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Product of the Week: SSL UF8 DAW Controller

If you like to work with faders more than a mouse and you might want to run two or more DAWs simultaneously, then Mike Levine says the SSL UF8 controller is an excellent option.

Solid State Logic continues its foray into affordable studio hardware with the UF8 ($1,299), an 8-channel DAW controller. This product could be a perfect fit for those who prefer tactile control to mixing with a mouse.

Housed in a metal enclosure, the UF8 is 17 inches wide and 10.5 inches deep. It’s a desktop unit that you can also rackmount (hardware extra). It comes with two different stands for tabletop use, offering six angling options between them.

SSL equipped each of the eight UF8 channels with a 100mm, touch-sensitive, motorized fader, a high-resolution LCD color display, an endless rotary encoder that also functions as a pan pot, and a Soft Key that you can map to various DAW functions. To the left and right of the channel strips are 43 assignable keys and a large multifunction encoder.

Read more Product of the Week: Antelope Audio Zen Go Synergy Core.

If you work with multiple DAWs simultaneously, you’ll be glad to know that you can set the UF8 to control up to three at a time. According to SSL, the UF8 directly supports Avid Pro Tools, Apple Logic Pro X, Ableton Live, Steinberg Cubase and Nuendo, and PreSonus Studio One.

Because the unit supports both MCU and HUI protocols, many of its features will work with other DAWs, but not to the same extent as the ones directly supported. Check SSL’s Unsupported DAWS FAQ for more info.

In addition to controlling volume and pan for the tracks in your session, you can set the UF8 up to adjust sends, control transport, control automation, nudge tracks and much more. If you set the unit to Focus mode, it turns on “mouse scroll emulation.” Then, if you hover your mouse over a plug-in parameter, you can make adjustments with the large encoder.

The unit connects to your computer via USB. Much of the configuration occurs inside the included SSL 360 software (Mac/PC), which lets you customize the functions to an impressive degree—particularly on the supported DAWs. The UF8 manual even offers tutorial sections for setting up the UF8 with those applications. SSL also includes full licenses for its Vocalstrip 2 and Drumstrip plug-ins when you purchase the unit.

And, finally, if you need more than eight physical channels, you can daisy-chain up to four UF8s.