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Q. Why does my Mackie Control make strange noises in Cubase?

By Sam Inglis

The Mackie Control works via MIDI, so keep an eye on the input assignments of your MIDI tracks.The Mackie Control works via MIDI, so keep an eye on the input assignments of your MIDI tracks.

I'm using a Mackie Control control surface with Cubase SX, and it works fine on audio tracks. However, whenever I select a MIDI track within Cubase, pressing buttons on the Mackie Control seems to trigger random MIDI notes, and using the other controls sometimes seems to make my synths go out of tune. What's going on?

Jeremy Carter

Features Editor Sam Inglis replies: Mackie Control and similar control surfaces communicate with Cubase via MIDI, and they use ordinary Note On and Continuous Controller messages to tell the computer that a button has been pressed or a fader moved — but not ones that will have any musical relevance to your song! Meanwhile, the default preference in Cubase SX is that whichever track is selected is automatically record-enabled, and all MIDI tracks default to accepting MIDI input from all connected sources. This means that if you have, say, a controller keyboard and a Mackie Control connected, Note On and Controller messages from both will be recorded on the selected track. Even when you're not recording, all MIDI messages from all sources will be routed to whatever synth is attached to the selected track.

The solution to this is to change the input selection for each of your MIDI tracks. In Cubase's track Inspector, change the MIDI input from 'All' to a specific device that's not the Mackie Control, or 'None' if you don't want them to accept any MIDI input. If you're not planning on recording any MIDI, you could also achieve the same result by visiting Cubase 's Preferences and deselecting the 'Record enable selected track' box. 

Published January 2006