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lossmentality

Icon QCon Pro G2 review and button mapping spreadsheet

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A few weeks back, before we had this shiny new forum, I posted over on the old Cakewalk forum asking if anyone could tell me how well an Icon QCon Pro X control surface would work with CbB. I got a good number of helpful responses, some of which recommended the Behringer XTouch. Someone also mentioned the Icon QCon Pro G2, which unlike the Pro X, officially supports CbB (though they still call it Sonar on the Icon website).

Long story short, I ended up getting a G2, and wanted to post back on how well it's been working, as no one in the previous discussion had tried one.

And... it works very well! It even allows navigation into the FX bins to any plug-in, which I call out specifically because I think I remember reading that there was a point in the recent past where one could not navigate past the first plug-in with the MCU and/or XTouch. In fact, the G2 has so far successfully controlled every parameter of every plug-in I’ve tried it with (about 6 or 7 plugs so far).

As I've never used an MCU or an XTouch (or any dedicated surface), and the G2 didn’t come with any DAW-specific documentation (and I couldn’t find any online for using it with CbB), I had to go through the MCU .chm help file (found in the same directory as the Mackie Control DLL) to figure out how to use everything. This was difficult because the G2 has different button names as well as a few differences in available buttons as compared to the MCU. These differences meant that, in some cases, I was reduced to just stabbing random buttons to see if I could get the G2 to do something described in the help file.

But I’ve now gone through the whole help file and tried 99% of the functionality described therein. The results? The G2 can do just about everything the original MCU can do. I found only a handful of functions referenced in the help that either don’t work on the G2 or work slightly differently, though some of that may be due to me not finding the right button combo, bugs in CbB or the Mackie Control DLL, or to changes in CbB since the help file was written (examples of that last category are: the duplicate track function opens the Duplicate dialog instead of directly duplicating a track and one of the hide track functions opens the Track Manager). Really, though, all the discrepancies I found were quite minor IMO.

Anyway, because it took so long to figure out the G2’s functionality, I decided to make a spreadsheet that includes most the functions I tested (I left most of the really obvious ones out, and didn’t bother mussing much with entering digits into text fields… because that’s what keyboards are for) and the G2 button combos required to execute them, as well as a list of the functions that didn’t work. I'm going to post it here in case it may help someone with a new G2 (or in case anyone is curious).

Before I do that – and keeping in mind that I’ve never used an MCU – here are the biggest downsides of the G2 as compared to the MCU (and I think the XTouch would not suffer from these, but this is based only on viewing photos of it).

  • There is no 2-character "Assignment" display. On the MCU (and, from pictures, on the XTouch as well), this tells you what state the device is in. However, this isn’t that big a deal, as the G2 indicates some of the info that would otherwise be displayed on the Assignment display in other ways (e.g. via lighted buttons or by what’s displayed on the scribble strip). Still, there are a few states that are maybe not obvious, which can lead you to think you're in a state that you're not. But I've not been much hampered by this.
  • Back on the MCU (and, I assume, on the XTouch) one could easily switch with a single button whether the channel/bank change buttons would change the track/bus assignments or instead change the parameters assigned to the encoders (or, if working in the FX bin, the plug-in whose parameters are available for assignment).  Further, I think which of those states you were in was clearly indicated by the Assignment display or by an LED or button backlight. On the G2, though, you must be in a toggled shift mode (Layer 2) and then hit a completely non-obvious button to toggle between these two sets of channel/bank change button functionality. The button differences aren't the problem, though - the real issue comes from the fact that there is zero indication of which mode you’re in until you try to change the channel assignments, only to have the parameter assignments change instead, or vice versa. With that said, as soon as it happens you know due to the scribble strip changing or fader movement, at which point you can easily recover by hitting the opposite bank/channel change button to get back to where you were.

On the positive side, here is an important advantage that I think the G2 has over the XTouch: the scribble strip info is presented on a large, upright, bright and easy-to-read display, while the XTouch's strips are claimed to be, per several reviews I read, hard to read (they appear to be small and are laid flat on the device such that they are far from perpendicular to your eyes). This was one of the main reasons I went for the G2 over the XTouch (again, though, keep in mind I’ve never tried the XTouch).

Okay, that’s it – I hope the spreadsheet* is useful to someone. Also, if anyone is thinking of getting one of these, I'd be happy to answer some questions.

Oh, I should also state that I’m using a Mackie DLL modded and compiled by msmcleod; to get it, go to the post I linked to in the first paragraph and search for his username – he gave a link to the DLL in response to my OP. I think you can also get the compiled DLL on github, and I think I saw him post here on the new forums that he’s made further changes (though that might be a different user).

*Note that the spreadsheet is something I threw together quickly, and I’ve not yet proofread it or edited it for brevity/clarity (and it could use some of the latter).

 

Icon QCon G2 Pro Control Map3.xlsx

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Wow, thank you so much for this, I was pulling my hair out trying to get this unit to work, thanks to you I'm on the right track....

I got rid of my x-touch for a g2, mainly for the LCD screen, the Icon is working out much better for me, I'm thinking of getting an extender...

I have one question though, do you have issues with the pan knobs remembering their position?  (not a deal breaker)

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I'm keeping my eye on platform m+ & platform b combo for quite some time and was wondering how would that work with cakewalk. Thanks so much for sharing your findings, you put much hope into my heart by posting the above!

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8 hours ago, C-Factor said:

Wow, thank you so much for this, I was pulling my hair out trying to get this unit to work, thanks to you I'm on the right track....

I got rid of my x-touch for a g2, mainly for the LCD screen, the Icon is working out much better for me, I'm thinking of getting an extender...

I have one question though, do you have issues with the pan knobs remembering their position?  (not a deal breaker)

I'm glad you found the spreadsheet helpful! Also, thanks for confirming the scribble strips are tough to read on the XTouch - I almost didn't mention that in my post, as I felt some trepidation about casting shade on something I had no personal experience with.

I don't think I've noticed an issue with the Pan knobs, but, to be clear, are you asking if the value of the pan changes even if you don't turn the knob? Does this happen all by itself, or do you only notice it after using other controls on the G2? E.g., do you have to, say, change track banks, and then come back to the original track, at which point the pan value has changed? Have you seen this with other parameter types assigned to the encoders, or just Pan?

Or are you talking about the LED indicators that surround each pan knob? (If so, make sure you open the Mackie Control config dialog in Cakewalk and set the "Meters" box to "Signal LEDs + Meters". 

The only wonky thing I've seen - and in only one project - was some solo button problems: if I hit a solo button when the G2 is assigned to certain tracks, sometimes the wrong track solos, and sometimes two tracks solo. Most of the tracks were fine - it was only on a few. This project has a lot of tracks, and track folders, so don't know if that's it, but I've not been able to recreate in other projects. Have you seen this?

 

5 hours ago, chris.r said:

I'm keeping my eye on platform m+ & platform b combo for quite some time and was wondering how would that work with cakewalk. Thanks so much for sharing your findings, you put much hope into my heart by posting the above!

1

Always happy to spread hope ;) The Platform M is a very sleek looking unit. If you try it, post back and let us know how it works.

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Lossmentality, wow that's a mouthful, or maybe I should say a fingerful, anyway everything works fine , like you mentioned except like, when I change banks, and I come back to the original track the knob values are changed,  and the red led rings around the knobs are all out of wack, No biggie though, if I'm really into a project I hardly notice.....Thanks again for taking the time to make that spreadsheet

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@C-FactorYou're welcome.

No, I don't think I've seen what you describe with actual Pan values being changed. But the only real project I've used it on is still in the composing/tracking stage, so most everything there is still panned center (and I've only had the G2 for a few weeks).

As I briefly mentioned above, however, while writing the spreadsheet, I was experimenting with toy projects where I did a lot panning, and I did see the LEDs around the encoders get out of whack (often the last few on the right side of an encoder would light up, and the rest would be blank), but the actual Pan values in cakewalk never changed unless I twiddled a knob (and neither did the Pan values displayed on the scribble strip). But making that setting I mentioned in my previous post in the Mackie config dialog fixed the LED problem completely for me.

I understand that it's not bothering you much, but if it starts to, iCon does have tech support available on their website; if it's something with the G2 (as opposed to Cakewalk or the DLL), they might fix it in a firmware patch.

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That is one seriously amazing piece of work you have done. I am so pleased to have been fortunate enough to have found it. It would be great if cakewalk would take what you have done and include it in the manual obviously crediting you for it. I was only chatting today about the lack of available information on the functionality of the buttons in relation to the various DAW overlays provided by Icon. Somebody either at Icon or Cakewalk must know what the functionality is, so why such a big secret and why even bother providing the overlay without the relevant functionality reference. I had just resigned myself to undertaking the very task you have so successfully completed and presented in a user friendly format. So thank you for your hard work, time and willingness to share. 

I too bought the Qcon Pro G2 because of the upright meter bridge. From the reviews I read/watched, the flat strips on the Behringer were often mentioned and not for the ease of which they could be read. The other criticism being about the inability of the strips to change colour to the corresponding DAW channel colour as is advertised in their literature. It seems they suffer the same lack of information regarding the functionality for each DAW specific overlays. I must say that I am very pleased with the Qcon, it's low profile makes it easy to work on for hours at a time, the integration with cakewalk seems solid enough and thanks to you, full functionality will now be engaged.

I do have one question, my jog wheel is set to ticks in the makie control window, but I have to make so many rotations to scrub one second of audio. I notice in the user manual you have created that you mention making changes to the functionality of the jog wheel. Is there any other adjustment that can be made to speed up the cursor travel time to more closely match the number of turns of the jog wheel in windows or Cakewalk?

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Hi there!!! I need help.

I am new with Icon Q with and Q with EX.

I am using Cake Band lab and I cannot configure my Icon Qcon with the program.

What I can do. What driver do I have to use?
I will appreciate your help

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1 hour ago, Ricky Susla said:

Hi there!!! I need help.

I am new with Icon Q with and Q with EX.

I am using Cake Band lab and I cannot configure my Icon Qcon with the program.

What I can do. What driver do I have to use?
I will appreciate your help

Your best friend is google. you tube specifically.. 

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There is no driver for the Icon Q. You need to add it in preferences > controllers ensuring you select MACKIE control (add controller). Once you have done that and selected the in's and out's you can then go to UTILITIES > mackie control which opens  the mackie control window. You can configure the Qcon there. To get the master fader to operate select bus in the drop down window (bottom left in window). That will get you started.

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