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  #11  
Old 04-09-2016, 09:22 AM
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creativecontrol creativecontrol is offline
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Default Re: S6- Vrs. S5/D Control/D Command

I have a comparative document I will try and post later today which breaks down all of the features.



Here it is in PDF format:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/f26sdoazih...sICON.pdf?dl=0



Jeff
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  #12  
Old 03-20-2018, 11:35 PM
Jeezer Jeezer is offline
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Default Re: S6- Vrs. S5/D Control/D Command

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandonx1 View Post
The s6 way is so much faster. Even the artist series is faster than an icon in my book for this function alone..
I'd wager most people using icons (even D-Command) heavily have very little to do with 'mouse selection' in PT itself so, even though you can focus from a plug in on the ICON but apparently no the track (with mouse), it's a moot point.

I've seen many people running icons with a keyboard in front (or D-Control) + monitors behind (screens), and have to say that is not why I went to D-Command. It's truly possibly to mix, automate and find your way around a project 90% of the time without any screen or mouse/keyboard (if you want to rename or name snapshots etc you obv can stick a small additional usb keyboard nearby for that). For mixing, music (not so much post), a D-Command is a breeze. Just because S6 is the all new and fancy looking thing doesn't mean ICON suddenly sucks. Icon was the best "DAW controller" on earth for a long time. People who know them wouldn't chop them in or give them up for anything less.

I personally have d-command front and centre - between monitors, and my PT/desk/Computer off to the side at a right angle. just like CLA and others did with their SSL's when using PT. Just because it's a 'controller' rather than an analog console doesn't mean it has to be jammed under a computer monitor, nor does it mean you HAVE to see the screen at all times. For occasional checks off to the side yes. I went with icon to get away from visual mixing.

And while the S6 packs a lot more in, it also has lost, imo, a lot of that 'mixing zone' feel that the icons had. While ICON really seemed to strive to get you away from screens and visual info overload, S6 seems to have taken steps back towards just that.

The fact is nobody who mixes on icon has had issues severe enough they couldn't mix a record (or work on a film). The vast majority of S6 improvements are just luxuries, many of which serve to distract from the ears and the sound. Touchscreens are a modern curse, as handy as they may be, you move from a computer and mouse to a touchscreen (be it an overblown and over rated Raven or the s6 touchscreen) and you are smack bang back in visual hand/eye 'reading' mode again, just like on the computer with PT that you tried to escape.

Colour coding? Honestly this just gets garish. I've never got lost in a mix, and never absolutely NEEDED colour coded strips to tell me 'here's my drums' when I have VCA spill with one button press to bring up my VCA masters and one press to spill my drums out. Even without that it's very fast to work around on ICON as you have your layout in PT you get to know, and with custom faders, VCAs and user menu favourites (and learning the key modifier shortcuts on the ICON) it's as rapid as anything any sane human ever needs. Far faster than old analog consoles, far more convenient and above and beyond any other older controller for any DAW.

The points mentioned above to try and push S6 are very one sided. Things like "mushroom pots/feel"? really? Nobody at avid said they sucked while they were selling icons. That's because they don't. Talk about fussy, they are great exactly because they mushroom out, you have a ton of space between them, and around your fingers yet have a nice size to grab on to. Wonderful design! S6 is very packed in, dark, too much reading, too much garish colour all over the place.

Monochrome/green overload was mentioned above? Again, so? I love the fact it's not screaming colours at me like some tacky behringer X32 (though I admit the S6 looks sexy and not like the horrid X32) but again, those luxuries that people claim allow for fast focus on tracks are offset by many downsides. your brain is being over stimulated by visuals, reading tiny OLED screens to see automation status, level meters jammed between faders so you can't just see them all in the distance while your hands work without looking down.

I'm not saying icon is/was perfect but to me it's the best I've laid hands on. S6 would surely be next (not even touched a Nuage though). But I do know the Icon is a sweet spot, the D-Command is especially 'just enough' to mix music well but not so much you get worn down visually or overloaded with so much info (waveform windows, touch screen icons/selections) that you're back to that "I'm working a computer" again feeling.

I honestly believe that icon feels more like working on an proper console than S6 does. Partly due to the simpler aesthetics, partly due to the abundance of space around all the buttons/knobs, and partly due to the size (width wise).

Bear in mind I'm not saying S6 is bad or something, it's clearly amazing and we'd all love one if we could afford them, and it does do some things better than Icon, sure, but it also feels different, does somethings 'worse' (imo) and removes some of the original vibe that made people fall in love with ICON and be a bit more analytical / head based with S6.

Icon won't be supported for much longer which his a shame, and S6 is a decent icon proxy, but much of what it adds is to me overblown fluff, that looks good on paper (and in the studio) but doesn't actually help get a mix finished musically and without over-thinking or analysing again due to far too many visual cues.

And FWIW one of the main things I love about icon is the dedicated eq/dynamics sections with metering and the ergonomics/layout and space (on D-Command particularly though D-Control is awesome of course), and that is lost on S6, by relying more on channel strips (which you'd think in theory would bring more of the old analog console feel but it doesn't quite gel so well with modern digital ways), there's something extremely likeable and intuitive about knowing, via muscle memory alone, and how quick/easy it is to get a known plug up on those dedicated sections, then tweak with your EYES closed (imo a lot of music mixing should be done with eyes closed).

So a lot of the colour coding, waveform windows and ESPECIALLY the over-reliance on a touchscreen for the main control area is lost on me, and many, who see it as a step back and missing the point (Raven is even worse - and touchscreen mixers feel bad next to real faders), because of having to read/look where your fingers are going. You can't feel your way around a touchscreen. S6's track selectors on the screen are, to me, hell. Sure better than a mouse, but again it's eye strain, reading, staring, colour overload.

S6 is not nirvana for mixing on pro tools, ICON is much closer and remains so. Less is more sometimes. Especially when it's just enough and not too much.

If others don't share or can't see this point of view then fine, but someone needed to state the reality here. ICON be it d-con or d-com remains an absolute blast to work/mix on, and as more people move fully ITB (top mixers) and as we see people like Tony Maserati, Tchad Blake, Fillepti, Butch Vig, Tony Sheppard and tons more all using ICON (most of them a mere D-Command and often just the main section), others will realise you can be ITB but with a feel that only ICON can give (and in some ways S6) and that leaving analog consoles behind is not a bad thing, ITB can and should be embraced thanks to controllers like ICON, and maybe one day people will stop using the 'giant mouse' falsehood and get that a nice bit of analog outboard + ICON to mix it with is as good/productive and conducive to stunning results as any SSL or API desk ever was (in fact way more productive).


essay over. Sorry for the bump but....
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  #13  
Old 03-21-2018, 03:39 AM
rus5 rus5 is offline
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Default Re: S6- Vrs. S5/D Control/D Command

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeezer View Post
I'd wager most people using icons (even D-Command) heavily have very little to do with 'mouse selection' in PT itself so, even though you can focus from a plug in on the ICON but apparently no the track (with mouse), it's a moot point.

I've seen many people running icons with a keyboard in front (or D-Control) + monitors behind (screens), and have to say that is not why I went to D-Command. It's truly possibly to mix, automate and find your way around a project 90% of the time without any screen or mouse/keyboard (if you want to rename or name snapshots etc you obv can stick a small additional usb keyboard nearby for that). For mixing, music (not so much post), a D-Command is a breeze. Just because S6 is the all new and fancy looking thing doesn't mean ICON suddenly sucks. Icon was the best "DAW controller" on earth for a long time. People who know them wouldn't chop them in or give them up for anything less.

I personally have d-command front and centre - between monitors, and my PT/desk/Computer off to the side at a right angle. just like CLA and others did with their SSL's when using PT. Just because it's a 'controller' rather than an analog console doesn't mean it has to be jammed under a computer monitor, nor does it mean you HAVE to see the screen at all times. For occasional checks off to the side yes. I went with icon to get away from visual mixing.

And while the S6 packs a lot more in, it also has lost, imo, a lot of that 'mixing zone' feel that the icons had. While ICON really seemed to strive to get you away from screens and visual info overload, S6 seems to have taken steps back towards just that.

The fact is nobody who mixes on icon has had issues severe enough they couldn't mix a record (or work on a film). The vast majority of S6 improvements are just luxuries, many of which serve to distract from the ears and the sound. Touchscreens are a modern curse, as handy as they may be, you move from a computer and mouse to a touchscreen (be it an overblown and over rated Raven or the s6 touchscreen) and you are smack bang back in visual hand/eye 'reading' mode again, just like on the computer with PT that you tried to escape.

Colour coding? Honestly this just gets garish. I've never got lost in a mix, and never absolutely NEEDED colour coded strips to tell me 'here's my drums' when I have VCA spill with one button press to bring up my VCA masters and one press to spill my drums out. Even without that it's very fast to work around on ICON as you have your layout in PT you get to know, and with custom faders, VCAs and user menu favourites (and learning the key modifier shortcuts on the ICON) it's as rapid as anything any sane human ever needs. Far faster than old analog consoles, far more convenient and above and beyond any other older controller for any DAW.

The points mentioned above to try and push S6 are very one sided. Things like "mushroom pots/feel"? really? Nobody at avid said they sucked while they were selling icons. That's because they don't. Talk about fussy, they are great exactly because they mushroom out, you have a ton of space between them, and around your fingers yet have a nice size to grab on to. Wonderful design! S6 is very packed in, dark, too much reading, too much garish colour all over the place.

Monochrome/green overload was mentioned above? Again, so? I love the fact it's not screaming colours at me like some tacky behringer X32 (though I admit the S6 looks sexy and not like the horrid X32) but again, those luxuries that people claim allow for fast focus on tracks are offset by many downsides. your brain is being over stimulated by visuals, reading tiny OLED screens to see automation status, level meters jammed between faders so you can't just see them all in the distance while your hands work without looking down.

I'm not saying icon is/was perfect but to me it's the best I've laid hands on. S6 would surely be next (not even touched a Nuage though). But I do know the Icon is a sweet spot, the D-Command is especially 'just enough' to mix music well but not so much you get worn down visually or overloaded with so much info (waveform windows, touch screen icons/selections) that you're back to that "I'm working a computer" again feeling.

I honestly believe that icon feels more like working on an proper console than S6 does. Partly due to the simpler aesthetics, partly due to the abundance of space around all the buttons/knobs, and partly due to the size (width wise).

Bear in mind I'm not saying S6 is bad or something, it's clearly amazing and we'd all love one if we could afford them, and it does do some things better than Icon, sure, but it also feels different, does somethings 'worse' (imo) and removes some of the original vibe that made people fall in love with ICON and be a bit more analytical / head based with S6.

Icon won't be supported for much longer which his a shame, and S6 is a decent icon proxy, but much of what it adds is to me overblown fluff, that looks good on paper (and in the studio) but doesn't actually help get a mix finished musically and without over-thinking or analysing again due to far too many visual cues.

And FWIW one of the main things I love about icon is the dedicated eq/dynamics sections with metering and the ergonomics/layout and space (on D-Command particularly though D-Control is awesome of course), and that is lost on S6, by relying more on channel strips (which you'd think in theory would bring more of the old analog console feel but it doesn't quite gel so well with modern digital ways), there's something extremely likeable and intuitive about knowing, via muscle memory alone, and how quick/easy it is to get a known plug up on those dedicated sections, then tweak with your EYES closed (imo a lot of music mixing should be done with eyes closed).

So a lot of the colour coding, waveform windows and ESPECIALLY the over-reliance on a touchscreen for the main control area is lost on me, and many, who see it as a step back and missing the point (Raven is even worse - and touchscreen mixers feel bad next to real faders), because of having to read/look where your fingers are going. You can't feel your way around a touchscreen. S6's track selectors on the screen are, to me, hell. Sure better than a mouse, but again it's eye strain, reading, staring, colour overload.

S6 is not nirvana for mixing on pro tools, ICON is much closer and remains so. Less is more sometimes. Especially when it's just enough and not too much.

If others don't share or can't see this point of view then fine, but someone needed to state the reality here. ICON be it d-con or d-com remains an absolute blast to work/mix on, and as more people move fully ITB (top mixers) and as we see people like Tony Maserati, Tchad Blake, Fillepti, Butch Vig, Tony Sheppard and tons more all using ICON (most of them a mere D-Command and often just the main section), others will realise you can be ITB but with a feel that only ICON can give (and in some ways S6) and that leaving analog consoles behind is not a bad thing, ITB can and should be embraced thanks to controllers like ICON, and maybe one day people will stop using the 'giant mouse' falsehood and get that a nice bit of analog outboard + ICON to mix it with is as good/productive and conducive to stunning results as any SSL or API desk ever was (in fact way more productive).


essay over. Sorry for the bump but....
Man, what an interesting thread! As a guy who is only too aware of the poor resale value the S6 has, I'm flat out delighted to read how much these folks love their earlier generation controllers. I only hope when the time comes I feel the same way about my S6! Best possible case is users in love with their stuff. Far from wanting to argue with you guys, I'd just like to offer another viewpoint to sort of add to yours.

I came into the controller game just as the S6 was coming on line. Avid was doing their usual relentless marketing lying as always, and I was too naive in those days to know how to calibrate it. And comparing the S6 Avid described and promised was coming -FAST!!- to what was out there, it seemed like the best fit and I bought one.

It's been a long hard painful slog of slow and often irrelevant (for me and many others) software updates to get where it is now and it's still not the huge advancement/ total replacement of the ICON and S5's Avid promised way back then. I remember a video back in November of 2013 where Tom interviews Avid Director of Product Management for Audio Lars Bauman about the new S6. Earlier in the video Avid was representing the S6 as the magnificent product of the future that fully replaces the previous controllers and is a huge advancement from there in basically every way. Based on that presentation no one would have believed in a thousand years how little the S6 could actuallly do at that point. And in this interview, Lars says something along the lines of, "...all the heavy lifting of software development is over. Adding features from here is going to be easy. There's a large team of dedicated engineers that will be doing that and they will be advancing the S6 beyond anything you can even imagine right now very quickly. And we've actually designed the h/w in anticipation of that." That was nearly FIVE YEARS AGO and the S6 STILL hasn't even been fully ACTIVATED for Pro Tools yet. There's a section right in the middle that's still dark. And I'm constantly reading about things those earlier controllers do that the S6 still doesn't in addition to the obvious things it should do and doesn't (assigning plugins, fader flip per channel, assignable knob section activated, ACTUALLY recalling it's previous state on launch, numeric scales on the graphs, toggle for the MM display, even just a third user button activated for the many Pro Tools dialog boxes with three options (like "Don't Save" along with "Cancel" and "Go" or whatever) just to name a few basic ones off hand).

So what's my point? Well, first, I think the S6 isn't "The S6" yet and at the rate Avid is going, it looks like its going to be a VERY long time before it is. BUT, as a guy who came in without prejudice (without much experience) about which design approaches make the most useful controllers I actually PREFER most of the things others in this thread don't like about the S6 who wish it was designed more like the earlier models. In fact, MY complaint is there isn't MORE of that, especially at this STUNNING price point!! As usual, if Avid had done what they claimed they were going to do, there would be. So it's possible that a fully implemented S6 WOULD seem like it's at least a bit more worth the money and would seem like a suitable evolution from the earlier approaches. Or, it's possible all of these things have more to do with what folks are used to rather than what's actually objectively better. I for one would hate to switch to the earlier controllers and can't stand that Slate thing (having played with both).

Anyway, just a thought. Also, I'd like to make a point of stating something obvious: the Jeff's and Tom's and Gil's and Eddie's who are working on this thing are KILLING it given the constraints they work under. Can you imagine working for Avid and having to live between Avid's lies and abominable performance and your customer's reality!?!?!? They feel like frickin' war heroes to me and all this complaining has nothing to do with them. As I said in an earlier post, one can hope and pray that Hernandez getting fired will result in some improved perspective and more resources for S6 software development so that the S6 can become something that people don't have to point out is yet another reflection of the fact that Avid still doesn't get it.

Last edited by rus5; 03-21-2018 at 04:41 AM.
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  #14  
Old 03-21-2018, 07:39 AM
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creativecontrol creativecontrol is offline
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Default Re: S6- Vrs. S5/D Control/D Command

Greetings,

Thanks for joining in this healthy discussion. I am a huge fan of D-Command and D-Control having been one of the few guys on the team who was tasked with helping to sell over 5k of them around the world! The adoption of the ICON family was truly the beginning of folks really starting to take mixing in the box seriously.

I'm not going to do a point by point back and forth about your impressions / opinions of S6 - only a slight clarification on one particular comment....

"and S6 is a decent icon proxy, but much of what it adds is to me overblown fluff, that looks good on paper (and in the studio) but doesn't actually help get a mix finished musically and without over-thinking or analysing again due to far too many visual cues. "

I think what you are saying is that there is a lot of visual bling on the S6 and that doesn't really do it for you in terms of pure workflow. Here's what I would say to that (and I will keep it to 5 points).

(1) Soft Keys. With the press of a button I can instantly have every possible function I need to perform automation: enables, modes, write-to's, preview, suspend, snapshots - all visible and obvious - no paging. When I'm done with that I can press another quickjump button to see everything I need about playlists, comping, control room monitoring or markers/memory locations.

(2) VCA Masters. Important, essential, great workflow. Yes ICON has some good VCA workflows but nothing compared to S6... Again - simple, pure, efficient flow: Press a single button (Attention) on a channel containing a VCA Master and have it automatically open up a zone of my choosing anywhere on the desk to show me my slave channels. These could also be VCA's which are in a nested structure so I only need Attention one of those and it takes me further down the tree. Press another switch to incrementally jump back up to any VCA layer. Alternatively, you can have layouts within a zone which also contain VCA's which can be invoked in a similar manner.

(3) Multi-Machine and Multi-DAW. On large productions it can be essential to access multiple workstations simultaneously. S6 can efficiently control up to 8 and they can even be mixed DAW's of those that support EUCON including PT, Logic, Pyramix, Nuendo, etc. It is common now for mixers to create layouts which are an aggregate of multiple workstations. When a layout is recalled it seamlessly brings up source tracks from multiple rigs and places them on the surface such that the operator feels like it is all one cohesive system. You can even integrate intelligent KVM solutions like those from IHSE where pressing that Attention button (as mentioned in the VCA topic) automatically (and in the blink of an eye) changes your display keyboard and track ball to be controlling the workstation where that source track is living. In addition to that, we can now trigger soft key functions (think automatch out of writing automation, save the session, invoke preview mode or do a write to all) on all of the attached workstations simultaneously.

(4) Metering. Hands down one of the biggest requests we received from customers while promoting ICON was regarding the metering. S6 offers better supplemental meters adjacent to the faders than the D-Control and D-Command offered on the primary meter bridge. We have high resolution meters which are user tweakable matching all the scales in Pro Tools overlayed with real-time clips, automaton breakpoints, gain reduction and function curves which is especially useful when working in surround - from 5.1 all the way up to immersive audio fpr Dolby Atmos. Not only can you choose what and how you want to display the information on the display modules (if you are tracking for example you can greatly simplify this with huge meters only) but you can save meter layouts where a single display can instantly show you up to 32 of the following: Print Tracks from a separate attached workstation, Input metering of Mic Preamps from MTRX, Input Sources which could be any flavor of Analog, Digital or IP Audio, Outputs including Control Room, SLS, and each of your individual talent mix cue levels. Back to Soft Keys - with a single button press from your template you can instantly show any of these different saved meter scapes.

(5) Layouts. Recall 1-1 - exactly where I placed the channels or recall a grouping of tracks from any connected workstation within a container of my choosing on both sides of the master module into zones. As mentioned previously, populate VCAs into layouts and efficiently work with nested groups of channels that are invoked from a VCA while you display the other channels in the layout at the same time. The layout can show specific views on the channelstrip, display modules, and even the particular banking and zones you left on the desk when you closed the session.

My last recommendation for anyone reading this is to please sit with an educated S6 operator for at least an hour. No amount of PDF's, YouTube videos, user guides or technical documents can substitute for getting your hands on the desk (and I recommend bringing some of your sessions, templates, or material you are working on and familiar with). If anyone is in the Burbank area we would be happy to spend a generous amount of time taking you through the desk and specifically showing you how the workflow and efficiency has improved since ICON. Thanks.



Jeff
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  #15  
Old 03-21-2018, 07:52 PM
rcutz rcutz is offline
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Default Re: S6- Vrs. S5/D Control/D Command

Hi Guys, just 2 cents from a supervisor/re-recording mixer, studio owner bellow the Equator, owner of an s6 m10 16faders.

As any other manufactured product of 21 century, principally the digital one`s, it will never be done. Just google the "lean startup" and the principle of the "minimum viable product".

I`m not saying that I agreed with it, but it seems to be the the Cultural principle that guide the companies those days.

Have said that, I must say that I mix almost everyday on my S6 and it is a pretty good "mixer". It has everything a re-recording engineer need to do his job like fast as he needs. Automation controls are at hand. Traditional channel strips are at hand. The layouts or the Vca Spill to those that like it. The color scheme helps a lot identifying on a blink compressors, eq`s on channels strips, etc..

I must confess that, as much I can see it, the paradigm advertised is being sold. All the functionality? Maybe not, but I`m not missing much.

Is it perfect? No. Probably pro tools has more problems than the S6 itself (with 18.3 all my video engine issues return and the magic tool isn`t working correctly on my system).

Icon is on the past - they are reaching end of support this year. It wasn't perfect. S6 isn't too.
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  #16  
Old 03-22-2018, 10:19 AM
amolin amolin is offline
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Default Re: S6- Vrs. S5/D Control/D Command

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeezer View Post

And FWIW one of the main things I love about icon is the dedicated eq/dynamics sections with metering and the ergonomics/layout and space (on D-Command particularly though D-Control is awesome of course), and that is lost on S6, by relying more on channel strips (which you'd think in theory would bring more of the old analog console feel but it doesn't quite gel so well with modern digital ways), there's something extremely likeable and intuitive about knowing, via muscle memory alone, and how quick/easy it is to get a known plug up on those dedicated sections, then tweak with your EYES closed (imo a lot of music mixing should be done with eyes closed).
Have you ever worked witn an S6?
I had a D-Command for many years, 2 years ago it started have too many problems with the mushroom knobs, and I got an S6 instead, so I have worked quite a bit with both...

The dedicated eq/dyn sections worked ok on the D-Command, not great, but okay. Not much flexability for eq's and compressors that had some "non standard" functions.
The Expand function on the S6 is way better, and if the plugins are coded the right way, all the "standard" stuff, like Q, gain and all that, spills out on the same knobs no matter which plugin you use, and you can set all the parameters "via muscle memory", just as you could on the ICON.

Is the S6 perfect? Nah, but for 95% of my use it's better and faster to use than the ICON ever was.
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  #17  
Old 04-24-2018, 05:58 AM
its2loud its2loud is offline
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Default Re: S6- Vrs. S5/D Control/D Command

I use both the D-Command and an S6 M40 daily. Constantly going back and forth. Overall I would say everything the S6 has to offer I don’t miss when I’m on the D-Command. But there are things I miss from the D-Command when I’m on the S6. Like proper channel flip. Control+parameter (pan,eq,sun)to call it up on screen. (Yes, sometimes I want to see the actual GUI window). The buttons and writing on the S6 are way to small for my eyes. And I hate the Eucon load time for large sessions. However, layouts are great. VCA workflow and spill zones are great. Visual feedback is great. Feel and fader movement is superior to D-Command. Monitoring functionality with the Matrix and DadMan is superb. Was there a learning curve? Absolutely. Perhaps that’s the reason for most people’s resistance to the S6. Will you be slower at first on the S6 after working on an ICON surface? Absolutely. But after some time, you’ll begin to appreciate the enhancements the S6 has to offer and you’ll never look back. The S6’s road has been bumpy and Avid definitely marketed a sub par console at launch but it has grown up and shed a lot of its faults. The beauty is it can be programmed to learn new functions to improve. ICON could not. It was extremely limited in growth capability. Learning to drive a new car be scary, but it can also be extremely fun. The S6 is a tool that challenges me to be a better mixer. It forces me to rethink my workflow and break old “bad” habits. I thought I was fast on the D-Command but I can be even faster on an S6. Speed isn’t everything, but efficiency is in this industry and that’s what the S6 provides. It’s a fun, tactile, and efficient control surface.
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