PreSonus Faderport 8 Production Controller Review

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PreSonus Faderport 8

We’re opening another cool chapter, this time switching back to our controlling systems. PreSonus Faderport 8 is our next pick to be reviewed in fine detail. This 8-motorized-fader controller mixer is the new black among control surface units. Why? Let these upcoming features and in-play statistics answer for you.

PreSonus Faderport 8 Main Features

Here are the main features of PreSonus Faderport 8:

  • 8 Touch-sensitive 100 mm motorized dual-servo drive belt
  • High fader resolution: 10 bit / 1,024 steps
  • 57 background- and status-lit buttons
  • 78 controllable functions
  • 8 high-resolution LC displays as digital labeling fields
  • Timecode and level display
  • Small encoder as panpot and for other selected parameters
  • Large data wheel with push button for scrolling, zooming, navigating, and much more.
  • 2 Arrow buttons for step-by-step navigation and setting
  • Transport control, track control, automation control and session navigator
  • Fader modes, mixer view, undo / redo, click track on / off, tap tempo, markers, plugin parameters, and more.
  • 4 programmable user buttons
  • 8 Function button
  • Native Studio One support, HUI and Mackie control selectable
  • Compatible with ProTools, Logic, Cubase, Ableton, Nuendo, Bitwig, Reaper, Digital Performer and others
  • Jack for optional foot switch (start / stop commands)
  • No driver installation required
  • Power supply via external power supply (12 V DC / 2 A)
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 330 x 305 x 57 mm
  • Weight: 2.7 kg
  • Including full version of Studio One 3 Artist (DAW)
  • System requirements:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo (Intel Core i3 or faster recommended)
  • Windows 7 x64 / x86 SP1 platform update
  • Windows 8.1 x64 / x86
  • From OS X 10.8.5
  • Windows 10 x64 / x86

PreSonus FaderPort 8 8-channel Mix Production Controller

The Most Valuable Highlights

Now as you can see, there`s a lot of features for a user from one controller unit. This will not only make you bedroom producers handle the mixing curve a lot easier. But faster too. Touch-sensitive faders and their following-automation performance is a first big plus here.

Channel controls include: volume, pan, solo, mute and record. 

Session navigator is another dope super-power. It allows user to manage things like track scroll, channel banking and navigation options. Four programmable user buttions allow you to keep some of the personal favorized setups.

And last, and the best feature, with PreSonus Faderport 8, a producer/artist/engineer can control the plugin settings and bus sends. So get rid of that mouse pad and keep your project under one-surface control.

Faderport 8 Surface Controls

As for the user interface itself, here`s how guys from PreSonus put it out for you. In the middle, slightly scooched to the left, are the 8 main faders. Above them, you have their main dedicated function buttons, Mute and Solo for each individual channel.

On top of that, you have select soft pads assigned to the small display panels above. The panels serve for user navigation of the mixer. On the left side, in the top left corner, there`s a Pan/Parameter knob for each selected channel. Below that knob, PreSonus Faderport 8 offers some more soft knob features.

From Top ToBottom

  • Arm – enables to record a channel track in coalition with channel`s select button (press Shift and Arm and all of the tracks are selected for recording)
  • Clear Solo (when channel`s Solo button activated, the Clear Solo deletes the selection)
  • Mute Clear (doing the same thing, only for the Mute  button function)

The next three buttons below, work for applying the functions to a single channel. 

They are:

  • Bypass
  • Macro
  • Link

The last button on the left side of the PreSonus Faderport 8 interface is Shift. For controlling or activating the secondary functions of each button.

Vertical-row buttons to the right side of the faders, let us choose and see what tracks are being displayed in our session on Faderport 8. We got Audio (for audio tracks), VI (for virtual instruments display), Bus (for buses), VCA and All (for displaying all the tracks). 


Shift Triggered Secondary Functions

  • Shift + Audio – access all Inputs
  • pressing Shift + VI – enters MIDI
  • Shift + Bus – Outputs
  • hold Shift + VCA – The Effects display
  • Shift + All – User asignable function

The Right Side of the PreSonus Faderport 8 interface features Transport controls (Stop, Play/Pause, Record, Loop and Fast Forward/Back buttons).

Above them are the controls for operating the functions inside your DAW and  Automation controls. 


Working With Different DAWs

In working with different DAWs, PreSonus Faderport 8 showed a decent result. As expected, there were a few small glitches there and there, depending on the DAW. With best performance shown with PreSonus`s Studio OneBut in overall achievement, you`ll find that PreSonus Faderport 8 is just what you need. The main thing about a controller like this is of course the ability to automate the faders. 

And in this quest Faderport 8 holds its torch way up high. Comparing to the previous model of Faderport and the 16-channel, double-expensive version, this is the perfect thing to own for any home producer. And giving the options and the firm, compact build.

With 57 dedicated control buttons, the PreSonus Faderport 8 should be enough to keep your workflow flawless.


Faderport 8 Pros And Cons

Now on to the most useful part for you readers and future owners. Let`s see some of the highlighted pros and cons of PreSonus Faderport 8 digital mixer unit. As expected, you will find that most of the rates are aimed to the praises of the PreSonus Faderport 8 workflow. 

Key Critiques About Faderport 8

“What seals the deal for me is that I can hit shift+button and reassign about 11 key buttons to do different functions. I have these set to quantize/duplicate/delete/etc. It definitely feels like I make more precise movements, quicker. Faderport 8 is absolute workflow enhancement for S1v3.” – Chris

“I’ve been watching this device since it was first announced as coming out. And without a doubt if you are a small home studio Artist recording your own music (not full production engineer for clients) this one device will make your work flow much much easier.” – Martin

“Blown away at the response time ,of the faderport 8. Like how it will complete any home studio that wants to take it the next level without going to a big name studio. For the price alone its a steal!!” – Jermaine

“this is a great control surface i love the motorized faders and i cant even believe it work for fl studio” – Kevin


On The Faderport 8 Downside

My only minor complaints would be the viewing angle of the LCD displays. And it would be nice to auto detect Logic and Pro Tools (Mackie Control/HUI modes) without having to reboot.” – Fred

“The FaderPort8 has a lot of great features but unfortunately about half of them do not work with SONAR.
Some of the issues are due to how SONAR implements the MCU protocol. Other problems were things that half way worked but then left the FP8 hung. Power cycle required.” – Dave

“As much as I want to give it a perfect rating, the FaderPort 8 does have one glaring (and I do mean glaring) flaw and it is the channel strip displays are basically unreadable unless you are hovering directly above the unit. The viewing angle of these displays is more or less zero.” – Kslaggs

“The plug in integration isn’t that great, i tried it with waves and it would jump all over the place. The viewing angle isn’t great either. I had it placed flat on my desk and sitting in my chair it was kinda washed out. I could see it clearly like the picture shows when i would stand directly above it. Mute and solo buttons are really small. Buttons seem fragile, theres something about the mechanical feel and click of the mackie transport control (but thats just me) . No dedicated mix/edit window button to easily go through the windows. No timecode display. Shift function was getting stuck and would cause all sorts of problems, this would happen with my old faderport as well.” – Gilberto 

“In some instances, auto setting of the faders doesn’t work (in specific, going into “Edit Plugin” mode in Ableton, the first fader resets to middle but not to the correct level, sometimes other faders fail to set or reset, probably can be fixed in firmware).” – Christopher


Final Thoughts On The Faderport 8

Time to turn off our word knobs, with the final conclusion. Giving all the factors, the next level digital mixer control with PreSonus Faderport 8 is inevitably here. If you are a home studio artist/producer, and you are tiered of spending hours of mouse and keyboard clicking, then this is your next weapon.

PreSonus Faderport 8 is a great solution for tracking, recording and mixing your bedroom sessions. Navigating fully within your DAW is a thing to think twice about. But even with that in mind, if you can afford it, we highly recommend it.

Here`s a great video review to give you more glance at it.

If you`re new at mixing,  and you`re a fan of Image-Line, we have great post for you to get to know all the “5 Beginner Mixing Tips” for your digital music production in FL Studio 12. 

Enjoy!

Self-taught artist (Hip Hop producer/dj, blogger/critic, quote writer/enthusiast photographer)

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