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I'm pretty confident that this build won't blow up in any terminal fashion under 32-bit versions of Windows (see below for 64-bit comments), but please remember that this is a test version, so please make suitable system and data backups before trying it out - I almost certainly can't help you if you scrap your latest masterpiece. actually using the MDR with any given DAW software is going to be a learning curve for all of us, given the new information that we will have access to. For this reason, the style of the reporting is still somewhat up for grabs and, if you find a situation where using the MDR appears to be clumsy, let me know about it and I'll try and streamline the way things work. Similarly, if you find it blocking data when it shouldn't (or allowing it through when it shouldn't), I want to know about it. Please email all bugs/suggestions to: tim@raisedbar.net

If you're a Sonar user, you should have a Mackie.chm file located in:

c:\program files\cakewalk\shared surfaces\

This file is essential reading and contains a lot of key commands that allow you to navigate the DAW. Users of other DAW software should check their documentation for something similar, so that they can interpret what is being displayed. Please be aware that this free version is heavily optimised for use with Sonar, so the button names might not be what you'd expect when using another DAW. I've provided a layout description at the end of this document that describes the front panel of a Mackie Control Universal.


Using the MDR

Setting Up the MDR

Because we don't have a setup tool available at the moment, the manual setup is as follows:
  1. Extract the .zip file into c:\program files\ (this is for Win32 - change the path to c:\program files (x86)\ for Win64. Make sure that your archive extraction tool (e.g. WinZip or WinRAR) has the option to preserve folders enabled. If you do this step correctly, you'll have a folder called Raised Bar appear in your Program Files (or Program Files (X86) folder). The actual program file is called MDRLite32.exe
  2. The MDR sits between your Mackie control surface and your PC in a MIDI loop, so that it can catch the button information being transmitted from the surface itself, and to catch the display information being sent by your software back to the surface. To perform this task without creating potential arguments between the MDR and your software, it is necessary to install a pair of virtual MIDI cables. There are a few software applications that provide this ability (I've been using MIDI-Yoke from http://www.midiox.com for my Windows XP testing, though LoopB is also available and has 64-bit support). The actual steps involved vary depending on which package you go for, but here's the outline of what you need to do:
    1. Install your virtual MIDI cable software and configure it to provide two cables.
    2. Within your audio/MIDI software's control surface configuration dialog, add a Mackie Control. You'll be asked to specify the ports to be used, so point the input port to your first virtual MIDI cable (e.g. In from MIDI Yoke-1) and the output port to the second virtual MIDI cable (e.g. Out to MIDI-Yoke 2).
    3. Run the MDR, go into the Options menu and choose the DAW MIDI Setup item.
    4. Set the input port to the second virtual MIDI cable (e.g. In from MIDI-Yoke 2) and the output port to the physical MIDI out port that your surface is actually wired into. When you're happy, press Enter to activate the OK button.
    5. Go into the Options menu and choose the Buttons MIDI Setup item.
    6. Set the input port to the physical MIDI In port that your surface is wired into and the output port to the first virtual MIDI out port (e.g. Out to MIDI-Yoke 1). Press Enter when you're happy.
    7. If the MDR can't open any of the ports, you'll receive error messages and you'll need to reconfigure your ports. Otherwise, the MDR will go into Live Mode and start processing the MIDI activity. The ports that you've defined will be saved in the registry and automatically opened the next time you run the MDR, so you shouldn't need to do this set-up again, barring computer failure or a change in the MIDI hardware available on your machine.

Active Mode

This is the default MDR behaviour and everything that you do on the surface sends instructions to your software. In addition, the following controls cause announcements to be made:
  1. The Mode buttons (Assignable buttons 1 and 2, Pan, Plug-Ins, EQ and Dynamics) announce changes in the Assignment Display when you press them. You may hear characters being repeated and this is something I'm trying to improve, but you can always flip into ID Mode to check the assignment, if necessary.
  2. The Beats/SMPTE button allows you to change the displayed time format and hear which format is active.
  3. The touch sensors built into your faders allow you to query the LCD display. This display normally describes what the rotary at the top of each strip is currently set to do.

ID Mode

This mode prevents most buttons from doing anything and reassigns others to provide additional reporting functions. You toggle between ID Mode and Live Mode by holding down the M1 button and pressing the Stop button. When you're in this mode none of your actions on the surface will be passed along to your software, with the following exceptions: