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…
[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.
There’s an issue that people who’ve started making music the past 10 years or so think an audio spectrum / waveform = what you hear. The sad fact is that it doesn’t.
One thing I’ve found that seemed to be a key to “professional” audio mixing / mastering people is that they had some kind of experience with real, studio mixers. They didn’t have access to spectrum windows, they mastered by tweaking dynamics knobs and using their ears. They didn’t have techy BS of calling out kHz or Hz numbers like “4,200”, “31.5” or other crap relating to decibel ranges like people using computer software so frequently do. This is because…
One thing putting together a physical mixer console has taught me is how capable Reason’s original virtual rack-mounted 14 stereo channel (28 mono channel) mixer, known as the reMIX Virtual Tec MX 28-4-14, was / is. The reMIX has since been replaced by the virtual SSL 9000k mixing console and it, of course, blows the reMIX out of the water in terms of functionality.
But one thing it taught was the power of using what you have wisely. The reason is because you were limited to 14 channels (even if you were using a mono source, such as a subtractor, you still wanted to apply FXs, EQ or panning from the reMIX, which made you use up an entire channel strip). Of course, you could chain multiple reMIXes together without taking up a channel slot (as well as passing on the 4 FX’s to each mixer). But it still taught you a valuable lesson of doing more with less.