Reason: Custom Behringer X-Touch Extender Remote Map
[10/07/2020 Version 4.1] Hey, I’m Jaëxx. This is the 100% free MJ Enhnaced Combo Extender 16 channel mixer interface for Reason Studios. (The MJ Enhanced Universal Control is the 8 channel version and the MJ X-Touch Trinity is the world’s first 24 channel version.) This is a remote map and Lua codecs that run on Mackie MCU Pro, Behringer X-Touch and iCon Qcon mixers (mixers that run off Mackie’s Universal Control protocol). 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.
Using a base mixer (Mackie MCU Pro, Behringer X-Touch or iCon Qcon) and one extender mixer (Mackie XT Pro, X-Touch Extender or iCon Qcon Ex), the MJ Enhanced Combo Extender mixer interface in Reason Studios (regular and suite) allows you to connect two 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 16 channels. The MJ Enhanced Combo Extender controls Reason natively without messing with creating special sequencer tracks or tedious mouse clicking.
The MJ Enhanced Combo Extender map fixes a fatal flaw that would cause the mixer to stop working in Reason. It also fixes problems like buttons being mapped in the wrong areas, eliminates clip LEDs getting triggered on X-Touch’s, 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, illuminated select buttons, 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.
[Edit: 10/07/2020] MJ Enhanced Combo Extender version 4.1 includes the MJ Enhanced Universal Control and MJ X-Touch Trinity files in the installation zip now needed for loading.
[Edit: 09/29/2020] MJ Enhanced Combo Extender version 4.0 features new illuminated select buttons; LED time display fix (“01 03” vs “0 1 3”); LED auto-hides minutes and hour; enhanced loop marker LED display; and new method for maintaining remote maps in unison thanks to “RFX”. Previous updates: version 3.0 fixes legacy code in newer Reason versions that caused crashes if individual channel VU meters were too loud; fixes channel 6, send 5 being mapped incorrectly; added notification when the mixer isn’t locked to the master mixer section; and reduces bugs from displaying leftover LCD text when exiting Reason.
[Edit: 08/31/2020] MJ Enhanced Combo Extender version 3.0 fixes legacy code that caused crashes if individual channel VU meters were too loud; fixes channel 6, send 5 being mapped incorrectly; added notification when the mixer isn’t locked to the master mixer section; and reduces bugs from displaying leftover LCD text when exiting Reason.
[Edit: 05/09/2020] MJ Enhanced Combo Extender version 2.5 prevents future versions of Reason from overriding the Mackie files; and a new custom image added.
[Edit: 02/28/2019] Version 2.0 brings more optimized and reliable VU behavior; two completely new, custom-programmed rotary encoder LED display modes; louder rotary encoder LED send and return meters; adds ‘ticks’ to the LED beats display; and new ‘disconnected’ display text showing map version.
[Edit: 03/25/2018] Version 1.1 optimizes the optional Lua codec for better performance.
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. I had to create a separate remote map. 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 512 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 (now Reason Studios) or charging a dime for this. Just wanted y’all to recognize how much labor this all takes.
Limited to just one extender (no longer)
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.)
I’ve created the 100% free MJ X-Touch Trinity; the world’s first fully controllable 24 channel mixer interface for Reason Studios.
Extenders crash using default remote maps
Using the “Combo, Extender Left” or “Combo, Extender Right” remote maps crash. The MJ Enhanced Combo Extender fixes this.
MJ Enhanced Combo Extender mixer interface
The MJ Enhanced Combo Extender features 16 channels. Of those 16 channels, there’s five global sections.
- “TRACK” displays 16 channels of compressor meters and compressor on controls.
- “PAN/SURROUND” gives panning over 16 channels.
- “EQ” gives gain and invert control over 16 channels.
- “SENDS” shows the FX send return meters with FX send mute controls on the left extender mixer and on the base mixer gives FX return meters as well as digital scribble strip display of your FX names.
- “PLUG-IN” gives master bus compressor controls, mastering suite controls and master VU out display.
- “INST” displays gate meters and gate on controls for all 16 channels.
Pressing the “SELECT” button over a channel illuminates the select button and allows you full control over that channel strip. Changing channel banks retains its native functions in Reason Studios so if a project has more than 16 channels, the channel bank continues to change banks 8 channels at a time.
This article serves as a guide / general commentary and I’m sharing it free…
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.
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 (completely) eliminated (X-Touch specific)
Master compressor gain reduction and master out displaying on 3 of the VU’s was mainly causing this. 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. A channel’s clipping meters will never engage.
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.)”
The same situation happens here. The LEDs won’t update when changing banks to channels higher than 16. Adding a work around currently will cause reliability / maintainability issues with the code so there’s no plan to add this feature.
The great news is that this isn’t as needed as before now that the channel select buttons illuminate.
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 Mackie MCU Pro, Behringer X-Touch and iCon Qcon. 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.
Global text is duplicated on each mixer device
For global parameters, such as panning, the display text is repeated on each device (mixer and both extenders). On the MJ Enhanced Combo Extender, this wasn’t needed. But on the MJ X-Touch Trinity, it’s more useful, especially when working with channels 17 to 24 on the right extender.
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. (The layout should be the same for iCon Qcon’s.) 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.
Loop marker enhanced
The loop marker display LED has been enhanced over previous versions. The LED markers now display more data (ticks).
The MJ Enhanced Combo Extender will notify you when it’s not locked to the master mix section.
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.
Select button illumination
In previous versions of the MJ Enhanced Combo Extender and the MJ Enhanced Universal Control, the select buttons wouldn’t light up when editing a channel. Now they do and it’s such a massive boost to the usability of the mixer’s interface.
Time displayed by default
The time mode (“1:34”) is displayed by default instead of the bars mode (”34.3.2”). Time should 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.
The time display’s been fixed. 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”.
Now the time displays as it should.
Time display auto hides
When the minute or hours are at 0, the display auto hides those numbers. Groovy.
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.
Things Propellerhead didn’t code support for at all
Big meter channel selection
Changing selection of the “Big Meter” device 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.
Color-changing digital scribble strips (X-Touch specific)
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. (I personally think colored digital scribble strips look tacky. Makes the X-Touch look less like a Mackie contender and more like a Fisher Price rival.)
Dedicated bus control
There’s no function in Reason to switch to just bus channels and likely never will.
Fader banks changing by 16 channels
There’s a possible way to get fader banks to change by more than 8 channels at a time, but the idea was scrapped because it will make the Lua code too unreliable and hard to maintain. And in testing the MJ X-Touch Trinity, it seems like changing by 8 channels at a time is still more ideal.
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. (And a hard “NO” to man-in-the-middle interfaces for the X-Touch or MCU Pro.)
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.
These features are supported by other DAW’s but Reason lacks general zoom controller support. Reason needs an overhaul to support things like this, not focusing on things like subscriptions or smartphone social music sharing.
How to install the MJ Enhanced Combo Extender remote map and codecs
Click the link below to download the zip file.
Extract the contents of the mj-enhanced-combo-extender.zip file. Open the “2 MJ Enhanced Combo Extender” folder, where you’ll find a “Remote” folder.
In a new window, navigate to the location of Reason’s configuration folder C:\ProgramData\Propellerhead Software\. The files will be hidden so here’s how to unhide them.
Copy remote maps
From the “2 MJ Enhanced Combo Extender” folder, navigate to “\Remote\Maps\Mackie\” and copy the files. Then paste them to “C:\ProgramData\Propellerhead Software\Remote\Maps\Mackie\” folder. Select yes to replacing all files, no duplicates can be kept in the same folder or Reason may not correctly work.
From the “2 MJ Enhanced Combo Extender” folder, navigate to ”\Remote\Codecs\Lua Codecs\Mackie\” and copy the files. Then paste them to “C:\ProgramData\Propellerhead Software\Remote\Codecs\Lua Codecs\Mackie\” folder. Select yes to replacing all files, no duplicates can be kept in the same folder or Reason may not correctly work.
macOS Catalina and newer and / or Reason 11 or newer
Extract the contents of the mjenhancedmackieuniversalcontrol.zip file. Open the “2 MJ Enhanced Combo Extender” folder, where you’ll find a “Remote” folder.
In a new window, navigate to the location of Reason’s program at “Macintosh HD\Applications”. Right click on your Reason program (i.e. “Reason Suite 11”) and select “Show Package Contents”.
Copy remote maps
From the “2 MJ Enhanced Combo Extender” folder, navigate to “\Remote\Maps\Mackie\” and copy the files. Then paste them to the folder inside the Reason application to “Contents\Resources\Remote\DefaultMaps\Mackie\” folder. Select yes to replacing all files, no duplicates can be kept in the same folder or Reason may not correctly work.
From the “2 MJ Enhanced Combo Extender” folder, navigate to “\Remote\Codecs\Lua Codecs\Mackie\” and copy the files. Then paste them to the folder inside the Reason application to “Contents\Resources\Remote\DefaultCodecs\Lua Codecs\Mackie\” folder. Select yes to replacing all files, no duplicates can be kept in the same folder or Reason may not correctly work.
macOS High Sierra and older and / or Reason 10 and older
Extract the contents of the mjenhancedmackieuniversalcontrol.zip file. Open the “2 MJ Enhanced Combo Extender” folder, where you’ll find a “Remote” folder.
In a new window, navigate to the “Macintosh HD\Library\Application Support\Propellerhead Software\Remote\”.
Copy remote maps
From the “2 MJ Enhanced Combo Extender” folder, navigate to “\Remote\Maps\Mackie\” and copy the files. Then paste them to “Macintosh HD\Library\Application Support\Propellerhead Software\Remote\Maps\Mackie\” folder. Select yes to replacing all files, no duplicates can be kept in the same folder or Reason may not correctly work.
From the “2 MJ Enhanced Combo Extender” folder, navigate to “\Remote\Codecs\Lua Codecs\Mackie\” and copy the files. Then paste them to “Macintosh HD\Library\Application Support\Propellerhead Software\Remote\Codecs\Lua Codecs\Mackie\” folder. Select yes to replacing all files, no duplicates can be kept in the same folder or Reason may not correctly work.
Configuring the mixers
Place the extender mixer on the left side of the base mixer. Make sure both mixers are in Mackie Control (“MC”) mode.
Connect a USB cable from the Extenders into the X-Touch’s USB ports. Then connect a USB cable from the X-Touch to your computer. You can also simply connect the USB cables direct to each mixer to USB ports on your computer.
MCU Pro connections
From the Mackie MCU Pro manual:
“MCU Pro has three sets of MIDI IN/OUT connectors for connecting additional XT Pro units. Always connect MIDI OUT from one unit to MIDI IN on the next unit (and MIDI IN to MIDI OUT).”
iCon Qcon connections
Connect a USB cable to each mixer directly into USB ports on your computer.
Configure control surface
Reason, go into your control surfaces settings (Preferences-Control Surfaces tab) and hit the “Add manually” button.
Select “Mackie” as the manufacturer.
Select “Combo, Extender Left” as the model.
Rename the device to “MJ Enhanced Combo Extender”.
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 Mackie MCU Pro, Behringer X-Touch or iCon Qcon locked to the mixer.
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?
Don’t modify them to screw into each other (X-Touch specific)
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
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.
Mackie MCU Pro’s and XT Pro’s are meant to be used laying down as their digital scribble strips are angled perpendicularly.
Using the X-Touch’s with this remote map
[Edit: 09/29/2020] I’m now using the MJ X-Touch Trinity, the world’s first 24 channel full control mixer interface for Reason Studios (which is even more amazing). But here’s was my experience using the 16 channel MJ Enhanced Combo Extender.
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. 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, Mackie or iCon) 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.
Here’s Rebirth of Radiance, a music video I shot and edited myself. Click play…
Later. – MJ