As I said in the previous post regarding the X-Touch Compact, my first attempt at controlling Mixbus with an external MIDI controller didn’t go so well. (In a nutshell, the XTouch Compact does work, but Mixbus has a lot of parameters to control, and the smaller control surface doesn’t have enough knobs for the jobs.) I went ahead and ordered the larger X-Touch and got a slightly used unit on eBay. The seller posted a photo of the very latest version (with colored buttons) but he shipped an earlier version. It wasn’t a huge deal… I actually prefer the earlier version, as all the pretty colors makes the latest X-Touch look kind of Fisher-Pricelike.
But the biggest question was, “will it work?” The short answer is- oh Hell yes. The darned thing works great straight out of the box. Kudos to Ben Loftis and the other folks on the Mixbus team for their programming efforts. Most of what you need to know about setting up and using this controller is covered in their videos. Their application of Mixbus to this particular controller is very intuitive, nearly all of the commands follow the printed legends on the controller, and you can get to just about every adjustment you’ll want to make via the controller. You’ll still need the keyboard and mouse to open files and name tracks- a laptop riser like this is on my radar, or perhaps a sliding tray shelf- but once I hit “play,” I rarely need to reach for the mouse.
While I’ve only been using this thing for a few days, I’m already hooked/spoiled. I can’t imagine running Mixbus without it. It makes adjusting parameters much faster, and I can concentrate more on the music and less on operating the program. The little rectangular “scribble strip” displays under the top rotary encoders are a huge help… the control surface can scroll through different sections of the program, and these displays tell me at a glance where I’m at and what each encoder does.
A big plus is the price point. I got mine for about $360. I’m sure an Avid S3 would be much cooler, but since- at least for me, and at least for now- music mixing is done more for fun that money these days, I’m like many musicians and am forced to keep costs under control.
I haven’t gotten the chance to see if this controller will work with any of my other programs, but that doesn’t really matter to me since Mixbus is where I need this most. I’ve wanted a controller that works with Mixbus since version 1.1, and finally I’ve got one that works well. And while I haven’t mixed on a real Harrison console for many years now, this will probably be as close as I’m ever going to get. Thanks, Harrison!