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19 July 2017
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Twist and Fight

c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, baby now……ahem…..

I’d spent quite some time looking for a good controller to use with cubase.

My criteria was:

Something with good solid pots and or faders.
Small footprint
A device that would receive feedback from Cubase to avoid parameter jump
Something quiet (not noisy motorised faders).

I initially looked at the behringer bcr2000 which looked ideal but was a bit big. I also looked at Keith McMillen products and the Kenton Killamix. However after actually searching through google images, I stumbled upon this item, the Midi Fighter twister by DJTechTools

This thing is really aimed at DJs and as such I found information on using it with Cubase quite sketchy. So I’ve written a bit about it here and how I use it with Cubase 9.0.20 on Windows 7.

 

To Install it on  Windows 7:

Download and install the Midi fighter utility from here: http://djtechtools.com/midi-fighter-setup/

Then connect the unit.

Using quick controls in Cubase is the best way I could get parameter feedback on the unit for midi CCs that weren’t the obvious ones – volume, pan etc. The following instructions will let you map each knob to a quick control (up to a limit of 8). There are various other ways you can use the  generic remote setup. The web is full of articles that will help and I’ll mention some other controls that I have setup below.

 

Here is my initial setup in Devices / Device setup / Remote devices:

 

How to create this:

1.Click the plus in the top left hand corner
2. Select generic remote
3. Under “midi input” select “midi fighter twister” and the same under “midi output”.
I deleted all the generic fader and pan assignments to start with a blank remote. Keep clicking the “delete” button (upper, not lower right hand side) until all entries are gone.
4. Click “Add” (again upper, not lower right hand side) then click “learn” and turn the knob on the fighter twister that you want to assign. You will notice the “address” field changes to the CC number currently assigned to that knob.
5. Uncheck learn (very important!)
6. Under control name (top half of the window) you can assign a name to that knob to help you remember it. I named mine “knob 1, 2, 3 ” etc starting at top left on the midi fighter twister for knob one to bottom right for knob 16.
7. Under “flags” select “receive” and “transmit”.
8. In the lower window, under “device” select “mixer” and under “channel” select “selected”
9. Under “value/action” expand the folder called “quick controls” and select “quickcontrol1”
10. Click on “Export” (upper right hand side) and save this configuration somewhere. Then click “apply”.

You can repeat from step four to configure more knobs to more quick controls .

11. Once you are done, click “ok”.

Now you should find that if you move your chosen knob, the corresponding quick control will be mapped

Looking back at my generic remote screenshot you  can see that knob 15 is setup for the standard panner and that switch 13 (push switch on rotary encoder 13) is set up to toggle write automation on the selected track. In the lower window the flag is set to “T” for a toggle switch.

I’ve also set up knob 14 is setup to control the metronome level.

A few observations about using the device this way with Cubase.

Cubase generic remote seems to forget its assignments really easily! I’ve found the best way is to actually export your Generic remote setup each time you change it. For some reason that seems to help. If you don’t, sometimes when you load up a song again, it’s forgotten the last change you made to the generic remote assignments.

My initial hope was to have some of the knobs on the midi fighter twister working as generic remote and some as straight midi CCs. However I came across a problem with duplicate information being received by cubase. So for example I had knob 2 sending midi CC 3 which in turn was allocated to quick control 2. When in write mode, Cubase recorded 2 lanes of automation – one of quick control 2 and one of CC3. The way to stop this was to go into “devices/ device setup / midi port setup” and under “midi fighter twister “in”” un-check the box in the “in ALL MIDI” column.

It’s worth noting that other remote devices I have don’t do this. With my Oxygen 61 for example, if I allocate a CC number in the generic remote (using “learn”), Cubase no longer receives or records CC from that particular slider / knob on that track. I’ll mention this to the DJTechTools and see if they have any ideas why it’s happening.

There’s currently an issue with the driver on windows 7. When you first boot up windows, it doesn’t recognise the unit properly. Disconnecting and reconnecting fixes this. It’s something DJTechTools are aware of and they will be working on a fix apparently. If you forget to do this, you’ll find it won’t be recognised in Cubase. You can unplug and reattach while Cubase is running but you’ll need to go into “devices/ device setup/ generic remote” then select “midi fighter twister” again in “midi input” and “midi output” then click apply.

You can change which CC is assigned to which knob on the fighter twister by using the MF utility.

There’s a manual that explains how to do this. If you change a CC number assigned to a knob, you’ll have to re “learn” the assignment in generic remote in Cubase. Note that you can’t launch the MF utility while cubase is running. You’ll get this window:

Close cubase and try again.

Working with quick controls is great but it does mean that you will have to record knob movements using automation rather than recording midi CCs straight onto a track.  I really wanted to do the latter but I haven’t worked out how to do this and get the CC information to feedback to the unit during playback.

That’s it for now. The next article will be about  assigning quick controls to channel settings and various plugins.

7 Responses

  1. Marcus

    I’m using MIDI channel 11 on both the MFT map and in the Cubase “generic remote” map and I don’t seem to have any conflicts.

  2. Erik

    Hi, thanks! looking forward to the next article will be about assigning quick controls to channel settings and various plugins. My unit will arrive next week so I can help you with the manual if you want.

      1. Erik

        no problem. I have just received my unit. will test all things you mentioned above tonight. please let me know if you need any help or if you want me to test something

  3. tony

    Thanks for writing this up. My MIDI Fighter Twister works like a wonder with Live, but it’s hit and miss with Cubase 10. I have tried to set it up in the Studio Setup in the QC menu. by default, the MF’s bank 2 maps pretty well to the 2 sets of QCs. I even used Learn to map all 16 encoders to Bank 2. But when I then go to use them, some work and some don’t. If I re-Learn them locally at the point of use, some work and some don’t.

    Maybe if I use your method through the remote setup, it might be better, but I feel like I’m beating my head against the wall and I own a CC121, which is great piece of hardware for what it is.

    never too many knobs though…..

    1. Matthew Moore

      Thanks for your post. I’ve had smooth sailing with the MFT until a few weeks ago when for some reason everything got messed up. Some really weird stuff with a knob adjusting modulation when turning one way and something else when turning the other. I re flashed the unit, updated and rebuilt everything from scratch but no joy. Then I trashed Cubase prefs, opened cubase, closed it again and reimported the prefs and it worked fine.

      I have to say it’s a very useful toy. I’ve got QCs mapped, click level and some other bits with the switches which work really well – part from the visual feedback on the switches. Worth giving the remote setup a shot I think…..

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