The SSL UF8 Control Surface with FL Studio – The Basics

So I got my hands on a UF8 this morning and I thought it would be interesting to see how an (as yet) officially unsupported DAW like FL Studio works with a UF8 “out of the box”.

Setup was straightforward – SSL 360 creates the required Midi channel(s) to enable FL Studio to recognise the hardware (albeit having to pretend to be one of the other “supported” control surfaces).

NB FL Studio ships with basic Mackie support (one of the life blood protocols that theUF8 is built on) – but I was keen to see if any of the extended scripting features would also be supported (and to what extent).

So in this first post I will try and cover the basics of the Control Surface and (hopefully) in a subsequent post will look at extending this -perhaps including the use of the fabulous macro functionality in the 360 software as it applies to FL Studio. (More here and here)

I should add that I have included some functionality that is not a part of the standard Mackie functionality (notably track numbering) using one of my existing Mackie Scripts that was built on top of the marvellous work already done by Image Line.

So for today my aim in this post is just to cover:

  1. The Start up Dance and Lightshow :-))
  2. Transport Controls*
  3. Basic Use of Faders
  4. Banking through tracks
  5. Track Selection, Solo, Muting and arming for recording
  6. Panning Tracks
  7. Song / Playlist Navigation
  8. Differing layouts in the scribble strips.

NOTE: I hesitated to show the transport controls as they should really be a part of the next video that shows the absolute flexibility of the soft keys – I would definitely support the route that SSL have taken in not including dedicated transport controls as it allows the UF8to be both a device in its own right as well as an extender device should you decide to buy another – GENIUS!

Different Scribble Strip Layouts

To a certain extent the content of the scribble strip is determined by the DAW (though limited by the protocols used and also by SSLs chosen implementation), that said, by selecting different DAWs (in this instance Ableton and Cubase) I was able to switch the Track number and name positioning as a user (rather than as a script developer – where this might also be an option)

The two basic Scribble Strip types and how they translate in FL Studio

Video walk through (with my sincere apologies – I am no YouTuber!)

(Be sure to turn on YouTube subtitle support)


As anticipated with both the device and FL Studio having support for Mackie the basics are already there. So should you buy it now if you are an FL Studio user? The obvious answer is no – wait until support is officially announced. That said, if you fancy doing some Python scripting then you might enjoy the challenge! (The vast majority of the work required is just simple scripting although ideally this should be undertaken by the specialists at Image Line and SSL so that there is some level of real support, and once the script is mature I would like to see it refactored and baked in as compiled code into FL itself.)

I should add that although much of the other functionality not shown here is already working to a point – It is mainly the UI that needs to be “tidied up” to avoid things like words crossing over or being split across scribble strip boundaries (I tidied some of this on the hoof for the panning and volume display parameters but it really needs someone to sit down and make a concerted effort to do this for the functionality as a whole) .

More ….

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