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Skunk

Mackie Control C4 Clone

36 posts in this topic

Hmmm, interesting approach. I tried already sometime ago to contact Mackie US regarding that issue. The result was: my email was deleted without reading and without any response. Mackie did not show any cooperation.

Dan Steinberg's offer is new for me. The problem in place is just the fact that the MIDIbox community has no "official representative of a company". Is there anybody outside in a company that might work as a representative for this? I'd work together with him and contact Tony Rodriguez to sort out if there is any chance of a coop.

Cheers,

Skunk

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Is there anybody outside in a company that might work as a representative for this?

... perhaps in a few month?  ;)

Greets, Roger

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Ha ha ha, I expected this answer, Roger!  ;D  Let's discuss during the next phone call...

Cheers,

Skunk

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Mackie has released the C4 Commander "Middleware" to allow users to create their own layouts for hardware or software on the C4 hardware. 

It's beyond me, but there may be someone here who can use that tool to figure out the midi communication of the C4.

It's pretty neat.  I was able to control the B4 software instrument from the C4 Commander software.  Using Midi Ox, I could see the midi data that would have been sent out if there was a C4 hardware controller connected to configure it to match my software layout.

xile

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I should have added that the C4 Commander is a free download on the Mackie site.  Also, there is a Programming Guide and Owner's Manual for the software.

xile

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I've just added a topic about software that can do this on the Mac or PC - emulate a Mackie or Logic Control on any MIDI hardware.

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Just some information for you guys about how mackie views what they think is their protocol and their reaction to other companies reverse engineering their hardware.  Of course we all know that Mackie did develop Logic Control or MCU.  Their dispute with eMagic is widely known - but I am curious how exactly they settled in the end.  DOES Mackie own the MCU protocol?

Logic Control protocol and hardware was devised by Emagic.  Mackie looked after industrial design and manufacturing.  Logic Control appeared on the market long before Mackie Control.

Now, I'm not in the loop about what happened next, but I have heard it rumoured as this:

Logic Control's sales were probably a bit slower than Emagic expected, and they left Mackie on the hook for some money.  Rather than wait and work it out, Mackie jumped ahead and changed the sticker and firmware, released an identical product that would work with all DAWs except Logic, and called it Mackie Control.

Emagic - bad for being slow to pay Mackie,

Mackie - bad for breaching a (huge) licence agreement.

Emagic probably had a pretty strong case against Mackie, however they were being courted by Apple at the time, who would eventually buy Emagic and shut down all of their hardware operations anyway.  Much better to kiss and make up, and concede Logic Control to Mackie.

The next part:  Mackie Control users are offered an "upgrade" to "Mackie Control UNIVERSAL", which is actually the Logic Control protocol.

Now, this bugs me:

Unfortunately, the sysex details of the Mackie Control are not an open

standard and are not publicly available, they represent a lot of hard work

and intellectual property that we need to protect carefully.

Uh-huh.  Well, sorry but the sysex details of Logic Control and LC Extender were released to the public by Emagic.  That remains the de facto protocol to this day.

When it is software companies adding MCU support in their DAWs, its always

been a result of us licensing the code to them and working with them to make

it happen. When it's competing control surface companies, it's usually been

more of a case of them reverse engineering the code and using it without our

knowledge or cooperation.

I feel compelled to call bullshit on this one.  It has not been a case of reverse engineering anything.  It has been a case of using the code as it was released to the public to do as they choose with.  You can't revoke information.

If [a hardware company] is interested in having their controllers emulate an MCU, we could

look into the possibility of working with them. The bets way to make this

happen is to have an official [hardware company's] representative contact myself or our

business development manager, Tony Rodrigues (tonyrodrigues@mackie.com). We

can then discuss with them their goals, and then we can evaluate where we

want to go from there.

In other words, we can discuss how much Mackie wants to charge to licence the protocol.

Wow, I wish I had the time and smarts to actually reverse engineer a C4.  It is such a simple beast, yet it is so powerful because of its tight integration with the host software.  I wouldn't be surprised if they encrypted its MIDI stream!  ;)

What concerns me most about this is whether Mackie is forcing software manufacturers to sell their souls... i.e. "you can use the Mackie Control protocols as long as you don't make it too easy for users to just plug in any ol' controller and have it function as well".  Of course that's just speculation, but it is pretty damn hard to control Logic with just any ol' box of knobs.

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Hot! A totally new view of the story! I'll pick it up again.

Cheers,

Skunk

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Reverse engineering the C4 would be cool.

What would be even cooler?

Devising a standard "control surface protocol" subset of MIDI communication, not unlike GM or MMC.  It could accomodate a wide variety of devices, such as faders (motorized or not), touch sensors, jog/shuttle wheels, rotary encoder "v-pots", buttons, switches, meters, displays, etc.

Make it an open standard, something that all control surface manufacturers -could- adopt, and get it into some software - start off with Open Source stuff like Audacity, then let the commercial software vendors implement it as well.  Beat companies like Mackie at their own game.

What an arrogant response from Mackie.  C4 is nice, but the cost is exhorbitant.  "A lot of hard work and intellectual property that we need to protect carefully"???  It's some displays and knobs, for crying out loud!

Thanks - I promise this is my last rant on the subject.  That topic just came to the top and I forgot how mad Mr. Steinberg's response made me - especially since the C4 pumps its data along something that only ever worked because it's an open standard - MIDI.

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What would be even cooler? Devising a standard "control surface protocol" subset of MIDI communication<SNIP>Beat companies like Mackie at their own game.

I thought the same thing you know :)

If enough end-users are interested, the software companies will support it. Your idea of getting the Open Source community to pioneer support for the protocol is excellent, because nobody but them will build the devices until things are stable. I encourage you to chase that one up.

how mad Mr. Steinberg's response made me - especially since the C4 pumps its data along something that only ever worked because it's an open standard - MIDI.

Totally, what a dirty SOB. A big "f*ck you" from me to you, Mr. Steinberg. What I want to know, is what makes these guys stop being musicians and engineers, and start being money hungry businessmen.

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Did you guys see the new C4 software?

It's totally beyond my hack skills, but maybe this is a way to unlock the C4?

It would be pretty cool.

Sleeper

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