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, very simple; 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; normally, 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 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.

Fader state can be optionally 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" kind of feedback with moving fader handles.

Common parameters

When a fader is selected a number of 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.

Field Description
Fader speed 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 do the same thing in about 10 seconds, giving you better control in small movements.
Fader direction Select if a pressed button should move the fader up or down (i.e. increase or decrease the value of the fader). One button can only move a fader in one direction; if you need movement in both directions you can define two buttons that are connected to the same fader but with opposite fader 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 automatically select the track.
Value display Select if and how you want to have 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 is 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. This calculation can, in rare cases, 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.

Value display (text) can be combined with the graphic display, and can also be combined with the display of the track name on the button. If both 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 is used to define the position, font, and text color for the value display.
Fader graphics 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" (in lack of a better word) faders with moveable handles or your own background/handle images. Depending on what is selected in this field, additional fields will be available as described in the coming sections.

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.

Mixer-like faders

When you select Mixer-like faders, you choose between a number of built-in images that tries to emulate the look if a mixer fader (...I said tries :-) )

You select the final design by selecting a number of 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)

Field Description
Background The built-in designs include a dark and a light background. Select the one that suits the theme of your Stream Deck and/or your eyes best.
Handle Select the color of the fader handle.
Orientation Select if you want a vertical or horizontal fader.

Vertical faders have their min value at the bottom and the max value at the top. Horizontal faders have their min value on the left side and the max value on the right side.
Scale 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 have a span from -infinity to +10dB. Some DAWs have the same fader span while others differ from this, which may have puzzling results.

  • The scale on the button is adjusted to Cubase/Nuendo, and the handle should be fairly accurately positioned. In Cubase/Nuendo, you can select 6dB or 12dB as the max value for mixer faders. In the communication with Mackie Control, Steinberg has acknowledged that the Mackie faders max at 10dB and only send fader values within this range.
    • When using 6dB max in Cubase/Nuendo, the plugin fader will not be at the top position when the DAW fader is at the top position. The plugin fader will be at the 6dB position since that is the max value in the DAW, and if the plugin fader is moved above this position, nothing will happen in the DAW.
    • When using 12dB max in Cubase/Nuendo, the DAW fader will not be at top position when the plugin fader is at top position. The DAW fader will be at the 10dB position since that is the max value for the Mackie, and if the DAW fader is moved above this position, nothing will happen in the plugin.
  • Bitwig has a 6 db max fader value, but uses the full value range, giving the Mackie/plugin the impression that max is 10dB. Due to this, the handle will not be positioned exactly where it should be.
  • Studio One uses a dB curve quite different from e.g. Cubase, and the fader handle in the plugin will be slightly off.
VU meter Select if you want a real-time VU meter displayed on the button.

Volume information can be received for the eight channels (including 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).

The Mackie Control protocol defines volume in 12 steps where 0=0% and 12=100%, so the VU meter will not be as fine-grained and accurate as in the daw. Different daws handle the volume information differently. Cubase/Nuendo will, e.g., use the entire span (0-12) while Studio One uses 1-12.

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 individual 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; it is limited by the maximum throughput of the Stream Deck itself.
Button role 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 have a dB scale selected, the lower button will have the lower part of the dB scale, and the upper button will have the upper part.

Please note that "lower button" and "upper button" reference their relation to the fader value. For smooth fader movements between buttons, vertical faders should be positioned with the lower button directly below the upper button. For horizontal faders, the lower button should be positioned directly to the left of the upper button.
Padding 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 track name and/or fader value, the plugin will automatically select a background image with free space at the top - space that never will be occupied by the handle. If you select to display track name and/or 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 when using 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 in the same way as for the mixer-like faders. There are some additional fields you need to take care of...
Field Description
Background image Select the background image you want to use. Please see the Fader image files for details.
Handle image Select the handle image to use. Please see the Fader image files page for more details.
VU meter image Select the VU meter image to use. Please see the Fader image files page for more details.
Button role Please see the description of Button role for Mixer-like faders, it's exactly the same thing here.
Padding If you create background images (for lower and upper buttons), you can reserve some space at the end positions where the plugin can display 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 value in the dropdowns represents the number of pixels that should be reserved at the position. The full image (width and height) is 144 pixels, so the value in the dropdowns 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).