The latest piece of project studio hardware from PreSonus is the FaderPort 8, a USB control surface designed for DAW control. Expanding on the functionality of the original, single-fader PreSonus FaderPort, the FaderPort 8 features dedicated transport controls, eight touch-sensitive motorised 100mm faders with digital ‘scribble strip’ display screens, and a total of 57 backlit buttons.
These buttons cover 78 different functions, providing instant access to a range of useful shortcuts, from zooming in and out to adjusting click track tempo, accessing buses or VCAs, virtual instruments, modifying Studio One's native plug-in parameters (as well as any third-party plug-in, once you Control Link map it) or managing aux mixes. The Select buttons change colour to reflect Studio One channel colour-coding.
Above the transport controls, the FaderPort 8’s Session Navigator section features cursor buttons and a scroll wheel to swiftly traverse your DAW project without recourse to the mouse, plus eight function buttons covering some of the most frequently used commands. The Bank button in conjunction with the cursor keys allow access to an unlimited number of Studio One tracks, in blocks of eight, and the DAW screen updates instantly to reflect the currently-selected track/channel in FP8 and vice-versa.
Four user-programmable buttons allow some personalisation and the FaderPort 8, which connects via USB 2.0, supports the Mackie Control and HUI protocols, allowing more or less instant control of most popular DAWs.
Integration with PreSonus’ own Studio One software is naturally very tight and the company promise big gains in terms of workflow speed for Studio One users. For example, engaging the Control Link feature means that the Pan/Parameter encoder at the top left corner of the control surface will adjust whatever control or parameter value your mouse pointer is currently hovering over on screen. Also, the dedicated Pan button spills the currently selected tracks' pan setting onto the faders.
FaderPort 8 is priced at $599, making it a control surface worth keeping an eye on, particularly for Studio One users.
There's a useful playlist of 12 in-depth videos from Johnny Geib at www.homestudiotrainer.com if you'd like a full rundown of how it works with Studio One 3.
Pro Tools users should check out Russ Hughes' video for a overview of FP8 in HUI mode.