A Control Surface is a device which allows the user to control a digital audio workstation (DAW) or other audio applications. It is used to simplify and give the user a hands-on control rather than using the computer mouse/keypad for controlling a DAW. They can be used to increase the workflow of recordings and speed up the process of editing and mixing in a studio. The control surface connects to the host computer via many different interfaces. MIDI was the first major interface created for this purpose, although many devices now use USB, FireWire, or Ethernet. Mixing tracks on a laptop can be cumbersome. With the help of a control surface, the whole process is once again a physical to-do milestone in music production, with the added advantage of simplicity and assignable buttons, faders, knobs, and dials. If you’re tired of using your mouse to mix, a control surface will be a life-changing investment.
Do I need a control surface?
A control surface is a device used to better workflow for creatives. It is not the most important gear in a studio setup, but, if mixing music is your prime function, a control surface is must-have.
Can a control surface make music?
No. A control surface can assist in the process of making music, but the device itself does not add a musical value. A control surface helps manipulate DAW controls during the mixing stage of music production.
Are all Control Surfaces compatible with all DAWs?
No, certain Digital Audio Workstations require specific Control Surfaces to function to their full potential. If you are planning to switch your DAW or Control Surface, it is best practice to check for compatibility on the manufacturer’s website. While a Control Surface should work will all DAWs, some dedicated switches and buttons may not work aptly.
What is the price range of a Control Surface?
A Control Surface starts from AED 100 and can go upto AED 350,000 in the professional models.