JL Cooper CS-32 Minidesk and Mackie Control: a small howto

Hier mein erstes echtes “howto”, das ich gestern im Ableton-Forum gepostet hatte… werde versuchen noch weitere howtos zum Thema Midi, Mackie Control und Ableton Live sowie einen Reparatur-Bericht meines neuen Korg Polysix zu verfassen, sollte ich mal etwas Zeit haben…

so here we go…

I fiddled around 3 nights with this combo, so i thought i should share the result with you:
about 1 year ago i bought this little JL-Cooper CS-32 Minidesk, it´s an 32-channel Midi-Desk wich fits in one palm (see here: http://www.jlcooper.com/pages/cs32.html)

It´s discontinued by JL Cooper, and quite hard to find (but i know some guys here have one), and the drivers for Mac OS X are still PPC; but it works fine under OS X 10.5;
What always bugged me since i got it was the fact that i had to map all faders and buttons over and over again, and because i like to start with empty projects quite often i never really used my readymade template; Inspired by this guy here (http://home.comcast.net/~robbowers11/MCMap.htm) i decided to give the mackie control-protocol a try – and it works like a charm!

first thing you have to do is delete the Live template in the editor-sw which comes with the cs-32, if you imported it (it always switches back to this, so no chance to keep it).
Next you have to select 3 input ports in the Midi/sync section of live, and choose
1 Mackie Control >> CS-32 Midi Port1 (for channel 1-8 )
2 mackie Control XT >> CS-32 Midi Port 2 (channel 9-16)
3 Mackie Control XT >> CS-32 Midi Port 3 (channel 17-24)
(you can map all 32 channels with the last port, but i decided to leave the last 8 channels for 4 return tracks plus the master plus some spare faders wich i use with instant midi map)
Next you have to check “track input” below in the same Tab for all 3 Ports (Mackie Control works with Midi Notes, so switch of the CS-32 input on your Instrument Midi input), and select “automation” for port 4 so you can map the master and the return faders.)
Now in the cs-32 editor go to MIDI >> CS-32 Host Mode and >> Multi cable Mode

Mackie control communicates on Midi channel 1, which is show in the CS-32 menu as channel 00:

Next pick or move fader 1, and enter in the window
– custom midi
– command type: pitch bend
– Midi Ch. 0
– 1st data byte: 0
– 2nd. Data byte: check “Follow Controls value”
AND choose “Assign this message to the next 7 channels”
>>> hit “Apply”

switch to Live, and check if faders 1-8 are moving up and down. if not, check your midi setting in Live, and if you have, use Midi Monitor the see if the CS-32 sends out the right Notes. (Live´s Midi channel 1 is channel 00, channel 16 is channel 15 on the CS-32)

if all works fine, go to fader 9 and continue the above setting, but for the 1st data byte put in 1, for faders 17-24 put in 2 (and if you want to use all 32 put in 3 for faders 25-32)
Next select the Button “Mute/Arm” on channel 1 (Note: the red Switch-button on the top right of the Cs-32 has to be put “ON”, so the red led should light)

for buttons you put in Note On Messages, starting with
– Midi channel 0
– 1st data byte 0
– 2nd data byte check “follow controls value”
Assign to the next 7 channels
and HERE with incrementing 1st data byte
>>> hit “apply”
go to live and see it you can arm track 1-8… the red LEDs on the CS-32 should light now;
now you have to continue with the second row of buttons (solo) for the first 8 tracks, starting with 1st data byte 8, then row 3 (Pan/Select wich is actually mute in Live) with 1st data byte 16, always assign to 8 channels with incrementing 1st data byte.
if you want to you can switch the red button on the top right now, and double-use the mute-buttons for track select with 1st Data byte starting at 25-32)

Once your´re finished check in Live if all functions for the first 8 tracks work fine, and then continue with track 9 to 16: repeat the fader-assignment as above, just make shure the CS-32 is in Multi-Cable Mode, which means it uses all 4 midi channels – otherwise you can only control the first 8 tracks with your 32 faders Sad
Next assign the arm-buttons of track 9-16 as you did with the first 8 tracks, and so on for all other buttons, and after that for channels 17-24, and so on.

I found out its a good thing to backup the keyset by exporting it to a file as default keyset_bak, because the editor sw seems a little buggy, and it crashes sometimes… the good thing is there is no save-function, all settings are saved instantly and as long as the usb-driver of the cs-32 is active you can use your setting without the editor software…

if you don´t want to program all this yourself, just drop me a PM, and i will send you mine plus the midi-mapped Live-Template via mail…

hope this helps someone out there and you get some real fun out of this little mixer! i really love it now!!!

EDIT: Because of all the mails I received asking for the drivers and some instructions I decided to put them on my site for download. If anybody who owns the rights on these drivers feels any kind of copyright violation please drop me a line and I will remove these drivers from my page immediately. I just want to help people out…
So here are the drivers plus basic instructions (in fact just a screenshot)… feel free to comment if you’ve successfully installed the driver or not… download here

Author: Mark

Hell Yeah!

25 thoughts on “JL Cooper CS-32 Minidesk and Mackie Control: a small howto”

  1. Hi there,

    got one, usb.

    drivers are not compatibile with my os.

    i contacted the support and they suggested me to use osx 10.4

    i’m on leopard now and like to keep it.

    any idea on how this thing can work without changing os??

    plz contact me

  2. Hi,
    I am also on Leopard. Works fine here. although the driver is still PPC and not UB. How did you install the drivers?
    you might want to check this here:
    under download/software you can find the latest drivers for the cs-32 (well, from 2003…)
    if nothing else works i could send you the files and the dir where to out them. then it should work…


  3. hi, i have the same problem as Luca. i received the CD, but impossible to install ( i have 10.5.5 ).

    i also downloaded the software from jl-cooper website, but it is the same, and the installation program doesn’t start ( crash after 1 second… ).

    any tips ? how could you run under 10.5 ??

    Luca, any idea, got the solution ?

    tanx a lot for your answer. i finally found this controller of my dreams, but now, i am very disappointed….

  4. Hi dimitri,

    I sent the driver files to luca so he could install them manually, don´t know if it worked well. i can send you the drivers via mail tonight;

    all you need to do is put them in the system library, then your mac should detect the JC-32 at startup. they are still PPC, but that doesn´t really matter…

  5. hey murdo,

    i am not at home at the moment. will send you the files next week, maybe remind me again with an email to burow(at)gmx(dot)ch


  6. hey stanley,

    please send me an email to burow(at)gmx(dot)ch

    i think I can help you with the drivers…


  7. Mark,

    Thanks for sending the drivers. It works just fine under Leopard now! I even got the Mackie thing to work.

    Thx, Sies

  8. Hi Sies,

    great, I am happy that it worked as it should. I also use the Mackie Control feature and really like the little toy! enjoy it!


  9. Hi
    I got the same problem…
    can you send me thoses drivers by mail ?
    Thanks !!

  10. Hello, i recently got two of these and having the same problem.
    where could i find these drivers? or possible to send them to me ?
    thanks. btw if anyone is looking for one i might have one available. i live i Berlin.

  11. hello!

    downloaded the drivers,
    moved the folders to the right spot
    installed the drivers logged as root (or they crash)
    configured the cs-32 editor as above
    configured ableton preferences,


    no luck, nothing works, can’t see nothing in midi monitor.

    (in case u’re wondering, yes the unit is turned on) 😛

    after 3 hours, i have no more solution to guess…


  12. Ok, sure you put them in the /Library/StartupItems-folder and not in the /Users/username/Library/…-folder?

    If yes, after a restart, check the activity monitor if the drivers are running. there should be two CS-32 drivers running. (backgroud and relauncher I think)
    If yes, try to shut them down in the activity monitor, and try to start them in the terminal manually by typing the path plus the name:
    (I hope I remember this right, not at my mac at the moment….)
    Now they should start up, and afterwards you should see the CS32 Minidesk ports 1-4 in Ableton… they won´t show up in the Apple Midi Monitor (don´t know why)…

    hope this helps…
    best, mark

  13. Hey,
    could anybody use the cs-32 on an intel mac, yet? i can use mine with my old PPC titanium (10.5.2). on the macbook pro (10.5.9) the programms seem to work, but i just don’t get a connection between hardware and software (cs-32.app or ableton.app). any ideas?
    still, thanks a lot mark for this small forum! it’s the only one i could find so far!

  14. i forgot: in ableton and also midi monitor, i see the 4 inputs. even when the cs-32 is unplugged. rosetta seems to work fine, too!

  15. hi johannes, I use mine on an intel macbook pro. never used it on something else…

    when the drivers are loaded, are you able to see any Midi control signals in mini monitor? If yes, theres probably something wrong with your template. if no, you should check the drivers again…
    hope this helps,

  16. hi mark!
    thanks for your answer. it just doesn’t work. i tried again and again. well, the cs 32 software just doesn’t connect to the minidesk. on the titanium, the software recognizes, which fader is touched, on the macbook not. no midi message at all. if anybody has an idea or can adjust the driver it would be so great. is it possible to write a new driver? i use the minidesk as a step sequencer. with all the buttons it’s so great….. just not on the macbook……

  17. Hi, I m glad to see I m not the only one with this problem. 🙂
    Yes, I should have bought the non USB version too…
    Thank you all for these informations.
    I downloaded a leopard version of the driver, but I still can t get it. Please help.
    I m on 10.5.8 version of osx.
    I put the files in library, startupitems, but I don t know. Maybe I don t have the right driver, or I m not setting it up properly.
    Must I first put the files in startup items and then install the original drivers?

    Thank you!!!!!

  18. Sorry, I have sold the MiniDesk in the meantime, so I can´t check if it still works; Hopefully you will find some help somewhere else on the net… good luck!

  19. Hi Mark,


    I purchased the CS-32 about 7 years ago thinking it would be a great control option for ProTools. That proved to be so problematic that I shelved the CS-32, figuring there would be another use for it down the road. Well, it has been a LONG road as I’ve tried to integrate it into countless applications and work-flows.

    F-FWD to today, I’ve been getting into Isadora, thought the CS-32 would be a great controller for that but after 5 days of trying to get it to work, I all but gave up. That is UNTIL I found your website, downloaded drivers that for some reason I was not able to get to work from any other source. Now I have 32 faders, 6 CC’s, transport controls, and ~ 100 on/off switches to control REALLY insane multi-media setups.

    People like you democratize the web and make it a real asset to our complex modern life (as opposed to just another advertisement delivery system).


    Mø, Portland OR

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