Very Happy with the purchase
I wanted to wait till I used the unit in a live application before I created a review, and I just completed that journey. I bought it specifically to work with my RM32AI unit, in a live sound environment, I already have a 27 inch touch screen monitor, production PC, along with a wireless router and up to 6 ipad \ iphone units connected in, along with a plethora of VST effects, working well together.
I did my homework - to use this control surface with headphones as well as a talk back mic and an iphone playing mp3's before an after the show, I needed an AVB switch among other things like cables and such. I chose the MOTU AVB switch for this. I learned that I needed to spend time with AVB configuration and firmware updates well in advance of using it live, so that I had everything setup and working together. It helped to already know the Universal control app because it provided a more intuitive interface for setup. Not that the CS18 is hard to learn - its actually easy. I just found that having a a few larger displays available as I was learning, worked better for me.
While this unit has a small profile, it is powerful, and well laid out. It took a few hours to really wrap my head around navigation, as the entire system is wide (control of 64 channels) and deep (fat channel, special effects - even recording and playback control). You do not want to show up to a gig without having a few hours at least, of hands on time to become comfortable with it and to build out 'the show' mix - from each channel, to monitor mixes, to DCA filters, to talkback, to scenes, to effects, to the mains.
There is a lot to do if you have to start from scratch. HOWEVER, after working through it once, I found I don't even have to think much about what to reach for, or how to access it. The nice thing for me was, I already had a good portion of the show setup done in the RM32AI, using Universal Control, prior to getting this control surface. You can imagine my surprise after connecting everything up, when the faders moved into position, and the scribble strips showed each channel name, from the first scene in the RM32AI.
My hats off to PreSonus - the entire solution, from the RM32AI, to UC Surface, to the CS18AI to Studio One is a powerhouse. Clean sounding, good control, great value.