November 20, 2006

Novation ReMOTE ZeRO SL Initial Impressions...

by Chris Randall

We got our Remote Zero SLs today, and I thought I'd throw up some random thoughts about the installation and usage. To wit:

INSTALLATION: One thing I've noticed in my years is that high-end gear Just Works. The cheaper a unit is, the more hoops you have to jump through to get it to do what it is supposed to do. For instance, my Lynx AES16/Apogee Rosetta combo just worked out of the box. I installed the driver, and that was that. The combination was over $2500. This RemoteSL was, what, $299? Inversely proportional indeed. It took me about three hours, a download, two installs, and two reboots to get the transport buttons to do anything in Nuendo. The high end Nuendo controllers (like the ID and the Euphonix) just plug in and go, but this was a real dog-n-pony show. In its defense, Adam told me that it worked fine with Live without installing anything, but I didn't try that, so I can't vouch for it.

QUALITY: It's a big hunk of plastic. The endless encoder knobs and buttons feel firm, can't complain about that. The 60mm faders are essentially useless, except maybe in a live situation. There's these stupid little plastic leaning things that you have to screw on the bottom to get it to lean at a viewable angle. My unit came with neither the screws nor a USB cable, so I had to use my imagination. No external power supply is included. If you just want to control a piece of hardware, you're gonna have to either buy a wall wart or fill it with batteries. In use with a computer, it is buss-powered. The transport buttons are pretty whack; no tactile features whatsoever, so you have to look at them. I'm so used to my keyboard setup for Nuendo that I don't think I'll get much use out of the transport buttons, anyways.

IN USE: Since none of the buttons are labeled, you kind of have to figure out what goes where. However, once I read through the manual and puzzled around, I got the hang of it. The Automap feature is pretty spiffy. You just start up Nuendo, and presto, it's a Nuendo controller. It does all the normal hardware control shit you'd expect. The one thing it _doesn't_ do in Nuendo (and I assume Cubase) is allow you to control insert and send effects. You can control the sends per channel, but that's it. To do anything deep in the channel controls requires such a ludicrous amount of button pressing it's not worth the effort. So, in short, for high level control, it's pretty slick. For deep mixing, it is so much more complicated to use this than to just mouse around that it is literally not worth the effort.

Controlling VSTi parameters is really nice, in a weird sort of way, especially if the box knows about the VSTi (like V-Station, for instance.) You can get some pretty hefty control going there. That's where this unit really shines, I think. For a simple mixing surface, you're better off spending the money for Mackie Control or one of the more sophisticated offerings.

I can see this unit being really quite good for controlling, say, Live, in a live setting. But for home studio use as a mixing surface, I'd say skip it. It's a jack of all trades, master of none kind of affair.

EDIT: Okay, I just set up a Nuendo project for old-school house music group mute arranging, and had a fucking blast. That's what this unit is for. If you play live, using some variation on group mute arranging, you're gonna be in heaven with this box. It makes me want to book a Micronaut show. For this alone, it is well worth the money. But as I said, as a mixing surface, it leaves a _lot_ to be desired.



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Nov.21.2006 @ 9:13 PM
... so I mostly want to confirm they didnt' change manufacturing to china and cheapen all the internals.

LOL, the CME site ask to install a chinese language pack..that might answer your queston. Beside a user review or two on the old bitstream site I havent heard the 411 on them in depth.


Nov.22.2006 @ 5:39 AM
I have a BCR-2000 and I never could get it going right with Logic so its boxed up in the storage room. That bitstream thing looks nice though. What would be really good for me would be something like the Tascam US-428 with more knobs. Something built like a mixer rather than looking like some wannabe-a-DJ piece of kit.

My only "complaint" with my MCU/C4 is I wish there were more knobs on the MCU itself. The C4 is good for plugins, but I'd be thrilled to pieces if the MCU had even basic EQ knobs and 2 sends on each channel. Hell I'd even buy one of those craptastic studio in a box type things if it had more than just pan over each fader. That would work pretty darn well for live dub.


Nov.23.2006 @ 3:08 AM
I know that CME in general is made in China, and I suspect that the Bitstream is now as well, which means I might just step right from my BCF up to a midibox project. OR I can order one and open it up and decide how long I think the surface mount crap will stand up to some road abuse.

SL Zero is slightly interesting but the short faders really put me off. I also prefer to premap my controls by default to a standard set rather than having to page through shit to get to the parameter I want to automate, even if it is accompanied by nice LED legending.


Apr.09.2007 @ 2:11 AM
Here's the complete Sound on Sound review of the ZeRO SL: link []">link []

May.07.2007 @ 2:57 PM
mr rotton
Can anyone tell me where the transport page is in nuendo????
The cursor's default is set to return a the start point but I would like it to stop where I stop it. How do I make this happen????

May.07.2007 @ 2:58 PM
mr rotton
Can anyone tell me where the transport page is in nuendo????
The cursor's default is set to return a the start point but I would like it to stop where I stop it. How do I make this happen????

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