PreSonus FaderPort V2
Available at Sweetwater, retailing for $219.
Key Features of this updated controller:
- Provides a single touch-sensitive, 100 mm long-throw, motorized fader for writing fades and automation in real-time.
- Large 360-degree push-button encoder allows you to edit and mix with greater efficiency and speed.
- Equipped with 24 buttons covering 40 different functions such as transport controls, channel record-enable, enable/disable looping, automation behavior selection, and more. Also contains user-definable function buttons.
- Innovative Session Navigator section makes mixing and controlling DAWs quick and easy.
- Comes with over $1000 worth of recording software including Studio One Artist (for which it has seamless & native support), Ableton Live Lite, and Studio Magic plug-in suite.
- Also compatible with almost all recording software for Mac, Windows, and iPad including Logic Pro X, Cubase, Ableton Live, and Pro Tools via Mackie Control Universal and Mackie HUI emulation.
- Channel control, solo or mute channels, clear all solos or mutes; all at the touch of a button.
- Connects via USB 2.0 for easy connectivity.
- Bypass all plug-ins on one channel or bypass all plug-ins on all channels (not available in all DAWs).
- Footswitch jack included for hands-free punch in/out during recording (footswitch not included).
At our last AES PNW section meeting, two of the members showed off our PreSonus FaderPorts when discussing controllers and DAWs. It was a fun moment for the group, many of whom were not familiar with this surface, to demonstrate that the Port works with any DAW (we were specifically discussing Reaper and ProTools at the time) and is accessible for those looking to ease work flow and/or who have been suffering from hand cramping during long-term mouse usage. Life hack!
Let's quickly break down the ergonomics of editing within a DAW:
- Do you hold the mouse loosely or tightly?
- Do you rest your wrist/arm on the mousepad surface instead of elevate it?
- Is your elbow bent at least 90 degrees?
- Do you use wrist rests, which can cut off blood supply to rest of the hand?
I am not a medical doctor, but I can tell you from personal experience how much less my hands hurt (my palms had actually been going numb) after incorporating the FaderPort into my routine while sitting at the computer for hours at a time editing audio. My own Carpal Tunnel, characterized by a tingling sensation in the fingers and associated pain, has been eased significantly. The FaderPort is a return to the tactile world, an integration of the physical aspect of engineering when so much work, especially during the pandemic, has been done almost exclusively in the digital realm.
The sleek new black design with backlit color controls is beautiful. Using one fader to work in the audiobook/podcast field is absolutely enough, though I would probably want to expand to one of their larger surfaces for multi-track music mixing. Regardless, I am still able to move between tracks when I need to with just the one fader, and control each singularly. Of course, as a PreSonus tool, it works with Studio One as its native DAW, but is compatible with everything.
I can track, record, loop, automate (yes, it is a flying fader!), and adjust levels; everything that you are able to do when editing inside the DAW, you can do/program into the FaderPort. While there are over 40 functions that the buttons provide, I have not used them all. In podcast editing, my main job is to cut, paste, and fade. However, in editing audio for music with full band tracks, I still want to be able to control individual tracks' volume, panning, and effects, which is all possible here. My one note would be that there is a slight learning curve when automating to make extremely small adjustments inside tracks, but that is because I am so used to my mouse. I believe that this is simply an issue that will resolve over time. I'm still blown away by how easy PreSonus gear is to set up and use: now that I am a bit more familiar with the company's gear, I can say that each piece I've used has taken at most a few minutes to simply plug in and begin using for the day's purposes. I'm sold.
But to bring it back to the surface; nothing beats the feel of the fader, especially when at home during an enforced quarantine and unable to go into the studio. It feels analog, durable, professional, and it's also affordable. If you've read any of my other reviews, you'll know that it has been extremely difficult to find studio time due to Seattle's strict policies on COVID. We have been severely impacted both as engineers and live entertainers. Now that restrictions are lifting, the FaderPort will begin its rounds back in studio at the non-profit Jack Straw Cultural Center, to be used by multiple engineers when assisting local musicians, poets, and artists with their residency projects. We will be updating this review with each new user experience!
It also should be stated that PreSonus continues to support our mission to represent women in audio!