Monitor Controller for Ardour - Manufacturing hardware for ardour

Just a little idea to generate a little bit more financial support for ardour:

I read the upcoming features for a3 and I am very looking forward to the monitor section.

Because I was just looking for a hardware controller to select/mute/mono/dim etc. my monitors I got the following idea:
What about contacting a hardware vendor/producer for manifacturing a little piece of plastiv for controlling that monitor section as a replacement to hardware monitor matrix/controller. In my mind it could look like as an extra keypad of a computer keyboard just for managing the monitors with an extra knob to adjust the gain.

General idea: Selling Hardware fitting to ardour.


@dtk: unless or until we could provide accurate-ish estimates of our user base, its hard for me to see anyone being interested in doing so, especially as more and more interest goes towards touch-driven control surfaces like the iPad and all the tablets just announced at CES. that said, i’d be happy to cooperate with any company/person who wanted to do this.

@Paul: Isn’t it possible to code a transparent counter function into ardour, where people have the choice to submit a “+1” to a online counter system? Our what about the possibility of extending the registered user profiles on this page, where people can serve their specific use of Ardour. Questions could be:

What Version of Ardour are you using?

  • Dropdown field of possible versions

What kind of operating system are you using?

  • MacOS
  • GNU/Linux

What is the purpose of your installation of Ardour?

  • Just testing
  • Home Recording
  • Professional Recording

Possibly that’s a way to generate some “nearby” statistics.? Users of Ardour can be suggested of the possibilty to register and its purpose after they did a installation or update.

I’ll try to probe some manufacturers, but that can take some time. Perhaps other users will try, too.

Best regards from germany

@dtk: this was discussed at some considerable length on the ardour-users mailing list earlier this year. general response to it meant that actual implementation is quite tricky.

I know it’s not quite a monitor controller, so apologies in advance for the thread-hijack, but I thought they might be relevant since they use Ardour - has anyone used this?

The website is a bit ‘incomplete’, so I contacted them a while back - here’s their response which I hope they won’t mind me quoting below FYI. When I found out the BCF2000 faders aren’t silent, I got a BCR2000 instead, but this device is still on my radar if they make an updated version.

Malcolm Smith wrote:


Please could you put some more info online about the SmartMix:

  • does it have motorised faders?
  • are they touch sensitive?
  • does it have MIDI In as well as Out?
  • can you chain together more than one SmartMix device? (I guess so,
    if it’s just a MIDI controller)
  • what are its physical dimensions?

If the answer to these questions is YES, I’m interested. Looks nice!
If NO, then do let me know if you ever make a V2.0 with these features.
I wish it had an integral PSU with IEC kettle lead input though, then
it would pwn the BCF2000, which is still the only professional-spec
device with IEC power socket. Wall warts suck for studio and live use
(therefore Mackie et al are lame).

Putting the User Manual online is always a big win, as these days
people want to read the manual before they buy a product, to ensure
it will fit in with their setup. Product photos too, high res shots
of front+rear panels and connectors, so we’re not left guessing.

It’s great to see you mentioning Linux and Ardour, which is what I use.



Date: Tue, 06 Apr 2010 23:29:31 +0100
From: Alan Jones, Smartmix
To: Malcolm Smith
Subject: Re: Details about Smart Mix

Hello Malcolm,

Many thanks for your interest and congratulations on your very
informative web pages.

Currently the smartmix doesn’t have motorised faders or touch sense, the
design ethos for this product was to include high quality faders and
switches not generally found on units at this price point. The faders,
switches and fader knobs on the smartmix are the same as those used by
high end console manufacturers.

Similarly including an IEC power inlet would inflate the cost of the
unit and I’d imagine would open up a whole host of safety compliance
issues. There is, however, an option to provide power via USB. There may
be scope for a smartmix ‘pro’ range that would include the additional
features you mention.

Dimensionally the smartmix is a little smaller than a BCF2000 and
measures just 290x200x76 mm.

MIDI I/O is provided on the rear of the unit via standard 5 pin MIDI
connectors so there is potential to daisy chain multiple units together.

I am currently looking into host communication via ipMIDI which would
mean you could potentially utilise the spare ports of an ethernet hub
and turn it into a wireless MIDI router. Also a gtk based configuration
tool for linux users that would allow customisation of fader and switch
messages. Currently the unit either transmits generic MIDI CC messages
or emulates a JL Cooper CS-10.

I’m in the process of updating the website and adding more photographs,
studio setups, video etc. and (eventually) a manual as time permits.

I too am primarily an Ardour user and part of the reason behind the
smartmix was to enable a very good friend of mine, who is the creator of
http//, to test out his range of linux audio plugins.
If you haven’t come across his excellent work it’s well worth a look.

The smartmix ‘brain’ is based on an Arduino (Atmega328p) written in C
and compiled using avr-g++.

Keep up the drumming!

Best regards,


@spock: Thanks for the post. It’s quite interesting.

@Paul: Your website is based on Drupal, isn’t it?

Me again,

I’ve found a very interesting page for DIY midi controllers it’s Paul, what do you think? Will it be worth a post or mail for designing a special “ardour midibox”?


@dtk: yes, runs drupal. as for midibox, its awesome and cool and all that but there is no need for a special ardour design from a technical perspective. Please see for what can be done without any custom design at all.

@Paul: Ok, no special design, you are right.

I have never seen a monitor controller as a midi controller. Often sound cards have enough outputs for more as one pair of monitors - so is mine. Imagine your a3 monitor matrix

could be managed by hardware. I would buy one, because I would like to control my mixes on three different monitor pairs next to my computer keyboard. I believe, that controller won’t be that expensive but very efficient.

So the only thing I would miss in the a3 monitor section is to select the output.

All the best

Sometimes simple is best;)