Got a basic USB MIDI controller or keyboard sitting in your studio? Got a copy of Final Cut (or any other software that supports Logic Control / Mackie Control control surfaces)? Wish you could use your hardware to control your software? Thanks to Adam in comments on a story on M-Audio keyboards, we now know you can. That bank of faders should be perfect for some occasional Final Cut sound mixing, after all.

The solution is a piece of software called LC Xmu, which stands for Logic/Mackie Control emulation and management. Simple controllers get mapped in one direction (for input), but if you have a controller that either has motorized faders or knobs, or display feedback, or both, you can set up two-way communication with Final Cut so that you see/feel the results of what you’re doing. It works with generic controllers, it has specific presets for controllers from Korg, Behringer, Novation, Doepfer, and JL Cooper, and it even works with the Mackie Control hardware for which programs like Final Cut Pro were made in the first place.

LC Xmu

Two-way communication, easily remapped and customized — tell me again why all software can’t behave this way? US$40 buys you the application and potentially saves a lot of time and money in the process. Thanks again, Adam; I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of this and I can’t wait to start using it.

  • Mark Strauss

    Unfortunately, LC Xmu is still Mac only. There are a few threads on the Ableton forums expressing interest.. I've posted there.

  • At least with Live and many other programs, you have generic MIDI controller support and MIDI Learn, which are absent in Final Cut.

    But what's interesting to me here is bi-directional communication support. Now, of course, Live could add that independently, like what Reason 3 did . . . but what we really need is a standard, whether it's Mackie Control or something else.

  • Mark Straus:

    "Unfortunately, LC Xmu is still Mac only." Uhhh – yes. It's for Final Cut, which the last time I checked, is Mac-only software.

  • Mark,

    Actually, it's not just for Final Cut — I just ran that headline because I figured that would be the main draw. There are various other applications that also support Logic Control / Mackie Control, like Ableton Live. And that includes some Windows programs. The difference is that Final Cut *only* supports Mackie Control, but even with an app like Live that does MIDI learn this utility could be handy. So I think it would be useful — and possible to do — on Windows.


  • Adrian Anders

    WiseMix MCmu does this for windows:

    Only 39 Euros!


  • Adrian, you rock!

    Does MCmu do two-way communication like the Mac software?

  • Adrian Anders

    Yep, it has the same functionality as LC Xmu, plus it has its own virtual LCD display which makes for a user experience that's close to a Mackie Control surface, thus expanding the use to software that already has MIDI support like Sonar or Cubase.


  • Pingback: Create Digital Music » Fake (or Customize) a Mackie Control Surface on Mac … and Windows, too!()

  • Chris_B

    No offence to the fine folks who coded LC Xmu or the other thing, but having a virtual LCD on the computter screen is not "a user experience that's close to a Mackie Control surface". Its not close, its even in the same postal code.

    Music/Audio production software already takes up alot of screen space, even with two (or even three) monitors, looking up at the screen and finding the bits you want while doing something on a control surface is VERY different than using an MCU. I'd say the MCU is the most valuable part of my little studio when it comes to mixing or controlling plugins since the physical feedback and displays makes the user experience very darn close to working in a "real" studio.

    I tried LC Xmu with a Tascam US4200 and a BCR 2000. It worked (barely) but in the end wasnt much better than mousing around the screens.

  • Chris, I agree, because the whole idea is having the LCD by the knob/fader/whatever. But they are adding that feature to controllers that have displays — not all of them yet, but one at a time.

    All of this brings me back to the need for a single, open spec for making 2-way software/hardware communication happen. It could even be a layer on top of MIDI if vendors don't want to embrace things like OSC. Or you could take Mackie Control and open it up. (No one is making hardware quite as good a buy as the Mackie, so why not? Not to mention, broader support for the spec would make it easier to sell more Mackie Controls.)

    I know, I know. I'm completely out of touch with reality for suggesting this.

  • Nasir

    Peter, do you mean to say Live doesn't do bi-directional control for Generic MIDI (i.e. only for MCU?) In Live, if you enable output for the remote control surface's MIDI interface, you can get feedback if your device supports it. It works for my BCR2000, e.g. dragging a channel fader in Live updates the knob I assigned to it via "Edit MIDI Map."

    Amen to making MIDI controllers easy to remap and customize. It always boggles my mind that after so many years, we still only have two control surfaces that automagically map (Novation SL series and Mackie Control). Would be great if more vendors could take Reason's cue a la ReMOTE and make controllers an extension of the software rather than just another input device.

  • Nasir

    'course, that's not to say that it's easy to program Generic MIDI controllers to do your bidding, not to mention with multiple applications … definitely a handy utility!

  • Chris_B


    Heres the thing, you can either buy cheap non-functional crap like behhringer and burn hours trying to setup the damn thing right to fake your way into control mappings, or you can drop the extra penny on an MCU and get right down to making your music.

    I'm not a total Mackie shill, FWIW Tascam has some gear that integrates all the same neato automation and feedback and includes audio IO as well. About the only reason I didnt chose that was I couldnt find any users who could comment on it.

    Not everything has to be "open" or "free". IMHO that way of thinking penalizes success.

  • Well, wait a minute, Chris; not everything needs to be open or free, but I think control specs are a pretty good place to start. The industry would be in huge trouble if it hadn't agreed (well, sort of agreed, anyway) on MIDI, and I think it could expand a lot more if hardware and software worked together better. (A lot of the hardware and software makers I talk to agree, in fact; it's just difficult to make it happen.)

    And this is a perfect case. It's not that people are doing this to avoid buying the Mackie or because they're cheap. They're doing it because they've got the software, they've got the hardware (including stuff that isn't terribly cheap, like the Yamaha 01X), and they want it to work together. Not to mention, one of the big applications of this particular utility is for people who DO have the Mackie but who want some control Mackie (and Apple, Steinberg, and others) didn't give them.

    Not everything needs to be open or free, and it's great that Mackie came up with a solution that works for their gear. But this also demonstrates that no matter how good your hardware and software, the communication spec between them needs to grow with them.

  • I bought the Korg Kontrol49 about 9 months ago. The only thing that allowed me to use it fully as a controller in Logic is LC Xmu. I paid more than $450 for the Kontrol49 and I do not believe this to be cheap for a controller.

    I don't know if it is Apple / eMagic / Logic or Korg who are responsible for this keyboard not working right out the box. All I know is that it wasn't working as it should.

    As such, I am happy that LC Xmu exist.

  • Stan Lee

    I'm wondering if JL Cooper MCS-3400 controller is compatible with final cut. Does anyone have any experience with this combo on mac osx?

    I appreciate the help.

  • Bryk

    I would LOVE IT if someone would either add the Axiom 49 to a program like this, or if Apple would add the Axioms to their supported control surfaces.

    The Axiom would be amazing for Logic, if only it didn't take hours to set up. Now, why couldn't M-Audio include a MCP/LC preset?

    Oh, I remember, they sell that ProjectMix for 5x the price… cynical c**ts that they are…