Using a Behringer Motor with FL Studio in Mackie Control Mode (enhanced)

So having access to this keyboard I wondered if there were opportunities connected with the new scripting capability in FL Studio to resurrect and maybe improve on its’ functionality. This DAW controller turned a lot of heads on its release and is the only keyboard (to my knowledge) with a built in set of motorised faders.

So my plan at the moment is to cover the following:

  • Give an overview of the controls on the Motor keyboard
  • Show how these controls relate to the Mackie Control Universal Protocol (MCU)
  • Show how to set up the revised MCU Scripts in FL Studio (PC)
  • Outline the principal “tweaks” that are a part of the new scripts (MCU Enhanced or “MCUE”)
  • Demonstrate how the basic MCU functionality works (with these new enhancements)
  • Demonstrate how the “other” features relating to Plugins, EQ, Sends etc work with this keyboard

The controls on the Motor keyboard

Starting with the basic layout and controls as follows:

Basic Layout (from the Quick Start Guide)

…. we soon learn that as well as midi support (sadly not bi-directional?) we also have support for the Mackie Control Protocol – and it is this that I have chosen to look at in this post. The first thing to note is that we really benefit from the use of an overlay, along the lines of the diagram below (it is unfortunate that the keyboards backlit buttons reflect Midi rather than Mackie – I wonder if they maybe planned to make an overlay or, even better, replacement backlit buttons that show the MCU related text – that would have been nice! (Note to self: open up and see if there are opportunities for 3d printing new buttons with Mackie related text?)

Of course some dymo tape also does the job!

The Mackie Control Universal Protocol (MCU)

You can read more about the MCU by following the reference links from Wikipedia here

The second column of the table below shows the Mackie functionality that is a part of the keyboard:

Mackie Control Button Functionality (from the Quick Start Guide)

The first thing I note when using the keyboard in Mackie control mode is how easy it is to lose track of which bank of 8 the faders relate to (and it just gets worse with larger projects the more tracks you have) NB This is fixed in the enhanced script below

The other thing that tends to hit people with Mackie (MCP) Controllers is the promise of controlling EQ, plug ins, instruments, pan/surround, Effects sends etc. – and yes, it can be done – but soon becomes tiresome as these functions, by their nature, lend themselves better to a mouse and PC (your experience may be different of course, but there is nothing more annoying than thinking you are panning an item to the left when in reality you are changing the EQ of the track – or worse). With this in mind I am going to focus on the most useful/used features of this keyboard – in my own opinion – though if I get time, I would like to do a video showing how these other features operate as well.

How to set up the revised Motor Script in FL Studio (PC)

Plug in your Behringer MOTOR and set up the midi settings as follows (ports don’t matter as long as they match up on Output and Input – note the MIDIIN2 setting is needed for Mackie support.

NB You should also set your keyboards channel “CH” number in the bottom right of the display (per the Behringer manual) Global Settings->MIDI->Global Channel to “2”:

Now download the script from the Image line Forum thread here

  1. After installing to .. Documents\Image-Line\FL Studio\Settings\Hardware\MCUE\Behringer_Motor.py
  2. Choose the following script in the MIDI Settings > Controller type list …

What is new in this script? (MCU Enhanced or “MCUE”)

At the time of writing there are 4 main “tweaks” (small changes) to the functionality in the default Mackie script:

  1. Adding dynamic track numbering in scribble strips
  2. Adding “pseudo” touch sensitivity to faders
  3. Forcing the jog dial to stay in the song (playlist) window
  4. Highlighting the current track when banking through tracks (developed for the Motor)

NB 2. and 4. while useful generally, specifically target control surfaces without scribble strips such as this one.

A quick demo of how these new enhancements work with the Behringer Motor keyboard

(With apologies for my stickers to show Mackie functionality – they are pealing off already!)

(The banking functionality was developed especially for the Behringer Motor as it is otherwise so easy to lose track of which track you are currently editing!)

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