Get this.

When I used to sell recording equipment, I can’t tell you how many times a “studio owner” would call me asking about one of the big, $10,000+ control surfaces for Pro Tools.

They would straight up tell me that they just wanted it for the look, that they might not even actually USE it.

(In case you don’t know, a control surface is something that looks like a mixer, has faders and buttons, and is used to control your recording software. It allows you to — among other things — move the faders in your software with your hands rather than a mouse.)

I regularly get questions from people wanting to know which control surface they should buy.

My response? DON’T GET ONE.

Think about it.

A control surface doesn’t do a single thing to improve the sound quality of your mixes. I promise you if you mix a song on a control surface, I’m not going to be able to tell.

Instead of dropping $1,000+ on a glorified mouse, I’d rather spend that money improving the quality of my recordings.

What types of things do that?

*acoustic treatment

…and the list goes on.

Yes, some control surfaces have audio I/O on them as well, but I bet you a nice shiny quarter that you could get better sound quality for your money by ditching the fancy faders and getting a great-sounding front end.

A control surface won’t make your mixes sound better.

Knowing how to properly use compression, on the other hand, will.

More details here:

Joe Gilder

P.S. I’ve owned control surfaces, and the ones I think make the most sense are the ones with a single fader and transport controls, like the Faderport from Presonus. It gives you the benefits of a control surface without wasting lots of money on something that doesn’t directly affect your sound.