Using a control surface with Logic Pro X will give you the ability to have hands-on control of your audio production projects. This can improve your workflow and let you focus on more elements when producing or creating music.
Many different control surfaces can work with Logic Pro X, but not all of them are great. Knowing and understanding what separates an average control surface from the best models around is a good idea.
I’m Donovan, and I’ve been writing, producing, and recording music in Logic Pro X for over a decade. I have lots of first-hand experience with different types of audio recording equipment, including control surfaces.
This post will explore all the best control surfaces for Logic Pro X. I’ll provide you with all the details you need to know to make an informed purchase that can help boost your production skills to the next level.
Let’s dig in.
- A control surface is a great way to boost workflow in Logic Pro X and will give you hands-on control that many musicians and producers enjoy.
- Control surfaces can range from small to large, so it’s always a good idea to choose one that best meets the needs of your studio space.
- Control surfaces and mixers are sometimes used interchangeably, although they are technically different types of recording equipment.
- Similar to the control surface size, you also want to check how many channels or faders it has. This will let you know how many tracks you can control at once with the unit.
How do you use control surfaces with Logic Pro X?
You can easily set up a control surface in Logic Pro X by going into the preferences menu and choosing Control Surfaces. From there, you can choose the control surfaces window and make any adjustments or changes that you want to.
Can I use a mixer with Logic Pro X?
Yes, you can use a mixer with Logic Pro X, which can expand your ability to control and produce audio projects. Technically, a mixer and control surface are different, but they can function similarly.
Is the Touchbar useful for Logic Pro?
I don’t think that the touch bar is very useful in Logic Pro, and you certainly don’t need to choose a Mac for your home studio based on whether it has a touch bar. You are better off getting a control surface to make adjustments as you need them.
What Makes the Best Control Surface for Logic Pro X?
Here are some important factors you should keep in mind when looking for the best control surface for Logic Pro X.
One of the first considerations to think about when choosing a control surface is its size. If your studio has limited space, you’ll want to select a small option with eight channel strips or less. If you have a large studio, choose a larger control surface.
Control surfaces come with many different features and functions, so be sure to shop around and find the model that best suits your needs and preferences in the studio. Features such as touch pads, displays, and volume knobs are nice to have.
Many control surfaces will have universal compatibility, but you always need to check before you make a purchase. When looking for an option to use with Logic Pro X, you must ensure the control surface is compatible with macOS.
Cost is another factor that comes into play, just like it does for any other piece of studio equipment. Higher-end control surfaces packed with features and functions will cost more than simple models that only give you the basics.
The Best Control Surfaces for Logic Pro X Reviewed
|Best Overall||PreSonus FaderPort 16|
|Best for Beginners||Korg nanoKontrol|
|Best for Vocals||Icon Platform M+|
|Best for Small Studios||Behringer X-TOUCH Universal|
|Best Budget Option||AKAI MIDIMix|
|Best for Large Projects||Icon QCon Pro G2|
|Best Features||Icon QCon Pro X|
|Best for Travel||PreSonus FaderPort v2|
1. PreSonus FaderPort 16
- 16-channel controller/mixer with touch-sensitive and motorized faders. Also includes 16 displays to help label and organize projects.
- Many other buttons that give you precise and direct control over all your recording projects in Logic Pro X.
- Professional level control capabilities but easy to figure out and use even if you have less experience or production skills.
- Lots of additional software included to give you increased creative capabilities.
The PreSonus FaderPort 16 is my pick for the best overall control surface for Logic Pro X. This is an awesome unit overall and provides everything you need to deep dive into your audio projects and retain complete control over everything along the way.
It features 16 touch-sensitive, motorized faders that give you hands-on control of the tracks in your project. These also come with corresponding scribble strips so you can keep on top of everything and remain well organized.
You also get dozens of additional buttons and controls that you can assign or connect to dial in your workflow as you need to. That’s plenty of options to work with, setting you up with creative success right from the start.
A large number of buttons on the FaderPort 16 can be a bit confusing for beginners, so this might not be the best option if you are new to recording. It’s also a relatively expensive option but totally worth it if you’re not on a strict budget.
My Verdict: Solid control surface overall, and one of the best options around to use with Logic Pro X. It Has everything you need to maintain precise control over all your audio projects and additional features to assist the creative process.
2. Korg nanoKontrol
- Easy-to-use option that is straightforward and effective for beginners who need a control surface.
- Wireless connectivity option if you want increased freedom to roam around your studio.
- Compact design fits easily in a home studio and can also be packed in a bag if you want or need to travel.
- Affordable option, which is great for first-time studio builders who are trying to save money while accumulating equipment.
If you are just starting your first home studio setup, the Korg nanoKontrol is a solid option to choose with Logic Pro X. This is a simple but effective control surface that will get you pointed in the right direction.
Simplicity is critical when you are learning how to use studio gear, and the nanoKontrol won’t burden beginners with a ton of bells and whistles. But it still gives you eight faders to work with and quick integration into your Logic projects.
The unit also comes with buttons and knobs in the channel strips to quickly make adjustments to your tracks to dial in the perfect sound or perfect changes while you mix. You also get access to an included bundle of music software for projects outside of Logic Pro X.
This isn’t the most complex option, as you’d expect with a controller suited for beginners. That means you can’t control every single aspect of a project like you could with other options you see on the list.
My Verdict: Excellent option for beginners thanks to a simple but effective design. Has everything you need to get started with a Logic-based home studio. Not full of bells and whistles, but still a good starting point.
3. Icon Platform M+
- Solid controller that comes with some built-in software to aid with vocal recording projects.
- Eight touch-sensitive faders give you hands-on control over projects in Logic Pro X.
- Encoder knobs and other buttons expand what the unit is capable of and delivers good performance in multiple applications.
- Can be paired with an LCD, although you’ll need to purchase that separately.
The Icon Platform M+ is a great control surface with vocal recording in mind. It comes with some built-in software like a Vocal Intensity Processor that you can put into action whenever you need to get those lead vocals down in a Logic project.
The controller also features eight touch-sensitive faders that give you precise control over tracks. You also get a number of buttons and knobs that can be assigned to various parameters of your projects.
This unit can also be expanded, which is a nice thing if you plan on growing your studio in the future. Pairing it with an LCD is a nice way to gain even more control over Logic Pro X, and this expands what the controller is capable of.
The Platform M+ is relatively expensive for its size, but the included software bundles make up for that a bit. You’ll also need to spend extra if you want to upgrade to the LCD or any other Icon platform.
My Verdict: Good unit for recording vocals thanks to some included software and easy-to-use controls. This is a fairly simple but super effective unit that will work in many types of home studios.
4. Behringer X-TOUCH Universal
- Compact unit but still extremely capable, making it a good option to explore if you have a smaller studio.
- Comes with nine fully automated faders and universal compatibility to work with Logic Pro X or any other DAW.
- Over 90 dedicated buttons give you precise control over your projects to streamline workflow and the creative process.
- Well designed with intuitive knob and button placement alongside backlit buttons.
Just because you have a smaller studio doesn’t mean you need to use lower-quality gear. And the Behringer X-TOUCH Universal is a great option to explore if you have a small space and still want professional-level capabilities.
This unit is compact, which is part of the reason why I think it’s the best option for smaller studios. But it’s still packed with functions and features that producers and musicians of all kinds can use effectively.
The X-TOUCH Universal has nine fully automated faders that allow you to adjust project settings quickly. And it also has over 90 different buttons you can incorporate into your workflow and help your creative process shine.
It’s an expensive unit for being so small, but well worth the cost for everything it has to offer. This makes the layout a bit crowded, so it might not be the best option if you want large tactile controls.
My Verdict: Awesome all-around unit and compact size make it a good option for smaller studios. Very capable for a small controller and doesn’t sacrifice performance for size.
5. AKAI MIDIMix
- Affordable option from a very reliable and respected brand name in the recording industry.
- Small size is easy to travel with or use in a smaller studio space.
- Nine faders give you plenty of control and precision within all your Logic Pro X projects.
- Also comes with 16 buttons and 2 banks to expand your control capabilities while saving some cash.
The AKAI MIDIMix is an excellent control surface to explore if you are on a budget. It’s a very affordable option that still works effectively, allowing you to stay in control and organized within all your Logic Pro X projects.
It also has a small and compact size that is a perfect travel controller if you hit the road and don’t want to stop making music. You also get outstanding reliability and customer service because of AKAI’s reputation.
Despite its small size, the MIDIMix has eight faders and sixteen buttons to give you plenty of hands-on control within Logic Pro X. These buttons are small but easy to see and not too cramped within the surface unit.
The MIDIMix doesn’t give you as many features as the more extensive and expensive options on the list. But you still get the basics, and the controls and features it does come with are effective in action.
My Verdict: Best budget pick out there with excellent reliability because it’s an AKAI unit. The small size also makes it easy to travel with, so a good second unit option for anyone with a less portable home studio setup.
6. Icon QCon Pro G2
- Comes with a bright and easy-to-read LED for metering and control of all channels.
- Large size gives you everything you need to handle projects with a high number of tracks. It can also be expanded for even more functionality.
- Almost 80 buttons allow you to set up your parameters and workflow however you need to, providing freedom and flexibility.
- Nice design and layout with a brightly colored display, making it easy to use in darker spaces.
If you want a control surface that can easily handle larger recording projects, be sure to check out the Icon QCon Pro G2. This very reliable unit gives you plenty of control options to dive into those monster sessions without worry.
The unit comes with nine touch-sensitive faders, which might not seem like much for big projects, but you can expand this one and get double the faders when needed. It’s also easy to scroll through track listings if you want to keep it as a stand-alone controller.
I also really like the layout and design of this one. It’s easy to use and navigate, which is also a big benefit when you are in the middle of a larger project. The buttons and well-lit, and the display is clear and easy to read.
The downside with this one is that you’ll need to pay extra if you want to expand the unit for more channels. But if you tend to work with large projects often, having that ability is well worth the cost of the upgrade.
My Verdict: Excellent design and layout that helps improve workflow in larger recording projects. Expandability is nice, even if you need to pay more for added channels.
7. Icon QCon Pro X
- Packed with features that give you increased power and control over any recording project you’re working with.
- Can be extended for even more control possibilities, which opens the door for more control in complex projects.
- Eight touch-sensitive faders that are smooth and an easy-to-read LED to help with metering and other controls.
- Includes a free software bundle that increases what you can accomplish with the controller.
If you want a control surface for Logic Pro X that is packed with features and much more capable than your average option, take a good look at the Icon QCon Pro X. This is a top-of-the-line option worth exploring.
This unit has everything you want and need from a control surface and then some. You get eight touch-sensitive faders and a big and bright LED for maintaining precise control over metering or any other parameter of your project.
There are also plenty of buttons to assign, and this can help improve workflow drastically. Another excellent feature is that you get a software bundle when you purchase the controller that can expand what’s possible within Logic Pro X.
The major downside of all these features and functions is that you will pay for them. This is the most expensive option on the list. It’s worth it if you can afford it, but the price tag will keep it out of range of the average musician or producer.
My Verdict: Super capable control surface with many features to take advantage of. Also the most expensive on the list so it isn’t practical for everyone. The free software bundle included is a nice touch.
8. PreSonus FaderPort v2
- Small and compact surface controller that is perfect for travel.
- Affordable and tiny but still pretty capable of helping you control various aspects of your Logic Pro X projects.
- Comes with a ton of software to give you increased creative control inside and out of a DAW.
- Comes with 24 buttons and plenty of functions to help you dial in workflow and stay organized on the go.
The control surface for anyone who travels often is the PreSonus FaderPort v2. This tiny but mighty option gives you everything you need to stay on top of your project while you’re out on the move.
It’s basically a mini version of my pick for the best overall control surface, so you can expect the same level of functionality and dependability as the larger FaderPort 16. This one only has a single fader, but you can move that around your projects easily.
You also get an impressive 24 buttons laid out over the surface. They are all easy to use and not too cramped, despite a smaller size. This is also a pretty affordable option, so it can be used as a decided travel controller if needed.
Some obvious downsides come with a smaller controller, like only one mixer and limited space for buttons and other controls. But those are easy to forget if you want something small, lightweight, and ready for action.
My Verdict: Small, lightweight option that is great for travel without sacrificing much performance. It might be too small for a dedicated studio, but still makes a great item to take on the road.
Getting your hands on a good control surface for Logic Pro X can really help you stay better organized and efficient in the studio. The hands-on control they offer is a welcome change from strictly working on a tiny computer screen.
The options on this list are some of the best control surfaces you can find. Make sure to read each review carefully to find a match that best meets your needs and preferences in the studio. A control surface isn’t essential, but it sure is nice to have around.
Do you use a control surface or a MIDI controller in your home studio? And do you know of any great control surfaces that didn’t make it on my list here? Let me know in the comments below.