The Best Control Surface for Logic Pro X: Our Top 6 Picks

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A competent control surface can add a whole lot of intuitiveness to your mixing process. This guide looks at the best control surface for Logic Pro X you can buy right now.

Our Top Pick
PreSonus FaderPort: Compact and capable control surface that works perfectly with Logic Pro X
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A control surface isn’t a must-have for a bedroom producer, but it’s a powerful tool to have when you’re ready to upgrade to a more serious setup. It brings all essential controls to your fingertips, freeing you up from the awkwardness of multiple screens. Hardware controls not only give you finer control over your DAW, but also give you greater creative freedom and flexibility.

While most control surfaces work well with Logic Pro – it is one of the most popular DAWs in the world after all – there are some that perform better than others.

In this roundup of the best control surfaces for Logic Pro X, we’ll look at some of the best options you can buy right now.

Best Overall

PreSonus FaderPort

PreSonus, which makes some of my favorite amateur-targeted studio monitors, also makes a fantastically flexible control surface, the FaderPort. Affordably priced yet feature-rich, this control surface gives you immediate access to key DAW features at your fingertips. A large volume control knob and a master fader let you control key parameters. And a small size means that it takes up little space on your desk.

Great compatibility and robust build quality make it our best control surface for Logic Pro X for producers on a budget.

This single-fader USB control surface comes in an elegant and compact design that is quite appealing. It gives control of DAWs for different sets of professionals. Considering that one problem that control surface owners have is portability, this control surface solves our problem. We all want a size that will fit our desk, right?

The device is so compact that it can fit your hands. No wonder that when people first come across the device, I included, they wonder where the faders are located. Well, despite the small size, the device still retains the most important features found on different highly-rated control surfaces.

During a session, for example, you can easily control all the tracks with the channel select feature. As a professional, I require multiple faders to do my best work, but if you are a beginner, multiple faders might be complex to handle. Hence, aside from being very functional, this feature suits beginners like a glove.

This USB control surface allows you to speed up the operations you engage in. You do not have to use your mouse; all the necessary controls are embedded in the device.

It features a long-throw fader that allows for fast mixes. It also supports Control Link and parameter. There is so much software that the device is compatible with, from Ableton Live to Pro Tools, Nuendo, and much more. The device is completely compatible with Mac OS and PC.

One feature that I love about the single fader is the ability to write automation correctly.

What we don’t like

It took some time learning how to connect the device to Logic Pro. However, once this was done, it was easy to use

Recommended for: For anyone who makes music. From producers to audio engineers and mobile studios, it is very useful.

Pros

  • Strong, ergonomic design
  • Quality performance and affordable price

Cons

  • Not easy to set up
  • Additional faders would have been welcome

Best Budget Pick: Akai Pro MIDImix

Key features:

  • Cross DAW Compatible
  • 24 assignable knobs
  • USB-Powered
  • 8 line faders

Right out of the box, the sleek and compact design of the device is lovely to behold. The top panel comes in black matte while the rear has an orange hue. This nice contrast makes the Akai Pro MIDImix easy on the eye. The slim design makes it easy to move about with this surface control; it fits in a backpack easily and will be great for DJs that move around.

On the top right of the device, there is a Send All button. Right beside it is the Bank left/right button that offers you the ability to toggle the eight channels on the MIDIMix. South of this is the Solo button. Below the Mute button are the Record-Arm buttons. The overall layout of this device makes it super-easy to use and is pleasing to the eye.

As per Akai standard, this control surface is of solid build. It feels strong and reliable to touch. All the buttons, knobs, and controls feel premium and not “plasticky.”

The device comes with Live remote script unlike some of the devices on this list. This, along with the integration with Ableton Live’s mixer, makes the surface control both easy, and pleasant to use.

Aside from the software above, it is also compatible with a host of DAWs. I particularly enjoyed using the software editor on the device.

Although it does not have as many features as some other surface controllers on the list, it offers great value for the price.

What we don’t like

It lacks Device control, which I found to be a surprising decision from Akai.

Recommended for: If you want a good-looking, slim control surface for your live rig, Akai MIDIMix is highly recommended.

Pros

  • Very portable
  • Great value for the price
  • Impressive integration with Ableton, Logic, and Studio One

Cons

  • Knobs are a tad awkward to use
  • Build quality is iffy at best

Best Performance Pick: Behringer XTOUCH

Key features:

  • Touch-sensitive encoders
  • Logic Full support
  • USB Connectivity
  • Ethernet Port

With regards to their design, I found the Behringer X Touch to be a rather thick and clunky control surface. It is not as slim as many of the control surfaces I have tested. Therefore, when placed on a desktop, you might have to raise your chair height an inch or two (if you are sitting while operating it). The height and thickness make it a tad uncomfortable reaching for the faders and make it hard to see the display properly while sitting. Despite the less than ideal thickness, this control device performs rather superbly.

Aside from the physical dimensions, the device has many connectivity options. The generosity of these options is seen from the connection ports available. You have USB connection for DAW control, full-sized MIDI I/O ports, three ¼” footswitch inputs, and Ethernet Port, and a pair of USB ports.

While testing, I connected the device to Logic. It offers a really stunning functionality level with the controllers. The device supports quite extensively, the MCU protocol. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience, and while it is not the best I’ve had, it is quite memorable. The transport buttons here feel really firm and sturdy and are very functional. For example, they have lights to show their current status. The jog wheel also enjoys this design feature. However, it is not as firm as the transport buttons and feels rather cheap and tacky.

As mentioned earlier, the interaction with Logic is one of the best features of this device. It has full support with Logic as well as other DAWs.

The sound production on this device keeps up with the quality I’ve come to expect from Behringer products. The device can be connected to your iOS and Android device via Wi-Fi.

Altogether the sound quality, rich features, deep Logic integration, and functionality makes this control surface an excellent choice.

What we don’t like

Despite the integration with Mac OS, the lack of a Mac editor is jarring.

Recommended for: Gigging musicians that have a home studio will find the functionality of this device quite endearing.

Pros

  • Delivers excellent performance
  • Motorized faders
  • Touch-sensitive encoders

Cons

  • Clunky and thick design
  • Lacks a Mac editor
  • Doesn’t have a MIDI mode

Best for Portability: Korg nanoKONTROL Studio

Key features:

  • Bluetooth connection
  • MIDI control surface
  • USB and Battery-Powered

This is another compact control surface that makes this list of the best control surface for Logic Pro X. I found the control surface perfect for mobile or desktop use. Since it is wireless, it is very easy to carry around.

The layout of the Korg nanoKONTROL Studio is very comfortable. At the bottom of the front panel, there are the long-throw faders. The top of the panel features the Mute, Solo, Record, and select buttons. This is a departure from the Kontrol 2 which had the aforementioned buttons cradled between the faders. Unlike the PreSonus FaderPort, the KONTROL Studio has multiple faders.

Aside from these buttons and the faders, the front panel has a single jog wheel and a scene button. I like the increased functionality this offers. It allows me to change through 5 controller assignment pages with ease whenever I use it in the MIDI mode. The keyboard layout on this device is also intriguing. There are an additional 8 knobs and trigger pads as well as an axis touch controller.

All of these are to improve user experience on this device.

Additionally, the rear panel features a switch that toggles between the USB or Bluetooth mode. While testing, I found the connections easy to make and quite seamless. However, I encountered some connectivity problems when using the Bluetooth function on a low battery.

The NanoKontrol Studio is compatible with a number of apps. When I connected the control surface to my MacBook, I discovered that there are plenty of modes available. The device functions just as a normal MIDI keyboard does when connected to the computer. Mapping had to be done manually as there is no Live remote script or Logic plug-in. However, the keys afford a lot of functionality. They offer the user a built-in Arpeggiator among other functions.

The touchpad has 3 different functions that are accessed by using the buttons just south of it. You can use it as pitch bend and mod wheels, you can use it as a controller, and it can be used to play notes.

What we don’t like

It has functional issues on iOS devices.

Recommended for: If you want a control surface with a wireless connection at a relatively cheap price, this is for you.

Pros

  • Wireless connection
  • Works well with many DAWs
  • Small size

Cons

  • It has functional issues on iOS devices
  • No Ableton Live Remote Script
  • Bluetooth connection issues

Best for Outdoors/Live Gigs: Zoom FRC-8 F-Control Mixing Surface

Key features:

  • 3.5 mm headphone output
  • 12 Segment LED display
  • Metal build
  • 9 faders
  • Dedicated time code buttons

The Zoom FRC-8 F-Control Mixing Control Surface is a good-looking control surface that comes with impressive features that make it beloved by so many users. It comes in a metal casing that makes it look really good, and that also ensures that it lasts for a long time. I don’t advice you to drop it, but it is reassuring to know that one or two falls won’t destroy the device.

The buttons and faders on this control surface look strong, firm, and of high quality. The interface and button overlay of the device makes it one of the easiest to use. The FRC-8 allows even the most clumsy music mixers to get the job done quicker and more efficiently.

I love the Take Notes key that comes with the Zoom FRC-8 Control Mixing Control Surface. With this key, it is easy to write notes during the take. The F-control control surface allows you to connect a portable keyboard and use it at any time.

What we don’t like

It cannot be used alone. It has to be connected to a bigger rig.

Recommended for: If you are looking for a portable and highly durable control surface to take on the go with you to locations, this will suit your needs.

Pros

  • Provides excellent value for money
  • Can attach a keyboard
  • Excellent build quality is great for outdoor or live use

Cons

  • Cannot be used as a standalone control surface

Best for Home Studios: Behringer X-TOUCH ONE

Key features:

  • 100mm motorized fader
  • LED meter
  • Supports major DAW
  • Dedicated footswitch connector

The X Touch One has many similarities with its siblings the X-Touch, X-Touch Compact, and the X-Touch Mini. However, what makes it different also makes it one of the best control surfaces for Logic Pro X.

It comes with DAW controlling ability that makes it a mainstay in live application and studio application.

It is similar to the X-Touch Mini in size, albeit a tad larger. One way to describe the design and appearance of the X-Touch One is comparing it to cutting off one end of the X-touch. It comes with the standard controls on the X-Touch; however, it has a single motorized fader, navigation functions, and transport functions.

I enjoyed using this device due to its portability, compact nature, and the inherent support for major DAWs. The performance is satisfactory, and while it is not as robust feature-wise like its big brother the X-Touch, it is great in its own little way.

What we don’t like

The fader lacks control over writing automation.

Recommended for: If you love the X-Touch but want a smaller control surface without compromising too many features, then you should get this control surface.

Pros

  • The build is compact and solid
  • Great for mixing
  • Compatible with Logic Pro

Cons

  • Lacks a power switch
  • No way to write automation

Over to You

That wraps up our roundup of the best control surface for Logic Prox X you can buy right now. Pick the option that fits your requirements from the list above.

For more recommendations and advice, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also read:

References:

Changelog
  • October 30, 2019: Article published with 6 reviewed control surfaces.