Steinberg control surface

Steinberg control surface DEFAULT

Control surface for Cubase (buying question)


the original Faderport and Steinberg’s CC121 (at twice the price) are the only fader controllers that follow track selection in Cubase perfectly, without the need for manual bank switching, unlike anything using the Mackie/HUI protocol (which also includes the new Faderport and the Behringer One).
this is a big deal in everyday work, the difference between no-brainer and constant fiddling. :bulb:
Personally, I find a single fader (which automatically works on the selected channel) much more intuitive than 8 or 16 …

Manual Bank Switching for me is the worst drawback of any MCU protocol controller. IMO, this issue alone devalues any MCU protocol greatly. With that said, I’m told Logic has made some type of after-protocol adjustments that make banks automatically switch. In addition, this guy actually can make it work for I believe any MCU protocol, but huge kudos if you actually get the nerve to try :laughing:

The 2nd worse MCU drawback, is the very low character limitation on the scribble strip.

Anyway going back to the OP’s objectives, as already mentioned practically anything can control faders, pans, etc. Even a midi usb synth using midi learn. After a few years with DAW controller, and seemingly endless questions such as “why can’t it do this function” “why doesn’t X function work with whatever DAW you own” “whats wrong with the 8 channel extender I just bought” “the motorized faders are too noisy” plus endless firmware upgrades, poor user manuals, (you learn by trial and error and by other users) and most everyone having Yamaha Nuage Envy, I’m saying do your research first and understand the things that will and will not work before purchase. Even motorized faders…I usually shut them off 75% of the time because of distraction. They certainly have a purpose, but for me not the majority of time.


Steinberg's Desktop Controller Puts Cubase at Your Command!

The Steinberg CC121 USB control surface lets you control your Cubase project effectively and efficiently, and it fits desktop recording setups perfectly! The CC121 includes an extremely versatile Advanced Integration controller knob that can control Cubase 4 parameters, effects, or VST setting, as well as a single smooth motorized 100mm fader. Twelve dedicated rotary encoders and an array of useful buttons add functionality and control, allowing you to take command of your Cubase 4 setup from a minimum of hardware space with the CC121.

Steinberg CC121 USB Control Surface for Cubase at a Glance:

  • A quality control surface
  • Advanced Integration controller knob
  • Integrated EQ, rotary encoders, and studio-style features

A quality control surface
Built to an extremely high manufacturing and component standard, CC121 provides totally integrated tactile control of all parameters within Cubase, with a unique design architecture that keeps you 100% focused on your Cubase project.

Advanced Integration controller knob
The CC121 includes an ultra-precision Advanced Integration controller knob with 'point and control' support; it controls any visual Cubase 4 parameter, internal FX setting or VSTi parameter using mouse pointer selection. The motorized 100mm touch-sensitive fader is smooth, responsive, and accurate. You also get dedicated control of Cubase channel settings including solo/mute, record arm, 'e' settings button, automation read/write, pan, and VSTi editor.

Integrated EQ, rotary encoders, and studio-style features
The CC121 provides a full Cubase EQ section in the hardware, with 12 dedicated rotary encoders, mode selection and bypass switches. You get instant plug and play results with 'Cubase Ready' LED - no additional setup or parameter assigning required! A user-assignable section with Cubase-integrated presets for Control Room studio sends and monitoring setup adds to the functionality, giving you console-style features from a compact unit.

Steinberg CC121 USB Control Surface for Cubase Features:

  • Advanced Integration controller knob with 'point and control' support
  • Instant plug and play with 'Cubase Ready' LED
  • One motorized 100mm touch-sensitive fader
  • Dedicated control of Cubase channel settings
  • Full Cubase EQ section in hardware
  • 12 dedicated rotary encoders with mode selection and bypass switches
  • User-assignable section with Cubase-integrated presets for Control Room studio sends and monitoring setup

The Steinberg CC121 gives you an effective, compact desktop controller for Cubase!


  • Type: Steinberg DAW software
  • Faders: 1 x 100mm (Touch Sensitive, Motorized)
  • Number of Knobs: 15
  • Knob Type: Rotary encoders
  • Number of Soft Keys: 26 dedicated soft keys, 4 assignable soft keys
  • Transport Controls: Yes
  • Computer Connectivity: USB
  • MIDI I/O: via USB
  • Control I/O: 1 x Footswitch input
  • Height: 1.7"
  • Width: 11.2"
  • Depth: 7.1"
  • Weight: 3.3 lbs.



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Seamless, intuitive hardware control for Cubase

Engineered specifically for the thousands of production environments using Cubase worldwide, the CC121 seamlessly merges your creativity with the many functions of the world’s most popular music production system. Featuring fast, fully integrated, tactile operation of all Cubase controls, the CC121’s unique design architecture keeps you 100% focused on your project.

The CC121 is only available through participating dealers in many regions around the globe. Please check with your regional Steinberg distributor if the CC121 is also available for your region. It will not be available in the Steinberg Online Shop.

Advanced, integrated control system

Fast, intuitive controls for a seamless workflow

Designed especially for Cubase

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    General Features

    Dedicated channel controls

    The CC121 is specifically designed to work with Cubase, adding tremendous efficiency and speed to

    EQ section

    A unique feature of the CC121 is the 12 rotary controls of the advanced Cubase Channel EQ, giving

    Transport control

    The CC121’s dedicated transport section exactly replicates the Cubase transport bar, letting you

    User assignable

    The CC121’s user-assignable section lets you adapt the CC121 precisely to your needs. You can

    Instant plug and play

    The CC121 gives you full plug-and-play functionality with Cubase. Just do the swift, one-step

    Sturdy build quality

    The CC121 features outstanding engineering and component quality, housed in a full metal casing

    Cross-platform support

    Whether your recording system is based on Apple Macintosh or Windows PC computer, the CC121

    Included Software

    Cubase AI

    Based on Steinberg’s award-winning advanced music production system Cubase Pro, Cubase AI is a

    Full control of Cubase at your fingertips

    Whether you are composing, recording, mixing or designing audio environments, it is essential that technology never gets in the way of your creativity. With all the most important controls at your fingertips, the CC121 lets you control Cubase with the utmost precision, but without having to think about it. It helps to speed up your workflow, almost like leaning into Cubase itself to intuitively take control of its functions - and all without the need for any learning curve. Just plug the CC121 in, launch Cubase and you are ready to go!

    A professional solution for everyone

    From professional studios through to home-based systems, the CC121 delivers all the control you need for a seamless, efficient workflow. Its high-quality components and rugged build quality ensure smooth, seamless operation and, with its USB power, you can take the CC121 with you when you are working away from your usual environment or on location. Optional footswitch control adds another very convenient feature, yet this professional-quality controller is available at a price affordable to the smallest project studio.

    Precise scrub and shuttle for video post-production

    The CC121 is not just a great control solution for musicians and recording studios. Its flexible, versatile control of Cubase makes it ideal for video post-production. The user-assignable controls let you adapt the CC121 specifically to your needs, including the innovative AI Knob section, a precision rotary controller which lets you point your mouse arrow to a parameter and instantly control it. Dedicated buttons let you “lock” the parameter it controls and move the mouse away, or instantly switch to Jog, Shuttle and Scrub operations, making navigation of any video project fast and intuitive.


    Here you can download all necessary drivers, documents and other information for the CC121

    Learn more

    System requirements

    Operating systems (Mac)OS X 10.7.5, OS X 10.8, OS X 10.9, OS X 10.10, OS X 10.11, macOS Sierra, macOS High Sierra, macOS Mojave, macOS Catalina, macOS Big Sur
    Operating systems (Windows)Windows 7 (64-bit), Windows 8.1 (64-bit), Windows 10 (64-bit)
    PortUSB 3.0
    CPU minimumDual Core CPU
    RAM minimum2 GB
    Hard disk free space50 MB
    Internet connection foraccount sign up and product registration
    The Best All Rounder MIDI Control Surface - VS Faderbox

    DAW Control Surfaces - Roundup

    Tired of navigating complex audio software with just a mouse and keyboard? Then a control surface might be just what you need. Here's our selection of current models, with links to the SOS review where available.

    SSL Nucleus £3598$4999

    SSL NucleusSSL Nucleus

    The Nucleus combines a control surface, interface, preamps and monitor controller, and is intended to form the heart of your studio. It uses the same control technology as can be found in SSL's high-end consoles, and incorporates a useful 16-channel meter-bridge. The Nucleus also ships with two of SSL's highly regarded Duende plug-ins.

    Review: /sos/jun11/articles/ssl-nucleus.htm

    Steinberg CMC Series £130-£168$150 - $250

    Steinberg CMC SeriesSteinberg CMC SeriesThese affordable controllers have been designed specifically to work with Cubase. The idea here is that you can build up your own custom control surface over time, with as many rotary controls, virtual 'fader' strips, and buttons as you need. Steinberg even make a four-module chassis for them, called the Studio Frame 4.

    Review: /sos/jun12/articles/steinberg-cmc-series.htm

    SmartAV Tango 2 £9240$12,300

    This premium model from Smart AV combines a 22-inch colour touchscreen with a generous selection of tactile controls, including eight motorised faders and 27 rotary encoders.

    Smart AV Tango 2Smart AV Tango 2The controls automatically assign themselves to DAW parameters, while the screen graphics change according to what you're controlling.

    Behringer BC Series £120-£160$180 - $250

    Behringer BC SeriesBehringer BC Series

    Though relatively old, these controllers are still remarkably popular, in particular the BCF2000, which is still the cheapest control surface with eight motorised faders available. The cheaper BCR2000, with its 32 encoders, also represents extraordinary value, and multiple units of either type can be daisy-chained to create an expanded surface.

    Review: /sos/jan05/articles/behringercontrollers.htm

    Avid Artist Control V2 £877$1500

    Avid Artist Control V2Avid Artist Control V2

    Originally developed by high-end digital console manufacturers Euphonix, the Artist Control V2 is well regarded for its build quality, and the fact that it is highly customisable. It connects to computers via Ethernet, and uses the EuCon control protocol. The large colour touchscreen offers control of plug-ins, as well as DAW mixer parameters.

    Review: /sos/jan09/articles/euphonixmccontrol.htm

    Focusrite Control 2802 £3000$4000

    Focusrite Control 2802Focusrite Control 2802

    The Control 2802 is something of a hybrid product, combining a comprehensive monitor controller, a 32-input mixer and a control surface with eight motorised faders. The function of the faders can be 'flipped' between adjusting the mixer section's analogue input levels, or the fader positions in your DAW.

    Review: /sos/dec10/articles/audient-asp2802.htm

    Novation Zero SL MkII £199$299

    Novation Zero SL MkIINovation Zero SL MkII

    Derived from Novation's range of controller keyboards, the Zero SL MkII is intended to offer plenty of hands-on control of soft synths and plug-ins, via its multitude of knobs, buttons, faders and drum pads. It uses the acclaimed Automap software to automatically assign its controls to software functions.

    Cakewalk V-Studio 700 £2039$2295

    Cakewalk V-Studio 700Cakewalk V-Studio 700

    This imposing controller offers tight integration with Cakewalk's Sonar, via its nine motorised faders, 20 rotary encoders, jog dial and T-bar. It also has numerous buttons for navigating Sonar functions, and is available either on its own or bundled with an 18-in/24-out USB audio interface.

    Review: /sos/may09/articles/vstudio700.htm

    Mackie Control Universal Pro £985$1500

    Mackie Control Universal ProMackie Control Universal Pro

    This tried and tested controller has eight motorised, touch-sensitive faders, plus a comprehensive transport section, including a shuttle wheel. As one of the most established control surfaces, it's also compatible with pretty much every major DAW. Expansion units come in the form of the C4 (a plug-in controller with numerous rotary encoders), and the eight-fader Extender Pro.

    Review: /sos/apr08/articles/mackiecontrolpro.htm

    PreSonus Faderport £150$130

    PreSonus FaderportPreSonus Faderport

    If you don't have space for a full-sized control surface, but the idea of a physical fader still appeals, the Faderport is well worth checking out. Its one fader is motorised and touch sensitive, allowing you to easily input level automation data, and it also features a well-appointed transport section.

    Review: /sos/jun07/articles/presonusfaderport.htm

    Although they might not directly improve the quality of your productions, control surfaces can have a profound effect on your workflow, and could even offer some important health benefits.

    Hardware control surfaces offer various benefits over mixing with a mouse, especially for inputting mix automation.Hardware control surfaces offer various benefits over mixing with a mouse, especially for inputting mix automation.

    Back in the days of analogue recording, everything was operated by buttons, switches, knobs and faders. Fast-forward a few decades to the computer age, however, and you'll find that many engineers spend more time in front of a computer screen, mouse and keyboard than in front of rows and rows of channel strips!

    Nostalgia being the powerful marketing tool that it is, software designers have gone to great lengths to recreate the vibe of vintage studios in their 2D user interfaces, incorporating old-fashioned VU meters and graphics with Bakelite knobs and chrome switches... But the one thing they can't emulate is the tactile experience of grabbing a fader to turn something up or down, or tweaking a knob until the sound you hear is just right.

    Around a decade or so ago, however, manufacturers started making 'control surfaces' — devices that looked for all the world like analogue mixers, with faders and knobs aplenty. But unlike analogue desks, these fader-adorned boxes don't actually pass audio themselves: they simply send control data to computers, so that raising a physical fader on the control surface turns a channel's volume up in whatever DAW you're using (for example).

    Although some people consider control surfaces to be an expensive luxury — surely a mouse can perform exactly the same job? — there are a number of very real benefits to be had from them...

    Control Pros

    Many mix engineers swear by automation: the process of dynamically changing parameters (volume, EQ cuts and boosts, and so on) throughout a mix. While this can be achieved with a mouse alone, by drawing fades and such into a DAW, doing it in that way means that you can only change one parameter at a time, because there's only one mouse pointer! With a control surface, however, you can move multiple faders in one pass, which saves you having to make vocal fader adjustments first, then go back to the beginning of a song again to make guitar level tweaks, and so on.

    Another reason for going down the control-surface route is that it distances you from the visual aspect of music production. Level meters, waveforms and plug-in interfaces are very useful tools from a technical point of view, but many people find them extremely distracting when trying to concentrate on the sound coming out of their speakers! With a control surface, however, you can work in a much more traditional way, by simply tweaking knobs while listening, rather than worrying about whether the information on your computer screen 'looks right'.

    But perhaps the most important benefit that control surfaces offer is improved ergonomics. As anyone with a desk job will know, sitting in the same position using a mouse and keyboard for hours on end can do serious damage to your muscles and tendons — which is bad news for musicians, of course, who need their arms in tip-top shape in order to play their instruments effectively!

    Using a control surface rather than a mouse inevitably means performing a range of different arm movements, rather than the same small movements over and over again, which significantly reduces the risk of acquiring a repetitive strain injury (RSI) or carpal-tunnel syndrome. The potential health benefits alone, therefore, might be reason enough to invest in a control surface.

    Pad Religion

    Of course, no round-up of DAW controllers would be complete without mentioning Apple's hugely popular iPad. There are now dozens of different controller apps available for the iPad, ranging in sophistication from simple transport controllers all the way up to complete emulations of a hardware Mackie Control. And because the iPad supports multi-touch gestures, you can use these to input multiple types of automation data simultaneously.

    The one thing iPads lack compared to a dedicated surface is tactile feedback — you don't get the physical 'feel' of moving a fader or knob. They're also relatively expensive, if you consider the fact that you can get a full-fat, motorised-fader controller for about the same price! That said, though, if you already own one, paying the small extra fee for a controller app is almost a no-brainer. What's more, and unlike the controllers listed on the previous pages, iPads can connect to computers wirelessly, so you can control your DAW from another room entirely. And for people who work alone and have to record their own playing, remote control could well be an advantage worth having.  

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