Softube Console 1 Mk 2

Hardware controller incl. software

  • Mixing and mastering with analog workflow
  • Compatible with selected UAD plugins
  • High-quality controls and buttons
  • Can be integrated into all common DAW systems in AU, VST, VST3 and AAX formats
  • Ergonomic user interface for an intuitive workflow
  • Incl. license for Solid State Logic SL 4000 E model plugin
  • Parametric EQ, compressor, gate, transient shaper, high - and low-pass filter, analog modeled saturation
  • Individual adjustments can be implemented via optional plugins from Softube and UAD
  • Connection via a standard USB cable (included)
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 428 x 42 x 189 mm

Specifications:

  • Supported formats: VST2 / VST3 / AU / AAXnative
  • System requirements: From Windows 7 (64 bit), Mac OSX 10.9, dual core CPU, 1 GB RAM, 1 GB HD, free USB 2.0 connection, internet connection, Gobbler account

Further Information

USB Yes
Bluetooth No
5-pole DIN MIDI No
Ethernet No
Fader 0
Rotary Encoders 26
Audio I/O No
Transport Function No
Footswitch Connector No
Foot Controller Connection No
Bus-Powered Yes
Jog No
Joystick No
Additional Features Integrated Software

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Nothing For Cubase Users (09/11/2018)

Not Batman, 09.11.2018
This review is based on the use with Cubase 9.5 Pro x64 on Win10 x64.

The concept of the Console 1 is amazing, no doubt.
The software however is a huge pain. I've been using the C1 already before the deep integration update for Cubase, which worked ok but it wasn't deeply integrated into Cubase, therefore many features didn't work at that point, which I was aware of knowing there's going to be a Deep-Integration-Update coming, even Steinberg posted about it once it came out.

The update came and the journey began. I've been using Cubase for like 15 years now and one could say I know it pretty well, functions and also how it reacts to certain things.
Now, the deep integration update introduced several severe bugs.

When adding/removing a track, the channel selection would jump all across the project and would randomly stop, lets say you have 150 channels in your project and you added a channel on top of your arrangement, you might find yourself on the bottom of your arrangement window now, having to scroll up is no problem, but unnecessary. You're supposed to have the newly created track selected or select the track above/below the removed channel, that's how it should react.

Now the "magic" happens when you use Q-link in Cubase, which I do religiously, big part of my work flow. If said "random track jumpiness" happens, you MAY or MAY NOT have selected a channel you're not aware of, it MAY or MAY NOT be on the very outside of your mixer so you're not even aware it's selected and selecting other channels (by mouse or C1 selection) won't UNSELECT the randomly selected channel!
So, now you have 2 channels selected, only 1 of them was intended and you have Q-Link active: Any change you make to the track you're working on will also happen to a randomly selected track that may or may not be outside your view / awareness and with that I've ruined entire projects.

It has overwritten entire plugin chains, routing etc. Needless to say you now have a tool that has the power to destroy entire DAW projects. The only way to fix this is by using the actual Mixer Window (Default F3) then click on the randomly selected track and then click on some others until you see the channel selection being back to sync with C1 & Cubase, at this point you're good to proceed as only 1 track is selected as intended. But it might happen at any point really, I got quite paranoid about it not long after...

It once randomly selected the master channel without me noticing it, then I changed routing on a track I was actually working on and boom, no sound anymore, I knew the "random selection of a 2nd channel" got me and I tried to re-route the master channel (Mixer F3 and Connections F4) but no luck, I had to create a new master channel and re-route my entire project, not cool!

Workflow increase? Hell no.

Furthermore, the console 1 GUI may actually cause crashes of Cubase if you add the plugin to several channels at once.
Loading times of said plugin are sometimes absurdly long as well and it might actually make Cubase crash, simply shutting down the entire DAW, not even showing "Cubase Stopped Working"...

Softube is very aware of it, kept me on hold for over 9 months promising changes and fixes but it was nothing but empty promises thus far. I've sent them bug reports and how to re-create it, videos etc. I've tried the Console1 on brand new PC systems that had a completely fresh HDD/SSD/OS/Cubase install and everything up to date, no change...

Softube stated "they're making progress on the track selection bug but they're not sure if they've managed to squeeze it into the last update"
How do you not know such? Regardless, I've been told several times something was fixed, yet it wasn't.

Also, 2 engineer friends of mine also got the C1 based on my initial feedback (which was pretty good until the bugs started!) and they both have returned their C1 due to having the same bugs I have AND THEN SOME!

Final words: Really liked the idea of the Console 1, but the sad truth is, it's not working with Cubase, it doesn't speed up any workflows.
Since my money back guarantee is long gone thanks to the empty promises of Softube, I shall try to sell otherwise, however, due to the fact that most C1 users aren't happy with the device/software, they now dropped the price by 100EUR, which makes selling this kinda obsolete, at this point I rather have it as decoration, or hang it Glenn Fricker style onto a wall after smashing it with a hammer. ;-)

In other DAWs it should work much better though! Tried it Studio One 4 and it worked as advertised.
However, I noticed some flaws that regardless of the Cubase bugs would be a deal breaker for me.
Endless rotary knobs, I get it, it's the only thing that makes really sense on a controller like this, however, it WILL force you to still stare at the screen as the Console 1 does not show you any values like a actual mixing console would. I've mixed several songs trying to not use the on-screen-display, after all that was one reason to try the console1, to not be staring on a screen and using mouse/keyboard all day, however, the way they've designed the console you'll still stare at a screen or else you're guessing. For example compression ratio, attack/release times etc. Sure, use your ears and all, but what if I exactly know what value I want to use? On an actual piece of hardware, there will be numbers/values written next to the knobs, in C1 you still have to open the huge C1-on-screen-display, which in the end just simply defeated the purpose for me. I would like to add that the console 1 case is hollow and resonates, very annoying especially if you invested a substantial amount of money into your control room to keep it quiet.

Long rant I know, but it's based on actual experiences of someone making a living putting out good sounding stuff fairly quickly and over 9 months of struggle with Softube support who in the end seemed rather clueless about their own product.. Very unfortunate experience and for me it has been the last time using any Softube products.

Even without bugs, I won't recommend the console 1, since you'll still be staring at a screen and if you encounter any issues, you're on your own, it seems.
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Twice as much mixing control in half the time!

Plastic Fly, 17.04.2017
This is a sensational product. If you can't mix "in the box" with this then you're in the wrong game. This controller gives you precision control for mixing - packaged with the best SSL 4000 emulation I've heard. The sounds and processing all come from the computer through your DSP, but the Console 1 makes the sound crystal clear and warm and you can change the character completely by swapping out the software expander, EQ or compressor sections with other kit. I use Universal Audio plugins already and now Console 1 gives me immediate, real-time hands on control of all the faders and knobs for most of my UAD favourites.

Even if you don't have acces to UA stuff, Softube has a whole bunch of other software processors and other channel strips available. But, as packaged, this gives awesome control and makes huge difference to any mix. It's so quick to use. I loaded it onto a 31-track song (and I'm only using a Mac Mini) and the processors ran fine.

I always wondered about the Console 1 - what is it really for? But when the price came down for the launch of the Mk 2 I thought, what the heck. I've been running a home studio for a couple of decades and I used to work in a music store, here in Edinburgh and so I thought I knew all there was to mixing on proper analogue desks. But I am blown away by this controller. I can't bring myself to tell you how much I've spent on other kit recently which this controller just replaces the need for!

The "Pros" are that: it speeds up workflow immensely cos all the controls for all your tracks are right there - no more squinting at the screen and trying to move the G/E knob with a mouse; everything you're doing is shown on screen right in front of you - you can see the compression shape and EQ cuts happen; it can be used to control UA plug ins; the SSL mixer emulation it comes with is a brilliant emulation of probably the best desk ever built; it males good mixes easy to get to, store and copy. It's really well built but does not take up too much desk space.

The only "Con" I've heard is that some people would have preferred to have a couple of faders on there two - but I got used to the knob straight away (especially with the fine-adjust function) so I don't miss a fader.

All DAWs will come loaded with EQ and compression plug-ins and maybe even an expander/gate. Some DAWs even have really good presets for individual drums, instruments and mixes. But getting hands-on control of all these things across all my tracks and the busses and Mix tracks has just shortened the time it takes to record, mix and pre-master my stuff by half. Plus - the controller gives me unbelievable sound sculpting opportunities. None of my DAWs have put all this together like this - the Console 1 lay-out even makes me think about using "drive" and "character" and "sustain" controls on everything!

I guess it's just a lot of fun to use. I should probably get back to it.
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