Old 08-19-2020, 08:06 PM   #1
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Default X-Touch One vs Faderport v2 in Reaper

For months, I’ve searched for a thorough comparative review of the Behringer X-Touch One and the Faderport v2 control surfaces in Reaper. Tired of waiting, I purchased both and am happy to share my impressions. Spoiler alert : the Behringer X-Touch works much better than the Faderport.

Both of these USB plug-and-play products are quite similar. Same price (2-300$CAD), same protocol (Mackie CU), same controls (single fader with a transport, automation modes, jog wheel and pan) and more or less the same dimensions. They're both great contenders to a novice's mouse-less way of mixing.

A first glance at design will tell us much about the two control surfaces.

Faderport is all about “less is more”. Big flashy knobs are placed sparsely over the slick, rectangular shaped, almost toy-like looking interface.
Most buttons hold a secondary function (ex. mute vs mute all), which can be activated through a “shift” button. The jogwheel and pan are united in a single knob, making the Faderport smaller.

X-Touch is the boxier, bulkier alternative. No shift function here. Everything is at finger level. Jogwheel, arrows, fader and channel banks… You can manipulate up to 38 buttons on the X-Touch, compared to 26 on the Faderport. When I unboxed the Behringer, I felt I was getting more for my money. I would be proven right.

Although the Faderport is intended as a Studio One control surface (an S1 Artist license is included), it is claimed to be useable in most DAWs (Cubase, Live, Logic, etc.). This is both true and misleading. In Reaper’s case, the main fader does work, as does the neat “flip” function, which allows to automate panning more precisely with the fader. Same for the mute and solo buttons and other automation modes in the upper section of the interface… and that’s about it. Everything else either doesn’t function right away or requires pressing on the “shift” function, which is a major hinder to a fluid workflow on such a small surface. Also, different keys sometimes send the same MIDI signal. For instance, “Undo” and “Redo” buttons can do either of those actions, but not both. Despite honest efforts at re-assigning MIDI signals in the action list, the Faderport works at around 30 or 40% of its capacity. The jog wheel/pan button is very buggy. The pan curve keeps zero-ing back to center during automation. The jogwheel mode isn't better. Instead of coursing through the tracks, the knob either selects multiple tracks, or goes in a frenzy and triggers a brash vertical zoom in the session.

Fortunately, the X-Touch is much, MUCH better. It provides everything the Faderport has, plus a number of bells and whistles : LCD transport (the Faderport has none), 2 USB slots in the back (none for the FP) and a neat plastic skin for most popular DAWs (although the character are tiny, and the ones printed on the surface are easier to read). Naturally, it ALL works.

For such a cheap price, there are a few downsides. Although navigating through my session is much easier compared to mouse action, track selection is a bit buggy. When I click on a track, it seems to automatically focus on the track above. Thankfully, both the LCD screen with the track's name and the green "selected" button are useful in indicating the selected track. Panning is not as smooth as volume automation. It’s more of a “sample and hold” curve, thankfully without the clicking artefact. It also lacks a power button, which isn’t so bad, considering protocol selection can be done at any time vs Faderport which must be turned off. The only unforgivable con of the interface is the noisiness. I'll have to check again, but every mouseclick done in the session seems to cause a tiny whirring noise. It's very quiet, but may become annoying in the long run.

In short, Faderport v2 might be easier to navigate, with it's bigger lettering and buttons, but the Behringer X-Touch One works so much better. It's a great start to build a workflow without a mouse, and I'm looking forward to further playing around with it.

- Slick looking
- Easy to navigate
- Undo et Redo actions
- Flip function is neat for more precise panning

- Half of the functions don’t work...

- It works
- LCD screen with transport and track name
- Track selections and scrolling are more flexible

- Noisy interface
- Panning is not as fluid
- Track selection is a tiny bit buggy
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Old 08-19-2020, 11:55 PM   #2
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I suppose the functionality of both can be modified / enhanced when using the CSI Reaper extension.

Hence a comparison under CSI would be interesting, as well.

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