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Pro Tools: Custom EuCon Control Mappings

Avid Pro Tools Tips & Techniques By Julian Rodgers
Published November 2021

Avid S1, S3 and Dock control surfaces

Find out how to create custom control mappings with EuCon when using Pro Tools.

I’ve been using an Avid S1 control surface for a few months now. I love it, but I suspect like most people, I use it only for some of the things it’s capable of. Fader moves and automation writing are the obvious uses, but while I know how to use it for plug‑in control, I rarely do. The reason for that is that, even for bread‑and‑butter plug‑ins like EQ III, I find it quicker to locate parameters on the plug‑in UI than I do on the encoders. The Achilles heel of all hardware controllers is that the unfamiliar ‘new’ hardware controller has to compete with the very familiar mouse/screen combination to be learned in the first place, and I’m sure I’m not alone in either being too lazy or too busy (or both) to give the controller a fair chance to compete.

Something I always loved about the ICON series of controllers was how the EQ and Dynamics sections mirrored the layout of the EQ III and Dyn III plug‑ins. I thought at the time that tying such a big‑ticket item as a five‑figure control surface to something as ephemeral as a plug‑in UI was a gamble, but I liked the concept so much that I bought McDSP’s Channel G plug‑in because it used the same layout to stay consistent with the ICON. In the case of EQ III, I needn’t have worried: I still use it pretty much as my go‑to EQ. The Dyn III plug‑in on the other hand is more of a distant memory, and has been replaced by newer and better options.

While the layout of plug‑in parameters has always been consistent on EuCon controllers, the recent EuCon 2021.6 release has made it possible to create custom parameter maps on the S1, S3 and Dock, using the new Custom Knob Sets feature. The advantage of being able to set up your own custom assignments is that if you make the decisions on what goes where, and also on what gets omitted, then learning the parameter assignments is completed by default.

EQ Mapping

The implementation is smart and deep. I’ll illustrate this using EQ III and an S1, though of course the process can be applied to any plug‑in.

There is a pressure which I’m sure I’m not alone in putting myself under when learning a hardware controller and that is to try to use it for everything. I remember when I used to use a D‑Control, regularly using the surface to instantiate plug‑ins. This was possible but not a very efficient process, involving as it did navigation through long lists using encoders and very truncated names. It was a lot quicker to instantiate the plug‑in from Pro Tools using a mouse and keyboard. The point is that the choice between mouse/keyboard and a hardware controller...

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