If you’re currently in the market for a small form factor control surface, something with at least 8 faders, for Pro Tools then you are quite spoilt for choice these days. There are a number of affordable options available to us within this category that are all very capable of providing a solid, hands-on facility for interacting with Pro Tools:
Though each of these control surfaces are very good in their own right, I feel that all of them lack a certain charm… something magic that… it’s hard to describe. This ‘thing’ I’m referring to is a motorised 8 fader control surface from the past, released over ten years ago… The mighty Digidesign Digi 003 Factory. In this video we show you a selection of Digi 003 operations.
I consider the Digi 003 Factory to be the best motorised 8 fader control surface for Pro Tools of all time. After the Digi line of Digidesign audio interfaces and control surfaces were discontinued by Avid, a gap in the market opened up for third-parties to release their own takes on an 8 fader compact control surface. The top products available to us today, which we listed above, are all proof that these types of control surfaces are in fact quite popular in the audio production industry… but I feel none of them really captured the essence of the Digi 003, which I think is a real shame.
Don’t get me wrong, the Digi 003 wasn’t without it’s faults but what made it special was it’s deep integration with Pro Tools. Modern third-party control surfaces of course have to be cross compatible with a range of popular DAWs, which is completely understandable, but the magic I feel when I use the Digi 003 isn’t in any of the offerings we have available today.
What I loved about the Digi 003 when I took delivery of it ten years ago was that it felt like a proper premium product. It felt like a mini C24, which at the time cost over £7,000. The Digi 003 had the same type of motorised faders as the C24, same digital dual line scribble strip, same mushroom encoder caps…. but at a fraction of the price, and it was also an all-in-one solution including a very usable audio/MIDI interface and monitor control section.
It was a sad day when the Digi 003 discontinued, it was also a shame that we never saw a Digi 004. In some small way, all third party small form factor motorised control surfaces that followed the Digi 003 over the years were in some small way a little tribute to the Digi. Without the popularity of the Digi 003, not forgetting the previous Digi 002, we may not of even had so many small control surfaces available to us today.
Digi 003, we salute you.