MIDI Surfaces: Behringer BCF2000

I ran up to Musician’s Friend this afternoon with C so that my wife could have some peace and quiet to work on seminary and candidacy stuff, and picked up a Behringer BCF2000. It’s so very handy to have the MF outlet locally (their distribution warehouse is up near Liberty, MO), and it’s unfortunate that they’re closing the outlet center at the end of the year.

Unboxing

The BCF2000 is a substantial unit with some heft. The box contains the unit, a 6′ USB cable, 6′ power cord (no lumps or wall warts!) and a documentation pack containing a set of manuals in a number of languages, a catalog, and a sticker. The controller is roughly the size and weight of one of their 8-channel baby mixers. Unit is reasonably well  built and heavy enough that it’s not going to unintentionally wander off the desk

Using it

The documentation is pretty straightforward, considering the plethora of operating modes this device provides for routing MIDI signals. While this unit isn’t nearly as easy to program as the Korg Nano (which uses a GUI that writes programming changes to the unit), it doesn’Behringer BCF2000t rely on any external software to do its thing. The 8 rotary encoders at the top are all you need, and once you get used to it, it’s pretty simple. ETA: Behringer does provide a Java app that lets you do visal programming from the desktop. Very cool.

The B-Control also has the technical yumminess of motorized faders and presets, which make scene changes easy.

Speaking of scenes, one of the big downsides to the unit is that 8 faders is all you get. The only controls that have scene capability are the rotary encoders at the top, which can have up to four scenes (helpful for EQ settings), but no such luck on the faders. The Korg Nano would do multiple fader scenes quite easily. On the other hand, you can gang a bunch of these together through standard MIDI connections.

ETA: I stand corrected. The presets on the BCF are not just for fader positions, but for programming as well. There are several of these.

Random cool tool: MIDI Sniffer – allows you to see what’s coming across the wire.

Tomorrow, we’ll see how well it plays with the VT5 machine.

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