Largely speaking, when you send a cc to a midi track to adjust the volume or vibrato in the synth or VST instrument, you are not using remote control.
When you have the device ports configured in the Studio Setup dialog, and use it to adjust graphic elements like a knobs or faders in the Cubase interface, you are using remote control.
-The Mackie Control Remote is not a Generic Remote- it’s not generic because it uses the Mackie Control Universal Protocol, which “hard codes” midi messages to certain functions. When you move its faders and knobs, these messages are sent to the daw, the command is processed, and the daw sends back a message, which is how they stay in sync with each other. The MCU protocol exists so the user does not have to deal with the innards of it, so there is nothing for the user to decipher really. You plug it in, add some tracks, open the mixer and play with the knobs and sliders on your device. You observe what they do in the daw, and then you know. That’s about it.
This works so well, that many manufacturers -Korg, Behrinrger and others- have adopted it for use in their devices.
-You also might want to use the device for performance expression. That is the purpose of Korg’s “Assignable Mode” which other manufacturers might call User Configurable mode, or Manual mode or whatever they want to call it. Here, you set the input of your midi track to that device, and you don’t configure it in Studio Setup. Now the midi messages are directed into the midi track and can be recorded there.
One more thing- some VST plugins permit you to assign CCs to a function. I have Kontakt, in that program, you can right-click on a knob, and move a hardware control, then the VST will remember that assignment. This requires the input of the midi track to be set to that device, and won’t work, of course, when you have the ports configured in Studio Setup.