[ardour-users] Observations on Mackie Control Protocol using a MCU Pro

Thomas Vecchione seablaede at gmail.com
Mon Jun 11 18:36:53 PDT 2007

Note: The following was discovered using a Mackie Control Universal Pro 
running into a MIDI port on an RME HDSP 9632 and Ardour 2.0.2.  I have 
not tested with the USB to see if it works fine with USB-MIDI yet for 
other reasons.

Ok so I have been working on getting my Mackie Control Universal Pro 
working correctly with Ardour, and think I have finally gotten to where 
it is coded to be at this point.  First off instructions that I have to 
follow in order to get it working....

1.  Make sure appropriate ports (mcu) are set up in the ardour.rc file. 
  By default I believe they are.

2.  Open your session

2.5  Make sure the MCU port is PATCHED either in QJackCtl, or whatever 
your method of choice is.

3.  Go to Windows>Options Editor, select the MIDI Tab
	3a. Make sure mcu is online, control and seq are offline
	3b. Make sure that none of MTC, MMC, or MIDI Parameter Control are on mcu
	3c. Put window to side, will come back to it.

4.  In the Options Menu(In the editor window)...
	4a. Make sure Send MTC is off
	4b. Make sure send MMC is off
	4c. Make sure use MMC is off
	4d. Go to Control Surfaces, under the Mackie option is another option 
that says Controls and within it is Feedback, enable it
	4e. Enable Mackie Control by going to Control Surfaces>Mackie

At this point your Mackie Control Surface should respond, setting fader 
values to the appropriate levels, etc.

5.  Go BACK to the Options Editor Window you put to the side, and set 
Midi Parameter Control to the mcu port.  This enables you to actually be 
able to tell Ardour what you are changing on the MCU or use the MCU as 
Transport Control

Now some of these may seem weird.  Allow me to do some explanations as 
to why I did various things...

Steps 4a-4c are because I was having problems and wanted to eliminate as 
many variables as possible.  It may well be that it works with these 
enabled, but I don't use them in the session I was testing with, so I 
have them disabled.

In as far as initially setting, and then RESETing the Midi Parameter 
Control in the Options editor, if I went to try to activate the Mackie 
Control protocol with it set, I would get an error saying MCU is already 
being used for MIDI port, or something to that nature.  As such I had to 
activate the Mackie control protocol FIRST, then switch Midi Parameter 
Control to use that port afterwards.  This seems like a bug to me, but I 
am not sure if there was some logic I miss, at the very least it should 
be more clear you have to do this IMO.

Other things I noticed... If the Mackie Protocol did not activate for 
whatever reason, it STILL remains CHECKED in the Options>Control Surface 
Menu, and the next time you go to UNCHECK it, it will try to activate. 
This also seems like a bug.

I also noticed, despite not using it, I was unable to UNPATCH the 
CONTROL port.  Not sure if this is intended or not.

Ok time for more fun things...

On the Mackie, buttons are labeled by default a bit different than the 
BCF I believe.  The transport controls work fine, and Mute/Solo/Rec 
work, although you need to press and hold SELECT while pressing those 
buttons for them to latch.  Pan also seems to work fine.  Past that 
however and things get a bit confusing.

Buttons above the Transport Control:

Marker and Nudge seem to currently be mapped to go to beginning of 
range, and end of range.  To be honest, I am not even sure what CYCLE is 
set to, it certainly does something, just what I am unsure as it seems 
to head towards the beginning of this session, and occasionally start 
playback.  DROP and REPLACE are currently mapped to Punch IN and Punch 
OUT respectively.  CLICK and SOLO seem to be mapped to HOME and END 
currently, taking you to the beginning and end of the session.

The SAVE button located in the Utilities group of buttons, seems to 
place a Location Marker.

Past that it does not appear any of the other buttons are mapped at all 
in the area where the Transport Controls are located.  The Bank and 
Channel Mapping buttons work as expected with one exception...  When 
pressing them, they remap twice, meaning when you press down, it maps 
all the faders accordingly as you would expect, but it does so again 
when releasing the button.  As a result you end up skipping banks of 
faders, or skipping channels, depending on which you pressed.

Also, and PLEASE correct me if I am wrong on this, but there doesn't 
seem to be any way to map BUS faders to the Mackie that I can see.  As 
such, when I have a nice session set up as I currently do where I am set 
to mix on the busses for most of it, as is how I tend to do things, 
possibly due to my background from live engineering if that is not how 
most people do things, I suddenly found my control surface a little useless.

I would be MORE than willing to compile a list of what button goes with 
what midi control signal to implement much more of this console and take 
full advantage of it if it could get implemented, and would truly 
appreciate it in fact, as with the way it stands at the moment, its 
functionality is kinda limited to me unfortunately.  I am starting to 
look at the code, but find it hard to find a good starting place that 
deals with just the Mackie control protocol in it so a good starting 
location to work from for this I won't complain about, even if I am not 
sure how much time I am going to have soon for programming.

Thanks much.


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