SAC 2.2 controller support

Hi,

apparently the support for the Radikal Technologies SAC 2.2 controller has been dropped since the release of Cubase 11. The Steinberg Houston controller has been dropped as well but has been put back into the list of available remote devices within Cubase 11/12 due to complaints here, although it’s officially not supported.

Please do the same for the SAC 2.2 controller with one of the upcoming Cubase updates. There are lots of people still using this controller, including me.

Thx!

11 Likes

+1

Doesn’t make sense to me to bring the Houston back and leave the others out, especially considering that there are still devices supported that are even older. As long as there’s no update in that respect I’m not gonna update from Cubase 10.5.

Bring it back, Steinberg!

3 Likes

Hi,

It shouldn’t be so difficult to write the MIDI Remote API script for this device.

Do you have any web-page/PDF with the specification, please? What MIDI data does ti send? Does it support Mackie Control?

Hey Martin,

I guess that could be said for any device. The point is, the ‘native’ support option that was given by Steinberg until Cubase 11 came out worked perfect. And I’m not so sure why a user should write a script with an instrument that’s still in the starting phase and under development when a perfectly working solution is already there.

It can be switched to Mackie Control, to Houston and other Controller types, act as an active device as well…but the Slave mode in which it relies on the SAC 2.2 integration within the DAW is what counts - for example does it allow 10 character channel names that way. In my setup the SAC 2.2 sends data to Bome’s Midi translator for converting some things to my specific needs and from there to Cubase. The Midi translator relies on the MIDI messages the SAC sends in Slave mode. If I change that mode i.e. to Mackie Control, all these controls won’t work anymore, as the Mackie protocol uses other MIDI messages. And to rewrite that whole shebang is a huge effort. Add to that the development of a script using the Midi Control API that makes the SAC do exactly what it does now.

If you want to know more about that controller, you can get all the information here:

Oh, just saw that I can’t post links…I will try to attach the manual, hope it works.

SAC_HANDBUCH.PDF (1.3 MB)

1 Like

Hi,

Do you have an English version, please? But I’m missing the MIDI implementation (which would be the most important for me) anyway. Do you have this document available by any chance?

Martin,

actually I have an English manual for the predecessor, the SAC 2k. The SAC 2.2 has completely revised electronics and a newer firmware - not sure how much the manual is affected by this.

The MIDI implementation is in English but the newest I have here is for the SAC 2k as well. It’s the implementation v 1.06 which refers to firmware version 2.20. Mind you, the latest firmware for the SAC 2.2 is version 3.08.

So I suppose that this MIDI implementation is not up to date. I was checking the web to get a newer implementation document, but to no avail.
Midi-Implementation.pdf (80.9 KB)
MANUAL.PDF (1.0 MB)

Hi,

This is all anyone needs to be able to write the script.

Hi, one more vote for adding the SAC controller to the list of remote devices. I don’t get why it was dropped, but I’d love to see it back in. Still on Cubase 10.0.60 here because of that. Thx!

2 Likes

For the time being I’m gonna stay with Cubase 10 as well (might be better anyway :grin:). I won’t drop the SAC.

3 Likes

This.

Btw, mewy…that MIDI implementation document is the latest that was published by Raditec, they still have it available for download. So there’s probably no newer one available for public.

Same here.

1 Like

Whilst I understand the intent behind your request, I think you are likely making a doomed request.

It is clear that Steinberg has taken decisions for Cubase/Nuendo 12 that are aimed at eliminating technical debt - getting rid of old code that poses a maintenance and testing burden but is not seen as a core part of the product anymore (such as dropping four older VSTis and the deprecated Rewire protocol). When it comes to controllers, it seems that the medium-term aim might be to move all controller support over to the new MIDI Remote capability other than CC121, EUCON and, for Nuendo, Nuage support. It is possible to support a generic Mackie controller in MIDI Remote and the same should be possible for other MIDI-based controllers.

I understand the frustration when a new release breaks support for a much-loved controller at the centre of your workflow, but when that controller has been out of production for many years and the remaining population in use is dwindling, there is a point where dropping support is a reasonable decision.

Bringing back support for the Houston on a ‘no promises, no support’ basis when that was requested shortly after the Cubase/Nuendo 11 release was easier to justify as the Houston was a Steinberg branded product and MIDI Remote was dropped from version 11 just before release. Now that MIDI Remote is here and the Cubase 11 release was 18 months ago, I think the request for the old SAC 2.2 support to be reinstated is unlikely to succeed.

The better approach IMHO is the one suggested by @Martin.Jirsak - implement the support you seek in MIDI Remote. That should allow getting rid of shims written in Bome MIDI Translator, Max and similar.

Hey David,

I have no idea about Steinberg’s intentions, maybe your assumptions are right.

To put this into perspective, here are the supported controllers in Cubase 12 and the year of their introduction to the market:

Jl-Cooper MCS-3000 1998
Jl-Cooper CS-10 2nd edition 2002
Mackie Baby HUI 2002
Mackie Control 2002
Steinberg Houston 2001
Tascam DM24 2002
WK-Audio ID 2002
Yamaha 01V 1998
Yamaha 01v96 2003
Yamaha 02R96 2002
Yamaha DM 1000 2003
Yamaha DM 2000 2002

Radikal Technologies SAC 2.2 was introduced 2003, its predecessor, the SAC 2K in 2000.

I have yet to see statistics which offer numbers about how many people are still using which controller. By that logic none of the supported devices should be supported anymore, they are all around the same age or even older than the SAC. Which brings us to your next point…

And still in Cubase 12 support for the Houston controller is available. But, as you said, it was Steinberg branded. And lots of still supported devices are Yamaha branded. And IIRC, JL-Cooper was partly involved into the development of the Nuage.

I personally think that the customer’s voice should be heard - as it was when some here called for bringing back the support for the Houston controller. If the reason for not including the SAC and other controllers anymore is ‘because they are from another brand’ although many ppl are still using them, I’d question how much the opinion of the user base is worth.

Somewhere in the beginning of your reply you wrote ‘It is possible to support a generic Mackie controller in MIDI Remote and the same should be possible for other MIDI-based controllers.’ I appreciate Martin’s suggestions.

But is there a script that does everything the Mackie protocol involves ? Including switching channel names and showing them on the displays as well as showing the pan parameters, transferring send/insert settings, eq settings, plugin settings to the displays in the right format when one presses the corresponding button and being able to edit those different parameters by moving the knobs ? How about skipping the 32 channel ‘border’ and showing the channel names and other values for channels 33 and above - I remember that was a big thing to achieve back in the beginning of the development in the late 90s. What about dealing with jog wheels and their different resolutions and faders with different resolutions ? And the transferring of data to the beats and bars display - how to switch between time and bars and beats ?

The aforementioned points are not as easy to implement as to auto generate a script via MIDI learn. To make things worse, the MIDI implementation document for the SAC is probably outdated and in some respects it differs completely from the Mackie Control protocol (10 character channel names i.e., as somebody in this thread pointed out earlier).

I suppose developing a working script that would be able to do exactly what the SAC is able to do now would take amounts of time, testing - and programming skills.

Steinberg has the programmers and the skills. I am a user, not a programmer There’s no need to invent the thing new. It’s already there - there just has to be the will to put it back into Cubase again. I have no problem if it runs as ‘officially unsupported.’

Listen to your customers please, Steinberg.

Bring it back.

1 Like

Hello all,
there really isn’t much to add to that.

For me, it would be a huge disappointment if the SAC wouldn’t find its way back into the remote device list.

Or it could be added as a ready to use script to the MIDI remote thing, the guys at Steinberg could port the code to script. But then again, what’s the difference…

1 Like

The introduction date is not what matters - it is the date of discontinuation. Controllers often remain on the market for many years before being dropped. It is more difficult to justify supporting a controller than disappeared from the market ten or more years ago than a controller whose protocol continues to be implemented in products available today. HUI and Mackie Control have become industry standards, with controllers using those protocols still in production today.

I have been part of a team having to make decisions on technical debt, albeit in networking rather than audio software. There are only so many developer hours available each week. Old code that nobody has touched for a while adds complexity and can impede desired changes to internal interfaces.

I would be very surprised if Steinberg’s underlying direction of travel is anything other than full MIDI 2.0 support in a forthcoming release of Cubase and Nuendo; I suspect the new MIDI Remote was designed with future MIDI 2.0 support in mind. MIDI Remote will be the actively developed and supported route to add controller support from here on.

For now, the existing generic remote remains, but has been tagged legacy; maybe its feature set will eventually be folded into MIDI Remote (perhaps even with an automated update of existing generic remotes to MIDI Remote) and the legacy code dropped.

My point here was that the situation has changed since support for the Houston was reinstated. The push on the forums to reinstate Houston support came immediately after the release of version 11 (I think it was actually made in the Nuendo 11 forum). At that point, MIDI Remote was not available, as it was dropped from version 11 shortly before release so that it could receive further attention for version 12.

Your request for the legacy SAC 2.2 support to be brought back comes three maintenance releases after Cubase 12 has been released. MIDI Remote is now available, which allows for a clean re-implementation of SAC 2.2 support. It might be much harder to reinstate the legacy SAC 2.2 support now, as the internal interfaces might have diverged from those that the legacy code requires.

I can understand Steinberg’s position being “if the users cared enough about this, someone would have said something 18 months ago”.

I’m not unsympathetic to your request at all. I understand your desire to keep using your still functioning controller as you always did. On the other hand, I could understand the developers saying “we dropped this legacy code deliberately as we continue to tidy Cubase’s internals, nobody complained for 18 months, we’re not bringing it back especially now that self-help is possible via MIDI Remote”.

Version 12 has brought what is, for some, some painful losses. Whilst Mystic, Prologue, Spector and Loopmash had received no attention for years, they were important to some who miss them now that they have been dropped rather than updated for Apple Silicon and Steinberg Licensing support. Steinberg seems to have tried for years not to drop any features, but there comes a point when decisions have to be made about unmaintained code that is seen as non-core. On the one hand you have users who do not want any breaking changes, on the other there are those who criticise Cubase for failing to modernise as quickly as they hoped. Maybe Steinberg has the correct balance after all.

Others will be in a better place to answer than I, as I don’t currently own a Mackie like controller so am only watching on whilst others work on this. However, I am aware of active development on some Icon controllers and on the Behringer X-Touch series. There is a long forum thread about the work on the Mackie mode of the Icon Platform M+, which should be a good starting point for other Mackie-based controllers. There is a Presonus Faderport 8 script (for the non-Mackie mode of that controller) in the Steinberg midiremote-userscripts GitHub repository, which would also be worth reviewing. @Martin.Jirsak has been working on a Mackie C4 script. The Steinberg repository is open to contributions and should become an increasingly valuable resource over time. To be clear, we are not talking here about scripts generated in the Cubase/Nuendo GUI, but scripts programmed in JavaScript.

A good Mackie script should provide much of the groundwork for the SAC - how far it gets you depends on how Mackie-like the SAC’s native protocol is. From what you say, its scribble strips are an enhancement over the Mackie protocol, but the same is true of the Behringer X-Touch. If the SAC MIDI Implementation document turns out to be out of date, looking over MIDI dumps should be enough to figure out what is wrong. An incomplete implementation document that contains some errors puts you in a better position than having to reverse-engineer the protocol from scratch.

It would have helped if Steinberg had shipped a reference implementation of a generic Mackie controller in JavaScript, as that would have been an excellent starting point for implementing many Mackie-like controllers - but there is only so much developer time available.

1 Like

David, they did…

FWIW, I don’t think to bring the integration back would be harder than to write a script. Just the opposite. A script has to be built from the ground up as tannoy mentioned earlier. Time consuming thing. And it has to be done by us - the customers. The Houston device was implemented again on public demand. And that went really quick - with the very next Cubase 11 update it was there. And it is still there and working, untested and unsupported. To me that means no changes have been made to it. The same could be done with the SAC.

Cheers, mewy

1 Like

Thank you for the correction. Sadly, the passage of time indicates that Steinberg likely is not interested in resurrecting the legacy code.

I hear the frustrations of those who still have these controllers. They might have been discontinued a long time ago, but they’re probably of better quality than much of what is on the market today other than in the premium segment (SSL, Avid, Nuage etc.).

As I understand it, the Houston came back on a “no promises” basis - it could disappear at any time. I would not be at all surprised if all the MIDI-based controllers in the next version of Cubase were supported via MIDI Remote and the legacy controller code is dropped entirely. I doubt that Steinberg will bother to provide scripts for long-discontinued controllers such as the Houston and SAC in that event though I would be pleased to be wrong about that.

There are two choices - keep asking Steinberg, or DIY. I can appreciate that the task of writing a script for a complex controller from scratch is quite daunting, but as user-contributed scripts develop, it will hopefully be possible to build upon the work done by others.

In the end, I have no stake in this situation - I don’t work for Steinberg and I don’t own one of these controllers. The reasons I posted in the thread were to offer the thought that reducing technical debt is sometimes a worthy goal especially if there is an intention to rework an area of the application more heavily in the future, also to suggest ways of leveraging the work already done by others to create the support you desire in a way that should have a medium to long term future.

I wish you and the other owners well, whatever you decide.

The.SAC 2.2 controller has been a big part of a very fast efficient workflow with me using Nuendo for years… I would love your help to make it work!
With any version past 10 the basic undo, redo, save , cut, paste, set market, location points, fx sends. Fader location buttons etc etc are completely wack!
So I have Nuendo 12 & 11 but If I want to work fast I am forced to use the old version.

1 Like

Hello David,

If you check my list of still supported controllers again, you’ll find out that almost all of them where discontinued some time ago. That’s the point. Those controllers are still supported albeit they are discontinued. And while some of them support it, they don’t rely on the Mackie HUI or Mackie Control protocol. That’s why they are listed seperately as remote devices - they are supported with special functions specific to their hardware.

I get where you are coming from and your thoughts are appreciated, thank you for your replies. Same goes for Martin, of course.

What tannoy said. Thank you for taking the time and for your thoughts, guys.

Cheers, mewy