Reason: Using Multiple BCF2000’s Can’t Be Done (Update)

Update: check out the new post Reason: How To Use Multiple BCF2000’s.

If anyone’s curious on setting up multiple Behringer BCF2000’s together in Propellerhead Reason (to go from 8 channel banks to 16 channel banks, etc)… from what I can tell it can’t be done and no one has provided real evidence of this. Because…

BCF2000’s are controlled by Reason uniquely

I couldn’t get Reason working with two Behringer BF2000’s, setting everything up as it’s intended (both via direct USB and MIDI cascading). When you look at the BCF2000 remote file, you see references for 8 faders groups at a time and no more. Reason loads in a temporary, on-the-fly preset for BCF2000 and BCR2000’s that other DAW’s don’t. This is where the issue happens. Who wants two or more BCF2000 mixers that are controlling the same exact channel banks? It’s stupid, and if you wanted a control surface, go with a BCR2000 instead of a BCF2000.

Other DAW’s you probably can use two BCF2000’s functioning as one mixer, but Reason and Reason alone controls the BCF2000; using two to display one 16 channel bank not only didn’t work, I see no references in the map file that seem to allow it without creating extra coding.

Videos online are not showing proof

At the time of this writing, the videos online showing people using two or more BCF2000’s in Reason are BS. They’re not doing what you think. They’re not using two mixers as one, they’re locking one mixer to the virtual SSL and then locking another mixer to a Remix rack mixer, Redrum or other stupid, misleading crap.

This screwed me over as I was working on the ambient song Palma Sola at the time, expecting to be able to use two BCF2000’s. Nope. I was in such a groove creating the song, I didn’t wanna’ lose that rhythm. So I went out and bought a Behringer  X-Touch to replace the BCF2000. Click play and listen, the X-Touch did a great job on the song.

Some other mixers apparently work

Apparently other models of mixers can do multiple mixers as one channel bank, particularly those working in Mackie Universal Control mode, but even then I haven’t personally seen evidence of it working in Reason. But since the Mackie Control Extenders are supported with map files, I’m hopeful it’ll work.

Cascading BCF2000’s in Reason is a myth

Getting multiple Behringer BCF2000’s to work with Reason without creating custom code from scratch is like the existence of Bigfoot; lots of speculations and grainy, blurry videos but never any solid proof. You’ve been warned…

Later. – MJ

  • I contacted Propellerhead about this issue a few days before this post but hadn’t heard back. A few weeks later I contacted them again and was finally told it can’t be done and they have no intention of adding the capability. I had already been in contact with Behringer before and they said it’s on Propellerhead to code in support.

    • Miguel Catalão

      Propellerheads does not “remember” the way to do it! 😉

  • Miguel Catalão

    WOw!!! You even got to the extent to create a blog post about this!!! So let me tell you, first it is possible, i guess you just don’t know how to do it. Its a pitty that the Puf has gone away, because i advertised it 6 years ago, and a lot of good people is doing it using my process – this is not a scam like dick enlargement videos!!! I’m also not asking for money!
    Second my set up comprises now of 3 BCF2000 and 1 BCR2000, with what i can control at a time 24 channels of the SSL with channel toggling (with a simple touch of a button i can go to 9-32, 17-40, and so forth) But with my process, i can also tell you that you could even go to 4 or 5 or 6 BCF2000 (and actually control 300 channels if you created them)!

    Still, you make a big claim, like a scientist dis-proofing another scientist!!! Lets make it like this… For the sake of fun, I’ll make a new updated video, with everything i did to configure my setup that i promise will be working as i said (I’ll start by demonstrating it). I will also give you my remote file for you to try it in the end. Finally if I’m right (and i’m sure i am as i already mixed more than 100 projects with the setup, and a great deal of them with more than 50 tracks all controllable by the BCF2000 triad) you will retract from this, and delete your blog post saying you were wrong and there is this guy from Portugal that has a process to do it! 😉

    Agree?

    • Sure, we’ve love to see proof.

      • Miguel Catalão

        Will do. This will be fun!

  • Miguel Catalão

    So as you said in the other thread you don’t have the BCF2000 setup anymore here’s a video that i think prooves what i’m saying.

    Here’s also the original thread from PUF with the process i also explain. Of course the thread at the time talked about Record, but it works just the same with reason as the core of SSL is the same in both apps. The only place it might not work is Reason Adapted as the SSL is more limited and the remote file was not reviewed.

    MCATALAO @Propellerheads Forum circa 2010.
    Hi all.

    As some might have seen in past threads, i am a proud record user with 2 Behringer BCF2000 and a BCR2000 config for controlling the ssl mixer.

    I like this configuration so much that if i had the space i would buy another 2!

    Before Record, I used this configuration in Cubase, with no problems. As matter of fact, cubase has some nice controlling features, and the BCF2000 works greatly with it.

    So as soon as Record appeared with its amasing SSL mixer (at the time i was beta testing Record 1) i started to try to configure the pair of BCF2000’s.

    To see Both BCF2000’s as a bcf and reason/record settings, you should configure it to Communication Type U1, Mode BC, and program 4. If you’re not aware of these configuration, you should check Behringers manual (the manual is very bad, but anyway…).

    U1 means usb, BC is Behringer Control, and Program 4 was the program configured with the midi CC sends that Reason and record recognizes. If you altered the BCF2000 it’s really important that you reset the Program 4 to the default configuration with the bcf configuration tool that behringers provides.

    Firstly, to control the SSL, you lock Both BCF’s to the SSL mixer. To do so, you select the master channel, and choose Lock BCF2000 1 and BCF2000 2. This is pretty standard, right?

    Ok, if your ssl mixer doesnt have any channels created, nothing happens (you might listen to the BCF’s reseting the faders to 0). Now start creating some tracks, and you will find that for each created track the BCF’s will move a fader.

    Now, theres a catch. BCF 1 and BCF 2 will move faders at the same time, and both BCF’s control the same channels.

    At this point i tried some different aproaches:
    1 – Define full remote overrides for each channel.
    I worked like this for some time. This is tedious, because you will have to do this for all your projects, and you only be able to control 16 channels.
    2 – Define full remote overrides for channel 1 to 8, and let BCF 2 controll the rest of the SSL Mixer.
    This works. But it’s very confusing, because you might have bcf 1 controlling 1-8, and bcf 2 will be controlling 25-32…
    3 – Try to put it working correctly.

    So on to option 3… (Note that i’m goint to attach the Remote file here, but i’m explaing the process because as you will see next you can have as much BCF2000 as you wish – at least as much as you can select by the map process)

    At that time, i had a lot of help because several people on the Beta forum explained me how remote files worked and there were also other guys trying to achieve this.

    So in the meantime, i remembered at some point that in Reason, i could control channels 9-14 of the 14:2 mixer, and that mixer didn’t have base channels (the functionality that allows you to control all ssl chanels advancing back and forth).

    Ok, so i started checking out the configuration of the 14:2 in the BCF2000 remote file, and found it had groups configurated. The other thing i found was that if i had the 2 bcf2000 locked to the 14:2 and toggled the right most one to channels 9:14, the leftmost one wouldn’t follow… Mind that this is VERY important, because as you remember, both mixers were controlling both channels in the SSL.

    The group feature is used all over the place in the remote files. I haven’t found yet how it is used in other devices like kong, but in the 14:2, it defined channel groups 1-8 and 9-14.

    So if you look to the 14:2 mixer configuration you have:
    – the group definition´
    – a line that maps the preveious and next button to the channel groups
    – All channel configurations mapped to the channel group, and duplicated for channel groups 1-8 and 9-14.

    So, then i found that if i tried this in record in the 14:2 mixer, this would work too, so the group functionality works also in record (at least in the 14:2 mixer).

    Ok… Since i found multiple calls to these group functions, i thought i’d give it a try at the SSL.

    Next step is to go to the ssl mixer definitions and define the groups just like in the 14:2 mixer.
    The only diference, is that the second group will be 9-16, and not 9-14:

    Define Group Channels Ch1-8 Ch9-16

    Next, you must map the previous and next button to the channel groups, just like the 14:2.

    Map Preset Left Button Channels=Ch1-8

    Map Preset Right Button Channels=Ch9-16

    Now the tricky part.

    Select faders definition, copy and paste right at the bottom.
    At the copyed section, change Channel 1 to Channel 9,
    Channel 2 to Channel 10 and so on up to cHANNEL 16.

    You have to connect the faders to the groups.
    Copy the channel group definition Chn1-8 and paste it in the end of faders 1 to 8.
    I advise you to copy this from the 14:2 section, because the remote files formating is a bit strange…

    Do the same for the faders 9-16, and rename the group to 9-16.

    So, the Faders section should look like this:

    Map Fader 1 Channel 1 Level Ch1-8
    .
    .
    .
    Map Fader 8 Channel 8 Level Ch1-8

    Map Fader 1 Channel 9 Level Ch9-16
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Map Fader 8 Channel 16 Level Ch9-16

    Ok, are you still with me???

    Now, just so that you believe me, lets try this in record.

    In order to “see” your changes do this:
    1 – First save your remote file.
    2 – Open record.
    3 – The BCF’s will load up. Though… Unless you disable and re-enable them you wont see the changes. So in properties -> control surfaces, disable and reenable each BFC in the tick box.
    4 – Lock the Both BCF2000 to the SSL mixer. Press right button in the master channel and lock them to the ssl.
    5 – Start creating some tracks. They will still be in “unison” but dont panic. Press the Nex button on the SECOND BCF2000. At this point the second bcf 2000 will detach itself from the first and all faders will reset to 0.
    6 – Keep creating some tracks untill you see some faders going up in the second bcf unit.
    7 – Now, if you paid attention… as soon as you altered the previous and next button functionality, you loose the back and forth in the ssl mixer, because it is mapped to those buttons. HOWEVER, the next and previous 8 base channel is a remote overrideable function. Go to Properties, remote override mapping. At the end you will find the Next and previous 8 base channel controls. Select them and configure them for BCF 1 previous and nex buttons.
    8 – Try going forth and back with the left BCF2000 previous and next preset buttons. Check if the second bcf follows it. If all is working, save that record song as a template.

    Ok, now.. We stopped configuring the remote file, and now we have to reconfigure all other controls (mute solo and whatever you want). I’m not going to explain it because… It is just the same as the faders, ok? Though if you have any doubts the remote file in attach, has the following controls configured:
    – Pan
    – Wide
    – Mute
    – Solo
    And some more stuff…

    Ok, now for the REALLY interesting part…

    Imagine you need a third one…
    It’s rather simple actually.

    So, you go to the Mixer configuration, and create a third group 17-24.
    Then Create all faders, and controlls you want connected to group 17-24, with all those channels correctly configured. It’s just the same, ok?

    Then here’s the catch (there’s always a catch… ), the prev and next button, is not really working as prev and next button. Actually we are MAPPING those buttons. So, you have to map EXTRA buttons to the third group.
    For testing purposes lets test mapping the third group to the Exit button:

    – First you will need to go to the document section and remove the exit button (don’t delete it, comment it with ‘//’ ). This is needed, so that the load doens’t give you an error.
    – Then right at the bottom of the “Map preset left button ” line, create this:
    Map Exit Button Channels=Ch17-24

    And that’s it.

    So, each time you open a song, you just press BCF2 Preset Right Button, then BCF 3 Exit. Now the BCF 1 controlls 1-8, BCF2 controlls 9-16, BCF 3 controls 17-24. Then if you go forth and back with BCF2000 1 next and prev buttons, it will move the base channel and all other bcfs at the same time.

    You can configure this in any button.

    Ok guys, i hope this thread explains well how this is achieved.

    I tried to put the 2 BCF2000 working together as one with midi chaining with no success and this was the way i found most usefull. The only handicap to this is that each time you open record or a new song, you will have to press the next button in the second bcf (and the other mappings in additional bcf’s), but really… I can live with that.

    To me the fact that you only advance 8 channels at a time, in the base channel is not an issue.

    I’m sure this applyes to other surfaces ( the group and map thing is not a surface configuration, so if you have a mackie or something like that it will surely help you).

    I hope this helps!

    Miguel Catalão

    We do agree at something, and i state it in the vídeo. The BCF2000 are being controlled individually (reason loads an instance of a remote file for each of them). But the group “workaround” allows you to go to the second and third group when you open a new file and it stays like that for the mixing session.
    There also some other times when reason will reset the groups (like if you add another controller at the side), but i can notice it and just hit the group 2 and 3 on the formost BCF’s.

    I belive this proves using 3 or more SSL’s side by side in reason is possible. As i said, i’m using this since record got out, and that’s about 7 years ago, right? The only thing i have to do in new Reason updates, is to be sure i set up my templates, and migrate thre remote file configuration if it gets broken in the upgrade process.

    Though my initial video in Youtube was really simple, this big tutorial video was something i wanted to do a long time ago. I’ve never got into it, because i have a hideos accent, i’m VERY busy with my Job, producing other peoples songs and my own. :/

  • Miguel Catalão

    You deleted my post twice????? Thats really nice fair play… :/
    Ps: Nevermind, the posts were detected as spam. might it be the video link???

    • I see your comment, but it’s not appearing for some reason (Disqus glitch?). You wrote a really nice, detailed comment. I’m gonna’ make a separate post with your comment text and video. Hit up a link to your remote map file ( http://www.jaexx.com/interact.html ) and I’ll include that on the post. I’ll also update this post linking to your new method.