Foot controllers and shortcuts

Hi there!

Whenever I recorded some stuff I noticed a long-winded handling of ardour because of a missing good interface. This is not ardour to blame, it’s a problem with PCs in general. It is some kind of annoying to do keystrokes or mouse clicks if you have e.g. a guitar in your hands. So, my idea is the following:

I’d like to have a foot controller (to be more precise: some switches) that let me control a few actions. The main goal is to start recordings and - if a recording wasn’t that good - stop and delete the recording and jump back to the point before the recording. Hearing some playback before recording the next take would be a good one as well.

My first idea was to use a cheap (PC-)keyboard, solder some switches on it and send defined keystrokes to ardour. I don’t know if there is a perfect solution out there already. If that is the case I’d be very happy if somone could post a link.


Mario there are absolutely USB devices that provide MIDI. Heck half of MIDI devices that connect to a computer through USB are really just these bridges built into the device itself. As should be obvious from my previous statement, there are also MIDI devices that connect to a computer through USB as well.

Price ranges depending on what you are looking at obviously.


Why not look into a MIDI solution since you can bind MIDI signals to transport controls?


First of all I am working on a Notebook that hasn’t got a MIDI connector. I’m not shure if you can connect any MIDI solution via USB or something. If that is the solution I’d be happy with it. Unfortunately I don’t know any kind of solution, that’s why I posted my question.

Thanks for the link, Ben. Quite expensive but a good point to start with.

Thanks for your comment, seablade.

As I couldn’t find an inexpensive controller for my needs, I decided to build my own. Yesterday I bought a cheap keyboard (6,50 Euros) and wrote down the key matrix. The current state of this project is still “proof of concept” but I am confident of getting this thing to work. I’ll get some pieces of wood and a few switches if it’s going to work well.

I’m having a problem with a little feature at the moment. What I’d like to have is a switch that stops and discards the last recording (which is already there as ctrl+space). But furthermore I want the transport marker (sorry, I don’t know the correct englich term for that vertical red line) to jump back to the point where it was before I started the last recording.

Any ideas?

Oh my goodness! I just discovered the option “transport -> auto return”. Sometimes you miss the wood for the trees.

Hello Ben,

thanks for your comment but these controllers start at 80 bucks. This price is more than inacceptable. My cheap Keyboard does the same and it was 6,50!

I nearly finished my foot controller. It is not in “proof of concept” state anymore, it just works. I made a wooden case myself and bought six foot switches (pro quality, 6 Euros each). After all I got the controller I wanted and it does EXACTLY what I want it to do.

great Mario. A picture ? I am curious to see that :slight_smile:

Gimme a few days, thorgal. I’ll take some pictures if the case is completly finished.

I’d love to hear how it works, in practice. Do you find yourself still using the keyboard/mouse a lot? Is 6 enough? too many?

I’m thinking about making my own box with the U-HID or U-HID nano ($35) … they are a little more expensive than a keyboard, but they are smaller and could support analog inputs such as a footpedal or jog wheel if I wanted to do that in the future.


After a few days of DIY torture, here are the promised pictures. I sanded the whole box, primed and painted it just to realize that it looks …eeehm… not that good. It took me ages to sand the whole stuff again. I am unsure if I leave the box in the current state. It doesn’t look too bad but there are some areas where you can see the white filler.

Here we go:

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Your question is not easy to be answered, because I built something to get rid off the keyboard in a special case. I just want to record a new take if the first one wasn’t that good (and a third one if the second one still wasn’t good…). Therefore I’d be happy with only two buttons. And yes, it works very well in practice. I decided to add some more buttons just to have some extra functions. I guess that more than six buttons doesn’t make the whole thing easier to handle. But that’s just my opinion.