SSL UC1 & UF8 | A Powerful DAW Control Combination
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SSL UC1 & UF8 | A Powerful DAW Control Combination

Whether you’re a professional engineer, or hobbyist working at home – mixing ‘in-the-box' is the most common way to work with audio and has been for quite some time. Computers are more than capable of handling multiple channels of audio, and a wide variety of Digital Audio Workstations give you the tools you need to craft the perfect mix to the finest of details.

But in the move towards computers, we’ve lost the hands-on control of physical ‘analogue’ systems - switching faders and dials for a mouse and keyboard. Using your standard mouse & keyboard works fine for most, but there’s an immediacy and musicality to mixing that has been lost along the way. Evidence of this can be found in the growing number of USB control surfaces out there - giving you back that tactile control that’s missing from software workstations.

Solid State Logic’s USB control surfaces – UF8 & UC1 - offer comprehensive control of your DAW & plugins at your fingertips. They’re quick to setup and simple to use with a clear layout and responsive controls. Both fulfil slightly different roles within your workstation, but when used together with SSL's 360 software and plugins they create an entire virtual mixing platform.

In this blog, we explore how these two control surfaces can integrate with your DAW (and each other) to create a seamless mix control surface.  

Overview of SSL USB Control Surfaces

In our previous blog posts, we’ve created a Guide to the UC1 and a First Look at the UF8. Both of these articles give a bit more in depth information on the full feature set of these controllers. Here’s a quick summary of each controller for you:



Universal USB DAW Control Surface



UF8 is designed to be an all-purpose controller for your digital audio workstation. It has 8x 100mm faders for balancing your mix & controlling other parameters. Above the faders, there are 8 V-Pots, assignable to a multitude of DAW and plugin controls. There are 5 banks of 8 soft keys – completely user assignable to DAW functions or even keyboard shortcuts. The 3 layer controls allow you to instantly switch between templates for different software.

In short, the UF8 is designed to give you immediate hands-on control with everything that you have going on in your DAW.  



Dedicated Plugin Controller



UC1 is a dedicated hardware controller for 2 of Solid State Logic’s native plugins – Channel Strip & Bus Compressor. They are software recreations of the classic console channel strip and G-Series Bus Compressor. Both can be adjusted using a mouse, but they are at their most potent when controlled with UC1. Every instance of the plugin in your DAW is automatically named and easily accessed with UC1, so you have immediate control of EQ, Dynamics and Level trim – without even needing to select the track and open the plugin interface.

UF8 & UC1 in Combination

So, what ties these controllers together to make an all-in-one virtual console mixing experience?

The answer: SSL 360



SSL 360 is a simple piece of software that you install alongside either of these controllers. It's a configuration tool and hub for your connected SSL controllers. You can update firmware, set your control layers in UF8, and access the virtual console in the mixing tab - more on this in a bit!

Using SSL 360, you can set up both controllers to work together using the included Channel Strip and Bus Compressor plugins to give you a hands-on mixing experience – and here’s how:

UF8 Layers

We already mentioned, you can load up to 3 different control templates on UF8’s layer buttons. In a recent update, SSL have added the 360 plugin mixer as a control template. When loaded, this gives you immediate control over the plugin mixer in SSL 360.  

How to set this up:

- Open SSL 360 and select the UF8 tab.  

- In layer 1: Load the DAW template of your choice  

- In layer 2: Load the Plugin Mixer template

And that is pretty much it.


UC1 & Plugins


Now that you’ve got your Plugin Mixer layer set up on UF8, you’re ready to load up some plugins in your DAW. Simply add the Channel strip plugin to each of your channels and the Bus Compressor to any tracks, groups or bus channels that you wish. For future sessions, you could setup a template with these plugins already applied to the channels so you’re ready to go immediately.

Once you create an instance of the plugin, it is automatically assigned its name from the track and is added to the plugin mixer in SSL 360. You can view the plugin mixer by selecting its tab in SSL 360. This is where we get to the idea of a virtual mixing console.

All of the plugins chain together to create a virtual SSL console, which can be controlled and viewed in SSL 360. As you edit each plugin, the change is reflected in the plugin mixer, and your DAW.

Combining the Two

When UC1 and UF8 are working in tandem to control the plugin mixer, they make navigating your mix and making adjustments quick and easy!



From UF8, you can view channel names control, the input and output trim from the faders and V-Pots. Because you can view 8 tracks at a time, it's much quicker to view and select channels to edit, with the added benefit of being able to select tracks by using the touch sensitive faders.

When you select a track on UF8, the related channel strip controls immediately load up on UC1 - making it much faster to move between channels whilst mixing. This also avoids the confusion of changing volume on UF8, whilst UC1 is linked to a different channel strip plugin . And, when you’re ready to switch back to DAW control, all you have to do is select the previous layer. 

Quick, easy and simple. Plus, there’s no denying that these two controllers look stunning when they’re aligned side by side as one continuous surface.

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