Has anyone had experience with the Presonus Faderport or Frontier Design AlphaTrack?
I bought both the Alphatrack and Faderport a little while ago to A/B test them, decide which I wanted to keep (thank you Sweetwater!). Here's my conclusion:
ALPHATRACK: Really gorgeous device, buttons, etc, made editing a cinch. And it runs off of USB power. Which means you can mix in the airplane... I guess. But the fader is super loud - I mean loud enough that for automation following it completely invalidates itself as a tool for fine-tuning audio. I thought this may be a one-off, so I ordered a replacement. The two were equally loud. However, if you're mixing in an airplane, the sound of the fader itself probably isn't a problem :-P. I'm surprised more people don't complain about the loudness of the fader. Also, I hear that there's some latency in recording automation, but I did not experience this.
FADERPORT: It's bulky. It needs power (DC adaptor), and the buttons are a little sticky. And, I mean, let's face it, it ain't nearly as pretty as the Alphatrack. But you're not buying a single-fader control surface for the looks, you're buying it for the fader. And the fader on this thing is excellent. The device itself is cheaper, but my understanding is that PreSonus spent a lot more money on the fader itself than FrontierDesign did. Better fader = more power (hence, AC Adaptor) and less money for bells and whistles (hence, ugly interface, sticky buttons). But I use this almost every day. It's smooth, integrates perfectly in Reaper and Pro Tools, and quiet.
We have the AlphaTrack in one of our studios and Command8 in two studios. I think it's a bit shaky, it makes some errors while recording fader moves in Protools, so I often end up mixing with the mouse instead of the fader.
When I'm using faders, I'm often using more than one fader, for example balancing music tracks to reverb returns. This is not possible with the alphatrack. I strongly recommend getting a Command 8 over a single fader controller.
I do have the Presonus Faderport running with Logic Express 8. The fader and buttons work, the panpot doesn't (when I twist it, the pan jumps from left to right irregulary).
The controller itself feels good, even if you have to press the buttons really hard, which is why I rarely use them.
To be honest: I used it for one project, but right now I do 90% of the automations via the editor in Logic or with the with the controller knobs of my MIDI keyboard. I won't sell the Faderport, but I won't buy it again, since I rarely use it.
I use the PreSonus Faderport for a year or so now and it made my life a lot easier. For the money you spend on the one little devil it works like a charm.
It is true that sometime the pan-pot knob does not respond well but if you cannot afford something large like a Mackie controller then it is very good (and cheap).
I haven't used the Alphatrack so i cannot give you some some feedback. But i use the Faderport on all my projects for the time being, the best part is the automations though, it supports all the Logic modes for automation and i found it very very useful till now.
If you haven't seen that, it's pretty interesting. The Faderport's automation is significantly smoother.