Heart to Heart
Hi, I just got both ICON Platform M+ and JL Cooper FaderMaster Pro (old new stock version with white diamond on the left side of the first lane instead of blue diamond of the recent version) recently for comparison.
These seem to be the best 100mm long faders after months of my research (except the most deeply integrated and affordable Nektar Panorama P1, but it has 45mm long faders). It’s crazy to know there are only two decent 100mm long analog feeling compact fader devices for MIDI CC control in this current niche market (Well, there’s the Behringer’s X-Touch Compact, but I heard it’s initially designed for PC users and it seems Avid’s new S1 will be little more expensive than the Artist Mix)
M+ works pretty well like the Dr. Mix's review video below, both as a non-motorized MIDI CC controller in user defined mode and a motorized DAW controller on Logic Pro X after fader calibration and upgrading to new firmware which was released two days ago. It’s not super stable from other MIDI devices’ interception or hijacking, but finally it works as a dual function control surface as it’s been advertised for the Mac users.
If you just want to get a MIDI CC controller with eight smooth 100mm long faders, the M+'s extension, X+ will be enough. It is cheaper than M+ and it works as a stand-alone device without D2 display.
I have an Artist Mix and MC Transport as a DAW controller and I know M+ can’t beat the superior EuCon system, but the EuCon system doesn’t work for MIDI CC control as many of you know. I really like M+’s build quality, high quality 100mm long smooth faders and small footprint as a MIDI CC controller.
In the case of FaderMaster Pro, maybe I expected too much from the reputation in the composers' community. FMP's faders seem rather fragile and its fader knobs have more light plastic feeling than M+ or Artist Mix (In fact, they are all plastic, but M+ and Artist Mix’s fader knobs have a more stable and metallic feeling). I think it's because the FMP has completely non-motorized faders, there's no sprockets connected to motors to hold them like M+ or Artist Mix on the lanes. It might depend on what kind of smooth feeling you are looking for in your CC control (i.e., easy-breezy control with slightly faster feeling faders (FMP) vs more realistic control for the large orchestra sound with slightly slower feeling faders (M+)).
However, it’s nice to have the divided gage lines beside the fader lanes and you can see the amount of precise parameter change on the display on FMP, while M+ doesn’t have any of them when it's used as a user-defined mode MIDI CC controller.
Most of all, JL Cooper company doesn’t seem to care for this 20 to 30-year-old product as much as their current super expensive controllers (Last software update of FMP Remote for Mac was 2016), while the ICON engineering team currently takes care of M+ with fast response. They are trying hard to improve the notorious custom mapping issue of the major DAWs on Mac. Especially M+'s mapping SW, iMap is easier to use and more adjustable than FMP's mapping SW, FMP Remote, IMHO.
BTW, I am having a hard time getting the MIDI signal from FMP. The MIDI Learn function doesn’t respond to the faders' movement. I am using a budget USB-MIDI interface cable and it seems I need a better cable than this.
Some Vi-control members seem to use Roland's UM-One cable with newer version of FMP with no problem, but I don't have one. I saw a seller on Reverb.com seemed he sent this old version of FMP to the JL Cooper company to refurbish it for using on the current computer systems.
Do any of you among Mac users have experience with the FaderMaster Pro?
I’d appreciate any of your advice in advance.