Hello All -
I recently got a new M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro keyboard, and finally got it to control Cakewalk's faders, sliders, and transport. I thought I'd share with other M-Audio gear owners as I didn't see all this information in one single place. I do owe a lot of my success to several posts on this thread over in Instruments & Effects. Note that although the various M-Audio keyboards have slightly different control surfaces, the internals are basically the same. I took all my instructions from various posts about the Oxygen 25, 49, and 61.
What you Need
Cakewalk Installed and working at a basic level with your Hammer or Oxygen keyboard via USB or MIDI DIN and a MIDI card in your computer.
Have read the basic User guide and know about DAW vs PRESET mode and how to interact with the keyboard.
Create a project with 8 or more tracks, and have it open. You don't even need particular instruments assigned - can just be an empty audio or MIDI track.
Record something for a few bars so that you can play with the transport controls once they're hooked up.
How to Get the Mojo
On your Keyboard,
Press and hold the DAW button
Turn the rotary encoder slowly until you see the BITWIG DAW preset show up.
Click the Encoder knob to select it. BITWIG uses the Mackie protocol for communication with the DAW, out of the box.
Go to Edit -> Preferences or just hit P to open the preferences.
Click on Control Surfaces, on the left, under MIDI
Click the ugly yellow plus icon in the upper right (Add New Controller/Surface)
From the Controller/Surface dropdown menu, pick the last one, Mackie Control
For Input Port, pick MIDIIN3 (your keyboard name here) if you're on a PC, and Mackie/HUI if you are on a Mac. For instance, I have a Hammer Pro 88 so the option I pick is MIDIIN 3 (Hammer Pro 88).
For Output port you can select --None-- since your keyboard does not have motorized faders and can't really change based on incoming data from Cakewalk.
Click OK to save it.
Click the WAI (Where Am I) checkbox on your new control surface and pick your favorite color.
Close your preferences dialog.
Go into Console mode or another mode where you can see the controls for each track.
You should see tracks 1-8 have a thinnish bar at the very bottom in the color you selected, with a number in it. These numbers correspond to the faders and rotaries on your "mackie" keyboard.
Back on the Keyboard
Move sliders in turn, 1-8. Each should control the fader.
Fiddle with the 8 rotaries. They should sync up with your PAN virtual rotary in Cakewalk and animate it.
Press the PLAY button on the keyboard. It should start Cakewalk at wherever your NOW pointer is.
Press STOP to stop it.
Press the MODE/GLOBAL button once so that the red REC light lights up
Now all the buttons beneath each slider will arm/disarm the corresponding track for Record
Press MODE/GLOBAL twice so that the MUTE light is lit (I am not sure if SELECT does anything). Now all the buttons will selectively mute each track.
Press MODE/GLOBAL again so that the SOLO light is lit. Now all the buttons will selectively SOLO each track.
Oh, so sad. I need more than 8 tracks. I guess this Mackie thing is not for me. NO WAY! Check THIS out -
Add a few more tracks beyond 8 in Cakewalk.
On the Keyboard, on the top row in central section.. you should see two buttons separated by the word BANK. The one on left is PREV (<) and the one on the right is NEXT (>). Click the "Next Bank" button (>).
Look at Cakewalk and shed a tear of joy :,-) The colored WAI stripes at the bottom of the 8 tracks that had the color stripe have moved to the right as far as they could, so that fader 8 now is controlling your last track, or track 16 if you had that many. Now your faders and rotaries talk to THOSE tracks. You can add more tracks and use your Bank Prev and Next buttons to "move" your virtual Mackie back and forth through your tracks, letting you use your faders and knobs to control any track. I went up to 66 tracks and just stopped trying. Since the board has four "banks" I thought it might stop at 32 or maybe 64, but it just kept going (even though the keyboard display halts at Bank 4). If anyone hits a maximum, please add a comment.
About the Master Fader
For some reason, the BITWIG setting does NOT let you use your ninth fader on the keyboard to control your Master Fader. That's a little sad because that one is really handy when doing mixing. Fortunately, there is a workaround - ACT to the rescue. Here's how to add in the Master Slider. I have seen some posters suggest you need to use the M-Audio Preset Editor for your keyboard to achieve that. And at first, I would agree with them. However, I got it to work without getting down to that level. Besides, it seems there is a bug in that software that once you download the BITWIG preset and change anything on it and attempt to upload it under a different patch name, your rotaries only give you 180 degrees of action on your pan, not the 300-some degrees that the physical rotary provides. I have opened a ticket with M-Audio to look into this. Fortunately, we don't need it!
Here's how to get the Master Fader working:
Go under Control Surfaces again
Click the yellow plus in the upper right (New Controller/Surface)
Select ACT MIDI Controller (should be the default)
Select the MIDIIN 3 (<your controller name here>) port for hte input port
Select NONE for the output port.
Click OK to save the controller
I would not select the WAI checkbox in this case, as you won't be controlling anything else but the Master, but all the global tracks will get WAI'd like Metronome and Preview.
Go under Utilities menu along the top, and at the bottom you should see ACT MIDI Controller -1. Select it.
You now have the ACT dialog up. You should see a matrix of green boxes with various things in it.
Click the Bus radio button at the bottom, under "Control Group"
Click the first green box in the second row of boxes (S1). It will now show Midi Learn.. in the box.
On the keyboard, move slider 9 up or down.
You should see the number change in the box as you move the slider.
Type a name up in the box, maybe just call it Master Slider and save it. Just in case
Now you got Master Slider.
What You Don't Get
So this setup is not perfect, but as far as I could tell from other threads, this is about as far as you can push automation on M-Audio keyboard controllers. I could not get the Loop button to work. You could probably use the Preset Editor to get that working, but not until M-Audio fixes the bug that ruins your rotary synchronization.
I hope this was helpful.
Cheers & Happy Remote Controlling...