Roland A-88 MK2 MIDI Setup

I have a Roland A-88 MK2 MIDI controller. The manual is quite confusing to me, but it seems the 8 pads on it can all send numerous different messages depending on what Bank is selected, and whether they are set to PROG CHG, CC or NOTE. To me that means the typical MIDI Remote / Mapping Assistant setup in Cubase will not work, because each physical button is capable of being 48 different functions, so unless I make 48 templates per button, Cubase will only be using a fraction of what the A88 MK2 is capable of.

When I hit the pads with Mapping Assistant open, only some of them show up and some of them seem to be interpreted as the same pad. And that’s just in PROG CHG mode and in only 1 of the 16 banks.

I’m quite out of my depth with this situation. Can someone demystify this, or is this controller more trouble than it’s worth?

Hi and welcome to the forum,

You can make 48 virtual buttons in the MIDI Remote in Cubase. Then you would assign the MIDI Messages accordingly:

  • 1-16: Program Changes
  • 17-32: MIDI CC
  • 33-48: MIDI Note

Then you can assign the commands freely in the MIDI Remote Assistant.

Thank you for the advice.

When entering the MIDI CC and MIDI Note virtual buttons, this works fine.

But Program Changes virtual buttons won’t create properly - they all seem to act as the same button / message.

Also after entering a large enough number of MIDI CC and MIDI Note messages to roughly suffice for my needs (I did 32 of each), when I tried to enter the knobs, Cubase seemed to think they are buttons which have already been entered, instead of a new control.

Does someone know why this is happening?

I am a beginner to MIDI programming.


Are you sure, the Pads are sending unique MIDI Messages, unique Program Change?

Well I did find in the configuration tool (Roland software) “A-88MK2 Control” that, for example, the first knob by default is sending Control Number 3, which is also what the fourth drum pad sends when in Bank 1 of 16 in CC mode.

The second knob sends Control Number 9, which is what the second drum pad sends when in Bank 2 of 16 in CC mode.

I think that means while I could use all 384 messages from the drum pads (8 drum pads * 3 modes * 16 banks), some of the messages are shared by the other buttons/knobs on the A-88 MK2. So I just have to ensure I set them to not be shared, by adjusting the messages in the configuration tool. It’s not like I’m going to need 384 commands anyway.

Hopefully that makes sense.

However, I don’t really understand how Program Changes, MIDI CC and MIDI Note differ, in the context of Cubase. Are you able to explain or is there some not-too-technical resource for me to learn from?

It seems the difference between Program Changes, MIDI CC and MIDI Note are relevant when controlling a MIDI Device - but I’m controlling Cubase - so does that mean I can use all of these message types interchangeably?


These are different MIDI Messages. Program Change 1 had nothing to do with CC1.