An iPad app lets you touch anything you see on screen - not just a few pre-defined templates. Here, Pro Tools Eleven amp, full-screen in the app as you'd see it on your desktop, but touchable. At bottom, the dedicated transport controls from the iPad app.

An iPad app lets you touch anything you see on screen – not just a few pre-defined templates. Here, Pro Tools Eleven amp, full-screen in the app as you’d see it on your desktop, but touchable. At bottom, the dedicated transport controls from the iPad app.

Various third-party apps have turned your iPad (or, occasionally, Android) into a control surface for DAWs. Many simply emulate the features of Mackie Control, a popular inter-app control protocol. Steinberg offered its own tool with the awkwardly-named but powerful Cubase iC Pro. Killer features: keyboard shortcuts, visual arrangement overview for navigation. Then, came Apple with the wide-reaching Logic Control. While strikingly similar to Steinberg’s offering, Apple earns points for adding instrumental control, interactive help, and something called Smart Control.

What Apple didn’t do was provide touch interfaces for all its instruments and effects. And as I said in the review, that was especially odd when some already looked like iPad interfaces.

That’s where V-Control Pro, a third-party iPad DAW control app, has a killer feature. “V-Window” gives you a direct look at the interface on your desktop. So, if those desktop controls have started to look like they were really intended for an iPad – Pro Tools’ Eleven Amp here being a great example – you can now use them directly. Sure, various iOS and Android VNC apps have had the ability to do this. But rather than making you awkwardly try to navigate a computer screen entirely from a tablet, V-Control Pro combines dedicated remote controls and the remote windowing on the same screen.

V-Control Pro has some superb features for working with Pro Tools specifically, but it has robust support for other apps, too. (Think Audition, Cubase, Digital Performer, Final Cut Pro 7, Ableton Live, Logic Pro, Reaper, Reason, and SONAR, among others.)

In fact, it easily bests Apple’s Logic Remote app. Sure, those GarageBand instrumental controls are fun, but V-Control Pro gives you a proper mixing window and more dedicated transport and marker controls.

In Ableton Live, you get the sort of mixing window Ableton and transport window didn’t give you on screen.

It all makes me dream of a 15″ iPad.

Features:

  • Control “sends, automation, groups, auditioning, plug-ins, jog/scrub/shuttle, I/O assignment” and more.
  • Use alongside Ethernet controllers in Pro Tools.
  • Retina Display support – but also fine on an iPad mini.
  • Dedicated keyboard shortcuts.
  • Multi-touch fader control and automation mode switching and gestural control of the faders.
  • Edit, store memory positions, zoom, control windows, scrub, and shuttle (slightly different in different apps).
  • Dedicated skins for different apps.

US$49.99.

http://www.neyrinck.com/v-control-pro

Via DailyM [Dutch only]

It’s easiest to see this in pictures, so let’s have a look at just a few (everyone from Reaper to Reason gets something similar):

V-Windows can float atop the interface, too, if you don't need to maximize all your space. Seen here in DP8.

V-Windows can float atop the interface, too, if you don’t need to maximize all your space. Seen here in DP8.

Logic Pro mixing window. Clean as Apple's own offering is, you quickly realize that something close to this may be more what you want.

Logic Pro mixing window. Clean as Apple’s own offering is, you quickly realize that something close to this may be more what you want, at least for mixing and editing (once you’ve jammed on soft synths with Apple’s tools).

Apple's Smart Controls work beautifully - for those instruments and effects for which Apple built templates. But why not use the whole interface? That's what V-Window does for you.

Apple’s Smart Controls work beautifully – for those instruments and effects for which Apple built templates. But why not use the whole interface? That’s what V-Window does for you.

This isn't Pro Tools. This is the mix window for Ableton Live. And that means people long wanting a traditional mixer control for Live will feel right at home.

This isn’t Pro Tools. This is the mix window for Ableton Live. And that means people long wanting a traditional mixer control for Live will feel right at home.

Massive editing features for Ableton Live are hugely welcome. Whereas most iOS apps (and Ableton's Push hardware) focus on live work in Session View, this finally gives you a boost when mixing and arranging.

Massive editing features for Ableton Live are hugely welcome. Whereas most iOS apps (and Ableton’s Push hardware) focus on live work in Session View, this finally gives you a boost when mixing and arranging.

Pro Tools is supported fantastically well, down to this keypad for inputting shortcuts in editing.

Pro Tools is supported fantastically well, down to this keypad for inputting shortcuts in editing.

Loads more examples and exhaustive video examples for each of the supported DAWs are available at the developer’s site, so don’t take our word for it – check it out.

http://www.neyrinck.com/v-control-pro-compatible-apps

Hope we do a full review soon.

  • Tom

    Looks cool but far too expensive to take a punt on, as I can imagine the V-Window feature being the main draw and also not imagine it working as well as you’d hope (based on using other remote desktop apps). Would be nice to see a demo version, even if it was very limited e.g. 1 minute per session

    • Tom

      Looks like I spoke too soon ;) https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/v-control-free/id456379764?mt=8 is the free version which lets you see, but not interact with, the V-Window. Would really like to try the interaction, but anyway will try this out!

    • Softcore

      I believe the main drawback (not aparent in demo version) is that the V-Window is not multitouch.

    • Tom

      Ahh, that makes sense somewhat given that e.g. Mac OS probably doesn’t support multi-touch, but bit of a shame! Thanks for saving me $50 ;)

  • http://dinside.no Øivind Idsø

    Does the Live template support Max For Live devices? It seems not?

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      No, unless you map parameters to a Device, but then it doesn’t support most of what you’d do with live instruments, Session View, etc. – for that, I’d choose a different app. But it’s nice to see something addressing arrangement, mixing, etc.

  • MartinH76

    I bought V-Control months ago for using with Reaper, recommended it to a friend who runs a local Pro Tools-based studio, and he’s been in love with it since! I completely forgot I even had it installed, since I got Touchable after moving over to Live for my main DAW last December, but I opened V-Control up for the first time in ages last night and was happy to see that it does have settings for Live. Going to put it through its paces tonight in prep for a live show that I’m currently controlling with Maschine and a Nocturn.

    It’s such a weird coincidence seeing this article pop up now, just hours after I started thinking about using it again for the first time in ages.

  • ASL

    Tried the demo with Logic Pro X and no, its not even close to the Logic Control app.

    Plugins need resizing and grey out when windows are closed – nice idea but needs some work I think.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Logic’s Smart Controls are definitely the ideal way to access individual parameters. The problem is, you typically still need to create layouts for plug-ins. And I meant primarily on the mix control side – Logic Control gives you access only to basic mix and transport controls, relative to what’s on offer here.

      Don’t get me wrong – I would (and intend to) use both, especially as Logic Control is free. But having had to keep reaching for the mouse in mix sessions, I do prefer the mix/transport/edit features here. And the added flexibility to control anything is nice – at least until Apple, I hope, adds more control layouts for their built-in features.

    • joe_gore

      Hi Peter! Don’t forget — it’s pretty easy to make your own sets of smart controls in Logic. Using your EFM1 example: Just grab your “likeliest to tweak” controls and assign them to one of the smart templates. It can be a little bewildering at first attempt, but once you get the hang of it, you can do it in seconds. And it’s fun. :)

      This is a new concept for Logic, but sister program MainStage has had this functionality since 2009. (Which is why i can state with confidence that it’s easy.) Awesome to have this ability in Logic finally.

      But now I’m wondering how V-Control performs as a MainStage remote. Splashtop sort of works…maybe this is better?

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Absolutely – I mentioned that in passing in my review but maybe worth explicitly showing an example.

      I just think it’s a shame that some of the UIs – like Sculpture and Drummer – don’t get a direct treatment on iOS. It’d be nice to see that in the future, and perhaps we will if the iPad app catches on.

      Now, that said, to me the appeal of using this app with Logic has more to do with mixing and arrangement than V-Window.

    • joe_gore

      Oh, I totally agree. I’m probably going to buy V-Control too. :)

  • Matt

    Got the app after reading about V Window – impressive stuff but they need to implement couple of things to make it a true killer feature – one thing would be to have a zoom out as currently it seems you can only close in on vst/au; you should be able to navigate in and out [zoom out on i.e. Reaktor which takes a lot of screen's real estate - or better yet, say, Live's main window - then zoom back into area you want to work with] – it would make for more organic interaction than it is now – click adjust and drag around.

    Speaking of screen real estate [and Reaktor] – it would be good to have true full screen mode for V Window too without transport displayed and with top black window title bar minimised – to have larger plugins displayed in one window, or at least see more of them.

    Other than the above, latency improvement is the obvious one; even running via ad hoc network there is a bit of a lag going on. Nothing major but still.

    I have a dream to be able to play NI Battery through my ipad’s screen :-P Bring on multi touch osx, faster V control and we’re in business!