Softube’s Console 1 hardware controller meets a contender for its place in your hybrid setup. The Control Strip 2 by Britain’s Rocksolid Audio is a realistic recreation of an old-school SSL channel strip’s EQ, Compressor, and Expander sections. What it lacks in faders and lit meters, it makes up for with 22 rotary encoders, 14 push encoders, and 6 momentary push buttons.
Rocksolid Audio Control Strip 2
The controller is powered over USB Type-B and works in two modes – traditional MIDI mapping and a special Mouse Mode, the latter established by proprietary software running in the background. Map your favorite SSL plug-ins to it (they might be pre-mapped out of the box) and twist away! The configuration software also lets you adjust the controller’s MIDI sensitivity, MIDI channels, and mouse mode mappings. Must be nice being able to set the controller’s response precisely to your liking.
The controller seems well assembled and its heft of 0.7 kg ought to feel solid and reassuring. Engineers and producers used to having those knobs at hand may find it a comfortable substitute for that classic workflow and tactile feel. The wood cheeks add a touch of class and the knobs and switches look high quality. It would be cool if Rocksolid Audio or another competent manufacturer recreated the entire SSL 4K channel strip in this format. Plug-ins like brainworx’s fantastic recreations of SSL hardware will feel even more alive. On the other hand, there’s no way such a project can come cheap unless a big manufacturer is behind it.
Price and availability
Priced USD 340 per unit, the Control Strip 2 will be up for pre-order from 17 May 2021 with a build time of up to 6 weeks per order. It’s a choice between that or mass manufacturing and Rocksolid Audio would rather have it the boutique way.