Today many people can start creating awesome sounds with just their computer, a microphone, and the most basic of software. But when the hobby becomes real music production then you need to have the correct tools. A digital audio workstation is one of the first steps. Getting a DAW that works for you will change your audio creation journey. Reaper is a great DAW. It has become well known as stable, reliable, and very efficient. Plus, it is very customizable and easy to use. The next step would then be to get a great control surface that is compatible with your DAW. Today we will look at great control surfaces for Reaper and why you could need one.
Do You Really Need a Control Surface?
Many audio producers start with a love of sound and the desire to start playing with it and make it sound interesting. Or you could love to entertain and would like to find new ways to do this. But many producers start making music with basic software in their room, that is how I started my love of sound. A great DAW becomes crucial pretty early on. But for some, like Reaper, you will pay a smaller price if you are only starting out. Bigger companies pay more.
Then there is a control surface. This is a really powerful tool in any music producer’s toolbox. It allows you to create great sound a lot easier and have way more control over the different features. It allows you to control your DAW way more efficiently.
In short, it is possible to make some cool stuff with just basic software and a device. But as you progress it will probably become important to add a control surface to your process.
There are several great control surfaces that will allow you to do some awesome things. Like changing some of the sounds. But not all of them work equally well on every DAW. Some are also more or less expensive and have their positives and negatives. Let’s discuss these in more detail.
1. Behringer X-TOUCH
- What I Love: It has the same features as a lot of more expensive control surfaces
- What I Dislike: The size of the device
This control surface has been one that shocked many. Never did we expect Behringer to create a control surface that can rival some of the best on the market. And at a much cheaper price too. This company is not really known for making audio equipment. But the X-Touch has become a favorite among many sound enthusiasts and professionals.
It is compatible with a wide range of DAWs. So even if you decide to move to another digital audio workstation, then you will still be able to use this control surface. It is also plug-and-play compatible with Reaper. Making it a lot easier to use and set up.
This is a control surface that many professional producers use, for good reason. Despite being less expensive than the more high-end control surfaces, it still has all the features anyone could need. It has loads of motorized faders that will allow you a lot of control over your creative process. The knobs and faders also work smoothly making them great to use.
Plus, this is a great control surface when you need to connect many other devices. It has many different types of connectivity options.
The one drawback of this control surface, and it is a big one, is the size. This will not be a control surface you can take with you to do gigs. It is just too big. Compared to some modern designs it is a bit thick and clunky. But since it houses so many knobs and faders it makes sense.
You might even need to make sure that you have enough space on your desk to house this device. But it will be worth it to make room for everything it offers.
2. Akai Pro MIDIMix
- What I Love: Very good price
- What I Dislike: Smaller knobs that make them harder to use
This control surface is another favorite among many because it works so well on different types of DAWs. It works really well with Reaper and their features line up well. It is easy to use. But by far one of the most attractive features of this control surface is its price.
This is a budget control surface that is great if you are starting out and don’t want to spend too much cash yet. But still want loads of value for money. The Akai Pro MIDIMix certainly gives you that.
The buttons and the knobs aren’t my favorite feature of this machine. The knobs are small and harder to use. When you have a lot going on you don’t want to struggle to turn a knob, but besides that, this is a great device. It has many features that you will need and enough buttons and knobs to have great control.
It is also a great choice if you need a control surface that is portable. It is light and easy to carry. But it doesn’t feel fragile or cheap. The components feel sturdy and like quality products. And it is a nice-looking control surface.
Great quality for what you are going to pay.
3. Icon Pro Audio Platform M+
- What I Love: You can add on to it
- What I Dislike: Harder to use than some
This is a great choice if you want to start out with a quality product but not pay professional prices right from the start. This is because the Icon Pro Audio Platform M+ gives you the option of expanding onto it later on.
You can work with it on its own and get to know the control surface. It offers a lot of great features. It has a master fader and also 8 channel faders that will give you many great options to create with. And then later when you are ready you can start to expand this control surface.
There are many different pieces that combine with this one to give you added DAW control or extra master faders and even a display and extra connections. It is the one to pick if you are thinking long-term and want to start building for the future.
It is a control surface that is built well and is a quality product. The size is also very convenient to use. It can take your productivity to the next level.
As soon as you start to understand it. Some users have found that it takes a little bit of getting used to. There are other control surfaces that have better manuals and are easier to use. Luckily there are many video tutorials that can help you get used to the control surface and start to get the best from the product and start producing high-quality audio.
Combining A Great Control Surface with Reaper
Creating great sounds is something many of us are passionate about. Reaper is a reliable and efficient digital audio workstation that will give you a lot of options. You can take your creativity to the next level.
Combining this software with a solid control surface will add even more. You will have a lot more control than a computer keyboard or mouse has to offer. Controlling Reaper becomes even more straightforward and less time-consuming. These were just some of the control surfaces that work well with Reaper.