The Mackie Control action can control four distinct sections with reference to the layout of a real Mackie Control Universal Pro:
- Transport (green)
- Channels strips including LCD (red)
- Time display (yellow)
- The "master section" - i.e. the "daw specific" section of the Mackie Control that can have different layouts depending on lexan overlays (blue)
When the plugin is installed and the very first button is created, you must select the layout you want to use (i.e. which daw you will control) and which midi ports to use. If needed you can change these settings later, but assuming that these settings hardly ever change (i.e. you always connect to the same daw with the same midi ports), the settings are tucked away under the Layout and Midi ports arrow at the bottom of the editor area. From this point on, these settings are used whenever a new button is created. (Please see the end of this page for more details on layouts and midi ports)
Select which section of the Mackie Control you want the button to interact with. The selected section will control which functions that will be available in the Functions menu.
Some notes about the "Selected channel" choice:
A real Mackie Control device has 8 channel strips plus the master channel, and you can switch banks to change which 8 channels in the mixer will be controlled by the 8 channels on the device. There is no channel strip for "selected channel" on the device, and in the communication protocol, there are no commands directed at "selected channel". So how can the plugin have a "Selected channel" strip?
The Mackie Control protocol is extremely chatty, and the DAW constantly keeps the device/plugin updated with the state of all mixer functions for the 8 assigned tracks. The plugin saves all this information in the background and can locate which of the 8 tracks is selected by looking at the state of the "Select" switch.
When you assign a button to, e.g., the Solo function for the selected channel, the plugin will in real-time associate that button (and its state) with the solo function for whatever channel is currently selected in the DAW mixer.
Be aware, though, that the Mackie Control protocol only enables the device/plugin to control the 8 mixer channels currently assigned to the Mackie. If you in the mixer have a track selected not among the 8 channels currently controlled by the Mackie, the plugin has no knowledge of that track. From the plugin point of view, none of the 8 known channels is selected. In such a case, the state for the buttons assigned to the "Selected channel" is reset, and any attempt to press such a button will result in a yellow warning triangle (since the plugin is unable to control a track that is outside of the 8 tracks assigned to the Mackie).
- Channel strip buttons - Track name
In the communication between the DAW and the plugin, there is no command from the DAW that says, "this is the track name for channel x". The DAW may show track names on the LCD strip, but how, when, and where they are displayed varies among DAWs.
Track name can be displayed in the upper or the lower row on the LCD strip...or not at all. Due to size restrictions on the LCD strip, the DAW will display a 6 character abbreviation of the actual track name. (You do not need to have a button defined for the LCD strip itself - the plugin keeps track :-) of the LCD strip content in the background.)
For each button associated with a channel, you can decide if that button should attempt to display the track name by mirroring the upper or lower row from the LCD strip. The position, size, font, and color for the track name on the button are controlled by the normal title properties in the Stream Deck editor. Please be aware that the plugin has no way of knowing if the selected LCD row actually contains a track name - it simply displays what's shown there.
- Function - switch
Most buttons on a Mackie Control are just switches that either toggle a function (e.g. Solo) or trigger an action (e.g. Play). When such a switch is selected in the Function dropdown, nothing else than the icon needs to be defined. Please see the Icon Definitions page for more details.
- Function - fader
The configuration of faders is quite extensive, and is described separately on Fader configuration page.
- Function - V-pot or scrub wheel
When a V-pot or scrub wheel is selected a number of additional fields are available to define how the button should react when used and how the state should be displayed.
Field Description Rotation speed While the button is pressed, commands are sent to signal V-pot rotation. This slider affects the frequency with which these commands are sent, thereby controlling the speed with which the V-pot is turned. Fast will move the V-pot the full span (e.g. pan all left to all right) in about .5 seconds while slow do the same thing in about 10 seconds, giving you better control in small movements. Rotation direction Select if a pressed button should turn the V-pot clockwise or counterclockwise (i.e. increase or decrease the value of the target). One button can only turn the V-pot in one direction; if you need movement in both directions you can define two buttons that are connected to the same V-pot but with opposite rotation directions. State display Select if and how you want to have the V-pot state visually displayed on the button. No state display, just a number or a graphic representation with a ring, horizontal bar, or your own design. Due to limitations in the Stream Deck software, special care must be taken for how to define button images in various cases.
If graphic representation is selected, the button image must be selected in the Background image field, not in the normal icon selection in the editor. Please see the Icon Definitions page for more details.
Background image Select the file with the background image you want to use for the button. Please see the Icon Definitions page for more details. State images folder This parameter is only available when My own... is selected as Background image.
Select the folder with the state images you want to use for the button. You definitely want to see the Icon Definitions page for more details on this one :-)
- Function - Scribble strip LCD
The button will display the part of the scribble strip LCD that belongs to the selected channel strip. By default the button does not react when pressed, but with the checkbox Switch Name/Value when pressed you can change this behavior.
The Mackie Control has a dedicated button used to switch between the two parameter display formats (either the parameter name or value is shown) on the LCD. This function can be assigned to a separate Stream Deck button if you whish, but you can also make any (or all) LCD buttons have this functionality.
- Section - Time display
The button will display all or parts of the Mackie Control time display. By default the button does not react when pressed, but with the checkbox Switch SMTPE/Beats when pressed you can change this behavior.
The Mackie Control has a dedicated button used to switch between the two time formats (SMPTE time or beats) on the time display. This function can be assigned to a separate Stream Deck button if you whish, but you can also make any (or all) time display buttons have this functionality.
- Section - Daw Functions
The functions available when Daw Functions have been selected in the Section dropdown are unique for each Daw, and the set of functions is controlled by the Layout dropdown (see below).
The functions are defined in separate files; one for each available Daw. Each function is defined with a reference to which physical button on the Mackie it emulates, the text displayed in the Functions dropdown and the behavior of the button (Push, Toggle or Hold).
Some buttons on the Mackie are affected by modifiers, e.g. Shift. These modifier buttons are available and can be assigned to a Stream Deck button, but in many cases the definition files include special entries where a Stream Deck button will all the work to be "modified" itself - i.e. it will automatically press Shift, send its own code and then release Shift.
The definition files bundled with the plugin are not tested and verified with all daws - they are at best created as templates that need to be verified and (most probably) adjusted to work as good as possible with the various daws. If there are functions that don't do what you expect them to do you can create "personal" versions of the definition files where you can modify and test the functionality. Please see the Layout Definitions page for more details.
The right side of a physical Mackie Control contain switches that can be assigned to daw specific functions. The Mackie has printed labels for these buttons but there are lexan overlays that can be placed on the Mackie to display labels for specific daws.
The functions/labels printed on the Mackie are available when you select the Generic layout in the dropdown while functions/labels from lexan overlays are used when you select a daw in the dropdown.
Some buttons on the Mackie are affected by modifiers, e.g. Shift. These modifier buttons are available and can be assigned to a Stream Deck button, but in many cases the layout definitions include special entries where a Stream Deck button will all the work to be "modified" itself - i.e. it will automatically press Shift, send its own code and then release Shift.
The layouts are defined in separate files; one for each available Daw, and the Layout dropdown is populated based on the files the plugin can locate. When you select a layout in the dropdown it will affect the button you are editing (not other existing buttons), and the selected layout will be set as the default layout for new buttons created after that.
Each function is in the layout file defined with a reference to which physical button on the Mackie it emulates, the text displayed in the Functions dropdown and the behavior of the button (Push, Toggle or Hold). The layout files bundled with the plugin are not tested and verified with all daws - they are at best created as templates that need to be verified and (most probably) adjusted to work as good as possible with the various daws.
If there are functions that doesn't do what you expect them to do you can create "personal" versions of the layout files where you can modify and test the functionality. Please see the Layout Definitions page for more details.
- Midi ports
Select the Midi ports that should be used for communicating with the daw. If available, the default ports "Mackie2Daw" and "Daw2Mackie" are selected when you create a button but you can select any other port if required. Midi channels are defined by the Macke Control protocol and cannot be selected or changed.
All Stream Deck buttons that use the Mackie Control action will use the same midi ports. If you change the ports for one button, all other buttons (using the Mackie Control action) will automatically adapt to the new ports.Please note that the Mackie Control protocol requires that the midi ports used in the communication are exclusively dedicated to the Mackie Control - no other devices or plugins should use the same midi ports. In the DAW, the used Midi ports must not be connected to anything else than to the Mackie Control receiver. If you also have a real Mackie Control, it must have midi ports of its own.