(Version 1.1) I’ve created a custom Propellerhead Reason remote map for Mackie Universal Control + Extender (Combo, Extender Left) mixers, like the one used by my Behringer X-Touch + Extender mixers or the MCU Pro + XT Pro. This remote map, called the MJ Enhanced Combo Extender, is modeled like the custom remote map I created when using a solo mixer (called the MJ Enhanced Universal Control).
This MJ Enhanced Combo Extender map fixes a fatal flaw that would cause the mixer to stop working in Reason (something unique to just the “Combo” remote maps). It also fixes problems like buttons being mapped in the wrong areas, virtually eliminates clip LEDs getting triggered, functions missing entirely (like the EQ Q knobs) while adding enhancements and new features, like comp and gate LED meters, redesigned encoder LED display modes, time displayed by default, global solo and mute off functions, FX send and return encoder LED meters, completely new “alternative text” mode for displaying additional information and added encoder ring master VU out meters. This remote map enables you to control the entire virtual SSL mixer and channel strip settings between two mixers as one fader-bank controllable 16 channel mixer.
This article also serves as a guide / general commentary and I’m sharing it free…
Creating the MJ Enhanced Combo Extender took a very long time for me to do. A lot of the initial work was done with the MJ Enhanced Universal Control, so check that link out for some info on what led to this Extender version. The problem is that, in order to use an Extender with Reason, you can’t just add an Extender on via the Extender remote map (at least for the X-Touch’s). A separate remote map (“Combo, Extender Left”) has to be used. That means instead of coding for an additional 8 channels, I needed to start with a new remote map for a total of 16 channels. Here’s an image (from my 29” ultra wide “rack” monitor) of just code for channel 1 (of 16)… the code for channel 1 keeps going past the screen.
Every single button and function, I manually tested out for each channel. There’s 16 knobs and 16 “REC” buttons. That’s 3,072 different knob and button variations to test. (And that’s just the “selection” portion.) That includes pushing a button, turning a knob (or verifying a function is empty) and making sure it controls the right function on the right channel. Propellerhead uses some kind of Excel-type program to make sweeping changes, such as copying info between different sections instead of having to type it all out… typing it ALL out like I’ve had to do. Weeks of my personal time, manually typing this out without having access to whatever tool Propellerhead uses and not being on the payroll of Propellerhead or charging a dime for this. Just wanted y’all to recognize how much labor this all takes.
(Edit: 03/25/2018) Version 1.1 optimizes the optional Lua codec for better performance.
Limited to just one extender
The remote map natively is only designed to take input from one main mixer (X-Touch, MCU Pro) and one Extender. I couldn’t get my X-Touch Extender to work under just the single, separate “Extender” remote map. So don’t go out and buy more than one Extender and expect it to work with Reason. (Bummer.)
Extenders crash using default remote maps
The “Combo, Extender Left” remote map is the only one I could get working with Reason that enabled my X-Touch and X-Touch Extender to work correctly. But using the “Combo, Extender Left” remote map causes the “control surface” to become “inactivated” (deactivated, actually, but we’ll forgive them as English is Propellerhead’s second language).
I disconnected all my other MIDI control surfaces to see if it made a difference; it didn’t. Curious if this was just a Windows thing, I connected things up to the Neonote (my MacBook Pro Retina). The same thing happened.
This happens when you’re playing audio and go into either the “EQ” or “INST” sections. Here’s a GIF of what it looks like when it happens. Notice how, currently on the “TRACK” section, once I hit the “INST” button, the mixers disconnect and Reason throws up the error message.
Does this happen with every brand or just the X-Touches? Hard to say, considering it relates to the VU section. The mixers crash once a song is playing in either the main “EQ” or “INST” sections. It does this because of the bad way Propellerhead coded the remote maps to work with the VU meters (what they, more accurately, call peak meters). This is why I can’t say for certain if Mackie mixers will crash considering they (stupidly) lack VU meters to begin with.
The MJ Enhanced Combo Extender fixes this.
Why Propellerhead screwed up with the Mackie Universal Control protocol
With the complete Mackie protocol (which includes every Mackie Control remote map), Propellerhead screwed up the actual placement of what button is mapped to what. Whoever coded the direct MIDI CC number data screwed things up also. As I said before…
“For software that costs $400 each user and updates that cost $130, this is just plain wrong.”
Who should use the MJ Enhanced Combo Extender
Everyone who uses an X-Touch and Extender (or MCU Pro and Extender) and uses Reason should use this. Everyone. The MJ Enhanced Combo Extender is even more powerful than the MJ Enhanced Universal Control, and here’s what I said about it…
“Using the X-Touch and the MJ Enhanced Universal Control layout makes production, mixing and mastering so much more efficient. Not to mention it’s so, so much fun. I no longer click any fader, knob or button on the mixer screen, I control it all from the X-Touch. I only need to click the virtual SSL mixer to rename, reorganize or delete tracks.”
What the MJ Enhanced Combo Extender fixes or adds
“All solos off” and “all mutes off” added
Red “SAVE” button for mutes and amber “TRIM” button for solos.
You might think this could get confusing as the buttons are labeled “save” and “trim”, but it isn’t because the buttons around those sections are all typically dark. Once you hit mute on a channel, a new red button lights up on the side of the normally dark area and your brain instantly registers that with being the “all mutes off” button, same for the amber “all solos off” button.
Button colors match their function (X-Touch specific)
It wasn’t easy figuring out placement, but I made sure each button matches the color of the function you expect. The clip indicator lights up red. The “mute all off” button is red to match the mute buttons, the “solo all off” button is amber to match the amber solo buttons, etc.
Changed the time display
This one’s a big time saver. Propellerhead programmed the display to show the annoying bars mode (”34.3.2”) instead of time (”1:34”) by default. Time should always be displayed by default. Bars can be very useful for recording rhythm on time, and so is the metronome (click). But you don’t want the metronome to be on by default and the same for bars. And those of you thinking you can judge a song’s time by bars, you can’t because tempo changes a bar’s time.
I’ve changed this so now it displays time by default (a major time saver in my book).
I added a clipping indicator and reset button where the scrub button is located. Reason has no way to manipulate clips, notes or other things from MIDI controllers, so a scrub function isn’t needed at all in Reason (and scrubbing the song’s position is pointless).
Clipping LED glitch virtually eliminated (X-Touch specific)
Master compressor gain reduction and master out displaying on 3 of the VU’s was mainly causing this (Behringer’s fault, yet bad layout design on Propellerhead). When the master out in Reason clipped, it activated clip LED’s on the X-Touch. The Mackie protocol apparently doesn’t support a method for resetting the clip LED’s.
I fixed this by reassigning the VU meters for the channels as they should have been from the start. It doesn’t mean you can’t get an individual channel’s output to be so loud where it won’t trigger the clip LED, but that typically shouldn’t happen. Now, when the main VU out clips, it won’t trigger individual channel clip indicators.
Comp & gate channel meters added
Comp and gate meters have been added. These were originally created when designing the BCR2000 mixer channel technique, then coded in for the MJ Enhanced Universal Control. Then, in creating the MJ Enhanced Combo Extender, I reconfigured the LEDs display modes. Now, the comp meters stand out more (by other LED types looking different).
And the gate meters have an awesome animation.
Control room selection controls
These controls actually existed in the “Combo, Extender Left” remote map, but have been re-optimized for the MJ Enhanced Combo Extender.
Disabled the confusing 1-8 channel LED display
Propellerhead tried to get the LED time display area to show what channel number you’re currently controlling. As I described on the MJ Enhanced Universal Control page…
“The problem is that Propellerhead didn’t create the needed code. Channels 1-8 display correctly, channel 2 displays ‘2’ on the LED. But when you move to another channel bank and select channel number 10, the LED will display ‘2’. Channel 11 displays ‘3’, channel 12 displays ‘4’, channel 17 ‘1’, channel 18 ‘2’ and so forth.
This does way more harm than good so I removed this broken functionality. It doesn’t help you know which channel bank you’re on, but it doesn’t make you more lost.
(Tip: I add a number to the first channel of a channel bank in Reason so I can always see which channel bank I’m on. “1Keys”, “9Flute”, etc. So each track on channels 1, 9, 17, 25, etc. It’s unrealistic to number every single other channel though because seven characters is already too limited for channel names.)”
Display additional text information function added
I added a new function to the otherwise useless flip mode. It’s now possible to see exactly what function may be behind a button that doesn’t have a dedicated text LCD display.
I also modified the code so that the faders stay in place and can still control the fader levels while viewing the alternative flip mode texts.
And I modified the code so that the rotary LEDs turn off, further helping you identify when you’re in the flipped alternative text mode and the rotary knobs are, thus, turned off.
The original flip mode had a (pointless) function where it swapped the functions of the rotary knobs with the fader knobs. The flipped mode now has a new lease on life. You can look at the flip mode if you’re wondering what a button does for the 8 REC buttons.
Fuller text descriptions
Propellerhead cut text super short, much shorter than it needed to be. Most of the time, Propellerhead didn’t even use the full 7 characters. Or they spanned text across multiple LCD windows, which on the X-Touch’s separate digital scribble strips makes text look ridiculous. “Makes t ext app ear lik e garba ge.”
My layout uses the full 7 character space of MCU Pro and X-Touches, etc. I also call out text descriptions of what the knobs, buttons and even push encoders and meters do (Propellerhead only called out the knobs, sometimes not even doing that).
I typed out descriptions the way it makes sense to us, Reason users. Knobs on the virtual SSL mixer are labeled the way they appear on the mixer themselves.
Also, absolutely no static text spans across LCD screens, so no words get split between two strips. Hallelujah…
And finally, every single section (TRACK, PAN, EQ, etc) shows a channel’s corresponding digital scribble strip. Propellerhead had two sections not show channel strip info and it was the biggest reason someone would end up lost at where they currently were in regards to channel bank, channel number, etc. Ensuring digital scribble strips appear anytime no matter what you’re doing is vital to being intuitive.
FX names displayed on digital scribble strips
The names of the send and return FXs are displayed on the digital scribble strips, making it easy to see where exactly the “Echo” or “Plate” is located at.
Insert and mastering suite patch controls
I added “Prev” and “Next” insert FX patch controls that make more sense (they originally were hidden in the F15 and F16 function controls of the X-Touch). Now the controls are out in the open.
I added “Prev” and “Next” master patch controls in “plug-in” section for the 15th and 16th “REC” buttons (hidden under the “VU Out” ring displays). Here’s an image of the alternative text’s “flipped” mode.
I poured over the design for weeks to come up with the most intuitive layout given the constraints of the mixer and software. Things are where you expect them to be. Propellerhead had screwed things up; the EQ section was on the send button and the mastering section was on the EQ button.
In my layout, nothing is placed behind the push encoders (the push knob buttons) because you can’t see when the functions are on or off until they’re clicked and changed (that’s generally bad design).
When changing the loop positions using the “drop” and “replace” buttons, touch the magnifying icon button at the center of the move arrows to return back to normal mode. Here’s a description of what buttons using the MJ Enhanced Mackie Universal Control for an X-Touch or MCU Pro. Click image for larger view and make sure to zoom in.
[Edit: 11/08/18] Peter Arvidson shared a button layout rendering for MJ Enhanhanced Combo Extender running on X-Touch’s.
Redesigned encoder LED display modes
Propellerhead only used two encoder ring display modes for their remote maps, even though there’s support for five or so modes. Using different LED encoder modes wasn’t working when the MJ Enhanced Universal Control was first released (no idea why, I typed the codes correctly), but now I’ve gotten them working.
I’ve changed most knob LED types to be one single LED. This makes much more sense visually as a knob’s default “home” position may be at 2 o’clock, yet showing an LED “bar” style display that fills up from left to right doesn’t match contextually.
Now things look much better and really help productivity.
Remapped layouts and added various buttons
I remapped a lot of the goofy layouts. Now the dim -20dB is on the group button, click on the click button, preclick to the right of the click button (confusingly called the “solo” button), loop on the cycle (loop) button, undo on the undo button and redo appearing beneath it on the enter button (the mixer has no “redo” label button anywhere).
I added the most useful functionality Reason’s code allowed for while focusing on trying to make the button labels make logical sense.
Automation write / “WRITE” (self-explanatory)
Alt take / “ALT” (self-explanatory)
Overdub / “OPTION” (think ”O” for “Overdub”)
Auto-quantize / “LATCH” (MIDI notes “latch” in place)
Tap Tempo / “TOUCH” (“touch” repeatedly for “tempo”)
Return and send FX controls added
I updated the MJ Enhanced Universal Control with FX panning controls, but the MJ Enhanced Combo Extender now has full control over the (seldom-ever used) FX send and return controls, including panning, level and mutes.
Return and send FX meter LEDs added
Send and return FX meter LED functions have been added to the encoder LED rings. This is really awesome as you really never know what’s going on with those LEDs because they’re not visible most of the time. Before adding this function, I never even knew how the LEDs functioned or how useful they could be for visualizing what’s happening with the FXs.
Rotary LED’s turn off when a rotary has no function
I was able to get the rotary LED’s to turn off their display when only the “REC” button is being used. The remote map system defaulted to having the one LED encoder light on when nothing was assigned, which made it confusing to know when a knob had no function.
VU meters in every section
Propellerhead only had channel VU meters in three of the five sections. Now, every section displays the channel VU meters as they should.
VU out meters
I added VU out meters to the Plug-in’s 15th and 16th channel LED encoder rings. Propellerhead had master out VU displaying on the X-Touch’s actual VU meters for two sections, which was causing things to crash. This horrible code and features have been removed and I was able to add back the correct functionality into the encoder rings.
Doesn’t crash the control surface link, doesn’t activate (X-Touch specific) annoying channel meter clip LED’s and it doesn’t take away VU meters of the individual channels. Propellerhead should really give me a lifetime free upgrade license to Reason for doing all this, right?
100% of all functions have text descriptions
When hitting the “select” button for a channel and going into the different modes, when a knob has a function, it’s clearly labeled what it does. Everything is called out.
Some features did more harm than good
Like I had said for the MJ Enhanced Universal Control…
“Just because something can be mapped to a button, doesn’t mean it should. Car manufacturers could place additional buttons to control the car’s horn in the back seats… but they don’t do it because some things do more harm than good. Same is true with Reason.”
Here’s some of the things that could be placed and why they weren’t.
Automation as performance controllers
This is the feature where automation data will be inside MIDI note clips instead of outside. I hate automation data being inside MIDI note clips and, since there’s no clear button label for this, it isn’t included.
MIDI track mute / solo
This is one of those features that seems like it would work well, but it doesn’t because of the nature of having to be on a selected track in the sequencer and issues with multiple MIDI lanes, etc..
There’s no dedicated button label for it and, in testing, MIDI tracks were constantly getting accidentally muted and unmuted so I removed MIDI track mute / solo functionality.
There is a “SAVE” button on the mixer but this is way too dangerous of an option to have as a one-touch button. Since I can’t add in a two button press combination sequence, there’s no save button functionality. You’re welcome.
Target track enable monitoring
This would be useful on the mixer, no doubt… but accidentally activating this feature can cause screeching feedback and there’s no clear button label to assign this to (making accidental presses even more likely).
Tempo up / down
Seems like it would be a useful function, but there’s no button labeled and, in testing, it was too easy to accidentally change the tempo.
Tap tempo, on the other hand (“TOUCH” button) makes more sense as pressing it once or even twice in a row accidentally won’t change the tempo. And if using the tap tempo feature, having a button to press is more ideal than clicking a mouse or tapping a touchpad.
LCD channel layout
Click on the images for the full resolution.
Comp meters on encoder LEDs.
PAN / SURROUND
Send and return meter LEDs on encoder LEDs.
Master insert controls, master compressor controls and VU out meters on encoder LEDs of channels 15 and 16.
Gate meters on encoder LEDs.
TRACK – SELECT
Comp controls and meter, gate controls and meter.
PAN / SURROUND – SELECT
FX return pans, pan, width, gain, various.
EQ – SELECT
SEND – SELECT
PLUG-IN – SELECT
Master send and return levels.
INST – SELECT
Insert and control room controls.
Optional Lua codec install for Behringer X-Touch mixers
The VU meters of Reason don’t reflect the VU meters of the X-Touch that well (Mackie MCU Pro’s don’t even have VU meters). Channels on the X-Touch look much more quiet than they do on the virtual SSL (this is a Reason issue and not an X-Touch issue).
I modified the Lua codec to make the levels act differently. The VU display is more prominent. Be warned, this Lua codec is more likely to set off your channel clip meter LEDs. This isn’t a problem for me as I placed square, micro cut pieces of black vinyl electrical tape over just the clip meter LEDs. They’re invisible looking once applied. Here’s an image of every clip meter activated before and after; can’t even tell.
The codec works out well for me but it may not be right for you. This Lua codec is optional and not needed for the MJ Enhanced Combo Extender map file. Feel free to test the Lua codec out and restore the original if it doesn’t work to your liking.
Things Propellerhead didn’t code support for at all
Big meter channel selection
Changing controls of the “Big Meter” device to one of the X-Touch’s encoder knobs would be awesome, but I couldn’t get the remote map to control it (may be due to the fact the remote map is surface locked to the mixer). Remote override mapping to one of the encoder knobs also doesn’t work because it locks that knob out from being used by anything else in the mixer.
The “Additional Remote Overrides…” function isn’t persistent across projects either because the settings are saved via each project.
Color-changing digital scribble strips
This one isn’t on Propellerhead. Color changing scribble strips aren’t part of the Mackie protocol and X-Touch’s only show multi-colored channel strips when connected to xAir mixers *rolls eyes* and no other DAW’s. For all intents and purposes, pretend the X-Touch doesn’t even have color changing digital scribble strips.
Dedicated bus control
There’s no function in Reason to switch to just bus channels. Too bad… Reason is begging for behind-the-scene updates and, after the highly disappointing Reason 10 update, likely never will.
Fader banks can only change by 8 channels
Fader banks can’t be set to jump 16 channels at a time. That part’s too bad. But, silver lining, it means you simply have to double-press the fader bank button.
Considering the fact I can’t change the fader bank to jump 16 channels instead of 8, naming the first channel of a channel bank (1st, 9th, 17th, etc channels) with a number in front helps out even more when changing channel banks. Especially considering the channel number LED display doesn’t work right (and is disabled).
Green selection buttons (X-Touch specific)
The selection buttons are intended to light up green when you’ve selected a channel to control. They do light up green in Reason, just not when used to select channels (again, a fault on Propellerhead). Too bad, that would help to better see which channel you’re on. It’ll never be updated though.
Keyboard key functions
Same situation here; Reason’s remote mapping can’t assign functions like ”F6” (rack view), “Z” (zoom view), “F8” (tools pop up) or a host of other useful things. (MIDI keystroke translation programs exist but they run like crap and don’t work in most situations. Man-in-the-middle solutions like those from Retouch Control work great however.)
The people on the payroll at Propellerhead are… well, they’re a special group of people. The time display? If something is a minute and 3 seconds long, it should be displayed “1:03”. Or, in other DAW’s, time is displayed on the X-Touch as “001 03” or some (smartly) add nanoseconds “001 03 38“. Makes perfect sense. Propellerhead? They display it as “0 1 3”. It looks and ticks by like it’s at “13” seconds since Propellerhead stupidly didn’t code in any zeros between the “1” and ”3”.
We already know the view changing function keys aren’t available, but there’s also no way to set up view changing directly in the remote map files. Reason needs these aspects updated, but the Propellerhead of today is not the Propellerhead of a few years ago.
These features are supported by other DAW’s but Reason lacks general zoom controller support (not just Mackie). Reason needs an overhaul to support things like this, not focus on things like subscriptions or smartphone social music sharing.
Changes between the MJ Enhanced Universal Control and the MJ Enhanced Combo Extender
EQ and E placement
Changed “EQ” and “E” buttons to be in the center on the extender version because, being able to view all EQ settings at once, it matches the virtual SSL mixer more. The MJ Enhanced Universal Control map has the “E” and “EQ” buttons on the end because, as you have to switch between two sections, it makes more sense from a productivity standpoint.
LPF and HPF placement
Changed the Low Pass Frequency (LPF) and High Pass Frequency (HPF) controls to be the first from the left to better match the visual layout of the virtual SSL mixer. For the MJ Enhanced Universal Control, the LPF and HPF controls are best at the end from the left.
Swapping channel orders
I could reprogram the remote map to create channels right to left instead of left to right, but I don’t because Reason’s on-screen mixer creates channels left to right.
Combo Extender, Right
There is a “red-headed step child” remote map… the “Combo, Extender Right” that would allow you to place the extender on the right side of the X-Touch, but that’s stupid to place it like that. Period.
The low frequency (LF) knobs could have been swapped to match with the theme of going “top to bottom” of the virtual SSL, but I felt keeping it more predictable (with the LF gain knob coming before the LF frequency knob).
Displaying combinator text descriptions
Reason doesn’t support displaying the text-editable combinator or mastering suite rotary names or buttons. Too bad, wouldn’t that be crazy more awesome than “Rotary1”? Universal controllers, like the Ableton Push running PusheR, would also benefit from an update like this as they could display the direct text itself.
It’s understandable why support for this doesn’t exist, it very well could have been overlooked. If somehow people at Propellerhead find their way again, adding an API or whatever to support displaying combinator and mastering editable text should be a high priority.
Flip-mode alternative knobs
I couldn’t get the code to accept using the flip modes as alternative rotary / button controls, which would have been perfect for the X-Touch (solo).
Double FX name display
For the “send” section, I wanted to display the names of the FXs for both sides (and move the descriptions of the rings / buttons to the flip alternative text), but the code won’t allow for duplicates. Completely understandable on Propellerhead’s part.
How to install the MJ Enhanced Combo Extender remote map
Click the link below to download the zip file.
Extract the MJ-Enhanced-Combo-Extender.zip file. I included four files, the remote map file and the Lua codec and the unaltered, Propellerhead versions. Navigate to the location of Reason’s Mackie map files. For macOS, it’s Macintosh HD\Library\Application Support\Propellerhead Software\Remote\Maps\Mackie. The files will be hidden on Windows (here’s how to unhide them) at C:\ProgramData\Propellerhead Software\Remote\Maps\Mackie\ .
Make a copy of your original file and then simply replace the “Mackie Combo, Extender Left.remotemap” with the one from the “MJ Enhanced Combo Extender” folder. On Windows, you may have to click an authorize pop-up box. If Reason was open, either restart it or go to the control surface’s preference area, uncheck “Use with Reason” and recheck it to take effect.
How to install the optional MJ Enhanced Combo Extender Lua codec
Navigate to the location of Reason’s Mackie codec files. For macOS, it’s Macintosh HD\Library\Application Support\Propellerhead Software\Remote\Codes\Lua Codecs\Mackie\. The files on Windows will be at C:\ProgramData\Propellerhead Software\Remote\Codes\Lua Codecs\Mackie\ .
Make a copy of your original file and then simply replace the “mackiecodec.lua” with the one from the “MJ Enhanced Combo Extender” folder. Restart Reason. To be safe, restart your computer (as both Windows and macOS have quirks that might prevent the Lua codec from correctly updating).
(Edit: 03/28/2018) In version 1.1, the optional Lua codec has been optimized for better performance.
Configuring the mixers (X-Touch or MCU)
Place the Extender mixer on the left side of the main mixer. Make sure both mixers are in Mackie Control (“MC”) mode. Then (at least for the X-Touch’s), connect a USB cable from the Extender and connect it into one of the main mixer’s USB ports. Then connect a USB cable from the main mixer to your computer.
Then, in Reason, go into your control surfaces settings and hit the “Add” button.
Select “Mackie” as the manufacturer.
Select “Combo, Extender Left” as the model.
Name the device something far-less stupid than “Mackie Combo, Extender Left”. Name it “X-Touch + Extender” if they’re Behringer mixers or “MCU + Extender” if they’re Mackie mixers (or whatever “+ Extender” for other brands).
Configure which inputs are for which device. The “Control” is your main mixer. See the image for example.
Right click an empty area of the virtual SSL’s mastering section and select “Lock to [the name of your mixer]” to keep your MCU Pro, X-Touch, etc locked to the mixer and not stupidly following MIDI focus.
Each song in Reason needs to have any new control surfaces locked again and the project saved. So you’ll have to open your projects, including any custom new document files, and lock the control surface to the mixer.
An easy X-Touch modification I want you all to do
Unscrewing both sides of the X-Touch’s makes them look so much more sleek, look more professional and work better together. Here’s an image where I was in the middle of taking both sides off. See how much thinner, sleeker and more professional the right side looks compared to the left side?
You can also remove the inner screws of the sides you want to place next to each other. That’s what I did. I removed all side screws from the right side of my X-Touch Extender and all the side screws from the left side of my X-Touch. This allows both to rest against each other as if they came that way from the factory.
Don’t modify them to screw into each other
Some people will have the idea to modify an X-Touch and Extender to be screwed into each other. I don’t recommend that as… the sides likely won’t support the weight of the other if you pick only one up from either side. So if they can’t support being picked up without holding both at the same time, what’s the benefit modifying them to screw into each other? Na, heed my warning on this.
Using X-Touches upright is the correct way
It should go without saying, but contrary to how Behringer shows them being used, these X-Touch’s are designed to be used exclusively upright. Hear me? Exclusively upright. I don’t know how else I can drill this into people.
If you’re using them flat on a table or desk, you’re using them wrong. How to place them upright is up to you (I should write a how-to at some point for using them upright).
The reason I love these babies so much is because using a mixer upright like this (when not using a full, physical SSL 9000K-style mixer) is the way all desktop mixer control surfaces should be used. I save SO much desk space this way. Behringer’s engineers purposely or accidentally designed the best upright mixer. Just like Roland intended their 303, 808 and 909 music devices to be used as realistic sound replacements and failed… but accidentally created iconic 80’s synthetic music devices, the same is true here with Behringer.
Using the X-Touch’s with this remote map
Man, it’s amazing. Things are where you expect them and you realize new things you weren’t expecting. I had no idea how enjoyable it is watching a song play with the send and return FX LEDs dancing alongside the VU LEDs.
The X-Touch’s function as one. After taking the ugly and… let’s be real, tacky and cheap-looking sides off, the X-Touch’s not only feel as one unit, they also become the best looking mixers on the market. I wanna’ qualify that with “in my opinion”, but look at the photos of them together with the Ableton Push; they’re too good looking to say “in my opinion”.
After my (near mandatory) modification of removing the sides and screws, the X-Touch’s become more seamlessly connected than MCU Pro’s or anything else out there. In designing the MJ Enhanced Combo Extender remote map, I would many times confuse the 8th and 9th channels because they blend in so well. Clearly the Behringer engineers designed the sides to be taken off, likely because some marketing or executive dip was forcing the design on the engineers. Please, people, don’t think the X-Touches were ever design to have the sides remain on. There’s a reason they come off easily.
Having 16 channels really opened up designing controls for the MJ Enhanced Combo Extender. Suddenly you’re hunting-and-pecking things to fill out all the space offered by those 16 channels. Controls that previously had to be placed behind other functions could now be placed with their own digital scribble strip.
Bottom line, would I recommend someone who is already using the MJ Enhanced Universal Control buy an Extender (Behringer or Mackie) to use the MJ Enhanced Combo Extender? If your finances (or love of music production / mixing) can justify it, I absolutely recommend it.
Just like my music, I’m sharing this 100% for free
I’m sharing this with people for free because I want others to have a good experience with Reason. If you liked this, check out my music on Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube and other places. If you hear something you think people will enjoy, I’d appreciate it if you shared it with them. If you got Twitter, follow @MixerJaexx ‘cuz I need more people to tweet to.
Here’s Rebirth of Radiance, a music video I shot and edited myself. Click play…
Later. – MJ