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V-Control Pro or Control Surface?

I wanted to surface another thread about this, as the last is a little over a year old.

http://www.neyrinck.com/v-control-pro

Check this out. It's a pretty nifty app on iPad. They have demo videos for a better understanding of the functionality.

Anyone use this on the daily? Are there any issues or bugs that have popped up in your experience?

I think it almost looks and has the functionality of a very high end control surface, but at half the price (iPad and App included in the total) as some high end control surfaces cost upwards to and beyond $1k.

Does it actually show you plug-ins on screen? It brought up an amp simulator plug-in so I am assuming it does.

Some of the pros of this set-up that I assume:

  • Wireless - ability to control DAW from anywhere in the room/booth/no running to and from keyboard
  • Plug-in/Mix/Send control without using the mouse. How well it feels like an actual fader, not sure.
  • No keyboard mapping needed. Tired of having to assign controls to knobs? I assume this takes care of that.
  • Less desk space and much lighter :)

Some cons I assume would be:

  • Unsure of the fidelity of the automation writing. How well does it translate to your DAW over Wi-Fi? I did see they have a proprietary wi-fi connection for highest fidelity possible. Any experience on this?
  • Possible loss of "feel" of the fader. How well does a tangible fader translate to digital form?
  • Battery - dont forget to charge the thing!
  • Possible important feature lacking? Maybe you cant see the plug-ins used on the screen and can only control the plug-in using non-visual number system? Any experience on this?

Many Thanks! - C3sound

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I use this semi-regularly, especially since I sold my Digi 002 a few months ago.

Overall, I like using V-Control, but I do miss having physical faders. Without the feedback of touching a real fader, you sometimes have to take your eyes off the task at hand to make sure you touch the right area. Still, having the ability to control plugin GUIs by touching them directly is awesome, and takes poorly-mapped controls out of the equation.

I love that I can grab the iPad and wander around, controlling the system when I'm on the other side of the room recording. It has completely replaced my Frontier Designs Tranzport, which was always a finicky device even when new. Leaving this app open for hours does hit the battery hard, but I've left it going for 8 hours and still had plenty of juice left for checking emails/reddit afterwards.

When I first set it up, I had some issues with the app connecting to Ney-Fi on my host. For a while, I would create an ad-hoc WiFi network from my MacBook Pro and connect the iPad to that, but not having internet/network connectivity on either device was a drag. Now, I set up a router specifically for V-Control that connects directly to the MBP via ethernet, which in turn gives me internet connectivity on the iPad without having to deal with the file transfer traffic on my main Wi-Fi.

While this is a really functional setup for now, I'm still planning on buying an Artist Mix at some point. I'll definitely keep V-Control around, and plan on using the physical faders on the Mix along side the touch plugin controls on the iPad.

Also, Paul Neyrinck has been awesome about listening to feedback from users, which keep the software fresh and functional.

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    Nice work around with the router, @Sam. I find the adhoc a little annoying too as I can't get to email/chat/the net without unleashing the two. However, since I use the VControl mostly when I'm away from my Artist Control, that would just add another thing to my already stuffed bags. – Steve Urban Nov 28 '12 at 21:30
  • @Steve I'm curious if one of those tiny USB thumb drive-sized Wi-Fi adapters could run as an Ad-Hoc network to make this more compact for an on the go setup – Sam Ejnes Dec 3 '12 at 2:56
  • That's an interesting idea @Sam. I have one of those on my old MacPro because it doesn't have an airport card. After my move I'll have to check that out. – Steve Urban Dec 4 '12 at 18:20
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Walk to your nearest window, run your finger up and down the glass. That's how much it feels like a real fader.

I have both an Artist Control and a iPad with VControl. For the most part, I only use the iPad when I'm editing/mixing on my remote system and am away from my Artist Control.

If you already have an iPad, plonking down the $50 for V-Control Pro is almost a no-brainer. But I use it as much more than just a virtual fader.

The wireless transport controls when recording foley or voice by yourself is almost worth the cost alone.

When on my laptop (without a full keyboard) I use the V-Window to pull up my Memory Locations so they're just a tap away. You can have them open, but hidden at the bottom of the laptop screen and V-Control will still show them as selectable windows. Same goes for plug-in windows. Having that extra screen real-estate plus touch screen ease is nice. However, like many have said, a touch-screen offers no tactile feedback. As a result, I've strayed off track a number of times while writing automation.

The original v1 opened plugins, but it opened them as a series of rotary pots with very little visual feedback and a response time that I always found to lag heavily. After the updates to 1.6 and the inclusion of the V-Window, it's a little smoother and more responsive, but I still find myself going in and hand tweaking some automation after the fact. It depends on how steady a finger you have I guess.

I've heard first-hand accounts of mixers sitting at a Harrison console, using the V-Control as their surround panner and preferring it. That's a pretty ringing endorsement if you ask me.

But, in my opinion it's just one more tool. It's not the be-all-end-all, it's just one more tool in the box. It can certainly solve the issue of being unable to afford a dedicated control surface, but in my opinion it will never take the place of an actual mechanical, motorized fader. I'm hoping that someday somebody brighter than me will figure out a hybrid between the iPad joysticks and the Pogo Connect that will allow some kind of force-feedback rotary pot/fader to provide some kind of tactile happiness. But, in the meantime, I'll use it for it's strengths and pass over it on it's weaknesses.

As an aside for those of you with the Artist Control. You may have used its touch screen surround panner and found it severely lacking. Try using an iPad stylus. It's incredibly more responsive and records far smoother pan automation. Plus, I find the screen easier to use on the whole when using a stylus, ergonomically speaking.

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I also use V-Control, although only in situations where my Mackie Control is out of reach. It's a bit silly when I phrase it this way, but I honestly bought it to be a surround panner, as hardware panners for pro tools start around $800. The depth of functionality is there, but the physical interface still doesn't completely click with me. The faders are actually the least of my problems—it's really nice to have a fader to ride manually when I'm on the go. Smaller controls are less useful, and the knobs in particular are really awkward to work with—you have to work pretty hard to make micro adjustments. Fortunately, you get a 'flip' mode in which the faders take up the duties of the knobs.

I think you will find that writing accurate automation is not a problem at all. You're definitely better off creating a dedicated network from your computer to your iPad to avoid wifi blips. As for your desire for tactile plugin control, V-Control sports a new "V-Window" which shows you a projected view of your computer screen. It's kinda cool but a little clunky, and also happens to not work too well with my waves plugins. I'm sure it will get better in the future updates.

I think everyone is opinionated about control surfaces. Personally, I'm a fan of simple, if not completely dedicated functions for faders, knobs and buttons — that way I don't have to waste precious brain power puttering around with the interface and losing focus on my work. I think the V-Control is almost there, it just takes a bit more patience and you really need to take your eyes off of the screen to use it. Of course, it's the size of an iPad and at least 20x cheaper than most hardware controllers of protools with the same featureset.

Best,
~Matt

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If you haven't listened to it already, you might like to check out Episode Three of the Tonebenders podcast: http://www.tonebenders.net/tonebenders-episode-three-shaun-farley-and-valhallashimmer/ - there is some discussion on the merits of physical control surfaces vs touchscreens. The impression I got was that for riding faders, a physical fader still beats a touchscreen. Haven't used V-Control yet myself though.

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    I totally agree, riding a physical fader is much better than a touch screen, though the touch screen is definitely better than a mouse. – Sam Ejnes Nov 28 '12 at 2:38
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I must admit I am seriously considering selling my MC Control and buying an iPad with V-Control. I rarely use the faders on the MC Control and the plug-in implementation on the MC Control is not good. I too would value the opinions of people you are regularly using V-Control

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I agree with that V-control is not tackile, but still, it is a very good solution. It is the reason I haven't bought the artist series controllers. Tried them, but compared to the Icon, they are not as good, compared to the V-control, they are not that much better. Of course imho.

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