Most of you who keep an eye on home studio gear will certainly be aware of the PreSonus FaderPort. The original compact control surface for transport and fader controls made its way into many home studios over the last ten or so years, and still continues to be a popular option for simple mix tasks when you don’t want to use the mouse for every function. Well, with a few advancements in the last couple of years, PreSonus have now launched their flagship model in the FaderPort line, one that will offer far more control and a greater ‘hands-on’ workflow. Offering more than ever, the FaderPort 16 is here.
It’s pretty obvious that you’re looking at sixteen faders on this model as the name suggests. All are smooth action, long throw motorised faders that respond to touch and snap quickly into place when you shift the mixer up and down across the faders. What some users may find absent is the presence of a master fader, with all sixteen generally assigned to individual channels. This might be an issue for some, although it may well serve as a handy tool to keep users from adjusting listening levels by use of the master output, and will in turn drive them to adjust their monitor sends instead. But, that’s not a big issue when there are sixteen flying faders that work a treat in the mix on projects up to and much larger than sixteen tracks.
Each of the channel strips features a mute, solo, and select button at the top, along with a scribble strip that shows information like pan position, channel number, and track name. Although quite small, these still offer a clear visual of important information as the channels are shifted around. If they were any larger, the entire unit would end up too bulky and oversized. What is missing from each channel, sadly, is a pan pot, with just the one located to the side, which has become somewhat of a design stalwart of the FaderPorts. It’s easy enough to select a channel and have this become the pan port for that channel, but this doesn’t allow you to shift the pan position of a pair of channels in unison to see how they balance with each other’s movements. That’s my main gripe with the unit, but aside from that, it is a joy to work with; large transport controls, plenty of control function buttons, and easy to set up for your chosen DAW with templates specific to certain operations. If you really want to improve your workflow and get back to a more ‘hands-on’ feel with your recording and mixing, then the FaderPort 16 is going to do just that. Once you get your head around the layout and get used to having a hand on the FaderPort rather than the mouse all the time, it makes mixing fast and enjoyable.
Hits and Misses
Sixteen motorised faders
Plenty of transport and control features
Easy DAW integration with new templates
Only one pan pot for all channels