DAW and plug-in controllers are pretty good at providing an accelerated and more convenient workflow. However, no manufacturer besides AVID has given DAW controllers the premium treatment. Entering a new product category, Oxford’s Solid State Logic showcases its vision for a high-end, universal DAW controller with the new UF8.
Solid State Logic UF8
Granted that SSL has been making industry-standard mix consoles for 40 years, the manufacturer has a thorough understanding of studio ergonomics and controls. Instead of a new console or mixer, it chose the DAW controller as the medium to reinvent its user experience in. To this, the UF8 looks very impressive with its eight color displays, 100mm touch-sensitive faders, touch-sensitive encoders and a plethora of backlit buttons. You’d find this kind of functionality and build quality on upper-end digital mixers, but hardly on mainstream DAW controllers.
The hardware unit is backed by the new SSL 360 control software which deals with multi-controller configurations, shortcut customization, DAW switching and other usability aspects. The goal is seamless switching between multiple sessions across different DAWs.
To facilitate custom workflows, the UF8 offers 5 banks of 8 user keys + 3 quick keys along with a multi-purpose channel encoder, mouse scroll emulation, templates for all major DAWs, and switching between up to 3 connected DAWs. Up to 4 units can be chained to produce a 32-channel SSL control surface.
While the UF8 is an expensive unit, it’s also an SSL product through and through. Professional engineers and producers are likely to be fascinated by the possibilities it offers. Perhaps SSL will find a way to downsize the UF8 to a more approachable price point for the budget crowd.
Price and availability
The UF8 is available now from SSL dealers, priced £833 + VAT, $1,299 + Tax, €999 + Tax. SSL bundles the Native Vocalstrip 2 and Drumstrip plug-ins to sweeten the deal.