Review: Icon Pro Audio QCon Pro X Control Surface

The Icon Pro Audio QCon Pro X is a control surface with motorised faders fit for most DAWs that is built like a tank in a good way! Matt Vanacoro gives it an in-depth review along with video.  

With more and more mixing happening ‘inside the box’ these days, control surfaces are as ubiquitous as MIDI keyboard controllers in the average home studio. Icon’s Qcon Pro X made quite the splash at NAMM earlier this year for a robust feature set that would cost you double with many other devices. I spent a month and many a session with the Qcon Pro X to see if it lived up to the hype.

Watch our video overview of the Icon QCon Pro X control surface here:

The Build

To quote my Uncle Peter, “This thing is built like a Sherman Tank!” The Qcon is a hefty device, and it feels incredibly rugged. The motorized faders have a nice long throw, and they certainly feel like they will stand up to the test of time. The chassis is a sleek matte black, and it’s all metal aside from the trim. The rotary encoders are pushable buttons as well, and the buttons on the Qcon are extremely solid. My one nit to pick is that as they are solid plastic instead of rubberized, they do tend to make a ‘click’ when you push them. Some may see this as a positive; you really know when you’ve pushed a button. Those of you that tend to track, mix, overdub, and tweak all in the same room may find yourself pushing the buttons very softly.

Icon Pro Audio QCon Pro X Control Surface

Up and Running

Getting up and running with the Qcon is pretty much a no-brainer. There isn’t any software required. You plug in a USB cable, and it ‘just works’. Logic automatically detected the Qcon and all of the features worked pretty much immediately. The jog wheel let me shuttle through my sequence, the faders responded to movement on my mixing window, and the timecode synchronized immediately. 

It helps that the Qcon has a DAW select button right on it. This allows you to have the Qcon running in a compatible mode before you even turn on your DAW. From there, it’s a simple matter of enabling Mackie Control or HUI inside of your DAW to get everything rolling. I was up and running in both Pro Tools and Logic Pro X within seconds.

Icon Pro Audio QCon Pro X Control Surface with templates

The Experience

For the most part, I found the Qcon amped my workflow up to the next level for sure. The LCD screen grabbed my channel strip names, the fader bank button allowed me to quickly rotate between 8 channels at a time, and the rotary encoders quickly made pan and/or EQ adjustments. The transport controls worked flawlessly in both Pro Tools and Logic. The Jog wheel worked perfectly with Logic with no configuration. The Jog wheel didn’t function out of the box in Pro Tools, but a quick firmware update from Icon solved that problem. It’s good to know they’re responsive to their users and are pushing out updates.

The rear of the Icon Pro Audio QCon Pro X Control Surface

One other funny little quirk is that whenever I selected a channel strip in Logic on the Qcon, whatever plugin was loaded up in my first insert slot opened up its editing window. Icon says this isn’t typical behavior, but I did see a few other folks with the problem online.

The Verdict

I really like the Qcon. It’s significantly less expensive than many several other control surfaces that don’t even often quite as much functionality. I would definitely put up with its few quirks to make my in-the-box mixing feel a little bit more ‘out of the box’. 

Price: $899

Pros: Great price point, extremely sturdy build, very little setup, no drivers needed, USB expansion units available for more faders, responsive controls, swappable button label templates for various DAWs

Cons: Some limitations of the Mackie protocol depending on your DAW, Limited character display on LCD screen

Web: http://iconproaudio.com/product/qcon-pro-x/

 

 

Matt Vanacoro is one of New York’s premier musicans. Matt has collaborated as a keyboardist in studio and on stage with artists such as Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), Mark Wood (Trans-Siberian Orchestra), Mark Rivera (Billy Joel Band), Aaron Carter, Amy Regan, Jay Azzolina, Marcus Ratzenboeck (Tantric), KeKe Palmer, C-Note, Jordan Knig... Read More

Discussion

Adjo56
Hi there ! I'm using the Icon Qcon Pro X (Windows 7 & REAPER) but having some problems with it. The utilities are not matching with the REAPER template; For example: Automation: when i press "TOUCH" then reaper starts "LATCH" when i press "LATCH" reaper starts "TRIM" etc etc. When i press "PLUG-in" activates "PAN"???? weird though.... I downloaded the latest reaper_csurf_mcu_klinke.dll but this didn't solve my problem. (ICON Firmware 1.07) Anyone having a solution ? Thanks in advance !
paul
Hi Did you get any help at all? Am thinking of purchasing this unit and have same setup as you. Nothing worse than these companies flogging stuff without total support for all daws. I also have mixcraft but hold out little hope for that ! Hope to hear from you . Can contact me at paul123987 at yahoo.com
thanks Paul
Adjo56
Hi Paul ! Thx for your reply.

To be honest.....i've sent the Icon Qcon Pro X back to my selling point yesterday. I didn't succeed to get it working right with REAPER. Tried to apply the latest firmware (Online) but getting error messages over and over again. I asked help from Icon. The only response was an e-mail with a Firmware 1.08 attachment (that i already downloaded to my hard drive by the way) but no explanation HOW to apply this in the ICON. So i asked them to help me out (5 days ago now), but no response till this very moment....

I Googled and learned about "reaper_mcu_klinke_64Dll" file and applied it to REAPER/PLUGINS folder, but it still didn't work properly....
Many functions didn't match with the REAPER template, the Faders, transport knobs and shuttle worked fine, but i can do that with my mouse for less than $ 825 if you know what i mean....

Anyway, the hardware is awesome and built like a tank, nothing wrong about that, but i'm very disappointed about the ICON support.

Grtz
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Matt Vanacoro
Hi, guys! I used it primarily with Pro Tools and Logic, I don't have Reaper or Mixcraft. I did find the company's help line to be effective (for reviews I try to go through the normal channels and I did in this case). I had one issue with Logic and the Q-Con opening the first plugin in an insert chain that they addressed with a firmware update and some coaching very quickly.
Adjo56
Nice to hear that Matt. I considerd my issue as bad luck... :-(

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