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In-depth Feature:  Behringer BCF2000
Rob G writes: .

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In Use
While at first intimidating, a small amount of experimentation quickly helps see what is going on. However, the LED readouts are sometimes less than intuitive – the manual is really essential until the meanings of each of the knobs and readouts has been thoroughly learned. The Learn mode, when it works is extremely useful – for most controllers I tried it worked fine, the only real glitches occurring when trying to map switch-type encoders as described above.

Presets are available online for common hardware/software combinations. In many cases, however, it may be better to create your own. The supplied presets tend to come too “preconfigured”, for example the Cubase SX preset always overwrote preset 1 (although it may be copied from there to other presets). Additionally, with version 1.05 of the firmware, I was sometimes unable to edit an imported preset – the only option being to copy some other preset over it to restore editing functions - losing any information in the preset (so far I have not seen this occur with revision 1.06 so hopefully it has been fixed). The next issue is the amount of support your software has for parameter feedback. Sonar 3.0 for example allows defining generic MIDI control surfaces, but these do not provide parameter feedback – so the BCF 2000 is unable to respond to settings made or recorded in the sequencer. By contrast, Cubase SX is able to send parameter feedback, although some of the switch-type functions are disingenuous – for example automating mute for some reason required two button presses on the BCF 2000 to “toggle” the button – although the same effect could be achieved if the BCF 2000 button was not set to “toggle” mode. The only solution here is to experiment for the combination of settings which works best for you.

The exact details for use vary with different combinations of hardware and software, but the main issue is to ensure your sequencer supports parameter feedback if this is going to be your main use of this. If not, contact them and pressurise them to do so – I suspect the issue will become common as automated control surfaces become more common.

As with many generic control surfaces, a big issue is where to make your settings. Most sequencers also provide an ability to map incoming MIDI messages to automate various aspects of the sequencers environment. As a result, it is possible to make “presets” either within the BCF 2000 or within the sequencer’s device settings. It will take a while to find which of these works best for your particular tasks – often a mixture of the two approaches works best. Luckily, the BCF 2000 supports dumping presets via MIDI, so the presets needed for a particular project may be saved with the project to simplify management, but then of course it may get tricky to remember exactly what setup is used for a particular project. I highly recommend making extensive notes as you’re working, ideally stored within your project or in a separate file with the project. Even if you generally work with one set of presets, you may find your setup changes over time, and it is always useful to be able to see where you are later.

More Resources              Articles - full listing
  • BCF 2000 manual (PDF)
  • BCF2000 price @ SameDayMusic.com

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