Generic MIDI Control in OS X

A[2.8.11] + OS X
I’m stuck on the fact that I have no middleclick on my mouse for the ctl+middleclick action that would bind a fader or what-have-you.

2nd part of the question: is it possible to record automation tracks this way?

I'm stuck on the fact that I have no middleclick on my mouse for the ctl+middleclick action that would bind a fader or what-have-you.

Which is why on the first time OS X users page we say you should have a three button mouse;) I just have one hooked up myself, I prefer it to Apple’s policy of ‘no button’ mice which is to me more trouble than it is worth for my work.

2nd part of the question: is it possible to record automation tracks this way?

I didn’t actually get the first part of the question, what was it? And assuming this second part is intended to ask if it is possible to record automation tracks using a generic MIDI controller, it certainly is, just put the track into WRITE mode.


Thank you, seablade. Your request for clarity is astute. The first part of the question - which I never really asked, as you noticed - would have been something like “Can I do this without a three-button mouse?”.

As soon as I get past my button deficiency, I’m really excited to play with this. I didn’t know that A2 had this functionality…

…and I confess: I’m using a magic trackpad

I have been having trouble finding OSX compatible mice which support middle click. Can you recommend any to me?
I would like to be able to enable MIDI learn in Harrison Mixbus but currently can not.
Thanks for your help!

Pretty much any mouse will work fine in OS X. I have a cheap logitech hooked up to my laptop, I had a bluetooth targus mouse before that.

That being said my personal reccomendation is to avoid bluetooth mice sadly, the concept is great, but I have had spotty experiences with them. My targus worked fine, but kept going to sleep after a period of inactivity. I had a logitech before that that after a period of time would not respond very well, and by that I mean with about a 5 second lag, and track exceedingly slow to the point it was unusable. I have had that happen as well with a bluetooth apple mouse on a mac pro at my work. It seems to be real hit or miss. Not to mention they tend to be expensive.

But a standard cheap USB mouse should work fine, and so long as it is three button should be all you need. My logitech I mentioned is currently a wireless one with a universal receiver for their stuff that cost me like $20 after my targus mouse died.


Thanks for your suggestions. It will be great to have the ability to assign controllers
in Mixbus!

I found something called middleclick by clemet beffa. This gives me middle click functionality on the trackpad. I can successfully ask Ardour to wait for controller input now, but I haven’t been able to send it. I’m using midi patchbay for OS X to send the signal from my controller to Ardour… unsuccessful so far. Where specifically should I direct the MIDI signal, and how do I verify that Ardour is hearing something? (so to speak)

You need to route directly form your MIDI Controller to ardour:control_in and vice versa if feedback is desired. If Ardour is hearing something that dialog will disappear the moment you move a midi control as that control will be bound.


@seablade: Thanks so much for the responses. I tried that already and it didn’t work (the dialog didn’t dissappear), but I’ll mess around with the midi settings within Ardour when I get home. I’ve also noticed that sometimes I have to restart core audio when things aren’t acting as expected, maybe I’ll try the same with core midi. A simple google search gives the appropriate terminal commands.

This software and this community rock!

Just need to double check, you aren’t on Lion are you?


@kelleydv: what do you that you think constitutes “restarting coreaudio” ?

@seablade: nope. I tried Lion, but reverted the same day because I wanted to stick with Ardour… I am looking forward to compatibility though!

@paul: this in terminal

sudo kill -9 ps ax|grep 'coreaudio[a-z]' |awk '{print $1}'

I honestly am not familiar with anything after “kill”…
And I now recall that this actually fixed things after I would quit Jack and/or disconnect my audio interface and couldn’t hear audio (even after changing system preferences). So far it works every time I don’t hear sound when I think I should.

Edit: btw, I haven’t figured out how to reliably reproduce the symptom this fixes. It seems intermittent.

Well essentially that will kill any process with coreaudio and then a letter in the name.

ps ax – prints a list of all currently running processes
grep ‘coreaudio[a-z]’ – searches for the string coreaudio followed by a letter
awk ‘{print $1}’ – prints the returns one line at a time
| – the pipe character which routes the output of one command to the next.

Finally the fact you have the entire second half of the command surrounded by backticks, or this character – ` – means it runs that as a command instead of as an argument to kill, which will return the list of all coreaudio processes with a letter behind the name, and feed it into kill.

Ok all that aside, I am mildly surprised this works as well as it does for you, but glad it does work. I can’t say I have ever needed it, so I am still wondering what causes the need for it. Let me know if you have any luck with the MIDI, I am not certain TRACE is working correctly on OS X in Ardour but that would be the next step, combined with the console, but my bet is that even if it was working it wouldn’t return much, which would just tell us that the port isn’t receiving MIDI.


Thanks for the explanation, I learned something. And if I understand, this doesn’t “restart coreaudio” - just anything using it.

Still no luck getting that “operate controller” dialog box to disappear. I’m directing the signal to control_in with midi patchbay, and I’ve tried with “midi parameter control” selected and deselected within ardour.

Ok this may be easiest to troubleshoot over IRC then, it will take some time over the forums. The first step is to confirm that where you are routing from is indeed sending MIDI using one of the MIDI Monitor programs out there.


@seablade, and anyone else: I’ve discovered that while my mac will see my M-Audio Trigger Finger if I plug it into any of the available 3 USB ports, only one of them will transmit MIDI data! WHY?!?!? Very confusing and annoying, but I diagnosed this with MIDI Monitor. (FWIW, sometimes the other USB ports would transmit MIDI, maybe <10 messages right after a reboot, and then go silent).

Also, I’m giving up on Lion for now; nothing seems to work quite right with it yet. I think I like Snow Leopard better anyway… “World’s most advanced operating system” - more like “most advanced pain in my arse.”

Oh, in my whining, I forgot to mention that I’ve got this functionality now. Thanks for the support.

No problem, it is VERY odd that you are only having one usb port passing MIDI, that sounds VERY wrong to put it mildly. Wouldn’t be the first time Apple has ignored a pretty damn useful part of their audio stack though.


Yeah. So strange because whenever I plug it in, every app I’m using seems to tell me it’s there, but ONLY ONE USB PORT will actually transmit messages. I am officially unimpressed. Very wrong indeed.

I don’t want to wander this thread too much, but you - seablade - seem to have experience with both Linux and OS X. What can you say, with regard to music production (and general computing), are the strengths/weaknesses of the two? I ask because I am always on the edge of installing Linux on my iMac. I have a couple of large applescripts that I wrote which help me in my professional life, so I’d have to learn perl or something - that’s really my main obstacle to making the switch…


Hmm really a touchy subject to be honest. There are more strengths to OS X than there are on Linux, it is fairly unbalanced for most people to be honest.


Commercial AU plugins (Try to get a restoration suite of plugins on Linux, closest thing is GWC and I haven’t been to impressed)
Wide Audio Hardware support(For instance my Duet or Metric Halo interfaces won’t work on Linux)
Software support in general, for instance Smaart exists for OS X(Though for EASE I have to go back to Windows:( )
Final Cut Pro 7, which is a great video editor
Quality of computer hardware, in general they tend to be very good, especially their laptops compared to much of your bargain PC equipment.
Consistent interface, there is always ‘one way’ for apps to behave
No need to customize to do professional audio on it(At least up till Lion, haven’t tried Lion)

Choice, this is the big advantage Linux has, there is no ‘one way’ to do everything. I mean this in more than just interfaces. I can tweak the basic operation of my linux boxes in such a way to create a DAW only box, that links to other boxes or not. More important to some people than others obviously, but I also can tweak the interface and am not stuck with what Apple deems ‘beautiful and perfect’ for either looks or how software/window managers behaves.
Customization, youll see this under weaknesses as well, but I can tweak a linux box so much for audio to get exceedingly low latencies (<3mS and in some cases <1mS) depending on how much time I want to put into it.
Open Source Software, while it does exist on OS X, it is in abundance on Linux, and there are quite a few things that never got ported to OS X, like LV2 plugins, etc.


As time goes on the OS is obviously gearing more consumer, and much of Apple’s development seems to indicate a decided lack of interest in the professional market compared to previously. A shame because they used to be very strong in this regards, but whether it was by mistake or otherwise, several of their choices just shouldn’t have happened recently for anything geared towards a professional(See your MIDI example, but also FCPX, etc.)
You are locked into ‘Apple’s way’ of doing things. This is more of an issue to some but not others. But I find the OS in genreal and how it operates very restricting, their insistance on not using buttong on a track pad for instance, and several of the UI decisions made(The default behavior for scrolling in Lion as an example)
Price of hardware, yes I know some people it doesn’t matter for, but I am referring to the legal methods here.

Lack of commercial plugins. There are some, like LinuxDSPs, but the breadth of them is not there yet.
Lack of hardware support, enough said. Not Linux’s fault persay of course, but something that must be kept in mind.
Lack of commercial software. Some people would say this is a benefit, personally I consider it a weakness as I consider choice a benefit and you don’t have a choice often on Linux.
Sysadmin time. While I can tweak everything, how much time do I really have to do so versus doing things I get paid to do.
Inconsistent interfaces, you won’t always have a good idea how software acts when you open it up. It is both good and bad.
Customization and Choice. I told you this was both good and bad, it means there is a LOT of decisions that can be made right away and it can be very overwhelming especially for newcomers.
Audio Layers. Pulse, ALSA, Jack, etc. To much crap a user has to deal with to simply make music.

So for many people OS X is the stronger OS. That being said I am trying to save money to build a replacement Linux machine t go in my office to use for my work again, and I have used Linux in the past professionally for this for several years as well. It isn’t that it can’t be done, it is that in order for it to be a good choice you have to find LInux’s strengths important to you and it’s weaknesses not(Or vice versa for OS X), as well as a lot of planning to ensure you can do everything you need easily in Linux.

This is a loaded topic however and I just spent 5 minutes on something that I could literally spend hours on, I am sure I left a fair amount out, and I am also sure that you will get a million different answers if you ask a million different Linux users.