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MCU and interaction with other midi controllers

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MCU and interaction with other midi controllers

Postby blinddrew » Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:28 pm

I currently have a BCR2000 and a korg nanokontrol set up as control surfaces to run my DAW (Reaper). Between them they use all 128 ccs on midi channel 1 to control various bits and bobs.
If I was to add a BCF2000 (say) and set Reaper to recognise it as an MCU device, is that going to completely bugger up my existing settings? Or can they run concurrently?

As you can probably tell, midi isn't my strong point so any advice gratefully received.
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Drew
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Re: MCU and interaction with other midi controllers

Postby Folderol » Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:41 pm

I can't remember the details now, but in the user guide for the BCF they tell you how to mate it with the BCR. I had the full user guide as a PDF downloaded from the website.
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Re: MCU and interaction with other midi controllers

Postby zenguitar » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:52 pm

I've no experience with any of those controllers, so no specific guidance I'm afraid. But what in general terms it is worth taking the time to learn about MIDI and how it works.

MIDI is now a 30 year old standard, which is an incredible achievement, but it does mean that it pre-dates all the smart software that tries to anticipate what you are trying to do and takes over. With MIDI you do have to take a little time to learn how it works, and learn how to apply that knowledge to any device's MIDI specification. MIDI is actually very simple and straightforward, which means that you have to do the thinking for it. But the good news is that once you've got your head around, there's nothing to fear, it's all very logical.

The only caveat is with MIDI over USB. Because the MIDI specification is so old, it was designed to work over old, SLOW, hardware. The USB interface is orders of magnitude faster that the MIDI specification which means that it is possible to spurt out MIDI data over USB far faster than the MIDI spec expects. So if you send MIDI data from a computer (or other USB MIDI device) over a USB/MIDI interface to a 5 pin Din MIDI input you can send data faster than the MIDI input can handle; the buffer overflows and data is lost. This can lead to lost notes, hanging notes, lost controller information, corrupted time code and, most significantly, failed sysex data. Fortunately, most DAW software has a setting that enables you to restrict MIDI data to the old hardware rates and can allow you to resolve most issues.

Once you understand how MIDI works, most issues can be resolved by sitting down with a pad of paper, a pencil, the MIDI specs of your hardware/software, and working through what data you are sending/receiving.

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Re: MCU and interaction with other midi controllers

Postby blinddrew » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:05 am

Folderol wrote:I can't remember the details now, but in the user guide for the BCF they tell you how to mate it with the BCR. I had the full user guide as a PDF downloaded from the website.
Hi Folderol, I'm not really trying to mate the two as I've got the BCR set up to do one job (it basically gives me physical controls for an EQ and compressor on 32 channels and then a few useful things like transport controls and effects bypasses), I've done this by configuring each action to a specific midi CC. Whereas I'd be wanting to use the BCF in a more traditional fader-and-pan role using the MCU protocol as Reaper doesn't do midi feedback.

zenguitar wrote:With MIDI you do have to take a little time to learn how it works, and learn how to apply that knowledge to any device's MIDI specification.
Hi Andy, I am slowly learning my way around - it took me about two weeks (off and on) to get the BCR set up to do what I needed, but then only an afternoon to get the Korg working so I like to think I'm making progress... :)
I did google MCU as a protocol to try and understand how that works but the wikipedia article was surprisingly bare.
It is to my eternal shame that I have only just thought of looking on the Mackie site. :oops:
Fortunately another forumite has made a very kind offer of a loan so I can have a play around and see if I can make it do what I want without having to splash some spondulicks.
I do like this place. :)
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Re: MCU and interaction with other midi controllers

Postby Mike McLoone » Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:55 am

I have been running a BCF2000 with the Mackie Control emulation firmware (available from Behringer) for many years now. This means full control of most DAWs, but with zero MIDI programming. And not just mixer volume and pan, but it's able to grab any plugin FX or instrument parameter, albeit with a bit of scrolling trough pages on the virtual Mackie Control display.

What virtual Mackie Control display?! Indeed! You'll need the excellent app from John Pitcairn, which gives you a neat Mackie style display on your computer monitor. Since the Behringer doesn't have a display, this is essential for such a configuration. Apparently it's 64 NZD now, which seems to be arond 40 Euro. I think it was less when I bought it. But in use every day for around ten years now!

https://www.opuslocus.com/lcxmu/index.php

The other essential ingredient is to write/print out the Mackie Control button functions and stick them to your BCF, since the silk-screen text on the unit has absolutely nothing to do with Mackie Control functions, and will only drive you to distraction. Maybe these days Behringer are considerate enough to give such a template with the unit. My solution involved an afternoon of Corel Draw, an inkjet printer, a pair of scissors. And helpings of double sided tape mixed with patience!

I see the BCF2000s now on Ebay from 150 pounds, and someone has been smart enough to offer the Mackie Control overlay for sale, which would save some time. The only thing I missed compared to the real Mackie Control is the touch sensitive faders. However, for the price difference, I have been able to live without it.
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Re: MCU and interaction with other midi controllers

Postby desmond » Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:46 am

I also use LCXMU, it’s great!
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Re: MCU and interaction with other midi controllers

Postby blinddrew » Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:44 pm

Thanks Mike but I believe I am now sorted. A chap called Klinke on the Reaper forums has created a customised version of the MC control for Reaper and that coupled with Behringer's BCFView download has given me everything I need.
If I've loaded it right this image: https://photos.app.goo.gl/UyjK3ZGnymvrZwFD2 shows my current set up.
BCF on the left, banks of 8 faders and pans with read/write options and the ability to flip to sends or swap the volume and pan control. Mute/Solo and Select/Rec for each option. BCR to the right is set up as a hardware control for EQ and compressor but also gives transport control, FX bypass (track and master - very handy for cutting Sonarworks when switching to speakers), master mono and a couple of other bits. Nanokontrol is set to always read my main bus channels; I thought it would be redundant with the BCF but actually it's quite useful having those solo and mute options always to hand.
All in all, I have no excuse for not getting on with things! :)

Big thanks to Jumpeyspider for loaning me a BCF to try it all out on first. :D
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Re: MCU and interaction with other midi controllers

Postby ConcertinaChap » Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:28 pm

Love the pyramid metronome there adding its bit of analogue warmth to the proceedings :)

CC
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Re: MCU and interaction with other midi controllers

Postby blinddrew » Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:34 pm

ConcertinaChap wrote:Love the pyramid metronome there adding its bit of analogue warmth to the proceedings :)
CC
Had it for years, sadly it's about 10% out in its marked timing!
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