The 10 Best Control Surfaces For Logic Pro (2024)

In today’s advanced DAW environments, achieving the highest level of precision and speed is essential for music producers and audio engineers. Logic Pro, with its comprehensive set of features, requires a control surface that can deliver detailed command over its extensive functionality.

My top recommended control surface is the PreSonus FaderPort 8, which stands out with its user-friendly interface and comprehensive DAW control for an efficient and streamlined mixing experience.

My second recommended control surface is the Korg nanoKONTROL2. This portable controller offers precise control, making it ideal for managing key functions and DAW manipulation on the go.

My choices were centered around key criteria such as build quality, tactile response, integration with Logic Pro, and the level of control offered over the software’s features. I also paid close attention to how each control surface could potentially speed up or enhance the music production process, noting any unique advantages or limitations.

The Best Control Surfaces For Logic Pro (2024) – At a Glance

Let’s move onto the full list!

1. PreSonus FaderPort 8

Top Pick - Intuitive design meets expert function.
A handy tool for musicians, compatible with both Mac and PC with seamless DAW integration.
View Price at Thomann (Europe)

The PreSonus FaderPort 8 lets you control things faster and more naturally. It features 8 touch-sensitive, 100mm motorized faders, a Session Navigator, Channel & Automation controls, and basically anything to make navigation and use feel seamless.

Pros

  • Compact and ergonomic design
  • Plug-and-play functionality
  • Universal compatibility with most DAWs
  • Digital scribble strip displays for feedback
  • Session Navigator provides an efficient workflow

Cons

  • Scribble strips are hard to read unless viewed directly
  • Requires firmware update out of the box
  • No dedicated master slider provided

The sliders respond to the slightest touch, making it easy to add delicate sounds during a burst of creativity. The beauty behind this control surface is that it allows for hands-on use and control over your work. There’s also a footswitch input for hands-free start/stop of transport but you have to purchase one separately.

It’s designed to be comfortable and portable. The FaderPort 8 is made to enhance your setup, not make it more complex. It comes packaged with Studio One Artist and some awesome plug-ins, making it a valuable choice and my personal favorite.

Specs

  • Faders: 8 touch-sensitive, 100mm motorized faders
  • Display: 8 digital scribble strips
  • Connectivity: USB 2.0
  • Software: Studio One Artist

2. Korg nanoKONTROL2

Budget Pick - Ideal companion for laptop-based audio work.
A super light and affordable control surface for easy music-making.
View Price at Thomann (Europe)

The Korg nanoKONTROL2 is a portable device that fits right into your digital music setup. What makes it great is its small, easy-to-carry design, making it perfect for all kinds of music-making. It works well with lots of different music software, which is more than just handy – it’s a game-changer. It helps break down tech barriers, letting you focus on being creative.

Pros

  • Highly cost-effective controller
  • Ideal for portable music production
  • Extensive software support; compatible with major DAWs
  • Dedicated transport control section
  • Customizable via Korg Kontrol Editor

Cons

  • Driver installation can be problematic
  • Knobs are not infinite rotary
  • Build quality could be a little better

Having control over your music right at your fingertips is a big plus for anyone deep into making music. It features all the basic controls such as play, stop, and record. It also features 8 touch-sensitive faders and 8 rotary encoders for easy navigation and control.

With multi-channel control, you can manage up to eight channels, each with its own settings. This doesn’t just make your music richer, it gives you control over your mix. For the given price, you’ll hardly find a more suitable option on the market.

Specs

  • Faders: 8 touch-sensitive faders
  • Display: None
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Software: Korg Kontrol Editor

3. Avid S1 EUCON

Pro Pick - Precision control, intuitive touch workflow.
A pro-grade control surface packed into a compact package with a touch-friendly setup.
View Price at Thomann (Europe)

The Avid S1 EUCON lets you jump into hands-on mixing, with the eight lively, touch-sensitive motorized faders. Compatible with both Mac and PC, it can integrate with the most popular daws, allowing for fast and smooth work. Designed for those who love to get their hands on their work, the faders make adjusting the mix precise and real.

Pros

  • Speeds up the mixing process
  • Includes EQ, Pan, VCA spill, and high-res metering
  • The compact size fits any studio space
  • Comparable features to larger S6 consoles at a lower price
  • Easy to start using, with depth for advanced users

Cons

  • Limited to eight faders
  • Pricey
  • Some deep features may be unnecessary for basic projects

The Avid S1 EUCON has eight bright OLED screens, giving you crystal-clear info for each channel. Each screen is like a little window into fine-tuning your sound. I enjoy how these displays show information right away, helping you to make quick, smart tweaks when you’re deep in the mix. It shows how well thought out the unit’s design is.

When you’re tight on space, the clean and efficient design of this mixer stands out. The smart layout and a built-in tablet holder that keeps your device charged are all about saving space. It’s a big plus for small studios that it still gives you all the creative power you need.

Specs

  • Faders: 8 touch-sensitive, 100mm motorized faders
  • Display: 8 LCD TFT displays
  • Connectivity: Ethernet
  • Software: Avid Control App

4. Novation Launch Control XL MKII

Plug and play with seamless integration.
A lightweight music mixer that connects to your computer or iPad using USB for on-the-go music-making.
View Price at Thomann (Europe)

The Novation Launch Control XL MKII is a customized tool that comes with 24 knobs that offer fine control for those who really care about the small details in sound. These high-quality knobs let you make very precise changes, perfect for crafting audio carefully.

Pros

  • Plug and play
  • Good build quality
  • Integrates with multiple DAWs
  • Software editor for personal layouts
  • Lightweight and USB bus-powered
  • Multicolored LEDs: easy visual feedback

Cons

  • Detent in rotary pots: may not suit all applications
  • Some functions are limited without endless encoders
  • A bit of a learning curve

It also has multi-colored lights that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also make it easier to see what you’re doing with your music program. This feature really helps both the performance and the performer stand out. What’s really convenient is that this controller doesn’t need an external power source; it gets power through a USB connection.

For me, it’s a strong piece of equipment for DJs and music production, with its smooth sliders and compatibility with different music software (DAWs). Plus, it comes bundled with Ableton Live Lite and 1GB of Loopmasters samples.

Specs

  • Faders: 8 60mm faders
  • Display: None
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Software: Ableton Live Lite and 1GB of Loopmasters samples

5. Behringer X-TOUCH

Mix smarter, not harder – seamless software sync.
A nifty tool that lets you control your music-making software with buttons and sliders.
View Price at Thomann (Europe)

Take full control of your music software with the Behringer X-TOUCH that connects easily. The buttons and sliders respond well and make mixing more enjoyable. No matter if you use Logic, Cubase, or Pro Tools, this device is a perfect link, combining your creativity with the computer’s precision.

Pros

  • The sturdy build doesn’t feel plastic or cheap
  • Faders are responsive with good resolution
  • Compatible with major DAWs
  • Enhances tactile control for Logic Pro users
  • Motorized faders enable precise automation control

Cons

  • Rather bulky and takes up space
  • A learning curve is needed for the setup
  • Firmware updates may be required for functionality

The 9 motorized faders capture the subtle things you do, making your music feel alive. You can trust your touch – what you feel matches what you hear. These sliders make it feel like you’re working with old-school gear but in a digital space, which is pretty cool.

The bright screen on the controller shows you track names and settings clearly, but it’s a shame that you need to update the software on the device or do a bit extra to make it work right, which can be annoying if you want it to work right away. Despite that, the screen is like a helpful assistant, keeping you up-to-date with every tweak you make.

Specs

  • Faders: 9 motorized 100mm faders
  • Display: Color-coded LED
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Software: N/A

6. Mackie MCU Pro

Professional control surface for mixing with precision.
A pro-grade music-making program with touch-sensitive sliders and a big screen.
View Price at Sweetwater

The sleek design and sturdy build of the Mackie MCU Pro are really attractive, and it’s matched by ultra-smooth moving faders. These faders give you perfect control over sound levels. Their clear accuracy over a 100mm length lets you mix sounds effortlessly, giving you the slight adjustments needed for the ideal audio.

Pros

  • Solid, professional build
  • Integrates well with DAWs
  • Touch-sensitive motorized faders enhance mixing
  • Expandable with Mackie Control Extender Pro and C4 Pro

Cons

  • Occasional difficulty with setup
  • Slight issues with  fader functionality (calibration)
  • Pricey

You can easily switch between tracks and adjustments without any interruptions, all due to the special rotary knobs. These knobs are great to touch and let you finely adjust your digital plugins and instruments. These features make it feel like you’re manipulating real instruments.

The small, bright screen shows you everything you need to know. It gives you live updates, shines a light on your settings and tracks, and keeps you up-to-date and in charge. It’s a guiding light in the sometimes chaotic world of a busy studio.

Specs

  • Faders: 9 touch-sensitive, motorized 100mm faders
  • Display: Full meter LED display
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Software: Waveform OEM bundle

7. Korg nanoKONTROL Studio

Battery-powered and ultra-portable.
A small and lightweight MIDI controller, perfect for making music on the go.
View Price at Thomann (Europe)

The Korg nanoKONTROL Studio connects easily with your iPhone or computer without any wires to get in your way! It works as a flexible controller for recording software. It’s great because you can switch between different modes and sets of controls, which is super helpful when working with recording programs like Logic Pro and Reaper on compatible computers.

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight, ideal for mobile use
  • USB and wireless connectivity offer flexibility
  • Works well with various DAWs like Logic Pro
  • Good for live performances and controlling software
  • Can be battery-operated for portability

Cons

  • Fader precision is not as high as expected
  • Software drivers problematic for installation
  • Flimsy faders and build quality concerns

With this controller, all the adjustments you make in your recording software feel real because you can actually touch the knobs and sliders. Say goodbye to just using your mouse or touching the screen; with this gear, you get to play with real controls that make it easier and more fun to fine-tune your sound.

If you’re a musician who travels a lot, you know you need gear that’s easy to take with you. This controller is light and perfect for on-the-go. Take it with you to shows, recording sessions, or anywhere you might be inspired to make music.

Specs

  • Faders: 8 faders
  • Display: None
  • Connectivity: USB (Micro-B)
  • Software: KORG Software Bundle

8. Behringer X-TOUCH MINI

Intuitive Controls in a Small Package
A handy little controller for music software that you can toss in your backpack and take anywhere.
View Price at Thomann (Europe)

Jump right into easy plug-and-play as the Behringer X-TOUCH MINI quickly connects with many music software programs. I love that it works just like the famous Mackie control board, making music production smooth and feeling like a part of the creative flow.

Pros

  • Solid alternative to more expensive MIDI controllers
  • Works well with Music software like Ableton and Mainstage
  • Good build quality; solid knobs without wobble
  • Compact and portable for live and studio use
  • USB connectivity for easy integration

Cons

  • Customization software lacking for Mac users
  • Can only control one LED per collar programmatically
  • Encoders lack pre-set values, affecting certain uses
  • Might require third-party software for full functionality

Using the Behringer X-TOUCH MINI feels great with the glowing buttons and knobs. These features are good for working in low light, letting you adjust effects and sound levels by looking and touching. The design is user-friendly, which makes for an engaging experience whether you’re setting the mood with lights or adjusting sounds as you go.

It’s too bad it doesn’t come with its own software for Mac computers, and you can’t set the controls before you start, which can make things a bit tricky, particularly in music or for those who want something simple right out of the box. However, for the given price, you still get a compact and quality control surface.

Specs

  • Faders: 1 60mm slider
  • Display: None
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Software: N/A

Making music just got a whole lot more hands-on with the Icon Pro Audio QCon Pro X which comes with nine big knobs you can slide around to mix sounds. You can feel the movement as you nudge the fader and make changes on the fly to give your songs a personal touch. I really like how these cool features make things go a lot faster in the studio.

Pros

  • Increases productivity and workflow efficiency
  • Eliminates dependence on the mouse for DAW control
  • Compatible with popular DAWs
  • Motorized faders and rotary encoders for precision
  • Backlit LCD screens for easy navigation

Cons

  • A rather steep learning curve
  • Not universally plug-and-play for all systems
  • Firmware updates can be challenging

With eight knobs that can do two things each, you’ve got a lot of control right there in your hand. I’m a big fan of how smooth it is to move from one task to the next, making it easier to get just the right sound. With 12-segment LED channels, you have clear visuals when working and the touch-sensitive motorized fader for the master channel is a cool little addition.

What’s awesome is how you can work with your music software like you’re leading an orchestra, without being stuck using a computer mouse. I find it super freeing that musicians can put all their focus into making great music and crafting intricate tunes with great detail.

Specs

  • Faders: 8 touch-sensitive motorized channel faders
  • Display: Backlit LCD
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Software: Harrison 32C Vocal Intensity Processor, Tracktion DAW Essentials, Dotec Audio plugins, and Bitwig Studio 8-Track

10. PreSonus FaderPort 16

Your entire studio is unified under one sleek controller.
A super handy gadget for mixing music with scribble strip displays and a boatload of software to get you started.
View Price at Thomann (Europe)

The PreSonus FaderPort 16’s motorized faders are very responsive and capture every detail. They make it easy for sound professionals to work with great accuracy. I really like how these faders move smoothly with just a light touch. They give total control over the volume, ensuring each adjustment is on purpose.

Pros

  • Increases workflow efficiency
  • Easy to use with a streamlined design
  • Has a master channel; not just dedicated faders
  • Compatible with a variety of DAWs
  • Compact size fits on any desk

Cons

  • Monochromatic LCD scribble strips with insufficient contrast
  • Troubleshooting is required for setup in some cases
  • A bit pricey

This device is a standout because it combines the feel of traditional equipment with the smarts of current software. It connects well with popular music programs like Logic, Pro Tools, and Cubase. It’s a great tool for any studio.

The mixer also has screens that show what each track is doing, which is super helpful. For someone managing a lot of tracks, it’s great to see names, volumes, and other settings at a quick look, so you’re never confused about what you’re adjusting.

Specs

  • Faders: 16 touch-sensitive motorized faders
  • Display: 16 Scribble Strip Displays
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Software: Studio One Artist, Ableton Live Lite, Studio Magic plug-in suite

Buyer’s Guide

What to look for when buying a control surface for logic Pro?

Compatibility, functionality, size, build quality, and expandability are by far the most important things you should look for when deciding on the ideal control surface for Logic Pro.

Compatibility

When selecting a control surface for Logic Pro, ensuring compatibility is pivotal for leveraging the full potential of both the software and the hardware. This is not just about ensuring basic functionality; it is vital for accessing every easily accessible mixing control, transport feature, or automation capability that Logic Pro has to offer.

Before making your purchase, confirm that the control surface not only mentions Logic Pro in its list of compatible DAWs but also supports its latest updates, ensuring seamless integration and the ability to actually improve your production process rather than hindering it.

Functionality

Functionality is the heart of any control surface used with Logic Pro, as personal workflow demands a tailor-made approach to redundancy reduction during the creative process.

For instance, the motorized faders on the PreSonus FaderPort 8 not only offer the tactile advantage for managing levels in a mix but also bridge the virtual-physical gap with their touch sensitivity enhancing the overall experience.

Knobs, like those on the Korg nanoKONTROL2, offer hands-on control for panning and effects, freeing you from the confines of mouse clicks. Stretching functionality further, dedicated transport controls are vital—something as simple as the play, stop, and record buttons can streamline the recording process drastically, keeping your focus on performance rather than navigation.

Size and Layout

When configuring your workspace with a control surface for Logic Pro, the importance of size and layout cannot be overstressed—what fits in your space and how comfortably you can interact with it over long mixing sessions are vital considerations.

The PreSonus FaderPort 8 is an excellent example, which, while compact enough to not dominate your desk, provides an ergonomic eight-channel interface. Furthermore, a control surface such as the Korg nanoKONTROL2 strikes an appealing balance with its slender form factor, fitting snugly in a limited workspace without sacrificing hands-on control for essential functions.

Build Quality

In the landscape of control surfaces tailored for Logic Pro, build quality is a paramount aspect to scrutinize prior to acquisition. High-grade materials and robust construction directly influence the durability and reliability of the device during prolonged sessions, and tactility plays an integral role in contributing to a satisfying hands-on mixing experience.

The PreSonus FaderPort series, including both the Faderport 8 and the expansive FaderPort 16, demonstrates this durability with substantial weight and dimensions that speak to the solidity of the units. Similarly, products like the Avid S1 EUCON provide a tactile and visual workflow through its quality components, offering a good tactile response that enhances user interaction and longevity.

Expandability

When considering a control surface for use with Logic Pro, expandability is a key factor that offers flexibility for growth as your studio evolves.

Seeking out a control surface like the PreSonus FaderPort 16 that supports daisy-chaining can significantly enhance your mixing capabilities. Similarly, the Avid S1, with its ability to accommodate up to four S1 units together, demonstrates how scalability can be elegantly managed; a singular unit provides a compact solution, while multiple units offer a broader console experience.

Single-Channel vs Multi-Channel Control Surfaces

When considering the purchase of a control surface, one critical decision is choosing between single-channel or multi-channel units. Single-channel control surfaces, such as the Presonus Faderport8, offer one fader which can often be mapped to different tracks in your DAW, suitable for tight spaces or portable setups.

On the other hand, multi-channel control surfaces provide multiple faders – each corresponding to a unique channel in the DAW – delivering a much quicker and holistic control over your mix.

Key Features to Consider When Choosing a Control Surface

The right control surface should have features that match your need for tactile control over your mix. Look for the following:

  • Faders: Determine the number of faders you need based on the complexity of your sessions.
  • Knobs: Quality knobs can help with precision adjustments during mixing.
  • Buttons: Layout and customization options for buttons can streamline your process.
  • Motorized Faders: For automation, motorized faders like those on the SSL UF8 can reflect real-time movements made in the DAW.
  • Touch Sensitivity: This can give better control and feedback during mixing.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is a Control Surfaces For Logic Pro?

Control surfaces for Logic Pro are external hardware devices designed to enhance the user experience by providing a tactile interface for adjusting various parameters within the software, such as volume faders, pan controls, and effect settings. These surfaces range from simple knobs and faders to complex consoles with multiple functions, streamlining the music production process and offering a more hands-on approach to mixing and sound manipulation.

2. Are control surfaces compatible with all versions of Logic Pro?

Compatibility can vary; however, most modern control surfaces use the Mackie Control Universal (MCU) protocol or HUI which Logic Pro supports. Always check the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure compatibility with your version of Logic Pro.

3. How does a control surface improve my workflow in Logic Pro?

A control surface improves workflow by providing immediate access to mix levels, plugin parameters, and transport controls without the need to click through menus, making the music production process more intuitive and efficient, which can lead to a faster and more creative working environment.

4. Can I use more than one control surface with Logic Pro?

Yes, Logic Pro allows the use of multiple control surfaces simultaneously. This setup can expand your control range, offering more faders and knobs for complex mixing and recording sessions, but ensure your computer’s connectivity supports the addition of multiple devices.

Conclusion

And there you have it! You’re locked, loaded, and ready to control the wild and wooly world of Logic Pro. Just remember, while the symphony of your mind is what brings the music to life, it doesn’t hurt to have the maestro’s wand in hand to lead the orchestra. Until we hit the next note, ride those faders and twist those knobs like the audio alchemist you are!

My top pick is the PreSonus FaderPort 8. This control surface stands out with its user-friendly interface and comprehensive DAW control for an efficient and smooth mixing experience.

My budget pick is the Korg nanoKONTROL2. This affordable controller offers precise control, making it ideal for managing key functions and DAW manipulation for traveling musicians.

Milan Trajkovikj

Milan Trajkovikj

I’m the Deputy Editor for Musician Wave and a touring and recording bass guitarist. I love to share my passion for all things music. I’ve been playing music for over ten years and I love exploring it further through writing. You'll also find me on the Musician Wave YouTube channel.

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