Mackie Monitor for Mackie Controller XT

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Robrecht
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Mackie Monitor for Mackie Controller XT

Hi,

I am trying to get the Mackie Monitor tool working for three BCF2000 units that I'm using in Ableton Live.

To use the three units side-by-side (for a total of 24 tracks), two of them have to be set up as Mackie Control XT devices in Ableton Live; the third one is set up as a "regular" Mackie Control device.

I'm running three Mackie Monitors, each configured for one BFC2000 unit. The Mackie Monitor for the "regular" Mackie Control device works as it should, displaying track names and parameters. The other two, however, display nothing.

Now, I know I have configured them correctly in Midi Tools, because if I set the other two BCF2000 devices as regular Mackie Controls in Ableton Live, all Mackie Monitor instances work as they should... but then, of course, all three of my BCFs control the same group of 8 tracks.

Is there a way to get this setup working?

Thanks in advance!

Mark van den Berg
Mark van den Berg's picture

The Mackie monitors in MIDI Tools (and BC Manager) currently only work with System Exclusive messages in the following format:

F0 00 00 66 14 12 <display address byte> <seven display characters> F7

Here, 00 00 66 is the manufacturer (Mackie), 14 is the model (Mackie Control) and 12 is the command (Display).

However, the Mackie Control XT's model byte is 15, so if this is what Live sends to your two "XTs", this explains why MIDI Tools doesn't show anything for these devices.
Can you verify this via the "MIDI input messages" window in MIDI Tools?

I don't have Live installed at the moment, but a quick test with Propellerhead's Reason indicates that in all other respects XT messages use the same format as messages for the regular Mackie Control.
So things should work if the Mackie monitors simply allow XT's model byte too. If you let me know which operating system you're using, I can provide a test build.

Mark.

Robrecht
Robrecht's picture

Hello Mark,

Thanks for your reply! I just tested it and you're absolutely right: the messages for the XT start with "F0 00 00 66 15 12". Other than that, they're exactly the same as those for the regular Mackie Control. 

The first two rows are from the two devices set as XT, the bottom row is from the regular one. I used three identically named groups of 8 tracks.

F0 00 00 66 15 12 00 48 61 6C 6C 6F 20 20 20 4D 61 72 6B 20 20 20 61 6C 73 20 20 20 20 20 6A 65 20 20 20 20 64 69 74 20 20 20 20 6B 75 6E 74 20 20 6C 65 7A 65 6E 3A 20 62 72 61 76 6F 21 20 F7
F0 00 00 66 15 12 00 48 61 6C 6C 6F 20 20 20 4D 61 72 6B 20 20 20 61 6C 73 20 20 20 20 20 6A 65 20 20 20 20 64 69 74 20 20 20 20 6B 75 6E 74 20 20 6C 65 7A 65 6E 3A 20 62 72 61 76 6F 21 20 F7
F0 00 00 66 14 12 00 48 61 6C 6C 6F 20 20 20 4D 61 72 6B 20 20 20 61 6C 73 20 20 20 20 20 6A 65 20 20 20 20 64 69 74 20 20 20 20 6B 75 6E 74 20 20 6C 65 7A 65 6E 3A 20 62 72 61 76 6F 21 20 F7

 I would be absolutely thrilled to have a version of the Mackie Monitor tool that reads XT messages too! As you can imagine, having three BCF2000s side-by-side makes it even harder to know which fader does what without a display... So, thanks a lot!

Robrecht

Mark van den Berg
Mark van den Berg's picture

Hi Robrecht,

Thanks for the confirmation of my suspicion.
This means that the fix is indeed very simple.

However, you still haven't stated which operating system you're on.
The reason I'm asking is that making the fix available for Windows will take me only about five minutes, because I'll only need to upload the new MidiTls.exe file. However, for OS X (or macOS, as we're now supposed to call it) I'll have to create and test a complete dmg package, which may take an hour or longer. So I'm kind of hoping that you're on Windows...

By the way: thanks very much for your generous donation!

Mark.

Robrecht
Robrecht's picture

Ah, yes, sorry: I'm using Windows (10). Fortunately. :-)

You know, even Behringer's own BCFview tool doesn't show XT messages, so this is a great addition!

I just realized this morning that you're also the maker of BC Manager, which has been a great help for setting up my BCR2000. Hence my donation, and also for your help with this of course.

Mark van den Berg
Mark van den Berg's picture

even Behringer's own BCFview tool doesn't show XT messages

I haven't worked with BCFview for ages, but in my understanding this is because BCFview can only display the Mackie display messages sent by the BCF, which the BCF only generates in its Mackie emulation modes. (And the BCF doesn't have an XT emulation mode.)
So when the BCF is in its standard B-Control mode (which it is in your set-up with Live, if I'm not mistaken), BCFview simply never sees the XT messages coming from Live.
The same goes for BC Manager's BCF Monitor window (not to be confused with the generic Mackie monitors in BC Manager and MIDI Tools).
See the remarks under 'View -> Monitor' in section 10 of the BC Manager manual.
Anyway...


The exe file of MIDI Tools 2.0.2 Alpha 1 for Windows is now available via this link.
The only change from 2.0.1 is that the Mackie monitors now pick up Mackie Control XT messages.

First you must extract the exe file (MidiTls2.0.2a1.exe) from the zip file to any folder to which you as a user have write-access. (So for instance not to a folder within "C:\Program Files[ (x86)]".)

Then you can choose between two methods:

A. Simply run the new exe file from the folder in which you've put it, for instance by clicking on its name in Windows Explorer.
However, the exe file will now create its own set of configuration files in that folder; it won't use the configuration files maintained by your existing installation of MIDI Tools (these configuration files are usually in "C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Mountain Utilities\MIDI Tools"). So you'll have to manually enable your MIDI devices etc.

B. Incorporate the new exe in your current installation of MIDI Tools:

  1. Copy the new exe file to the folder of your current installation of MIDI Tools. Normally this is "C:\Program Files[ (x86)]\Mountain Utilities\MIDI Tools", so you'll need administrator rights to perform this step and the next two.
  2. Rename the existing MidiTls.exe to something else.
  3. Rename the new exe file to MidiTls.exe.
  4. Start MIDI Tools as you always do. (The first time you'll be notified that the version number of the configuration file has changed.)

Good luck!
   Mark.

Robrecht
Robrecht's picture

I have to admit I never got very far with BCFview. I just noticed that, while it did display track names for the BCR2000 I was using as a regular Mackie Controller, it remained empty for the devices used as XTs. And it didn't seem to have any midi thru functionality like your tool has: when BCFview was running, it intercepted the midi messages coming from or going to the BCR2000s, so I couldn't even use them to control Ableton Live. I was (and am) using the BCF2000 in Mackie mode for this, by the way.

Anyway. I downloaded the .exe file and used the second method to incorporate it in the existing installation. And... it's working!! Each monitor instance now shows exactly what it should, three times eight tracks side by side.

This is fantastic.

I've spent so many hours trying different things since I got those three second-hand BCF2000s. Without a display, the Mackie Control implementation was way too complicated, so I tried the standard B-control mode, custom control surface scripts, Max4Live, programming the BCF2000 myself... nothing really worked the way I wanted it to. But having the displays changes everything. Now that I can at least see what I'm doing, Mackie mode is much easier to navigate and I've finally got the budget 24-track controller I've always wanted!

Thank you, Mark, you've really helped me a lot -- and so quickly too!

Mark van den Berg
Mark van den Berg's picture

Upon further investigation I have to correct some of the things I wrote in my previous post about BCFview:
BCFview and BC Manager's BCF monitor don't capture Mackie Control display messages, but "BCF display messages": these differ from Mackie Control messages in that they specify Behringer as the manufacturer and the BCF as the model. The BCF only sends these BCF display messages in LC, McC and McSo mode (so not in bhuI mode or standard B-Control mode).

This may explain why in your experience BCFview only displays track names for a BCF defined as a regular Mackie Controller in Live, not for a BCF defined as an XT.
Quoting from section 10 of the BC Manager manual: "a BCF in emulation mode routes back any Mackie display message it receives (from the MIDI application) as a BCF display message".
I've just tested this: a BCF in LC, McC or McSo mode only converts an incoming Mackie display message to a BCF display message if the model byte of the incoming message matches the model byte associated with the BCF's current mode: LC=$10, McC/McSo=$14. So an incoming XT display message (with model=$15) is never converted.

By the way: of course the Mackie monitors of the next version of BC Manager (which could be days, weeks or months away) will also support XT display messages.

Mark.

Robrecht
Robrecht's picture

Hey Mark,

Ah, yes, it makes sense now. Funny that the BCF2000 sends back all the display information it receives, but that explains how it ends up in BCFview, with a detour. And, of course, it also means that no update to BCFview could ever make it show the XT messages: that would require an update of the BCF2000's firmware, which is not very likely to happen...

So, that makes your updated Mackie monitor pretty unique. I've put it to the test with a big recording project in Ableton Live last night and it's really changed my workflow (here's a photo of my setup). Thanks again!

Robrecht

Mark van den Berg
Mark van den Berg's picture

You're totally right about BCFview.
And the same goes for BC Manager's BCF Monitors. In section 10 of the BC Manager manual I state that a BCF Monitor is preferable to a "generic" Mackie monitor, because a BCF Monitor shows the display messages from both the BCF and the DAW, whereas a Mackie monitor only shows the messages from the DAW:

... you don’t need to use a generic Mackie monitor window for a BCF in emulation mode: the BCF outputs both the converted Mackie messages and its own messages.

But in your situation this doesn't apply, since the BCF doesn't show the XT messages from Live.

Your setup looks impressive!
It's good to see that at least someone is using these Mackie monitors smiley

Mark