Recently Pro Tools Expert posted an article that included a poll called What Control Surface Do You Use With Pro Tools?. We asked The Pro Tools Expert Community to vote for the control surfaces they use with Pro Tools. At just over 12% of the votes, the Avid Artist Mix was voted the most commonly used control surface for Pro Tools.
Avid Artist Mix control surfaces can be purchased new for anything between £800 to £1,000. Not bad value for money but not the cheapest point of entry into eight-fader control surfaces for Pro Tools either.
Luckily, there is a much more affordable Avid Artist Mix alternative made by a company called ICON. If you are looking to get into a Pro Tools control surface workflow or you are in the market for an affordable entry-level control surface then this Avid Artist Mix alternative is definitely worth checking out.
Icon Platform M+
The Avid Artist Mix is a small form factor 8 motorized fader control surface by Avid. The Icon Platform M+ is similar in size but it features an extra motorized fader (9 in total). Both control surfaces feature transport, encoder knobs and essential DAW controls for navigating sessions but the Platform M+ doesn't feature a digital scribble strip display for viewing track names and other channel session values - Is that a deal breaker? Not at all...
- 9 motorized faders
- 8 rotary dual function encoder knobs
- Backlit buttons for Mute, Solo, Automation
- Jog Wheel
- Modular control surface ecosystem - Add more ICON modules to expand your control surface solution
- USB 2.0 connectivity
- Metal casing
- Kensington lock port for security
- 12V/5A power adapter included
- Mac & Windows compatible
- Compatible with all mayor DAWs
At first glance, the lack of display on the Icon Platform M+ appears to be an oversight but further investigation suggests this was an intentional decision by ICON to keep the price down. These units can be purchased for £272 (Current price listed on KMR Audio) compared to £949 for an Avid Artist Mix. The good news is if you do require a scribble strip display for the Icon Platform M+ you can purchase one separately. For an additional £122 users can purchase an optional backlit LCD called Icon Platform D. This is a scalablemodular control surface solution by Icon that can be added to overtime.
Icon Platform D - Optional Display
- Simple integration to Icon M+
- 2×56 large backlit LCD
- Displays channel names, control values for each channel
- Adjustable tilt angle for different viewing position
The cost of the Icon Platform M+ and D together comes to just shy of £400. That's half the price of an Avid Artist Mix, whichever way you cut it, that is pretty good value for money. But...
The Eucon Elephant In The Room
Personally, I don't care that this solution isn't Eucon, it wouldn't have been possible for Icon to incorporate Eucon as Avid are happy to hold all the cards in that department but for £400 this solution by Icon is definitely worth checking out if you are in the market for a small form factor control surface for Pro Tools.