport control.
If you are finding a control surface that you could use in your home studio as well as outside recording then Novation Launchpad is for you. For budget home studios it would be a perfect fit. Let have a detailed look at the Novation launch control.
If you are a music producer then you can now focus on your music production without worrying about the DAW handling by traditional keyboard and mixer. Novation launchpad has eight 60mm non-motorized faders.
These faders are good for mixing but the lack of motors in faders makes them useless in automation. If you want to add some automation to your tracks then you have to rely on your mouse and keyboard. However, for volume balancing, 60mm faders work well. Novation Launch control can be used with Novation Launchpad. By owning both of them you get full control over your DAW.
Launchpad has assignable buttons that can be used as transport and edit controls. In fact, if you want a full-featured control surface, you need both of them. With bus-powered features and lightweight, it is perfect for outside recordings like concerts programs.
Just plug it in with your laptop and make the magic happen. Imagine under 70 bucks you get 8 faders and also a transport control which you missed out on costly Logic Pro X control surfaces. This tiny control surface has eight faders, eight knobs dedicated solo, mute, and record arming buttons as well as dedicated transport controls.
It has 8 non-motorized small faders and 8 dedicated knobs. These faders are not full length but can be used precisely in mixing if your hands are set up on the faders.