Midi Controllers & MIDI Map Status

The Midi Maps section in ardour manual, states which controllers supported.
This list was updated back in 2016.

  1. Is there a new update with updated list of supported devices ?
  2. Is it still valid and support still is enabled?
  3. Will these maps on the list you provide also work for Mixbus ?


  1. Not that I am aware of, though anyone can update that list and submit a pull request on Github, may not be a bad thing for someone to update at some point.

  2. Yes

  3. Yes, but obviously may not work for Mixbusses’ custom controls if not written for it. I am not sure if there are MIDI maps that do or not honestly, and would have to look at it more.


So at this point your recommendation seems to be to dump Mixbus and continue with Ardour for this functionality ?

I purchased several versions of Mixbus
I did ask this on the Mixbus forum a while ago and there was basically a no-can-do response about pad-controllers in Mixbus.
So lately I put a stop to upgrading or purchasing new Mixbus versions as it seems not all ardour functionality is incorporated by the repsonse I received. At that point I basically gave up and had to move to EDM solutions (e.g. Bitwig) although I do NOT do or need EDM, I need to control recorded session clips with pad controllers so that rehearsals can be performer initiated, forwarding rewinding previously recorded clips looping etc for unattended rehearsal, with only performers present without costly engineer. I think you see what I am getting at. Bitwig does this easily, but it is a hastle to transfer all my mixbus clips over to Bitwig as you can understand and defeats the objective. It is therefore paramount that this pad-functionality be available directly in the recording software, therefore Mixbus or Ardour.

Someone at LAU ( See LAU) then referred me back to Ardour which clearly has support and even editing and learning functions and I was amazed about that as Mixbus is supposed to be an extension of Ardour functionality. Apparently not.

Thank you very much for confirming that the functionality is still available in Ardour. It now seems Mixbus is only a subset of Ardour with an “analogizer” attached.

It seems you are maybe misunderstanding what Seablade and the person in the Linux Musicians thread are saying. Everything in the Ardour manual that relates to MIDI mapping, MIDI learn etc… is ALSO available in Mixbus. Midi learn, mappings, it is all there and functional in Mixbus.
Most likely, the person on the other forum directed you to the Ardour Manual because it is more complete and goes into more detail than the Mixbus manual. NOT because Mixbus doesn’t have the same functionality.

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I did not misunderstand anything.
On the contrary,
I got a confirmation from Mixbus developer that there is basically no support in Mixbus to manipulate tracks with a pad controller.
Take it up with them if you believe otherwise.
i already did.

I will just continue with Ardour and use Mixbus only for mixing down and not general operation as Ardour has more functionality as verified from Mixbus UG.
I cannot contest the developer’s authority on this.
If he says it is so, then it is so.

Ok so first thing to point out is you mentioning a pad controller was new here, it wasn’t in the OP I responded to.

Second thing to point out is I feel like I missed something here. As @bobfrank mentioned, all the functionality you find in those MIDI maps is also in Mixbus, all I said was that you may not be able to contorl Mixbus’es built in EQ/Compression/etc. with them and I couldn’t remember if there was MIDI bindings for them or not.

Third thing is that it could be useful to keep in mind that Mixbus also contributes directly to Ardour, it is more than just an offshoot in that regards. And while yes some functionality is removed in Mixbus, it is more to streamline it on a stereo focus rather than the flexibility Ardour has which can be confusing at times.

So all that being said, how about we start with this: Exactly HOW are you trying to manipulate audio with your pad controllers? That would allow me better to answer whether it can be done in Ardour, Mixbus, both or neither. If you are trying to mute something with a pad controller, yea you can probably do that in both. If you are trying to map a pad controller to fire a note sure. If youa re trying to use an XY pad to modify effects, the answer is possibly. And those apply to both Ardour and Mixbus. But it isn’t clear what you are trying to do precisely that you seem to think Mixbus won’t do.


By the way I would be curious which mixbus dev you talked to, as I can check with them as based off what I am seeing I believe @bobfrank is correct and there is some misunderstandings going on so far unless you are trying to do something very specific with your pad controller.


Thanks Seablade, I really appreciate your response, thanks.
It was Ben, as I can remember.

Pads are no different as it outputs midi commands that can be mapped. I just asked about the complete list of already supported devices as it is quite old list as is in manual. That is all
I will be using Ableton-supported pads.

I have set out exactly what I want to do in a previous post you maybe missed.
Here is a minimum feature condensed version

  1. Map buttons on pad controller to return to marked points in a clip when pressed.
  2. Map a play button.
  3. Map a Stop Button
  4. Map buttons to select different tracks by which 1-3 can be applied.
    etc etc.
    Basically to be able to manipulate a recorded track or tracks for rehearsal.

If you believe that the minimum example above is possible in Ardour, I will just go ahead with Ardour and use Mixbus for Final Mixes only, no sweat.
I just ask as I dont want to do all the work buying and mapping a pad controller to Ardour just to find there are no midi controls possible for track manipulation. I hope you understand.
I ask here as I could not find a full and exhaustive list of all available midi functions in Ardour listed.

I only need track selection and manipulation as in playing from defined positions stopping starting volume etc. No EQ or plugin activations or such or anything outside manipulating and selecting recorded tracks/ Clips.

The following explains the rationale behind why I need it. Anyone who spent a week in a studio or ran one will understand exactly what I do and the obvious need for it.

From my previous post:
I need to control recorded session clips with pad controllers so that rehearsals can be performer initiated, forwarding rewinding previously recorded tracks/clips looping etc for unattended rehearsal, with only performers present without costly engineer. I think you see what I am getting at. Bitwig does this easily, but it is a hassle to transfer all my mixbus clips over to Bitwig as you can understand and defeats the objective. It is therefore paramount that this pad-functionality be available directly in the recording software, therefore Mixbus or Ardour.

No misunderstanding here.
I hope we can put the accusations that is starting to pop up behind us and rather rely on factual content. Most of us are here to solve problems and that is primarily what my focus is, and should be.

All possible in Mixbus and Ardour both, fairly certain.

The selecting of tracks is possible in both Mixbus and Ardour. I am a bit confused by your wording here, do you mean you want to only play one track and not the others? This isn’t a typical workflow for Ardour (Or mixbus), in that all tracks will always play at the same time. You can mute individual tracks so you don’t hear them but they will still play.

If you meant you just want to be able to select a track to do further operations on it as defined in the manual yes that should be supported in both I believe, but will double check on it as well just in case.

Note that if you have a tablet, instead of using a MIDI controller it sounds like you might have to purchase you could use an OSC program (Such as TouchOSC) to do all of the above in probably a cleaner way as well.



Ok so checked with devs as well. There is no real difference in MIDI capabilities between Ardour and Mixbus other than Mixbus has defined a few more controls to specifically control their EQs etc. So end result what is possible in Ardour’s MIDI is possible in Mixbus’s MIDI controls as well.

What we both came to the conclusion of though is it seems you are looking for something that fundamentally doesn’t exist in Ardour’s or Mixbus’s workflow, which is clip style launching. For instance there is no way in Ardour to start or stop individual clips or tracks, or return to marks in clips/tracks. This is more a workflow that fits Live and Bitwig (And now Logic I believe may have some of that workflow as well). Ignoring MIDI for the moment, is this the style of workflow you are looking for? If so Ardour will not be a good fit and neither will Mixbus. That is likely why you were steered towards the other software.

That being said, you could load in certain plugins like Luppp for instance and get a similar style of workflow, not quite as complete as Live, etc. Then you could map those plugin controls to a MIDI controller in either Mixbus or Ardour to obtain some functionality of that.

But end result, MIDI control capabilities are essentially the same between Ardour and Mixbus.

Thank you for the confirmation Seablade.
What I am looking for is exactly what I described.
Being ble to return to setpoints in a recorded track/clip and play from there.
Say a Clip is between interval [0, t] (Element of Real Numbers) seconds long.
then [0 ,t] is subdivided into certain time periods marked such that the interval now becomes. [0,t1,t2,t] as an example
I want to use a pad controller to return immediately to t1 or t2 in the clip and play from there.
Dead easy to understand. Think Rehearsal, if you ever played an instrument with a backing track as an example. In this case it is just a section of band recorded without one or more instruments who use it for a rehearsal to complete a track like vocals or a solo etc.

If that is not possible then it is lights out.
Please confirm.

Thank you for the plugin option it would be great if that is possible. I will install it and investigate.
After a quick look and watching developers video it doesnt seem like it is a plugin.
I must be missing something, but are you sure it is a plugin that can work in ardour and Mixbus. It will be great it solves about all I want to do.
So all i want to know is if it is a plugin ?
I cannot find that part of the Luppp info.

Complexity… actually none. Just what I explained above.

Ardour is not a tool like Live, Bitwig or FL Studio (or a variety of other non-timeline centric DAWs.

It’s focus is primarily on recording people performing, then editing and mixing those performances. It is not (currently) designed to “play clip T because I pressed pad X”,

You need a different tool for this sort of work.

Now, if you just mean “I want to jump around the timeline and start playing whenever I hit pad X”, then sure, Ardour can do that (to some extent). But from reading what you’ve written so far, in which you keep talking about specific clips rather than sections of the timeline across all tracks, I don’t think this is what you want.

Forget about switching tracks.
We already settled that in previous posts… Please see previous posts.
I can play all clips/tracks together and mute the ones I dont want as was correctly suggested. it is not optimal but it is workable… So this is a non issue.

The remaining question is if i can set arbitrary setpoints and return to it and play from that position.
How many setpoints and if it can be done is the question.

I honestly dont understand why unattended rehearsal is not part of a modern DAW. This is not EDM or LIVE I am asking for … Just the ability to playback a track from predetermined setpoints iby mapping those setpoints to buttons on a PAD.

Again as a previous poster already settled the issue of individual tracks, he suggested playing all as Ardour does that anyway, then muting those I dont want programmed into the pad.
Also Again, I am not trying to convert Ardour to EDM LIVEapplication, i already made this clear in my previous posts, it is a moot argument and I have no interest in it.

Times have changed and rehearsal is a big part of studio time for some of us and those tools are blazingly lacking in daws. Not having unattended rehearsal tools is really way too oldschool in my opinion.

As i already mentioned in my previous posts I CAN do this in EDM like DAWS but it is really cumbersome to move traciks between Mixbus or Ardour to an EDM application like Ableton.

It will be great if I can set it up straight on Ardour or Mixbus with a pad controller.

The only answer I still did not get is if I can add an arbitrary finite number of setpoints at specific times in a recorded clip/track and then map the setpoints to a midi pad controller.

So how many setpoints can I add to a clip to playback and return to using a pad ?

(1) There are many DAWs in which you cannot do this trivially.

(2) You can create markers and you can jump to them. The trivial mechanisms for this give you 9 marks. There are actions called “goto-mark-N” (where N is replaced by 1-9) which can be bound to a MIDI message. To do more you’d need to use Lua scripting.

(3) Your use of the term “clip” is what leads to confusion. Ardour itself doesn’t use this term (we use “Region”), but in the DAWs that do use it, it refers to a single chunk of audio in a single track (or not even present in a track). When you “launch clips” in e.g. Live, you are not playing part of the timeline, but playing a single chunk of audio independent of the current playhead position, but typically synced with bar and/or beat positions. Playing back sections of the timeline is not really what “clips” tends to refer to.

Here are my definitions:
Clips are cuts from a track which were not necessarily native to the DAW and imported.
Tracks are recorded natively by the DAW.
That is why I reference clip/tracks to include both options.

According to your suggested solution:
9 are sufficient.
If I understand correctly, from what you say I can implement up to 9 marks I can go to and play from there and jump around in the track/clip. That is definitely sufficient.

Can you confirm that I will be able to assign these markers to pads or buttons on a pad controller without the need for LUA programming and just generate a midi map ?
That will definitely solve my problem in the short term.

Then if I need more I will get into LUA no problem, but as I understand you seem to indicate 9 markers can be mapped to a pad controller as it is now ?.
Most Pad Controllers dont have more than 9 pads in a channel so it is actually optimum.

Thank you this was very helpful.

Yes so long as your pad controller generates standard MIDI, which I believe most do. The relevant actions to put in the MIDI map:

Common/jump-backward-to-mark	Jump to Previous Mark
Common/jump-forward-to-mark.    Jump to Next Mark

Editor/goto-mark-1	Locate to Mark 1
Editor/goto-mark-2	Locate to Mark 2
Editor/goto-mark-3	Locate to Mark 3
Editor/goto-mark-4	Locate to Mark 4
Editor/goto-mark-5	Locate to Mark 5
Editor/goto-mark-6	Locate to Mark 6
Editor/goto-mark-7	Locate to Mark 7
Editor/goto-mark-8	Locate to Mark 8
Editor/goto-mark-9	Locate to Mark 9

So you would create Markers numbered 1-9 in your session, place them where you want to, and then bind those actions to the appropriate MIDI messages for your controller. You could then hit the pad on your controller to skip to 1-9 or skip ahead and skip back a marker. I would also suggest making sure you have some way to start and stop transport obviously, for instance through MMC or mapping a pad to Toggle Roll as below:

Transport/ToggleRoll	Start/Stop

All of the above should work in Ardour and Mixbus both.

Below deals with specifically Mixbus IIRC (Can’t remember if this feature made it’s way back into Ardour as well or not)
Also I haven’t tested this, but Mixbus implemented a feature to use the numpad to jump between more markers by hitting the decimal and then typing in the number of the marker and hitting decimal again to skip to it. For more info see here: http://www.harrisonconsoles.com/mixbus/mixbus32c-6-live-manual/1/en/topic/using-a-number-pad

I bring this up because you can map MIDI controls as well to emulate the numpad, and I suspect, but have not yet tested, that may work to allow you to navigate sessions using that method as well if you have 10 extra pads on your controller you want to dedicate to it, and more than 9 markers to deal with. The relevant actions are:

Transport/numpad-0          Numpad 0
Transport/numpad-1          Numpad 1
Transport/numpad-2          Numpad 2
Transport/numpad-3          Numpad 3
Transport/numpad-4          Numpad 4
Transport/numpad-5          Numpad 5
Transport/numpad-6          Numpad 6
Transport/numpad-7          Numpad 7
Transport/numpad-8          Numpad 8
Transport/numpad-9          Numpad 9
Transport/numpad-decimal	Numpad Decimal

So this could allow for more navigation possibilities in Mixbus if not Ardour as well, but again I have not tested it myself yet to confirm that it would work like I think it would.


Thank you seablade, this is very helpful and will most likely completely solve the problem if it works out the way you describe.
Give me some time to get a few different pad controllers to see which works easiest with a custom MAP.

AKAI MPC is supported in your list at Ardour, so there is no reason the MPC Mini wont work. The layout of the latter is perfect for my purposes.

So I will be a bit silent until I received the pads and tested all this.
Seems like there is light at the end of the tunnel at last.

I already posted links which are relevant to this from the FAQ, but need to make sure I have all info available.

Would you be so kinds as to send me the links to;

  1. The complete instruction sets for creating Midi Maps in Ardour. I dont think my references I linked initially contains all.
  2. The LAU programming environment and and example/tutorial. Just some Ardour specific examples using LAU I can start from. I am a very good numeric programmer so I should learn and figure LAU pretty fast. I battle to find good Ardour specific LAU examples.

LAU seems to be something inbetween C & Pascal from the syntax here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lua_(programming_language) , so it will be straight forward.

Thanks to all who so unselfishly helped.
I will report back in a while.

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