A New Icon in the World of MIDI Controllers: Introducing Icon Digital
As digital music continues to explore new realms and push boundaries through EDM, dubstep, and the growing trend of the mash-up, the demand rises for creative, functional, and deeply customizable MIDI controllers for both programming and controlling your DAW.
Though new to the American market, Icon Digital has had years of experience in producing a variety of gear for audio production including a variety of audio interfaces, analog mixers, and MIDI control surfaces. Their lineup is geared toward the professional and hobbyist alike, and the company takes a passionate stand on musical education and expanding digital music’s influence alongside more traditional instrument training that typically starts in elementary school. To that end, Icon Digital has partnered with B&H’s EDU Advantage program, and offers a 20% discount to students and teachers.
Icon Digital’s lineup does have a focus on DAW controllers. Their flagship in this department is the QCon Pro, which is an 8-channel (plus master fader) USB controller that uses Mackie HUI protocol to provide control over Pro Tools. Users of other popular DAWs are not left in the dark, as the QCon Pro will control Cubase, Nuendo, Logic Pro, Samplitude, and Ableton Live via Mackie protocol. Each of its 8 channels features a motorized, touch-sensitive fader, an encoder, and buttons mapped for soloing, muting, and setting the channel to Record Enable. Simple two-way controls allow you to scroll through all of your DAW channels in banks of 8. The QCon Pro also has 6 dedicated transport buttons and another 18 assignable buttons, allowing you to integrate the QCon Pro into your DAW as best suits you. What’s great about the unit is it gives you truly hands-on control over your software, allowing you to create volume rides and fades without using your mouse. You can even integrate an 8-channel expansion controller to give you 16 motorized faders simultaneously. One impressive feature that really sets the QCon Pro apart from the pack is its expansion slot. You can connect the optional Umix Satellite and turn the QCon Pro into an 8-in, 6-out audio interface and control surface.
If you like the idea of hands-on fader control, but desire something portable or don’t need the control firepower of the QCon Pro, you have a few cool options from Icon’s i-Series. The iControls Pro Mini USB controller, like the QCon Pro, has 8 motorized and touch-sensitive faders (plus a master fader), 9 encoder knobs, and a jog wheel and transport control.
However, as the “Mini” in its name implies, it has a much smaller footprint than the QCon and can easily be tucked into a backpack and brought to a gig. For even more streamlined DAW control, there is the QCon Lite, which gives you only one motorized fader, 4 encoder knobs, 16 pre-set function buttons, 8 assignable buttons, and a jog wheel.
The iControls Mini, like the Pro version, has a total of 9 assignable faders and encoders; however, the faders are not motorized. With it you can set up to 4 scenes for quickly switching back and forth between different assignable setups.
On the programming front, Icon offers a few unique controller designs that can change the way you might approach programming MIDI. The iCreativ uses an 8 x 16 touchscreen layout as opposed to standard pads for providing control. It has 6 assignable modes that will alter how the touchpad reacts, depending on the given application, including Piano, Pad, Controls, X/Y Pad, Clip, and Arpeggio. It also has a laser-based AirLight effector that provides modulation based on your hand’s proximity to the device.
Icon has digital DJs covered as well with the iDJX. This two-deck controller has dual backlit, high-sensitivity touchpads as well as 34 assignable buttons. Icon includes PVC preset covers for Deckadance, Traktor, and Mixvibes software, so you won’t have to guess a button’s assignment when using different software.
All the controllers in the i-Series, including the iControls Pro and Mini, the iCreativ, and the iDJX can be fitted with an optional aluminum iCover for protection while transporting or not in use. They are available in black, blue, pink, red, or silver, and are a simple way to protect and personalize your controller.
If you have any questions about anything from Icon Digital’s lineup or their available educational pricing, you can ask a B&H Sales Professional at our SuperStore in New York City, give us a call at 1-800-606-6969, post a comment below, or join us online for a Live Chat.