No disco-colored pads. No pressure-sensitive controls. No flashy layouts for specific software. It’s not an iPad app.

No, it’s just the Faderfox controller we love: incredibly compact, engineered and built like a tank in Germany from metal and high-quality pots, with gimmick-free controls. And perhaps more than any previous version of the Faderfox series, the UC3 is aggressively generic.

You just get crossfaders, a set of vertical faders (notably absent on Ableton’s new push), and a useful and versatile MIDI controller you can use with a variety of machines and software. As it’s class-compliant, that includes even the suddenly-ubiquitous iPad. (In fact, imagining an iPad and this box in a bag, you’d have an absurdly-portable rig.)

Of course, Ableton Live remains the most popular Thing To Control, so there’s a special control surface script for that, too. Use two UC3s, and you can control 16 tracks.

Speaking of buying more than one, Faderfox’s entire lineup is also more affordable, at €142 (€169 with VAT). That makes it competitive with a lot of other options out there.

It’s funny, much as I loved Faderfox, I always found about half of what I wanted on each product – this one has a crossfader but only four faders; this one has all the faders but lacks other controls. The UC3 seems a perfect balance: eight encoders that you can push, nine faders, and switching so you can create eight groups of controls.

Update: It is too bad to see the LV3 discontinued. This unit combined two analog joysticks and trigger buttons, both absent on the UC3. I was always more in favor of clip triggering from something else, but having those added parameter/effect joystick controls was terrific, and would have made the UC3 and LV3 a nice pairing. On the other hand, the new fader caps look like they’ll be more popular, and the layout isn’t so crowded on the UC3, so all in all I’d still have to say the UC3 is the most sensible Faderfox yet.

Full specs:


– Universal controller for all kinds of midi controllable software
– iPad compatible with camera connection kit
– Control surface setup for Ableton Live 8 is included (no manual mapping necessary)
– USB interface – class compliant / no driver necessary
– 8 push encoders without detents (resolution about 36 pulses)
– 8 faders with 45 mm length
– crossfader with 45 mm length
– 4-digit-display to show control values and programming data
– 14 bit high resolution encoder mode for sensitive parameters
– data feedback for encoders avoid value jumps
– All controls fully programmable in the device by channel, type, number and mode
– Advanced programming functions like copy, paste and channel set
– 8 groups for all controls
– About 136 commands per setup (17 controls x 8 groups)
– 16 setups with backup functionality
– USB bus powering — consumption less than 500mW / 100mA
– Very compact design in a black, plastic casing with metal faceplate (180x105x70 mm, 350 g)