Mackie Control Fader Configuration
The fader button is (of course) used to control faders in your DAW. The configuration options have been extended quite a bit since the first version of the Mackie Control action. This page will guide you through the different configuration options and give you the information you need to get the most out of your fader buttons.
The basis of fader configuration is, in fact, straightforward; you define what fader to control, whether you want one or two buttons (to control up/down movement) and how to display the fader state on the button(s). What "complicates" the matter is the flexibility in how the fader buttons can react to and display the fader state and the number of parameters available to control configuration.
A single button can control the movement of a fader up or down; to control fader movements in both directions, you need two buttons, which is also the recommended configuration. One button increases the value of the fader while the other decreases it. I recommend placing the buttons to mimic the fader direction on-screen; usually, mixer pages have vertical faders, so place the + button above the - button. To get the most "mixer-like" display on the buttons, I recommend using the feature with a split fader display where the visible fader handle (on the buttons) can span the whole way from the bottom of the lower button to the top of the upper.
The fader state can be displayed as numbers (raw midi data or dB) optionally combined with simple graphic bars that indicate fader position or more advanced graphic displays with "mixer design" type feedback with moving fader handles.
When a fader is selected, several fields are available to define how the button should react when used and how the fader state should be displayed. Depending on the configuration of these common parameters, additional parameters can be displayed as described in the following sections.
While the button is pressed, commands are sent to change the fader value. This slider affects the frequency with which these commands are sent, thereby controlling the speed with which the fader moves. Fast will move the fader the full length in about .5 seconds, while slow will do the same in about 10 seconds, giving you better control in small movements.
Select if a pressed button should move the fader up or down (i.e., increase or decrease the fader's value). One button can only move a fader in one direction; if you need movement in both directions, you can define two buttons connected to the same fader but in opposite directions.
Send fader touch
Select if a fader touch command should be sent when the button is pressed - in some DAWs, this is used to select the track automatically.
Select if and how you want the fader state visually displayed as text on the button — no state display, just a raw midi number or a dB value.
Faders are implemented differently in different DAWs, and to display dB values, each DAW fader must be uniquely handled. The plugin can handle faders from a selection of popular DAWs; if you want dB values for something that is not in the list, you can request that it be added (but I will probably need some fairly extensive help from you to get the information needed to handle the fader).
Since fader values are sent as raw midi data (not dB values), the plugin must calculate the dB value for the selected DAW and fader. In rare cases, this calculation can lead to a value where the last decimal differs from what is displayed by the DAW.
Please note that if you use the Flip function, the function of the V-Pot and the fader will be swapped. In this case, the fader doesn't control volume, but the button will still display dB-values.
The value display (text) can be combined with the graphic display, and it can also be combined with the display of the track name on the button. If both the track name and, e.g., the dB value should be displayed, they are displayed on two rows with the track name underneath the other value.
The standard title configuration in the Stream Deck editor defines the position, font, and text color for the value display.
Select if you want to have the fader state visually displayed as graphics on the button - No state display, simple bars, built-in "mixer-like" (for lack of a better word) faders with moveable handles or your own background/handle images. Additional fields will be available as described in the coming sections depending on what is selected in this field.
Important: If graphic representation is selected, the images must be selected in the plugin area, not in the normal icon selection in the editor. Please see the Icon Definitions page for more details.
Vertical or horizontal bar
When vertical or horizontal bar is selected, an additional field is available for selecting a background icon for the button.
If no background icon is selected, the button will have an all-white background, and on that white background, the vertical or horizontal bar is "painted". The length of the bar indicates the current position of the fader.
When you select Mixer-like faders, you choose between several built-in images that try to emulate the look of a mixer fader (...I said try:-) )
You select the final design by selecting several properties for the fader, as described in the following table. If you can't get the look you want using the built-in faders, you can design your own (see next section)
The built-in designs include a dark and a light background. Select the one that best suits the theme of your Stream Deck and your eyes.
Select the color of the fader handle.
Select if you want a vertical or horizontal fader.
Select if you want a linear scale, a 10 dB scale, or no scale at all on the button.
The plugin has a fixed dB scale on the button, but since different DAWs handle fader values differently, there are cases where the handle position seems to be slightly off compared to the real dB value. The faders on a real Mackie Control span from -infinity to +10dB. Some DAWs have the same fader span, while others differ from this, which may have puzzling results.
Select if you want a real-time VU meter displayed on the button.
Volume information can be received for the eight channels (including the selected channel), but whether or not it is received for the master channel depends on the connected daw. Some daws (e.g., Cubase and Nuendo) never send volume for the master channel, while, e.g., Bitwig will (at least if there are fewer than eight active tracks).
Please note that the Mackie Control protocol is exceptionally chatty, especially when VU meters are updated. The VU meter updates will strain the Stream Deck infrastructure, and the plugin is throttling the image updates to avoid building backlogs where the VU meter updates are getting more and more delayed. The more VU meter buttons you have, the less frequent each button will be updated. With a maximum of 64 channels (8 Mackie Control devices), there will be more than one second between each update of an individual VU meter. This is not a limitation caused by the plugin; the maximum throughput of the Stream Deck software limits it.
In the most simple case, a single fader button is just that - a single fader button. You can do one thing (raise or lower the fader value), and the state of the fader can be shown on the button.
A more common configuration is to have two fader buttons controlling the same fader - one raising the fader value and the other lowering it. In this configuration, you can still have them as "single buttons" that do their thing, and each button displays the fader state just as when you have a single button.
A new feature in the plugin allows you to have the two buttons share the state display and have a fader double the length compared to a fader display on a single button. Min value is at the bottom of the lower button, and the max value is at the top of the upper button. If you select a dB scale, the lower button will have the lower part of the dB scale, and the upper button will have the upper part.
Please note that the "lower button" and "upper button" reference their relation to the fader value. Vertical faders should be positioned with the lower button directly below the upper button for smooth fader movements between buttons. For horizontal faders, the lower button should be positioned directly to the left of the upper button.
When using a vertical dual button fader setup, you can, e.g., add the track name to the lower button and the dB value to the upper. If you for the upper button select to display the track name and fader value, the plugin will automatically select a background image with free space at the top - space that the handle will never occupy. If you select to display the track name and fader value on the lower button, the plugin will reserve free space at the bottom. The size of the reserved space is fixed.
Padding is not applied when using horizontal faders or a single-button fader. If the automatic padding does not suit your needs, you need to create your own fader backgrounds as described below.
Your own fader design
If the built-in mixer-like design doesn't work for you, you can design your own fader style where the handle movement is controlled like the mixer-like faders. There are some additional fields you need to take care of...
VU meter image
Please see the description of the Button role for Mixer-like faders; it's precisely the same.
If you create background images (for lower and upper buttons), you can reserve some space at the end positions where the plugin can display the track name and dB value. When you have those background images defined, you can set the padding dropdowns to a value corresponding to the reserved space you have created in your background images. (Padding is only used for vertical faders; if the selected handle image causes a horizontal fader to be created, the padding values are ignored).
I have created two example images with some gray space at the end positions in the image to the right, and I have set both padding dropdowns to 45. The dropdown value represents the number of pixels that should be reserved at the position. The entire image (width and height) is 144 pixels, so the dropdown value should be seen relative to that image size.
With both values set to 45 (as in my example), the handle movements are restricted and will never come closer to the upper and lower edge than 45 pixels. The full value range for the fader is still used; it's just that it doesn't use the full height of the buttons. This way, the text information and the handle will never occupy the same space.
Only top padding is used for the upper button; if you define some bottom padding for the upper button, it will be ignored (and vice versa for the lower button).