Channel Strip Control by Mackie Control Device Panel

So - after a year or two hiatus from music making, I’ve started getting back into it and decided if I was going have to re-learn my workflows, I might as well do it with the latest version of Cubase, so upgraded from 5.5 to 7.
One of the things which sold me was the new channel strip, probably 80% of the inserts I’ve found myself using are of the variety found in the channel strip, and a more streamlined approach might force me to be more productive, rather than just tinkering with the many different VSTplugins I’ve accumulated over the years.

One of the things I hoped to do was be able to control everything from my Behringer BCF2000 running in Makie Control Emulation Mode.
I bought it on a whim many years back after seeing how much easier/intuative it was to mix on a hardware console (admittedly a Pro Tools HD rig) - but frankly its mostly been gathering dust since I got it.

Anyway, as I’m pretty rusty navigating Cubase, I’ve not been able to find an easy way to control the channel strip plugins from the BCF, I’ve searched the forums and found nothing, however I think I’ve found a way using Device Panels.

I hope someone may be able to point me towards a more elegant solution, but if not here’s what I have so far.
Its a kludge!, but here’s a walkthrough to get started. I’m using Cubase, I suspect this wont work for Cubase Artist.

  1. Drop the attached xml file (you’ll need to rename it first) into the following path (or similar)

C:\Users{user}\AppData\Roaming\Steinberg\Cubase 7_64\Panels

  1. Fire up Cubase and open a project, new or otherwise, and create a new Audio track.

  2. From the MixConsole, ensure that Device Panels (PANEL) are visable on the rack, and click on the right hand side button on the panel bar of the new audio track to display the available Device Panels.

  3. If you expand the folder tree, you should see two available panels, named ‘Channel Strip-Basic’ and ‘Pre and Gate’ - If you can’t see the options, you may need to increase the width of the mixer channels.

  4. Select one of the panels and activate the Noise Gate from the strip.

  5. On the BCF/MCU, select the channel you added the device panel/activated the gate and press the insert/plugin button on the BCF/MCU (I use the BCF with BCFview app, which emulates the Mackie Control LCD screen)

  6. V-Pot1 selects the insert slot for the channel, if you rotate the pot beyond slot 8, you’ll access the User parameters (this is mentioned on page 438 of the Cubase Operation Manual)

  7. On BCFview/MCU LCD - There should be a couple of pages available for the new device panel, goto the second page and using the vpots you’ll be able to access the LC/HC parameters and some of the Noise Gate parameters, depending on which device panel you selected intially.

  8. If you selected the ‘channel strip-basic’ panel, you be able to activate some of the other channel strip plugins and control them too.

Its not pretty, and not well organised, but its a proof of concept at least. I hope this is of some use to someone.
I think a new panel will be required depending on what version of compressor/limiter/saturation plugin you use, otherwise you can’t control the parameters.

Hopefully Steinberg will be able to incorporate something similar in a future update - the protocols are already in place at least.

ChannelStripV1.txt (19.8 KB)

Wow thx. I also looked everywhere find info about controlling the channel strip with my MCU!
Hopefully steinberg will find a sexier way to do this!

Here’s an improved version of the device panel. Might be a bit more usable now.
Each channel strip module has its own page on the MC display, and it should work for all types of compressor/limter, etc.

ChannelStripMCU.txt (31.2 KB)

Wow thx again Steve,
It works way better now :slight_smile: It made my cubase crash when I tried to switch pages on my MCU after enabling something new in my channel strip, but I guess I can avoid that by switching to another insert on my MCU before enabling the new module in the strip and then going back to User on the MCU.
How did you find out about making custom panels and everything?

I’m using a BCF2000 in MC emulation mode, so I probably wont be able to replicate the crash behaviour you’re describing.
I do need to change to a new insert and then back for the new settings to be picked up though.

I’ve been aware of Device Panels since the SX days, but never really tried building one till last week.
It was only after accidentally discovering the ‘User page’ and it’s use that it even occured to me to have a go.
It’s really been a case of trial and error, although there are some instructions in one of the cubase pdfs.
I mostly built a rough template and then edited the xml to tidy everything up.

Its worth noting that some of the parameters listed in the device panel setup are not displayed on the channel strip version of the plugins (and vice versa)
It would appear however that some of the invisable parameters can be made visable by editing the channel strip.xml file stored in the plugin folder, within the VST XML folder in the Cubase 7 program location.
Although, who knows what damage you’d do by mucking around with those, so i’d avoid!

I’ve still got a few avenues to try out to make the device panel a little easier to use, but you may just want to edit and tailor it to your needs.


haha I don’t think I would be really good at tweaking those files :s but I really appreciate that you share yours with the comunity … thx for that!! Let me know if you update it. :slight_smile:

Tried the above in C6.5 for fun. Can’t get it to work. I select “user” on the MCU, but I don’t get the device panel params showing up (step 8). Maybe it is something that was fixed in C7.

If you really want to get into device panels, there was a thread years ago on how to add tabs to the panels. It involved xml editing though. Device Panels are a great idea that Steinberg never finished. Their editor is very buggy, incomplete and not well documented.


I don’t think it will work in 6.5. The user parameters map to the channel strip plugins only found in Cubase 7. I think the only common parameter will be the pre-fader gain.

Thanks for the heads-up on the old thread, looks very useful.
Will be interesting to find out what functionality in midi device panels are usable in instrument panels by playing with the xml.

An improved Device Panel editor would be better though, as would better control surface access to the Channel Strip parameters.