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Icon Pro Audio V1-M & V1-X

DAW Control Surfaces By Dave Gale
Published March 2024

Icon Pro Audio V1-M & V1-X

Are Icon’s latest range of control surfaces the perfect interface between human and DAW?

I still recall the day I gave in to the DAW powers‑that‑be and surrendered my generously proportioned mixing console in favour of mixing in the box. While I have never had a moment’s regret on a sonic level, I’ve always felt like I lost a piece of my soul that day, leaving a void to be replaced by a mouse and a computer keyboard. So began the search for the perfect DAW control surface that could capture the spirit of a console while keeping my mouse at arm’s length.

Total Control

Icon Pro Audio are no newbies to the control surface arena. Their QCon series has always looked the part, and they’ve since added a wide range of other products at different sizes and price levels.

Jumping to the top of the tree, I had the opportunity to explore the flagship V1‑M with a V1‑X expander. The V1‑M is the starting point for anyone wanting a single, high‑quality controller device. What you get for your money is something that looks and feels just like a quality audio mixer. It hosts 100mm motorised faders, chunky buttons for activities such as soloing and muting channels, and similarly reassuring transport controls, including a beautifully weighted jog wheel. There are eight channel faders on the main unit plus a ninth master fader, and there’s the capacity to add a further three eight channel expanders to take your channel fader count up to 32. If that’s a luxury you cannot afford, either in price or desk space, you can easily use a single unit to shuttle around your DAW’s track list, guided by a bargraph VU meter and scribble‑strip display at the top of the panel.

The Setup

The V1‑M is the largest controller of the range, especially with regard to depth measurement. At 380mm deep, it was just about possible to place the unit in front of my computer monitor, with the computer keyboard in front. If you also have a MIDI keyboard on your desk the depth will likely prove too much for a standard desk from a favoured Swedish furniture shop. Placing the V1‑M to one side is an option, but given the potential for mouse‑less DAW integration, it feels like you will want to have it right in front of you, which might prompt you to consider the smaller models in the range.

Once in place, the V1‑M requires both power and a USB connection. The V1‑M has a Type‑C port, and a USB A to C cable is supplied, but not a C to C cable.

The V1‑X expander can be attached to either side of the V1‑M main unit, meaning that you can create a very elegant setup with the transport and master fader located where you want them. You just have to tell your DAW how they are arranged on your desk and the driver does the rest. You will have to have capacity to connect each device to a USB port, though, which may require a substantial powered hub.

Next, you need Icon’s iMap software, which is the host software application and runs alongside your DAW. Apart from driving the unit on the software side, iMap also allows a huge degree of personalisation. As the V1 is a universal control surface, you can select an appropriate template for your DAW, with 18 templates available for all the usual suspects and also some less well‑known platforms. You can load templates for up to three different DAWs, or different templates for the same DAW, quickly switching between them with the three dedicated DAW buttons located at the top of the control panel....

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