[05/09/2022 Version 2.5] 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.
A while ago, I had bought two Behringer BCF2000 mixers with the intention of using them as a 16 channel mixer. I found they wouldn’t “cascade” like they do in other DAW’s, contacted both Behringer and Propellerhead and they both said it couldn’t be done. I even looked into it, saw even the remote map file didn’t support it and wrote a blog post titled “Using Multiple BCF2000’s Can’t Be Done”. Miguel Catalão then left a comment on how it could be done and recorded a video just for this post.
This isn’t an easy method and I can’t personally vouch for it as I no longer have multiple BCF2000’s. The secret apparently lies in Miguel’s ability to figure out how to make the BCF2000’s act independently from one another instead of mirroring the same fader bank currently in focus.
[05/09/2020 Version 5.0] I’ve created a custom Propellerhead Reason remote map for Mackie Control (Mackie Universal Control) mixers, such as ones used by my Behringer X-Touch or the Mackie MCU Pro. The remote map, called MJ Enhanced Universal Control, 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, enhances the channel VU meters, introduces new rotary encoder LED display modes, FX return encoder LED meters, completely new “alternative text” mode for displaying additional information and added encoder ring master VU out meters. This enables you to control the entire virtual SSL mixer and channel strip settings including channel selection. This article serves also as a guide / general commentary and I’m sharing it free…
The MJ Enhanced Mackie Universal Control setup took a very long time for me to do. This mapping file and article are written based on my experience with Behringer’s X-Touch mixer. The X-Touch is designed to work in Mackie mode for programs like Reason, Ableton, Logic, etc. Unlike Behringer’s odd Propellerhead partnership with the BCF2000 and BCR2000 line of controllers, the X-Touch was designed to work exactly the same as other mixers under the Mackie Universal Control setup (same as Mackie MCU Pro models). Comparing the way Reason and other programs interact with the X-Touch, with the exception of the clip LED (that my layout tries to reduce), all screw ups appear to be on Propellerhead (this isn’t the first time).
I’ve never liked VST’s. Never. There’s just something about them that I find so distracting from the whole music process. And what’s crazy is that I’m one of the only people who feel this way.
There’s a lot of different reasons why VST’s just feel wrong to me, wrong like someone walking outside in the dirt with bare socks and no shoe on. Wrong because…
Pop-up windows kill the immersion
Nearly all music software started out emulating physical music studio hardware. VST’s started out this way too. So it just seems wrong having these floating pop-up windows. The idea of virtual hardware floating on top of another and another…
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.
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 you it still taught you a valuable lesson of doing more with less.