PreSonus Faderport Review

06-12-2014 11:18 AM

PreSonus make some very cool stuff these days with everything from their hugely popular digital mixers to audio interfaces and monitor controllers, live sound equipment as well as their DAW Studio One.
One product that may have not received as much attention as the others in the PreSonus Faderport.
It’s not a new product, but if you struggle with finding a cost effective solution to control your Pro Tools transport and other key features then the Faderport is well worth a look at.
The Faderport At A Glance

  • Recording transport control
  • High-quality Alps fader used in control surfaces costing over $10K+
  • Touch sensitive, 100mm long throw motorized fader
  • Dual-servo drive belt motor design for fast and smooth operation
  • Write single channel or group channel volume automation
  • Write pan and mute automation
  • 1024 steps of resolution
  • pan control, mute, solo, record enable
  • quick window selection (edit, mix, transport)
  • Footswitch jack for hands free punch in/out

The Faderport can be used without the PSU but this is required for the motorized fader to function - the fader will still work but wil not act in a motorized fashion.

The Faderport In Operation

The Faderport has two operation modes Native and HUI. Depending on the DAW you use this will give different operational experiences. For Pro Tools it requires to run in the HUI Emulation mode, setting up is a breeze. Plug in the PSU and USB cable, go to Peripherals and then set it up as a HUI controller. (see above)
The Faderport is made from metal so you get the feel of something substantial when working with it.
Although it works in HUI emulation it worked without issue in Pro Tools 11 and I found it an excellent addition to have in front of me on the desk. One of my favourite features is having the record arm option as a button, that saved me having to be reminded to arm the track before hitting record - or am I the only idiot who repeatedly makes that schoolboy error?
Having both a long throw fader and a pan control to use in a mix is helpful, it may simply be some kind of placebo effect but using a physical fader and pan control as opposed to a mouse seems to be a more natural way of mixing, especially if you close you eyes and set things as your ears lead you rather than as your eyes would. I find things end up in different positions when I compare the two.
You may read on some forums that you can’t pan the right side of a stereo channel with the Faderport, you can, you simply hit the ‘Shift’ key on the unit to get the right side of the stereo channel.
The additon of a foot switch is helpful for singer songwriters who want to punch in their guitar, keys or vocals and only have one pair of hands, simply use the standard footswitch and use your feet!

Even though the Faderport is not a new product, it is still a relavant piece of hardware for use in a Pro Tools system, especially for those who want some physical control of their Pro Tools rig but can’t justify the expense of a dedicated control surface.
One additional thought I had was that it would make an ideal complement to the Softube Console 1 as it offers many features missing in the console one - most of all a fader. I do not think there would be any compatibility issues running the two and they would make ideal bed-fellows.
The Faderport costs around £130 in the UK, if yo are looking for some more physical control of Pro Tools then check it out, it may be just what you are looking for.
Thanks to Source Distribution for the review unit