It's not always comfortable to use a standard wheely mouse with a laptop. For some applications, like software sound synthesizers or other music production software, I'd really like to use something else as an input device. A touch screen would probably be okay to play with knobs, wheels, rotary encoders or other non-standard control elements. I haven't tested that since I have no touch screen.
I'd really like to have some more or less universal input device for my laptop that would work with software synths as well as in desktop applications in general (Firefox, board games or whatever) as a replacement for mouse. Can anyone suggest me what I'm talking about?
Mousereplacement and music production device.
I'd say you should get a hercules MP3 Control.
You have 6 standard knobs and two endles knobs, several buttons, 2 vertical slider, and 1 horizontal slider (crossfader).
In the middle there is a joystick, which can be used as a mouse. The buttons under the joystick are the elft and right mouse buttons.
Thanks. Vinyl controls may be very handy indeed. It's $130 + shipping on Amazon. There seems to be a Linux (and Mac OSX) support, http://www.mixxx.org/wiki/doku.php/hercules, which is perfect for me. The only thing about this Hercules -- I'm neither DJ'ing nor going to be, while the device is rather large compared to mice (at least like a half of my laptop). Software synths use many more knobs than available on Hercules MP3 anyway. If I needed to have all of them at hand, I'd just by a full-featured midi-controller, which I'm not likely to do.
If this kind of DJ devices is easily customisable in Linux, it might be a good option though.
I would have suggested a standard Midi-Keyboard. For example M-Audio Oxygen.
But there's no mouse replacement, of course.
And you can't expect a device with many knobs to be the size of a mouse
If you have 3 or 4 synths in your software and each of them has 10 knobs, then you need to reach deeper into your pocket.
For example: Beheringer BCF2000
Or Behringer BCR2000:
In germany they cost about 180€, which is ~260$ (google)
Still no mouse replacement, though. Maybe you should get a keyboard with touchpad, like the notebooks have.
Nice pictures, thanks. Probably I'd buy professional midi controls sometime. At the moment the main constraint for me is space and weight rather than price. Therefore I've been trying to find if it's possible to use some minimalistic control device. I have no idea of what devices might be available. The one I came upon by googling was a 3d mouse http://www.3dconnexion.com/3dmouse/spacenavigator.php
which supports different operations like pan, zoom and rotate in CAD systems:
It is cheaper than midi controls but a possible disadvantage is that it might not be that handy if there is a dozen of knobs to rotate! It is not intended for using in software synthesizers, although it can still be used as a regular mouse, which I appreciate.
I don't know, what software you're using. But maybe it allows Shortcuts and Macros.
Or maybe the software of this device allows it.
So you could press [F1] and rotate to change the volume and use [F2] and zoom to apply different filters etc^^
I use linux apps in several combinations that are pretty standard, which looks something like
|you could press [F1] and rotate to change the volume and use [F2] and zoom to apply different filters |
As I found on the manufacturer's site, this 3d mouse has Linux support: http://www.3dconnexion.com/news/press/031307_Linux.php, although it works only in a designer app called Maya I have never used. Supposedly it doesn't have dedicated software for macros, etc. There seems to be a way to set up mouse gestures as shortcuts in linux. Buttons should be fully reconfigurable. This flexibility may be exploited in a way you suggest. I couldn't find anything concrete about using this mouse for anything else but design. There seems to be a whole new topic out there. The only thing left is to actually buy the device.
I'd love to read a review of the device, when you tried it.
I found a video advertisement at http://www.amazon.co.uk/3Dconnexion-SpaceNavigator-Personal-Edition-USB/dp/B000LB41BM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1253803163&sr=8-1. It is also available in German.
So far it seems that applicability behind 3D modelling applications would be rather limited. I could try writing config scripts to account for mouse events specific to this device but it might result in a loss of time as well.
Besides, the video says about Google Earth, while I don't think most people would consider buying a rather expensive toy just to find out that, in fact, most of the image data in Google Earth is two dimensional. For example, if you descend on a town and try to change the viewing angle, you would only get a side view of a 2D photo.
An "AI knob for mouse-over controll for all cubase parameter" that I found at http://www.thomann.de/gb/steinberg_ci2.htm.
It looks as if the need for a mouse replacement specialised on soft synths has been acknowledged by at least one leading brand. Although mounting it in an audio interface makes it too expensive.