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Mackie Control Uni-Pro- Obstacle or Game Changer?
Old 2nd December 2014
  #1
Mackie Control Uni-Pro- Obstacle or Game Changer?

I'm getting more comfortable with staying ITB at mix-

I'd like to be able to create more movement in my mixes, and I don't love drawing in automation- I would love to be able to "play it" like an instrument.

Right now I have an old M-Audio iControl, which I basically only use for the jogwheel- I love the jogwheel by the way!

I have a few concerns about getting a control surface(Mackie MCU) to work with

1) Concerned that I will get into it- for example with plugin parameters and general work flow adjustments and find myself thinking- screw it! I might as well use my mouse

2) Concerned that the faders don't really react with fine enough resolution to do what I like to do- like tiny movements with a pan pot, etc...

3) I like track counts of no more than 30 or so- will I wish that I had more than 8 faders right off the bat?

4) I use Logic Po X mainly- concerned that unforeseen problems would occur because of the recent upgrade to Yosemite-


Any thoughts or experiences would be greatly appreciated!

Noel
Old 2nd December 2014
  #2
I have a Mackie controller and expander I cannot imagine not having one. The scribble strips, faders, transport controls and over 30 customized shortcut buttons make the workflow in the box very easy. I don't find a problem with the faders and getting exactly why I want. Some times if you want to make slight change up or down on the faders you can just type in the number on the mixer .
Regarding plug in control, only the console one by softtube is a great hardware controller for plug-ins. Besides that unit, it's much faster to use a mouse with any other hardware controller I have found.
Old 2nd December 2014
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason rocks View Post
I have a Mackie controller and expander I cannot imagine not having one. The scribble strips, faders, transport controls and over 30 customized shortcut buttons make the workflow in the box very easy. I don't find a problem with the faders and getting exactly why I want. Some times if you want to make slight change up or down on the faders you can just type in the number on the mixer .
Regarding plug in control, only the console one by softtube is a great hardware controller for plug-ins. Besides that unit, it's much faster to use a mouse with any other hardware controller I have found.
You know what would rock my world:

If I could have a foot switch set up in such a way that let's say I want to automate a little stretch of something in the first verse-
I could footswitch on- do my fader or pot move- then footswitch off-

let the song continue playing-

Footswitch on- fader move- footswitch off- I guess I would be engaging write mode then off/read mode.

If I could have a few tracks selected and do that with say four faders at a time, that would rule!

is this possible with the mackie?
Old 2nd December 2014
  #4
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mingustoo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by babydaddymusic View Post
You know what would rock my world:

If I could have a foot switch set up in such a way that let's say I want to automate a little stretch of something in the first verse-
I could footswitch on- do my fader or pot move- then footswitch off-

let the song continue playing-

Footswitch on- fader move- footswitch off- I guess I would be engaging write mode then off/read mode.

If I could have a few tracks selected and do that with say four faders at a time, that would rule!

is this possible with the mackie?
touch mode...you don't need a foot switch....works great
Old 2nd December 2014
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by mingustoo View Post
touch mode...you don't need a foot switch....works great
Duh! I didn't think of that- so I "arm" the tracks I'm dealing with to "touch mode" and whatever I touch on the Mackie will automate as long as I am moving and then it's done-

Let me give you a scenario-

I mixed a song and thought it was really close- then my buddy (a mixer that I really trust) said- the vocal could come down 1-2 db in both verses-

So- I've drawn in the automation and now I'm saying I just want to go into the two verses and keep everything the same but 2 db less from where it is-

how could the mackie improve the way I do this?

For some reason- drawing dots and grabbing lines for what seemed like a simple task, got really frustrating really quickly!
Old 2nd December 2014
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babydaddymusic View Post
Duh! I didn't think of that- so I "arm" the tracks I'm dealing with to "touch mode" and whatever I touch on the Mackie will automate as long as I am moving and then it's done-

Let me give you a scenario-

I mixed a song and thought it was really close- then my buddy (a mixer that I really trust) said- the vocal could come down 1-2 db in both verses-

So- I've drawn in the automation and now I'm saying I just want to go into the two verses and keep everything the same but 2 db less from where it is-

how could the mackie improve the way I do this?

For some reason- drawing dots and grabbing lines for what seemed like a simple task, got really frustrating really quickly!
you can usually just redraw it . If it has lots of movement I just use an eq (fabfilter) with the output pulled down and then automate the bypass. But there is probably a better way.
Old 2nd December 2014
  #7
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I find the MCU-Expander setup liberating, you can ride and automate
Multiple faders simultaneously. Would not get rid of mine.
Never had a problem with resolution, I use my ears anyway.
Old 2nd December 2014
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovekrafty View Post
I find the MCU-Expander setup liberating, you can ride and automate
Multiple faders simultaneously. Would not get rid of mine.
Never had a problem with resolution, I use my ears anyway.
cool
so in the scenario above what would be your approach where you got the mix where you want- and you just want to pull the lead vocal down 1-2 db in the two verses?

What I would do back in the day is that my "automation line" would be where the physical fader is on the console- and I would let the song play from start, leaving the fader where it is until I get to the verse- then I would pull the fader down "a little" roughly 2 db- but I would be listening, not looking-

I would like to be able to do that in Logic or Pro tools now- with a controller.

I would want to trigger the automation line to go back to where it was before and then after I've gone in and done the 2db (ish) surgery in the verse- everything else stays as it was but in the two verses

The way I tried to do this was look at the waveform and the marker - then zoom in and draw a dot then another dot- but the dot needs to be in a the right place- then draw two more dots at the end of the verse- they need to be in the exact right place-

Then I grab the line and pull it up 2 db- if I can- seems easy enough right?

It's not as musical and intuitive as I would like it to be-
Old 2nd December 2014
  #9
Found the answers
Read
Read mode automates the current track, using the existing automation data.

The data cannot be changed by moving the channel strip controls, or using an external automation controller, when in Read mode.

Touch
Touch mode plays back automation data in the same fashion as Read mode.

If a channel strip or an external (touch-sensitive) automation controller is touched, the existing track automation data of the active parameter is replaced by any controller movements—for as long as the fader or knob is touched. When you release the controller, the automation parameter returns to its original (recorded) value. The time required by a parameter to return to its previously recorded setting is set via Logic Pro > Preferences > Automation > Ramp Time.

Touch is the most useful mode for creating a mix, and is directly comparable to “riding the faders” on a hardware mixing console. It allows you to correct and improve the mix at any time, when automation is active.

Latch
Latch mode basically works like Touch mode, but the current value replaces any existing automation data after releasing the fader or knob, when Logic Pro is in playback (or record) mode.

To finish, or to end parameter editing, stop playback (or recording).

Write
In Write mode, existing track automation data is erased as the playhead passes it.

If you move any of the Mixer’s (or an external unit’s) controls, this movement is recorded; if you don’t, existing data is simply deleted as the playhead passes it.
Old 2nd December 2014
  #10
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Sick of faders. Nice on analogue but all that flicking noise is distracting. Hated the Mackie, Euphonix (now Avid) and various others for that reason. Preferred just the mouse/trackpad. Really liking the Behringer BCR2000 now. Set up 32 rotary controllers to do faders in one bank, pan on the next etc. Works a treat and is compact and silent. Unfortunately it say Behringer on it but you could pay for a Mackie C4 if that bothers you! The resolution could be better but it's near enough - about 0.3dB increments though you can set the DAW to smooth between those.

Last edited by mixedup; 2nd December 2014 at 10:07 PM.. Reason: typo
Old 3rd December 2014
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mixedup View Post
Sick of faders. Nice on analogue but all that flicking noise is distracting. Hated the Mackie, Euphonix (now Avid) and various others for that reason. Preferred just the mouse/trackpad. Really liking the Behringer BCR2000 now. Set up 32 rotary controllers to do faders in one bank, pan on the next etc. Works a treat and is compact and silent. Unfortunately it say Behringer on it but you could pay for a Mackie C4 if that bothers you! The resolution could be better but it's near enough - about 0.3dB increments though you can set the DAW to smooth between those.
You can turn the faders off if you don't want the controller to track
Current automation
Old 3rd December 2014
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovekrafty View Post
You can turn the faders off if you don't want the controller to track
Current automation
Yeah, I realise that! I've owned or auditioned more controllers and digital desks than I care to recall.

But if you're switching faders on/off, then you're forever thinking about what state they're in. You only get 8/9 faders max per controller, and they flick/click every time you switch banks of 8. If they're off, they're constantly out of position. If they're on they're flicking/clicking as you play back. If you want 24/32 channels without switching, you need a hell of a lot of controllers taking up a whole load of space.

The BCR/C4 approach is silent and gives you 32 controls always in the right position, and another 32 at the flick of a single switch if you sett it up right.

I guess even though I feel the need for hands-on controls I just don't feel the need for faders. They were a necessity in analogue, but not digital IMO. I realise my conclusions won't be for everyone (ie. YMMV), but it's worth putting them out there in case someone's not considered the same approach.
Old 3rd December 2014
  #13
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mingustoo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mixedup View Post
Yeah, I realise that! I've owned or auditioned more controllers and digital desks than I care to recall.

But if you're switching faders on/off, then you're forever thinking about what state they're in. You only get 8/9 faders max per controller, and they flick/click every time you switch banks of 8. If they're off, they're constantly out of position. If they're on they're flicking/clicking as you play back. If you want 24/32 channels without switching, you need a hell of a lot of controllers taking up a whole load of space.

The BCR/C4 approach is silent and gives you 32 controls always in the right position, and another 32 at the flick of a single switch if you sett it up right.

I guess even though I feel the need for hands-on controls I just don't feel the need for faders. They were a necessity in analogue, but not digital IMO. I realise my conclusions won't be for everyone (ie. YMMV), but it's worth putting them out there in case someone's not considered the same approach.
how did you get the BCR to work with protools?
Old 3rd December 2014
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mingustoo View Post
how did you get the BCR to work with protools?
I haven't tried it with PT TBH, mainly as I tend to use PT only for tracking and don't really need the faders for that. I currently have it hooked up to Cubase 7.5.

From the front panel you can program any knob or button on the BCR to send anything to the computer —*keystrokes, MIDI (notes, Sysex etc, on whichever channel you want). You can program buttons to be toggles or not. And you can reprogram for each 'Preset', which you can scroll through in banks. Took me about 30 seconds in front of the manual to figure out that that gives you 16x32 knobs to play with on the one MIDI connection.

Cubase is pretty good for customisation —*the Generic Remote facility is great. But if that's not do-able in PT I believe there's a Mackie emulation mode too. I've not bothered with that — too many features I don't use mapped to controls I'd prefer to use for something else. I have an Artist series controller sitting around here doing nothing now — keyboard shortcuts plus the BCR just feels so much quicker for me.
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