How to configure/change M-audio Hammer 88 Pro DAW functions?

Hi, I was wondering if someone knows how to configure specific buttons/knobs/pads/etc to desired functions in Cubase using M-Audio Hammer 88 pro or similar device? For example: using “shift” button on midi keyboard in “DAW” mode and pressing pad 13-16 will do “save”, “quantize”, “view” and “undo” function. And there is a button “>” which opens edit menu (or whatever is called).
How and where can I configure and especially change every available slider/pad/knob on midi keyboard in Cubase? As said in the article which tells how to connect Hammer 88 Pro to Cubase we know that it must use Mackie Control in order to operate in “DAW” mode and have transport functions using M-Audio Hammer midi 3 input. But I just don’t understand what is Mackie control and how it relies and how it can be configured?
My aim is to make every pad in “DAW” mode to open certain parameters or windows in cubase, some sliders to control certain CC and not prebuilt ones. The “Presset editor” for the midi keyboard is a bit odd and not very easy to configure and it can’t just “pad 1 make that function” or i can but I don’t know how. And yes I know that some functions may be used in “preset mode” some others in “daw” mode, but I with to use only “daw” mode with all functionality.
Any suggestions?

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Welcome ! :slightly_smiling_face:

As you are using Cubase 12, I would suggest to try making a MIDI Remote definition for your master keyboard (Studio > MIDI Remote Manager, use the Add surface + button). It’s not that complicated, once you have grasped its graphical interface : in it, there is a Mapping Assistant that allows you to connect Cubase commands to any keyboard controller item that you can define. Check the MIDI Remote chapter in the Operation manual.

Can’t really help much more, as each MIDI surface/controller has its own features…

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Thank, will try it now. Sounds promissing

Hey bud, do you still need help with this? Let me know if you do and I’ll reach out to you directly.

Yes, will be much obliged. I tried cubase midi remote. yes it works but not how I expected

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Ok, here are my steps for you:

  • Open the “M-Audio Hammer 88 Preset Editor” on your computer

  • Do a factory reset of your Hammer 88 Pro by turning it off, then holding down both octave buttons and then turn on the unit while still holding them down.

  • On the Hammer 88 Pro, choose your OS from the little LCD screen and then choose “Cubase” when it asks you which DAW you’re using.

  • In the Preset Editor app on your computer, click on the “DAW” tab at the top, then click on File–>Retrieve Preset." If you don’t select the DAW tab first, it will complain that it can’t connect. Then you’ll notice that the Preset editor changes the pad colors to reflect the default settings on the Hammer 88 Pro.

  • Your pads are currently set to the “same as preset,” which on the preset tab are set to notes. You have two choices: You can either change these pads to transmit CC instead of notes, or you can leave it as default, then click on the “Hot Keys” section below the pads in the preset editor app and click on one of those “hot key” regions. Then it will show you, for example, pads 13-16 and you will then see that each mode is set to “ASCII” for pads 13-16. These are keyboard commands. If you notice, it’s using the keyboard commands that Cubase would use to open all of the features listed under each pad on the Hammer 88 Pro. If you want more control of what the pads are doing in Cubase, you can change the mode from “ASCII” to then be “CC” mode. Then give each hotkey pad a midi channel and CC number that are freely available, then you can assign these CCs to any Cubase function you want later on when you’re setting up the Midi Remote in Cubase.

  • If you make any changes in the Preset Editor, be sure to send them over to the Hammer 88 Pro by going to “File–>Send Preset.”

  • Then open Cubase and go to the Midi Remote section by clicking “Studio–>Midi Remote Manager.”

  • In the Midi Remote Manager window, click on the remote that you already created and delete it by going to the “scripts” tab and hitting the trash icon, then create a new script by hitting the “Add Surface +” button on the original Midi Controllers tab in that window.

  • Put in the Vendor and give your controller a name with the words “DAW MODE” or something after the name to let you know that this is your surface control setup for the Mackie/HUI Daw Mode setup. Then for the Midi port below that, choose “Hammer 88 Pro Mackie/HUI.” It will auto-fill the midi output, then click the “Create Midi Control Surface” button below that.

  • Starting with the knobs first, click on the first knob and then look over on the right side where the configuration settings are for each knob. Change the “value mode” to “relative signed bit.” Then click on the second knob and do the same thing for all 9 of them:

Turn the knob to confirm that it’s reading correctly and that the value is changing properly.

  • For all the sliders, they are set to channel 13 and Mackie Mode by default in DAW mode which you can keep, or you can change these in the Preset Editor to be something else, but then you’ll have to manually assign each slider/fader in Cubase to do something specific of your choosing.
    The bug that I ran into here is that only the first 2 sliders would detect in the Midi Remote window, and they show up as “pitch bend.” I changed all the sliders to be CC mode and channel 15 in the Hammer 88 Preset Editor, sent the changes to the keyboard, then I changed them all back to the default Mackie Mode and channel 13, then sent it to the keyboard again (File–>Send Preset) which somehow fixed the bug and then all 9 sliders were detecting properly in the Midi Remote.
    Make sure that you choose “Fader” off to the left of the Midi Remote before you start mapping so that it knows it’s not knobs anymore.

  • If you click on the first detected slider, then hold down shift, and select the last slider (which selects all the sliders), you can move them all at once to wherever you want in the Remote Editor.

  • Same thing goes for the lone push encoder in the middle of the Hammer 88 Pro. It’s set to Mackie mode and channel 13, but if you try and map this in the Remote Editor, it won’t detect it. What I did was change this in the Hammer 88 Preset Editor app to be “CC Relative” mode instead of Mackie mode, then changed the channel to 15 instead of 13 to avoid conflicts. Then in the Remote Editor, choose “Knob” and then turn the encoder to detect it. Then click on it and change the type to “Push Encoder.” The reason is that if you choose Push Encoder first, you can’t do Midi Learn and it won’t detect it automatically.
    Then on the right side of the Remote Editor, set Value Mode to be “Relative Binary Offset.”
    Then under that, change the “Push Value” to be “Control Change” mode, then type in the channel number and CC number that you set for the push function on the encoder in the Preset Manager app. You can set it in the Preset Manager by clicking on the “Encoder” knob in the Hammer 88 Preset Manager, then looking down towards the bottom and there are two tabs; one for “push” and then one for “turn.”
    So first, in the Preset Editor:

Then in the Remote Editor:

  • Then you can do your drum pads. The pads 13-16 are set to “ASCII” mode in the Preset Editor app, which are keyboard typing values. They are set to the keyboard shortcuts that Cubase uses to open the features written under the drum pads. If you want to keep this, you can, or you can change the pads’ hotkeys from Mackie Mode to be CC values in the Preset Editor and then you can assign them to any function you want in Cubase (I’ll show you how in a minute).

  • Do this for all of the rest of your buttons on the Hammer 88 Pro, like the middle section. A few buttons won’t auto detect in the Remote Editor because they are used for setting modes on the piano. You can change them to also transmit CC info if you want by setting them in the Hammer 88 Preset Editor. I would personally just leave them alone though because otherwise, it will change the Hammer 88 Pro functions and ALSO send CC data, which will get you a bit messed up. Like, even if you change them to do CC values, they will still bank through pad settings and change what the knobs do, so you’re better off just leaving the bank buttons alone, as well as the tempo button. Up to you though.

  • When you’re done with detecting all the buttons, knobs, sliders and pads, click on the “Go To Mapping Assistant” button in the Remote Editor window (shown in the screenshot above in the bottom right corner, below all of the parameters for each knob).

  • Turn a knob or press a button or move a slider, then click “browse functions” and then choose a Cubase function from the list on the right, then either double click the function to bind it to the button/pad/slider, or click the assign button.

  • Turn the encoder knob (the one in the middle of the keyboard) and then map it to the “Mouse Pointer (AI knob)–>Value At Mouse Pointer” or map it to whatever you want. Then you can use this knob to turn any knob or parameter that your mouse is hovered over (good for controlling plugins, although it turns slowly so you might have to turn it several times to make bigger changes).

  • Go back to the Hammer 88 Preset Editor app, go to the Preset tab at the top, and set up your values for when you’re in Preset Mode, or you can leave these all at default settings.

  • Create a new surface controller but this time, for the Midi in and out ports, choose “Hammer 88 Pro USB MIDI” (not the Mackie/HUI option as before). Or the other MIDI DIN port if you’re using a regular MIDI cable instead of USB. For the name, you can just call it something to let you know that this is the surface controller for when you’re in Preset Mode. The reason we’re not making a new page and adding it to the other controller we created above is that it’s using a different Midi port than Mackie/HUI mode.

  • Click and hold the Preset Mode button on the piano, then scroll over to “Preset 9 (PRST 9)” and select by pushing the encoder. Then in the Preset Editor app, click File–>Retrieve Preset" and then from the popup box, choose “Preset 9” from the dropdown list and then hit the “Get” button. Then you won’t be overwriting the first 8 pre-made presets. Also, you would get an error that it couldn’t retrieve the preset if you tried choosing the “Ram” option and then hitting the “Get” button. Choosing Preset 9 first, and then hitting the Get button will eliminate the error.

  • Run through the same process as before, detecting and mapping all your controllers the same way we did above. For regular non-Mackie-mode presets such as empty Preset 9, the knobs will be in “Absolute” mode instead of “Relative Signed Bit” as we did previously for the knobs. But you can change this to relative mode in the Preset Editor app if you want.
    If the sliders give you any problems detecting all of them in the Cubase Midi Remote editor, change the midi channel of the sliders to something like channel 15 in the Preset Editor app, then try again.

When you’re making changes in the Hammer 88 Preset Editor app and you’re sending them back to the piano with File–>Send Preset, and you choose your preset from the dropdown list and then press the “Get” button, you will have to manually load the preset again on the piano, even though you’re already on it. So press and hold the Preset mode button again on the piano, and it will show you your preset number on the LCD screen (in this example, PRST 9), then press the encoder to reload it and your changes will not only be saved to the preset, but they will now take effect when you go back to the Remote Editor. If you send it back to the piano by choosing the “RAM” option instead of Preset 9, it will send it to the piano in your current state but it won’t save it to the Preset slot for next time. So you’re better off sending it to whatever preset slot you’re using (like 9 or whatever) and then reloading the preset on the piano so that it’s both right there on the piano AND in the preset for next time.

Helpful tip: You can set your 8 knobs to be “Focus Quick Controls” when you’re doing the function mapping, which is nice since many Cubase parameters get automatically mapped to the quick controls functions as you’re moving through the project (such as plugin parameters when you open your plugins).

Bonus tip: To use a sustain pedal with half-pedaling capability such as the Roland DP-10, flip the switch on the side of the DP-10 to make it constant mode, then plug it into the “Expression” jack on the back of the Hammer 88 Pro. Then change the expression CC in the Preset Editor app to be CC 64 (sustain). Then your piano libraries that have half-pedaling (half-damper) functionality will work. The sustain jack only sends on/off values (0 or 127) so you won’t get in-between values on jack except the expression jack.


Omg! this is a masterpiece of a guide! Looking forward to try it as soon as possible (yet will require a lot of translation due to not native eng).
I believe it will obviously help others who has the same issue.
Many thanks for you time and effort, really appreciate this!
p.s. will come back later if I succeed or have any questions.

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Thank you for your appreciation! It took me hours to make it. :slight_smile:
I wanted to do that for you and for the internet - whoever can use it.
Ask me anything if you have any more questions about it and I’ll help you with whatever you need.
Much love…have a great day!


Awesome tutorial, Steve!

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Agree with all… this guide is really helpful. That said - I think you can export this script in the MIDI Remote Editor, and then post it here, along with the saved Hamer88Pro Preset save file from the PC app. Then all current and future folks can load it into Cubase and have their controller working immediately!

Interestingly, if I am running Cubase, the M-Audio patch editor can’t see the controller. And if I’m in the patch editor, Cubase can’t see the controller and won’t let me create a MIDI Remote controller. I didn’t have this issue in Cakewalk; anyone have any ideas on how to let them both work at the same time?

@yeahimsteve - can you clarify why one would need to create a control surface for the Hammer Pro 88, since it’s CUBASE DAW setting seems to work just fine?

Sorry to revive an old thread but I have cubase 12 pro and just got a hammer 88 pro. Where is this “preset editor” you speak of?

Yeah, this is fantastic. And thank you so much for taking the time. I’m still livid M-Audio does nothing to help their customers with Cubase 12/13, but hey, this alleviates the frustration a lot! Much appreciated!

I do have one question:

Then for the Midi port below that, choose “Hammer 88 Pro Mackie/HUI.”

That is not showing up for me. I did follow the previous steps. What am I doing wrong? (Cubase12)

Not reading the manual maybe? :slight_smile: It’s port3 on windows based on the manual:

I appreciate the reply, but a bit of an unnecessary jab there considering the whole point of this topic: the manual being outdated and incompatible with Cubase 12/13.

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MIDI Ports are not outdated.

I’ve regretted many times in my life for not reading the manual. It’s not a jab. It’s a very friendly advice.

If you say so. (I did read the manual, otherwise I couldn’t have known in doesn’t incorporate the changes in Cubase 12. In that light, ‘read the manual’ does not come across as particular friendly.)

Thank you, Darth_Souls for sharing that it helped you. My apologies to all for not replying to anybody since I wrote this last year.

Unfortunately for me, this was one of those things where I learned it, wrote it down as I went, hadn’t thought about it since, and now I’ll have to read my own tutorial to refresh my mind with what’s going on.

To answer a couple of the questions above (albeit super late and in case future readers have the same questions), the “Preset Editor” that you need must be downloaded from the “M-Audio Software Manager,” which can be downloaded from your M-Audio account here:

The reason I didn’t post any presets is because I felt like for one, it’s good to learn how to do it, but two, there were too many values that can change that would break the preset.

Keep an eye out for any firmware updates that might change some of the info I posted above, and if anything becomes easier as a result of an update from M-Audio or Steinberg, kindly post it here to keep this thread as accurate as possible.

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