Customizable Lightroom Controller with Midi2LR
Recently I found a few tutorials that shared how to take an off the shelf Behringer X-Touch Mini and connect it to Lightroom. I had come across the concept before but it seemed as all the dials needed to be reset after switching photos. The difference now is that midi controllers like the X-Touch Mini use encoder knobs which turn indefinitely and use an LED fan to indicate value. When connected to Lightroom using Midi2LR the encoder knobs update from photo to photo based on the given property.
Midi2LR is an open source free piece of software by RSJaffe and allows almost any midi controller to translate to LR commands. The program runs in the background an is automatically launched by Lightroom once installed. Midi2LR lets you choose from a long list of LR commands as well as input your own keyboard shortcuts, presets, and profiles. You can set up to 10 profiles each of which can store a unique set commands to your controller on top of the two layer sets the X-Touch provides.
Customize X-Touch Firmware (PC Required):
I had a few hiccups in me experience setting this up so be sure to hit me up in the comments on YouTube with any questions.
The x-touch out of the box does not have the proper customization to maximize it’s potential. The app Midi2LR uses Notes and CC commands register input and by default the X-Touch buttons have repeating notes which make some buttons duplicates.
The software that allows buttons to be reprogrammed is Behringer X-Touch Editor and it is only available for PC. I ran the X-Touch Editor on Windows through an old Mac Pro that had Parallels installed. I did have issue with the X-Touch Editor recognizing my device with the supplied USB cable. The cable powered the device up and transmitted controller but it wan’t until I swapped the cable the that Windows and the X-Touch Editor app recognized the device.
The actually customization only takes a few seconds thanks to all the people that have shared their customized profiles online. My profiles are based off Brian Lovelace ’s presets he shared in his set-up video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRGO7-dL7Pk&t=1342s
Setting up the profiles is easy once connected. You can download my X-touch Profiles here: https://drive.google.com... Now simply Load the preset for Layer A and then choose Dump A to Hardware, and repeated by Loading Layered B and Dump B to Hardware. It's that simple. Now the PC portion is done and the X-touch is ready for Midi2LR!
Setting up Midi 2 LR:
I’m going to walk you through how to load my personal customization and profile to the x-touch, but I recommend thinking about your personal workflow and what commands you want at your fingertips. I feel everyone's workflow is unique and this controller can easily be tailored to an individual's workflow. Also I recommend setting up an excel doc to think about and plan how you would like to customize the x-touch because it can take a while to program and can get confusing if you haven’t committed the functions to memory. You can use my excel doc as a jumping off point. I spent a few days shifting buttons around till things made sense for me.
Install the Midi2LR app: https://github.com/rsjaffe/MIDI2LR/releases/latest
Create a folder for your profiles. I use my X-touch Mini on multiple computers so I like to leave mine in a DropBox folder to keep profiles current on all machines. Each profiles allows a complete unique set of commands for the x-touch buttons. My profiles can be downloaded here: https://drive.google.com...
Open Midi2LR and open the settings. Choose “Enable Pickup Mode” this option provides a better
for working with the encoder knobs and Midi2LR. Next choose the folder where you saved your profiles.
Open Lightroom and choose File >> Plug-In Extras >> MIDI2LR // Load Presets. Then choose the preset file DANORST_Midi2LR_presets.txt found in the .zip file with profiles available here: https://drive.google.com...
Your x-touch is now mapped just like mine. To change a button open Midi2LR and push a button on the midi controller then select the drop down next to the note and select the command you desire. Make sure to save over then save over the xml profile for the you are changing. Changes to the controller will revert back if not saved. The name of the profiles in the folder must match the names of profiles in the Plug-In Options.
Wireless Bluetooth Adapter:
I added a Midi to Bluetooth adapter from Yamaha to add wireless functionality to the X-Touch controller. It's almost plug and play, however, on a Mac, you do need to launch "Audio MIDI Setup app to connect the bluetooth controller every time you start up. The response from the bluetooth adapter shows no delay, and the range easily extends past my vision. I powered the bluetooth adapter with a generic usb battery, I made sure it was slim with a LED power indicator. I also picked up a short right angled USB cable to keep things tidy
I ended up painting mine to give a flat black look. I'm not very experienced painting plastic and the final result show. I think you can easily skip painting the controller. I do recommend the color dot stickers I picked up from amazon as well as some sort of text labels. I used the P-Touch label maker with white on clear tape.
Loupedeck and Tangent?
I haven't spent anytime with the Loupedeck or any of the name brand Lightroom controllers out there but on a surface level I can tell they lack the customization I desire and don't have nearly as many commands available. That along with the price premium I believe the X-touch mini is the way to go. Unless you can afford the Tangent ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I broke down a list of all the equipment I ended up buying. Please if you plan on purchasing any of this equipment use these affiliate links and hook me up. I also recapped all the download links at the bottom.
Behringer X-Touch Mini ($50)
Color Coding Labels Dot Stickers, 16 Sheets, 6528 Pieces ($6)
Yamaha Wireless USB to Host MIDI Adapter ($50)
Polanfo M50000 Power Bank 12000mAh, Ultra Slim ($19)
USB Right Angled 90 Degree Cord ($7)
Glass Riser Save Space Desktop Stand ($18)
Brother P-touch Easy Hand-Held Label Maker ($35)
Label Tape White on Clear 12mm 2 Pack ($8)
Wall Door Stops, Self adhesive 0.5 inch thick ($7)
My other Controllers:
ShuttlePRO V.2 ($99)
Wacom Intuos Pro Medium ($349)
Other LR Controllers:
Midi2LR My Presets:
X-Touch Excel Doc for Button Layout: