MCU and Mix Console 2 & 3

Until recently I’ve not made use of the other two mixers. I decided that would be handy, so I set them up to display different selections of tracks.

Regardless of which mixer I have displayed, my Mackie MCU responds only to the visibility / zones of the tracks in the main mixer.

I was somehow thinking that the MCU would stay in sync with whatever the currently focused mixer window was and show only those tracks. That was part of the plan so that instead of having to bank through tons of tracks to find what I wanted, I could bring up Mix 2, which shows only the VST instruments in this case, and then that’s all the MCU would display.

Does anyone know if there’s a way to make the MCU sync with the current mixer window? If not, how do you go about displaying different subsets of tracks on your MCU / X-Touch / Other MCU-like device?

I had a MCU Pro, i had the same problem, not MCU related, but it is the way Steinberg or MCU written the code for it. The main mixer is the only mixer that is on the MCU. I Switched to a Steinberg CC121, single fader controller. I a way it is more handy in doing thing track by track based and seems way more compatible with Cubase functions. Though the MCU is very good, i do not think you can go any other way then have the main mixer on the mcu.

Thanks, Denis. Good to know it’s not just me.

My current solution is assigning mixer visibility configurations and mapping them to keyboard shortcuts. That lets me stay in the main mixer but alter the tracks, and the MCU stays in sync. I can assign eight configurations to hotkeys, so it’s actually a more flexible approach than using the other two mixers.

Hi Guys I’m about to buy both CC121 and an MCU (behringer xtouch I guess) hoping they will work together.
Is that make any sense? I know some controller will be redundants but can they work together without any conflicts?

They will work independent of each other. One issue will be that selection of a channel by mouse or cc121 will not be reflected by mcu if it is out of the current selected range of the mcu. You will have to scroll the mcu to this channel or bank manualy each time.
As long as you do channel selection on the mcu you are ok.

Thank you, nice to know!
So, I guess it’s a good combination Cc121 and X-touch? Am I right? Any thoughts?

The CC121 will be completely redundant as everything it does the X-Touch also does. I’d save the money on the CC121 to buy something else.

Is there a reason you want two controllers? There may be a use case I’m missing.

"The CC121 will be completely redundant as everything it does the X-Touch also does. I’d save the money on the CC121 to buy something else.

Is there a reason you want two controllers? There may be a use case I’m missing."

Well I thought Cc121 could be more quick for specific functions of Cubase than Xtouch, like calling “e”, “monitoring”, “vsti” and so on buttons.
If this is possible on xtouch adressing these buttons, so than maybe I just need to buy only the xtouch.

I thought they might work well together, for example calling a channel on xtouch and accessing the plugins controller via CC121 or combine their actions to complement theirselves to increase workflow. Make any sense?

It does.

I think you’ll find that whatever you can control in Cubase the X-Touch (which is just a cheaper copy of the Mackie MCU) will do. I own a Mackie MCU and I previously had the X-Touch. Both utilize the Mackie MCU protocol to control Cubase. There’s a dedicated button for “e,” you can control VST plugins and parameters, and you can also set up custom buttons to do most anything you want via Cubase settings. For a monitoring example, I have a button set up to toggle control room from stereo to mono, which gives me a one button solution to quickly checking the mix in mono.

The down side of an X-Touch is pretty much zero documentation and a user forum nowhere near as robust as this one. There are YouTube videos from Behringer but they all use Logic as the example, and there are naturally differences with Cubase. It was a hassle to get it sorted, but once you do it will do anything a Mackie MCU will do as it’s the same protocol.

Ultimately I sold the X-Touch and bought the Mackie as it’s built like a tank and the LCD strips are angled (X-Touch is almost impossible to read unless you’re looking straight down at it, so I had to prop it up 30 degrees with a towel).

If it were me, I’d take the combined money you were going to spend on the X-Touch and CC121 (and probably another couple hundred bucks) and buy a real Mackie MCU. It’s considerably more expensive but I was much happier with it. However, if budget is an issue, the X-Touch will get the job done. Either way, you really don’t need the CC121.

Hope this helps.

The MCU integration has this built in with Cubase, i use it all the time see Page 10 of the doc:-

You use the 1-8 buttons, plus if you hold down shift + 1-8 you can flick through only audio, only groups, fx etc.

Thank you very much ChrisDuncan, that was the kind of information I was serching for.
Now, the minor steps and learning curve, it’s preatty normal and I think I can handle it.

Actually a second hand MCU here in Brazil is like the same price or even cheaper than the Behringer X-touch, I’ve lost some deal in past months.

Excellent. Thanks for the tip, man!

Mackie MCU user since many years (with two extensions) and X-touch owner since about a year, using the latter in my B rig. Comparing those two, some key points from my perspective:

  • The LCD backlight ribbon on the Mackies fade with time, to the point that you can hardly see anything. I’m fairly handy with repair so I’ve changed the strips myself but it’s pretty fiddly. The ribbons are cheap but it can be costly if you can’t fix it yourself.
  • I absolutely hate how the “channel sections” (or the lack of sections) on the LCD strip are not divided in any way. Opening up the EQ looks terrible. The X-touch is way better in that regard.
  • The MCU comes with overlays for different DAWs, the X-touch doesn’t. For the X-touch I’ve simply printed an overlay from a PDF I found, but it looks a bit stupid. There are 3rd party magnetic overlays that you can order, but custom made so shipping will be an issue.
  • The MCU has better build quality, the faders are much nicer. The rotary controller on both units is pretty useless IMO. For any case when I need any form of precision, I swap the faders and rotaries and use the faders instead.
  • The MCU has very tiny LEDs to indicate button toggles and a single, tiny LED indicating signal presence on each channel. The X-touch has backlit buttons which I much prefer, and a much better, multi-step LED strip for the signal. Not that I use that feature much in particular, but it speeds things up for me a bit when I can quickly see what’s happening on a channel.
  • I absolutely loathe the blue backlight on the MCU. ANY other color would have been better for me. The X-touch has multi-colored scribble strip but it doesn’t work in MCU mode so it’s simply white on black background. That works way better for me.
  • Every function on the MCU can be accessed on the X-touch, there is no difference in that regard.
  • The jog wheel is much better on the MCU.

As for the CC121, there are some reasons why you might still want to consider it, even if you get an MCU and X-touch. I’m actually thinking about getting one myself:

  • The EQ knobs are laid out in a way that Might actually lead to me using a controller for EQ. I did it briefly on the MCU but it was too fiddly. Didn’t like having to swap between Q and Frequency, and the LCD readout is just garbage.
  • The MCU/X-touch doesn’t scroll to the channel you’ve selected, you have to look for it manually. Since the CC121 is only one channel, it will be the one you have selected in Cubase.
  • The AI knob can do some things that you can’t do on the other units. I’d love to be able to hover over a dial in Cubase and just turn a physical knob. One of the biggest reasons I’m considering getting a CC121.

Hope that helps!

If you can find one (you probably can’t), the AI is absolutely indispensable, and I wish I’d bought more when they were available.

I’ve never seen a hardware controller solution to working with plugins that wasn’t more trouble than just grabbing the mouse. Admittedly, it’s a tough problem to solve as every plugin can have a huge number of controls and there’s no consistency between them.

Including the AI is the most intuitive setup I’ve found. Looking forward, I have the computer qwerty keyboard, then the MCU, then my monitor. To the right of the keyboard is my mouse, and to the left is the AI.

For most operations I use the MCU or the keyboard, but when it’s a plugin, I use the AI. Left hand on the AI, right hand on the mouse. Easy to reach for via muscle memory and a breeze to use. Hover with the mouse, turn the AI knob. I have no idea why no one else has done this. It’s the only plugin hardware solution I’ve ever seen that works.

I’ve seen some very positive comments regarding in the past - and it’s supposed to be of very good quality. So interesting to read that you also like this style of control.

I’ve got the kensington trackball with scroll ring and that works ok, but it can be too fast for controls with only 4-5 values, and too slow for controls that are larger. It’s basically too inconsistent to be something that i rely on.

Thanks for the description! To be clear, I was referring to the AI knob featured on the CC121.

I never realized the CC121 had an AI knob until you mentioned it. Almost worth having it for that feature alone, although with most of it redundant to an MCU device $400 would be a bit pricey to use only 10% of the functionality.