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Rating and Reviews: Frontier AlphaTrack

Optimized for fast, high-quality DAW mixing and editing in a small footprint.

User Ratings
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
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"Alphatrack is a winner" submitted March 12, 2007

By a customer from worldnet.att.net
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Musician & Recordist
Music Style: Alt, Blues, Rock, Techno
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SPOTLIGHT REVIEW
VERIFIED BUYER
zZounds has verified that this customer bought this product from us.
Sound: This is a control device which does not directly generate any sound. Feature: This thing blows the faderport out of the water. The display shows track, pan, EQ, FX, & other data as you select which track and attribute to control. Rotaries up top give you quick access and fast control, press them down for finer control, or you can hit the FLIP button to momentarily allow the fader to control your plugin/pan/eq/whatever. The ribbon control allows you to jump through your project or shuttle through depending on how you use it. Programmable keys can be set to whatever function you want to add. Ease of Use: I tried it in Sonar 5.2 and it was up and working in minutes. Install disk, plug in. Inside Sonar, select it as a control surface and make sure the in/out ports are also selected in the midi screen. Then any project you load will immedialy work with alphatrack. If you have producer edition, the EQ control operates the sonitus per-track EQ. If not, use the PLUGIN control to control any track or bus plugin. Some plugins are easier than others to navigate, depending on the number of and order of controls therein. Quality: Seems solid, the only gripe i had was the little rubber feet were a little wobbly when i got it so i pulled two of them off and switched them around and now it sits flat. The fader & encoders are very nice, and the display is crystal clear and very useful. Value: Compare to other units out there, the "ready-to-go" integration with major software is a HUGE plus. Without going to a larger MUCH more expensive control surface, this is as good as it gets. Manufacturer Support: Frontier has been outstanding with their support & updates, new functions were added to the Tranzport unit which i also own. The alphatrack software has been updated from 1.0 to 1.1 as of now so get the newest drivers & DAW plugin for your system. The Wow Factor: When i saw the video demos showing how slickly the alphatrack integrated with Sonar i knew i was getting one. The built in display is very cool. Overall: I've had it for around two weeks and I'm already hooked on using it. I would certainly get another one if i broke or lost this one. For owners of the Tranzport unit, this is a very nice addition. Where the Tranzport becomes essential for tracking, the Alphatrack is THE tool for mixing.
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"Finally, an inexpensive but very capable mixing controller for the project studio market." submitted December 30, 2007

By a customer from aol.com
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Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Professional Recording Engineer
Music Style: Many
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VERIFIED BUYER
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Overall: There is often a desire in the project studio market for a control surface that will relieve the difficulties associated with using the keyboard and mouse for mixing. The Alpha Track is the fulfillment of that desire. It is an inexpensive, well designed, comprehensive mixing control surface that is compatible with all of the major sequencer programs. With a single touch-sensitive fader, three rotary encoder knobs that also function as buttons, a dedicated and intuitive transport section complete with user assignable buttons as well as the unique transport strip, the Alpha Track is well equipped to accomplish most of your mixing needs. Kudos to the Frontier Design Group for making it bus powered as well, thus, eliminating the need for extra cabling. All of the power and information transfer goes through the single, included USB cable. Another great feature is the LCD display which is a big plus for this unit as it allow you to keep track of parameters without having to rely entirely on your monitor screen. The only real down side is the necessity to use the Alpha Track's shift button to access alternate assignable functions for the buttons. It can be tedious having to remember all of the functions that each button has assigned to it and constantly shifting between button options, but this is one of the natural drawback to any small mixing control surface. It's perhaps best to think of the Alpha Track as a way to augment the keyboard and mouse, not completely replace it. As one becomes familiar with the unit however, it becomes clear just how much easier it is to navigate and mix a project with the Alpha Track than without. For it's price and with it's small size it's not a problem that it doesn't make the keyboard and mouse obsolete. Basically with the Alpha Track you are getting great functionality at a fraction of the cost associated with larger control surfaces. In a world of overpriced mixing control surfaces at $200 the Alpha Track is a hands-on, project studio or professional on-the-go engineer's dream come true.
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"Great little control surface." submitted July 24, 2010

By a customer from elp.rr.com
Overall
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: hobbyist
Music Style: jazz, blues, pop
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VERIFIED BUYER
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Sound: Does not produce sound. Feature: Could use a few more encoders. But for the price I'm not crying. Ease of Use: Load the drivers and away you go. It's already preset for most popular DAW software. Quality: Seems to be well built. Like most electronic gear don't do stupid things like throw it of the rooftop, and it should last along time. Value: It gets the job done for the right price. It does not have a hundred faders and stuff, but for most of us one man shows you can only work on one track at a time, hence only one fader. Manufacturer Support: Did not require tech support. But their website has plenty of downloads to update the unit to work with other software. The Wow Factor: It has a good feel. I like the color scheme, and the LCD screen.
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"Looks great, great features but feels cheap" submitted May 28, 2008

By a customer from yahoo.com
Overall
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Musician, Recording engineer
Music Style: Rock, Traditional music (Celtic, Irish)
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VERIFIED BUYER
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Sound: Product not designed for sound reproduction Feature: I had trouble with the most basic feature, the volume fader so I have to admit that didn't delve too deeply into the advanced features. The basic features (Play, Stop, Pause, Solo)worked just fine. I was not able to change tracks in Logic 8 with the unit, but then again it may have been operator error or the fact that the unit I purchased had some mechanical issues. Ease of Use: Unit was layed out nicely. All buttons were labeled clearly. The interface was intuitive with the most used button layed out in a logical fashion. I had the unit up and running almost immediately. Learning curve was minimal and the lighted display is a nice feature. I also liked the fact that it did not require a power cord. Though it works with Logic 8, I was disappointed to find that the manual had operator instructions for everything except Logic. Quality: I was disappointed with the quality of this product. For the $$ I expected it to be more solid. The pan knobs felt cheap, clunky, wobbly and toy-like. The buttons were solid but tight and slightly difficult to press. Each button press produced an audible "click" sound that got on my wife's nerves almost immediately. The track pad is a great idea but it was difficult to use. The slot seemed too narrow. Someone with fat fingers would find this feature nearly useless. Value: I would say the product was not worth the 200 dollars I paid for it Manufacturer Support: I did not contact support The Wow Factor: I bought the product based on pictures I saw. Yes, it had sex appeal and looked great on my studio desk. I would prefer that it came in solid black. The features were great. I didn't like how it felt however. I also wasn't a fan of the track pad, and the loud button clicking. I would be willing to pay more $ for a more solid product. Overall: If the product did not have a mechanical problem I would have kept it for about a year before buying a more solid porduct. I don't know what that would be however? Maybe one of the JL Cooper products.
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"One bug every AlphaTrack buyer should know about - but it's still worth the purchase!" submitted September 21, 2009

By a customer from gmail.com
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Voice-over specialist, audio producer/engineer
Music Style: Radio/Commercial work
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VERIFIED BUYER
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Sound: Does not make sound, but grounding problem prevents volume fader from operating smoothly under certain conditions. Feature: Includes presets for connecting with numerous DAW software, excellent compatibility. Ease of Use: As other users have said, install and plug-in. I usually need to select it manually when I'm using Cubase, but that is an issue with my USB ports not the unit. Quality: It is cheap feeling, not very heavy. Heavier faders and knobs would have been a BIG plus. Value: Granted the construction is cheap and it features one annoying bug, this thing really is incredibly useful and I would buy another if it broke. The touchpad control is brilliant and works flawlessly. Manufacturer Support: Their website features a forum, but despite posts from myself and a number of other users there has not been response or interest from the company itself regarding the grounding issues with this piece. The Wow Factor: The touchpad control really makes this ahead of the rest of the controllers I considered purchasing. Would be excellent if Fontier combined their wireless controller with the touchpad on this piece to make a free-range AlphaTrack. Overall: BUYER BEWARE Grounding issues may cause the volume fader to not work up to par. If working on a laptop this issue is easily resolved - unplug the laptop while using the AlphaTrack. I've read about people having this problem with desktop systems as well and there isn't an easy solution for that situation. Other than this one bug, it is an extremely useful piece of gear and relatively hassle-free to install and use. And the touchpad control is absolutely awesome, a feature you can't find on any other controller.
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