PreSonus Fader Port 8

A com­pact, mech­a­nised and yet some­how af­ford­able DAW con­troller has landed from the US. Jon Mus­grave takes a ride

Future Music - - CONTENTS -

This com­pact table-top DAW con­troller in­cludes na­tive in­te­gra­tion with Stu­dio One (v3.3.2 and later) and sup­ports both Mackie Con­trol and HUI pro­to­cols for use with many top DAWs. It can also work in tan­dem with the original FaderPort, should you have one of those.

At about a foot square and just over a cou­ple of inches deep, it won’t eat into your table top space, and it’s also com­pact enough to sit on your lap. Just bear in mind it’s not USB pow­ered, so it’s al­ways trail­ing a USB and DC power lead. The lay­out is dom­i­nated by eight 100mm mo­torised touch-sen­si­tive faders and a plethora of mul­ti­coloured rub­berised back­lit but­tons. At the top of each strip, you’ll find a con­text-spe­cific pa­ram­e­ter and scrib­ble strip LCD dis­play.

Func­tion­al­ity is clearly de­lin­eated across sections, with the Shift key adding a sec­ond func­tion to over half of the but­tons. On the right-hand side, au­toma­tion and trans­port con­trols sit above and below the ses­sion nav­i­ga­tor, whose push but­ton en­coder knob and cur­sor but­tons fol­low one of eight modes, in­clud­ing Zoom, Scroll, Bank, Marker, and Mas­ter, which at­taches main fader con­trol to the ro­tary en­coder. Se­lect Shift, and the same mode but­tons trig­ger your key­board func­tion keys (F1 to F8).

Look­ing at the fader sec­tion, Faderport 8’s faders work in one of four modes han­dling fader level (Track) as well as fur­ther pa­ram­e­ters (Edit Plug­ins, Sends and Pan). This means you have to switch modes quite a bit, but it feels like a rea­son­able com­pro­mise, with the LCD dis­play keep­ing you abreast of what’s hap­pen­ing. On the up­side, you get ded­i­cated Mute and Solo but­tons for each strip, global Solo and Mute Clear but­tons, and a rather nifty but­ton, By­pass, which by­passes all plug­ins on a track.

If you re­ally want to see Faderport 8 at its best, you’ll have to fire it up with Stu­dio One (a free copy of Stu­dio One Artist comes bun­dled). Here the sub­tleties of its de­sign bear fruit, with the mul­ti­coloured back­lit but­tons fol­low­ing the DAW colours, and de­cent (and eas­ily ed­itable) plugin con­trol of up to eight vari­able and eight on/off pa­ram­e­ters.

So, any gripes? I did have a cou­ple of hangs (eas­ily re­solved by re­boot­ing the FP8), and in Logic Pro X a few de­tails need iron­ing out (some of which we’re told will be ad­dressed in the next firmware up­date). Over­all though, FaderPort 8 is a de­cent, com­pact and af­ford­able con­troller for MCU or HUI users, while along­side Stu­dio One it re­ally flies, de­liv­er­ing with­out a doubt one of the best DAW/ con­troller com­bi­na­tions I’ve tried.

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