Recently I had a chance to check out a couple of new items we are carrying here, the QCon Pro ($746.99) and iControls Pro ($386.99) from Icon. Both of these offer motorized faders and the ability to integrate with Cubase, Nuendo, Logic Pro, Samplitude, and Ableton Live with Mackie Control, and with Pro Tools via Mackie HUI Control. I tested these out with Ableton Live.
Setting up both of these devices was easy, using the included software and instructions. It only took a few minuted to get either one of them up and running with my software. Once set up all the controls are mapped in a logical way and did what you would expect.
These units have a good build quality. They both are heavier than you would expect, and generally feel very solid. As you might expect from it’s higher pricepoint, the QCon Pro definitely has the nicer finish of the 2 units, especially in terms of the faders and knobs not being as plastic-y. Additionally It has multi-colored LEDs, an LCD display screen, and LED level meters for each track. The styling of these might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for the price I am willing to turn a blind eye to that.
In terms of usage, I loved the QCon Pro – it does everything you would want it to, and the mapping for Ableton Live seemed to be spot on. The LCD scribble strips and LED meters made it very easy to be able to adjust almost everything without having to touch – or even look at – the computer. The iControls Pro took a bit more getting used to, since the lack of any type of display made it a bit harder to use than its larger cousin. However, it still could be a good choice for someone with limited space and/or budget, who is looking to be able to mix tracks on a board, or as part of a portable setup. It’s worth noting that the QCon Pro is fairly large so might be too big for some setups.
Right now there’s nothing that can touch these controllers at this price point. Behringer will be dropping some competition in a few months, and it will be interesting to see how they all compare.