Human User Interface Protocol

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Human User Interface Protocol (commonly abbreviated to HUI) is a proprietary MIDI communications protocol for interfacing between a hardware audio control surface and digital audio workstation (DAW) software. It was first created by Mackie and Digidesign in 1997 for use with Pro Tools, and is now part of the Mackie Control Universal (MCU) protocol.


HUI protocol allows a digital audio workstation (DAW) and a connected hardware control surface to exchange MIDI signals that synchronize the states of their sliders, buttons, wheels, and displays. The user can write console automation which can then be seen in the DAW.[1] It includes support for 10-bit/1,024 discrete values.[2]


The HUI protocol was created jointly by Mackie and Digidesign in 1997 for Mackie's Human User Interface (HUI), the first non-Digidesign hardware control surface for Digidesign’s Pro Tools.[3][4] It was subsequently implemented by hardware controllers from manufacturers such as Solid State Logic,[5] Yamaha,[3] TASCAM,[2] and Novation.[3]

By the time Mackie introduced the Baby HUI in August 2002, the protocol was also supported by DAWs including Digital Performer and Nuendo, making them cross-compatible with HUI-compatible hardware controllers.[6] Other DAWs to support HUI protocol include Logic Pro,[7] REAPER,[8] and Cakewalk Sonar.[9]

Mackie Control Universal (MCU)[edit]

In 2003, the Mackie Control Universal (MCU) protocol was introduced, combining together functionality from Mackie Control, Logic Control and HUI into a single protocol.[10] DAWs which support MCU (in addition to those which support HUI) include Ardour,[11] Ableton Live, Studio One, Cubase, and Reason. ACID Pro 9 and ACID Pro Next from MAGIX also support MCU.[12] An Arduino library has also implemented a large portion of MCU, enabling control surfaces to be built with Arduino-compatible microcontrollers.[13]


  1. ^ Thompson, Daniel M. (1 August 2018). Understanding Audio: Getting the Most Out of Your Project or Professional Recording Studio (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Berklee Press. p. 280. ISBN 978-1-4950-2875-5. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b Lambert, Mel (2017-11-15). "Taking (DAW) Control". Mixonline. Retrieved 2019-05-16.
  3. ^ a b c "Taking Control of Pro Tools with a DAW Controller". Pro Tools Production. 2017-02-16. Retrieved 2019-05-16.
  4. ^ HUI - Human User Interface for Digital Audio Workstations - Reference Guide (PDF). USA: Mackie Designs Inc. 1998.
  5. ^ "DAW Control | Solid State Logic". Solid State Logic. Retrieved 2019-05-16.
  6. ^ McGuire, Sam (17 December 2013). Modern MIDI: Sequencing and Performing Using Traditional and Mobile Tools. Abdingdon, Oxon: Focal Press. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-415-83927-3. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  7. ^ "PreSonus FaderPort". SoundOnSound. Retrieved 2019-05-16.
  8. ^ "Compatible software for Automap: Using Automap for DAW control". Novation. Retrieved 2019-05-16.
  9. ^ "The 5 Best DAW Controllers". Home Recording Pro. 2018-03-21. Retrieved 2019-05-16.
  10. ^ "Mackie Control". SoundOnSound. Retrieved 2019-05-16.
  11. ^ "Ardour Documentation: Devices Using Mackie/Logic Control Protocol". Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  12. ^ Anderton, Craig (2014-03-21). "Article: How to Use Mackie-Compatible Controllers with DAWs". HarmonyCentral. Retrieved 2019-05-16.
  13. ^ P, Pieter (2022-04-25). "Control Surface". GitHub. Retrieved 2022-04-25.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)