Everybody knows that musical instruments can be technical and fussy, and it takes a precise, skilled touch to get the exact response out of them that you're going for - but something not everyone realizes is how electronic instruments and music software can be the same way. Whether you're producing digital tracks from scratch, engineering a recording in your DAW or using electronic tools to mix live sound, the difference between "just okay" results and stellar ones can be as simple as having the right control surfaces at your fingertips. These high-tech controllers are designed to give you complete command over your audio, so you can exercise your talent down to the finest detail.
The exact application of a control surface depends on that control surface itself. Some of them, like the Akai Professional MIDImix Control Surface, are designed to go hand-in-hand with your digital audio workstation to replace an analog mixer. The Livid Ds1 Digital Mixer, for example, works with any software that supports MIDI. Other models, including the Solid State Logic Nucleus Recording Control Console, are similar but are designed for a specific type of use, giving you more in-depth control better suited to that specific task.
One way you might choose to browse this section is to work backward from your preferred software to find control surfaces that are designed to work with it - or surfaces that are compatible with it, at the very least. Considering how popular Pro Tools is for audio professionals, it won't surprise you to find software-specific control surfaces like the Avid S3 Pro Tools Control Surface Studio. A specialized piece of hardware like this can really help you get the most out of your DAW.
Ask yourself two questions: what are you looking to control, and how are you looking to do it? The answers will go a long way to narrow down your options in the category of control surfaces, and once you've done that, choosing the right one to fit your personal tastes can be a matter of seconds. So say goodbye to dragging around software sliders and knobs with your mouse or keyboard; these control surfaces will make that process as intuitive as it was with old-school analog hardware.