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Little shop of delights

Steinberg's new range of CMC hardware controllers are a producers delight

Steinberg’s latest gift to the Cubase community is a rather special and unique hardware controller system. Made up of six individual components, it can be mixed and matched to provide the ultimate customised control system to suit every producer’s different needs. Not only can the individual modules be combined in a myriad of different configurations, they can also be placed physically in the studio in an endless combination of ways to suit different work styles, as well as being a dream come true for anyone who wants a full-blown DAW hardware control interface, but has limited space.

Looks count, and the CMC Controllers are very nicely designed with an almost new-skool Lexicon remote control feel. The build quality is excellent and the feel of the buttons is amazing; in fact, the buttons on the PD pad controller feel nothing short of sensual to operate. Full functional simplicity is the order of the day with the CMC Controllers, and Steinberg has managed to pull this off with serious aplomb. These controllers are incredibly well-designed and probably some of the most intuitive DAW controllers around. Installation is nothing short of a dream. After installing one configuration program and simply plugging each of the units into USB ports on the computer, Cubase is fully integrated, without a single configuration setting needing to be touched.

The controllers each address a specific area of Cubase’s functions; for instance, the CH Channel Controller is a hardware representation of the channel settings found on screen in Cubase with backlit buttons giving feedback for settings such as EQ bypass. The FD fader module is a set of four touch-sensitive fader controls with LEDs displaying the current fader position and a bank of buttons at the bottom to facilitate swapping between groups of channels. The QC Quick Controller is equipped with eight knobs and several banks of buttons, which make tweaking the EQ and other channel settings a breeze, as well as being capable of controlling VST plug-ins. The TP Transport Controller has everything anyone could possibly need in relation to the transport controls, which are mapped to buttons along with a very sexy multi-touch strip controller, which can be used to zoom in and out as well as scrub through a project.

The AI Controller is essentially a jog-wheel with the AI functions seen on other Steinberg products of late surrounded by a few other handy buttons, and the PD Controller is a 16-button pad bank with velocity-sensitive pads and backlit buttons that change colour depending on the force that the pads are being pressed with.

The CMC Controllers are incredibly impressive and will be a godsend for many Cubase users, especially as they are so flexible in the possible configurations that can be assembled, as well as the fact that they can be purchased one at a time without breaking the bank.

Price   £136/£168
Build Quality
Ease of Use   9.0
Features   9.0
Value for Money   8.5
Sound Quality   N/A
Hype   A complete hardware controller system for Cubase that can be fully customised and extended.
Gripe   Each unit requires its own USB port on the computer, unless a USB hub is used.
Conclusion   These controllers could be a exactly what many Cubase users have been waiting for, allowing the ultimate customer controller rig to be assembled one unit at a time.
Overall Score   9.0/10