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What pointing device do you use with your music software?

For anything relating to music-making on Windows computers, with lots of FAQs. Moderated by Martin Walker.

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What pointing device do you use with your music software?

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Sep 01, 2005 4:01 pm

Hi All!

For once, it's not rude to point ;)

I'm currently researching an article on alternatives to the humble mouse, and would be grateful for some feedback from any of you who use an exotic mouse, trackball, graphic tablet, joystick, 3-D glove, touch screen, theremin, orgasmatron or other pointing and clicking device with your music software.

What device is it, and how long did it take you to adjust when you changed over?

Did anyone try a device and abandon it later on, and if so why?

What music software are you using, and can it easily use any of the extra buttons, flashing lights, scroll wheels, steering wheels, footpedals, and so on?

In short, how did you get on, and have you never used a standard mouse since?


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Re: What pointing device do you use with your music software?

Postby rellimja » Thu Sep 01, 2005 4:38 pm

I use a tablet/ pen. Feels more natural to me than a mouse. I use Cubase and Reason and find the pen easy to use in these progs, especially when editing midi notes. The model I have ( Trust 200-v2) also comes with a mouse, which I rarely use.
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Re: What pointing device do you use with your music software?

Postby DragonLogos » Thu Sep 01, 2005 6:57 pm

I am sometimes tempted to use a brick

But have used Trackballs (handy because I never have any free space unless I tidy up) same goes for pen and tablet.

Can use a mouse, not keen on opticals as I like to hold the mouse in my hand (left or right) and move it by fiddling with it's ball....... :shock:
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Re: What pointing device do you use with your music software?

Postby Samurai Jack » Thu Sep 01, 2005 7:17 pm

i use an optical trackball - i've always preferred trackballs and this one i'm using (microsoft optical) is a joy to use - far smoother, faster and more comfortable than a mouse, in my opinion.

i also use, on occasion, a graphic tablet but as it is a large A4 one, it kind of wrestles for deskspace with some other gizmos and so often gets pushed to one side.
plus, when i do decide to use it, i find the battery in the pen has run out and i end up pushing it to one side anyway...

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Re: What pointing device do you use with your music software?

Postby iceman » Thu Sep 01, 2005 7:41 pm

i use a logitech wireless trackball, it took me a few days to adjust to it having used a mouse for so long, but now i wouldnt use anything different. i hate the little synaptic pad thing on my laptop tho they are awful!!!!
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Re: What pointing device do you use with your music software?

Postby Brian Moynihan » Thu Sep 01, 2005 9:48 pm

Just the Ati sapphire RF remote here, set up with UIce to control Logic Audio track arming, selection, record etc, so that the sequencer can be controlled while recording drums, guitar etc away from the screens. I've seriously looked at the graphic pen/pads as I figure it would be really useful particularly for editing waveforms and so on, expect I've heard rumours of them being incompatible with some of the main sequencers so I'm not going to blow £200 experimenting to find out....!

What I'm really curious about is if anyone is using these flat screen touch pads, like the ones Viewsonic and others make. They're basically like thin laptop screens that are touch sensitive with fingers or a pen, and I've seen ones that run off batteries and have bluetooth. The idea being that you could be standing anywhere in the studio, say at a grand piano, but still have the sequencer screen visible locally to control, arm and record etc. Expensive though!

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Re: What pointing device do you use with your music software?

Postby Combo » Fri Sep 02, 2005 11:06 am

I dunno if this is what you mean. But I use 2 computers so I have 2 mice (mouses?). Which mostly makes no difference. But sometimes it can be useful to tweak fx and synths at the same time. Maybe I could set up the knobs and sliders on my keyboard but it would still lack the grab and tweak immediacy of 2 mice.

A sequencer that supported dual mice would be IMHO as useful as a hardware setup. But I expect that'd take more support from Microsoft than anyone is likely to get.
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Re: What pointing device do you use with your music software?

Postby Gav » Fri Sep 02, 2005 11:55 am

Been using trackballs (Logitech ones only) for the past 8 1/4 years for all computer usage (apart from where I used to work). But that's just a different mouse rather than a shift into a more usable interface for recording or mixing.
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Re: What pointing device do you use with your music software?

Postby UnAlternate » Fri Sep 02, 2005 1:22 pm

i use a wacom intuos 2 A5 tablet for all my computer navigation including music apps (logic and soundforge).

since i got it about two years ago, i've completely abandoned my mouse, as well as the ache in my right arm/shoulder! ;)

for me the tablet is a much more natural way of navigating the screens, both for long fast movements across the screen and small scale editing. only con i can come to think of is the fiddle required to set it up as to function properly with more than one monitor.

let's see, what more. yes, i got used to it in a few weeks, and.. it's great for direct drawing of automation curves in logic's arrange page!

good luck with the article, looking forward to reading it! :bouncy:
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Re: What pointing device do you use with your music software?

Postby waxwobbler » Fri Sep 02, 2005 1:38 pm

Wacom Intuos A5 size for everything work & home.

I used to get unbearable pain up my arm & into my neck from using a mouse (still do if I have to). Stopped making music for a while.

The tablet is great & has allowed me to work for days at a time with minimal pain. .

It takes a while maybe a week to get used to but once u have its perfect, right clicking can be a pain so I use the KB key for that quite a lot. Also some music apps don’t like the tablet in "tablet mode" so I switch to "mouse mode" with the rocker switch when needed. Ableton live is a good example, tweaking fades & pots is almost impossible without switching.

One slight quirk is I have two monitors at home. This means the tablet size is halved for each monitor, feels a bit weird but I'm getting used to it. No point in having a massive tablet as you just need to move around more.


Tablet all the way :)
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Re: What pointing device do you use with your music software?

Postby waxwobbler » Fri Sep 02, 2005 1:42 pm

UnAlternate

can u please describe your dual monitor tweak. Can u get the tablet to be errr.

Tablet only used for screen 1 until u switch over to screen 2 thus all the tablet is used for each screen???

Cheers
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Re: What pointing device do you use with your music software?

Postby UnAlternate » Fri Sep 02, 2005 1:50 pm

waxwobbler, no this can't be done as far as i know. what i meant was that you either have to use the tablet for one of the screens and the mouse for the other, or to set up the tablet as to work over both screens which also leaves you with two alternatives..


1 - to map the entire tablet over both screens wich totally f***s up your tablet-to-screen ratio (but i guess you could learn to navigate this way too if you gave it some time), or..

2 - to map a rectangle like shape in the middle of the tablet to the screens, which will give you a correct ratio but "waste" some of the actual tablet size as the top and bottom stripe won't be used.


i guess we should all force wacom to implement a screen shift shortcut in a future driver update, eh? :)
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Re: What pointing device do you use with your music software?

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Sep 02, 2005 2:46 pm

Thanks for all the feedback so far!

Dragon - I'm sometimes tempted to use a brick as well, or point my monitor out of the window ;)

Iceman - I've only ever met one person who manages to use those tiny trackpads successfully with a laptop.

The Bob - a touch screen seems to be the dream device for many musicians, but as you say they are far too expensive for most of us. As for the compatibility problems, the most popular Wacom tablets seem to be fine for pointing and clicking with music applications - it's dragging and dropping things like software faders that's the problem in pen (absolute) mode, and they end up either at the top of the bottom of their travel.

****ANYONE WHO'S EXPERIENCED THIS, PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT APPLICATION YOU'RE USING****
So far I've heard reports of problems with Cakewalk's Sonar, Project 5, and Ableton Live, but I'm sure there must be others.

This seems to be an issue with the music software developer rather than the tablet drivers, but you can always switch to mouse (relative) mode and everything will work fine. You just lose the ability to jump from point to point and have to slide with the pen like you do with a mouse - it's apparently still far more precise though.

britney - plugging in and using two mice is no problem (you can plug in multiple keyboards as well), but Windows will only respond to one at a time, and get confused if you operate both at once. I suspect to use two mice simultaneously would require a Windows update and compatible applications to be written.

Keep those comments coming.


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Re: What pointing device do you use with your music software?

Postby pwdm » Fri Sep 02, 2005 4:38 pm

Trackball ,Would never go back to a mouse.
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Re: What pointing device do you use with your music software?

Postby musicmanz » Sat Sep 03, 2005 9:45 am

wireless mouse..would like to know more about tablet pen though 8-)
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