Mackie Control - Security Unlock Failed

I have a number of Mackie Control components that are working fine with other applications, but when connected directly to Ardour they close down with the ‘Security Unlock Failed’ message as soon as Ardour connects to them with the default control surface profile that’s provided with Ardour6.

By writing my own application gateway to service them and just exporting a few generic controls to Ardour, I can make most things work. But I don’t know how to get Ardour to send non-SMPTE data for displaying in time code display. My application translates MTC ok for the Mackie Control display, but I’d really like to get bars and beats mode to work.

You might wonder why I want to use my own application as a gateway between my control surfaces and Ardour. This is because I want a number of control surfaces active at once and to be able to rapidly switch between controlling a number of devices from them (including outboard and embedded mixers in my audio interfaces and remote transport controls by the piano and a large, home made meterbridge and so on…).

I have not debugged what Ardour is sending to the Mackie Control devices to make them shut down.

What I’d like to know is:

  1. Does anyone else have a security unlock failed message when using Ardour with any of the Mackie Control family? (There’s plenty of evidence of this problem when using other DAWs when googling for this issue). I am using Ardour 6 and the Mackie units I have are the original non-pro ones with various firmware versions in them (but with new LCD backlights).

  2. Is there an Ardour setting that will send bar and beat timecode display to a generic ALSA sequencer MIDI port in the same way that just turning on ‘Send MTC’ does ? (Clearly I can add this feature by recompiling Ardour).

Many thanks


I have not used my MCU Pro in a bit, need to replace one of the faders that is sitting on my bench waiting, but had not run into this before.


I have an SSL Nucleus and Mackie MCU Pro. I have never ever seen this “security unlock” message.

Ardour can support any number of control surfaces at one time. The only limitation is that if you have more than MCP device, you need to create a device info file that describes them as a single unit, I regularly test with one of the MCP devices, a Faderport and a Push 2 device, all active at the same time.

Telling Ardour to sent MIDI Clock will do what you want. It’s not appropriate to use the term “timecode” for this, which is generally reserved for video-derived time formats.