PreSonus FaderPort by MTStudios
The Presonus Faderport is one of those little pieces of gear that could make a big difference to the way you work. Aimed at Mousephobic automation-slutz, it simply gives the user access to a high resolution touch sensitive motorized fader.
Installing the Faderport for Pro Tools was fairly easy. After plugging in USB and power, the Faderport needed a firmware update, which was a bit tedious, but once it was done it was simply a matter of pointing Pro Tools to the Faderport in the peripherals window.
Faderport contains buttons you'd somewhat expect to find, of course there's the obvious transport, but features such as Window view - Mix, Project(edit) , Fader Mode - automation settings such as Off/Touch/Write/Read, plus banking and channel controls Mute/Solo/Rec add convenience for some users.
The high resolution fader itself feels great, moves nicely, is fantastic for automation passes, and generally speeds up work flow. Comparable to the feel of a C24 fader. The Faderport is well built, rugged, and reliable, it's pretty much a chunk of metal with a pleasant design.
There's only two big let downs in the fader port. While the fader is touch sensitive, the Pan pot is not. This makes it essentially useless for automation passes, and in effect, a complete waste of space on the Faderport. The other mysterious let down is the need for external power. Without the external power, the faderport is no longer motorized, however the option to use a double headed USB port to supply extra power would've made the Faderport take up much less of a foot print inside one's studio, but now it's responsible for another set of power cables - on ones desk for that matter - and the use of another power point with an awkward line lump transformer.
If you're frustrated doing automation passes with a mouse than the Faderport would be the cheapest, fastest and most reliable way to get a fader under your fingers.