Mackie MCU for motorized fader CC control

Is it possible to use MIDI Translator Pro to allow me to use my Mackie MCU (or Icon Platform M+) for motorized fader control of CC’s in MOTU DP? I saw this related post for Cubase and Platform M+ as well as this informative video about using it with Cubase, but am uncertain if this can be done in MOTU DP.

Thanks in advance!

Hi and welcome to the Bome community!

I’m not familiar with MOTU DP but if it sends out MIDI as you move the faders within DP, then you capture these MIDI messages in Bome MIDI Translator Pro and likely convert them to fader movements for your Mackie MCU compatible controller.

The attached project file is an example of taking CC16 from an application and converting it into a Mackie MCU fader movement.

For testing, I set up my aliases as follows. You may need to modify the incoming message to whatever DP is sending for fader 1.


You can learn more about aliases from this tutorial.

CC-to-MCU-Fader.bmtp (933 Bytes)

Steve Caldwell
Bome Customer Care

Also available for paid consulting services:

Thanks for rapid reply, Steve!

One thing I’m confused about, though: for a ‘dumb’ CC controller, such as can be easily done for Korg Nanokontrol 2 (which I also have and use), it’s just sending CC’s, and when you hit record, you can record that CC info along with, say, the notes you are playing, which is invaluable for things like orchestral sample libraries (my main use case).

But in terms of having motorized faders follow CC’s … how does one specify which track’s CC’s it should be following? I mean, in my DAW of choice, Digital Performer, there are tons of MIDI tracks controlling virtual instruments, dozens of which might be active at any one time, sending CC’s to their respective virtual instruments. This is true of basically any DAW.

In the video I cited, the guy used a particular Cubase feature called ‘Quick Control’ and the DAW sent out CC messages every time he brought a particular VI’s plugin window to the foreground, causing his Platform M+'s faders to react.

Well in a Platform M or any Mackie MCU controller, you have exactly 9 faders that you can use at a given time. For theses 9 faders, 8 of them are organized in banks, so you would need to create presets in MT Pro for a number of banks, and then signal with a control out of your DAW, which bank you are on when moving vst controls within a given track. Then that message would tell MT Pro to change presets and then you would be following the CC’s of that bank.

Now if you are moving something that is not on the current bank, you of course would not want to move the fader, yet you should capture the value in a global variable so that when the fader for that bank (preset) is selected, you could use a translator to send the current values of the selected track.

With Cubase Quick controls, you can use up to 8 parameters but many VST plugins have more than that so you might need to even bank the parameters within a given track. But the concept is the same as banking tracks themselves. It may be more complicated to implement though.

The key is that any MCU controller will only recognize 8 fader movements at any given time (plus master) and whatever CC’s you choose to sent back to your controller will need to be one of those 8 fader messages. The more audio tracks that you want to control means more banks and potentially tracking of more MIDI values of the VST controls.

I hope this helps. Again, I cannot speak specifically to your DAW (DP) since I don’t have it. If they are willing to send me a NFR (Not for resale) copy for developer only purposes, I might be able to help more. Maybe they have a free starter edition with reduced features that would be enough for me to help.

Steve Caldwell
Bome Customer Care

Also available for paid consulting services:

Thanks, Steve! I haven’t had a chance to get to this yet, but am looking forward to trying it out on my MCU XT. Thanks for all your help so far!

Btw, I believe DP has a 30-day free trial.

It’d obviously be preferable if they gave you a free developer copy, but perhaps this will suffice to verify some things.

Yes, I’m pretty sure at some point in the past I used the 30 day trial so not sure if I can get it again. Let’s see how things go with you.

Steve Caldwell
Bome Customer Care

Also available for paid consulting services:

Hi, Steve. So, I went ahead and bought MIDI Translator Pro, but am having trouble setting things up. A few questions:

  • In your example project, you had both the ‘Application’ alias going to Bome MIDI Translator 1 Virtual In, and the ‘My Controller’ alias going to Bome MIDI Translator 1 Virtual Out. This was a bit confusing to me, at first: I very much understand how aliases act as ways of providing nice names and layers of abstraction from real ports, but here the ‘real’ ports were a single ‘virtual’ port created by Bome MIDI Translator itself. Is this what is required?
  • In DP, I have added my MCU Expander as a separate, stand-alone Mackie controller where I have said to use the Mackie protocol, but where I’ve said it is hooked up to Bome MIDI Translator 1 (the virtual port). I know you don’t have access to DP, but is this correct in principle, at least?
  • Do I basically want to (try to) replicate what this video does with Cubase, in terms of the translators I need to set up?
  • I have been working with DP’s ‘Custom Consoles’ feature, which is the closest analog to Cubase’s Quick Controls and Logic’s Smart Controls that I can find. This feature let’s you basically build a workspace of sliders, knobs, buttons, etc., where you get to say what the source and target MIDI data are for each (in some ways, similar to what Bome MIDI Translator Pro offers). In my case, I have a test project with a single track containing Spitfire Kontakt instance, and I’ve created a single virtual control, a fader, whose source is Bome MIDI Translator 1, channel 1, and whose target is the one track in my project (as seen here


Thanks in advance for any help!

Btw, in that YouTube video (this one), the guy doesn’t use any aliases (which is helpful, because it is more straightforward to follow), and sets up 3 translators in his Bome MIDI Translator Pro project:

  1. A translator to go from the MCU slider sysex to CC 102 (he remaps that later within Cubase)
  2. A ‘loopback’ translator, going from the fader to itself, in order to ensure the fader keeps its position as it sends these (translated) CC messages to Cubase (as far as I can tell).
  3. A translator to go from CC 102 from Cubase back to the MIDI sysex to control the MCU fader.

Do I need to do something similar or identical to this?

Yes, you are on the right track. The reason I use aliases is because I seldom have the client’s same controller. In the project files I write I almost always read from and write to the alias ports. You simply need to reassign the aliases to the real ports you want to use. This is usually much better because as configurations change, you can just change the alias and not have to go through a bunch of pre-sets and translators and then re-assign ports.

Also if you move your project to a different platform, the port names may be quite different.

You can learn more about aliases from this tutorial.

Steve Caldwell
Bome Customer Care

Also available for paid consulting services:

It seems I can get very close to being able to send a MIDI CC with the MCU Expander if I don’t add it as a known controller to DP, but instead just have it connected (and known to the system only via Apple’s Audio MIDI Setup).

Unfortunately, it seems that whenever I adjust the fader, I get both an adjustment in Expression (I chose to work on CC11) and I get pitch bend events at the same time. This is pretty hard to debug.


In MT Pro, turn off any MIDI thru routes from your controller to the virtual port you are using?


If you want everything but pitch-bend to get through make sure you create blocking translators for the message you want to suppress.

A blocking translator has the incoming trigger that you want to block with no outgoing action and with the ‘Swallow’ option set.

Steve Caldwell
Bome Customer Care

Also available for paid consulting services:

So I looked at the trial copy of Digital Performer

If I understand correctly, you want to use a Mackie MCU compatible device as a standard controller to control Digital Performer. Then you want to use a button or keystroke on that device to make it look like it is another ‘custom’ controller and then use the faders to control CC message. When it is a custom controller you also want fader feedback from Digital Performer.

When you switch from standard mode to custom mode, you want the motorized faders to jump to where they last were in custom mode. Also when you switch from custom mode to standard mode, the faders should jump to where they were in standard mode.

So essentially you are using one control surface as if it were two? Is this what you are looking for?

If so, you will need to set up DP to look at 2 sets of virtual ports. One set to represent MCU mode and the other set to represent Custom mode.

You will need to monitor and track the values of all controls that you want to remember in each mode using global variables in MT Pro.

Then when you switch mode, you want to dump the last known values of that mode to the controller.

So essentially you could use virtual port 1 for standard mode and set it up as a MCU controller in DP. For custom mode you would build your own control surface and use virtual port 2.

You would use a preset for each mode with the proper device selection. When switching presets. You would monitor both incoming DP ports at all times and update global variables. When switching presets, you would have a timer to update all of the controls from the global variables you captured for that mode.

In standard mode there would not need to be any translation but you still need to capture the variables. In custom mode you would need to setup translators for Pitch Bend to CC and visa versa to control your plugins (which I assume is what you want to do in custom mode.

I do something like this with my APC-MINI-MK2 where I use it to control 2 different applications.

I could build this for you but it would take a paid engagement. Either email or PM me if you are interested. I am using a Behringer X-touch as a MCU surface and it has motorized faders. I’m not sure how long my trial license of DP will last. I could do some rudimentary testing but am not that familiar with DP so I would set up the MT Project file and advise on how to set up in DP (as long as I have it working).

Steve Caldwell
Bome Customer Care

Also available for paid consulting services:

Sending you email. Thank you!

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So I’ve been playing around with Digital Performer and so far I have found no way to

  1. Send MIDI feedback to your controller from a plugin
  2. Send MIDI feedback to your controller from the mixer (although it might work with a supported protocol.
  3. If when you set up a custom console, it is a one way trip only from your MIDI controller to DP

So essentially nothing like Quick Controls for Tracks or Plugins that Cubase has.
I know this is not a technical issue. Just something I guess they decided not to implement.

I played also with Gig Performer (which is not a DAW) and was able to do it with both VST2 and VST3 plugins on my Windows machine. They have the ability to create ‘widgets’ that serve as an interface between plugin parameters and MIDI (if sync is on for the widget).

Maybe it is a problem with .au plugins. I’ll have to check further.

I also think I’ll check if Ableton Live can do these things.

Thanks for going above and beyond and looking into this some more, Steve!

Yes, it does seem like there’s no way to do the two-way communication in DP, although I am holding out hope that perhaps VST3 instances (of Kontakt, e.g.) might allow this where AU plug-ins do not. I am also checking with MOTU themselves to see if they have any advice or guidance here.

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