Cubase interface to read channelnames

Hi All,

This is my first post here on the forum, and it is probably a not so common question.
Nevertheless, i hope some of you can help me out to finish my awesome project! And maybe someone else can use this project too.
I am a software and electrical engineer and like to play around with electronics and musical instruments / studio gear.
In my home studio i have a D&R Dayner analog mixing console for recording and playback to and from Cubase 9.
In cubase i have 32 tracks and they are connected to the 32 analog (inline) channels of my analog mixer.
All the audio is working perfectly, the only point is… sometimes it is hard to find the right channel on my mixer for a given track in cubase.
For example: On my analog desk i cannot ‘see’ what is the content of channel 21… i have only sticked a number ‘21’ on the channel.
So, as an engineer i was thinking, wouldn’t it be nice to place a small OLED display (27x27mm) above each analog channel in my mixer.
Each display can show then the trackname from the corresponding track in cubase, and maybe show some more info like, REC, R, W, SOLO, etc…
In such a case it is much more user friendly to mix on my desk, because i can imediatly see there is ‘Guitar 1’ on channel 4 for example.
This information should come from Cubase.

So far so good. The actual question in here is: Is there an interface / API (C/ C++, or any other language) which i can use to communicate with cubase?
I already did some investigation in the Mackie Control Universal (MCU) protocol, but it is only 8 channels and i need 32 channels at the same time.
I don’t want to switch banks… I need an interface whereby i can read the 32 tracks channelnames, and display them on the OLEDS.
For this, electronics is required and i think i am using an Arduino for that. The electronics and OLEDS are not the problem, i can handle that.
The only problem is : How can i access / read the status of the tracks in cubase: channelname, SOLO, REC, Fader, etc.

I know the mackie protocol uses sysex data for sending the channelnames as ascii to their mackie controller. (8 channel controller with display).
There are more protocols like HUI, Logic control, etc. But for me the most important thing is the channelnames! I want the channelnames
from cubase tracks above the channelstrips of my analog mixing console. I hope somebody can help me out.

D&R Dayner:

Hi and welcome,

You can use multiple Mackie Control Devices in series. This will enhance the Channel count. In your case you can use 4 Mackie Control devices to get 32 channels.

Be aware the Mackie protocol is designed so that you will always get just an 8 letters/digits of the name. The whole shorten process is done by the protocol already. I’m pretty familiar with Mackie Control, if you have any questions…

Btw, Start, Rec, Stop, Solo, Mute, Meters… All of those informations, you can get from Mackie protocol.

I’ll 2nd Martins “be aware.” Mackie protocol is very old. 90’s? Any label names are going to be very short…reality 6 or 7 characters maximum if you want any spaces between each channel. If you were to go 8 characters for every channel it looks like a jumbled mess.

My guess as to why the protocol hasn’t been updated over the years is simply market demand.

Hi All,

Thank you Martin.Jirsak and greggybud for the quick answers!

I didn’t know this. So the order in which you add the mackie controls just extends automatically the channels? with other words: The second mackie control will send information about the channels 9…16… etc.?
The electronics i need to make has to create 4 virtual midi ports (over USB) so i can connect each mackie control to a separate MIDI port, right?

Yes, i found already that the names are cutt of from 6/7 digits in the protocol already. In fact this is not really a problem, because with 6 digits i can make readable names for the tracks, like:
Voc1 Voc2 Voc3 BkVoc1 AkGui1 AkGui2 ElGui1 BassMi BassDI Kick Snare Tom1 Tom2 Tom3 KeysL KeysR

Furthermore, i don’t have to use spaces between the names, because in my case every name goes to a separate OLED display. There is default space between the OLEDs.

These are just regular MIDI commands if i’m correct. Only data larger than 3 bytes is send with sysex, like LCD display data.

Do you guys have any idea how i can find a complete reference of the Mackie protocol? I know it is propietary, but i need to know to implement it in the electronics (arduino). or i can spend a day to sniff all messages with MIDI-OX but i guess somebody already did that job? :slight_smile:.

Kind Regards,



Yes, exactly. The 2nd MIDI Port will control channels 9-16.


This web page helped me a lot. But there is no information, how the display is handled. For this I made my own research.