[09/26/2022 Version 1.0] Hey, I’m Jaëxx. This is the 100% free MJ X-Touch Trinity, the world’s first fully controllable 24 channel mixer interface for Reason Studios. The MJ X-Touch Trinity is a remote map and Lua codecs that run on Mackie MCU Pro and Behringer X-Touch mixers (mixers that run off of Mackie’s Universal Control protocol).
Using a base mixer (Mackie MCU Pro or Behringer X-Touch) and two extender mixers (Mackie XT Pro or X-Touch Extender), the MJ X-Touch Trinity interface in Reason Studios (regular and suite) allows you to connect all three mixers in a single native remote map with no additional man-in-the-middle software to run. Every aspect of Reason’s virtual SSL 9000k mixer is fully controllable for all 24 channels. The MJ X-Touch Trinity controls Reason natively without messing with creating special sequencer tracks or tedious mouse clicking. This is the largest remote map code for a single Reason virtual device ever created (5,931 lines of code to control the virtual SSL mixer alone). Best of all, I’m sharing it for free.
Some of my Ableton Push encoder knobs started registering random jitter movement in Reason (I use PusheR by Retouch Control). I fixed this by spraying the rotary encoders with a $5 can of QD Electric Cleaner by CRC with no tools required.
A lot of updates have been happening to my music studio setup. Hardware’s been rearranged and devices have changed. One of the things I haven’t covered yet here is how I built my studio desk. So in this article, I’ll be talking about how I set the desk up, installed or removed music studio hardware and keep everything working together.
I’ve held off sharing my impressions of the Mackie MCU Pro line of mixers because I didn’t wanna’ alienate anyone. Also because I wanted to be sure I had a solid understanding of the differences between the Mackie MCU Pro line and the Behringer X-Touch line (the X-Touch and X-Touch Extender exclusively). But after designing the remote maps needed to use both brands with Reason, I feel I would be letting people down by not discussing in detail why the Mackie MCU Pro line is inferior to the Behringer X-Touch line.
Getting the obvious outta’ the way
There’s some benefits of the Behringer X-Touch line over the Mackie MCU Pro line that aren’t really the focus of this article. So let’s briefly go over those benefits.
The X-Touch line (X-Touch and X-Touch Extender) has VU meters, is cheaper by nearly half ($449 vs. $1,099) and has better looks (once you take off the tacky, plastic sides). While those points help, the part that makes the Mackie MCU Pro line inferior is down to…
[08/31/2022 Version 3.0] 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.
I’ve only owned two keyboards my entire time working with music; a Midiman Keystation 49 (8 years use) and an M-Audio Oxygen49 (6 years use). I end up using keyboards for years, so when I’m about to buy a new one, I research for one that’ll also last just as many years. After researching what felt like 100 keyboards, I decided on the Roland A-49.
Every current and discontinued keyboard was considered
I looked at what felt like almost 100 models of keyboards for consideration. I looked at every model from Akai, Alesis, Korg, M-Audio, Nektar, Novation and Samson to name a few. Every single keyboard controller from Sweetwater was considered. I also looked at models discontinued. Some of the top list of keyboards was the Akai Max49, with its sexy red color and even more impressive LED touch faders, the Nektar Panorama P4 for its dedication to being a universal controller for Reason and the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 for its unique white on wood trim.
I’ve been installing more music studio hardware into the rack lately. Because I’ve been pulling the rack in and out more, I ended up pulling the two “L” brackets holding the rack halves loose. So, while having the rack out when modifying and securing the X-Touch Mini into the rack, I took time to strengthen the rack and install additional rack rails.
What the rack itself is made of
The rack is made from two red, wooden “Lack” tables from IKEA. They perfectly match the internal width, more or less, of 19”. Most rack hardware devices do not take up the full width of 19” so the furniture works out perfectly. Best of all is the price, although red isn’t currently an option, at the time of writing this the price of the black table is an amazing $7.99.
I use an X-Touch Mini in my music studio rack. I decided to do this by using metal rack spacers cut with the X-Touch Mini sitting in the center. By using screws screwed into the sides of the X-Touch Mini’s plastic housing (in front of the rack spacers), it will make it so that pressing the buttons or moving the fader will prevent the device from falling backwards.
Here’s how I modified the X-Touch Mini to mount into the rack.
I started by taking two “1U” rack spacers and used a dremmel to cut the metal into a size that matches the X-Touch Mini. Cutting the rack spacers is the hardest part.