Wacom Tablet for Mouse Replacement

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Wacom Tablet for Mouse Replacement

Post by Loopscious » Wed Dec 07, 2016 11:00 pm

Hi everyone,

I've got golfer's elbow (don't play golf) and have been experimenting with trackpads, trackballs, and am now trying to figure out if a wacom tablet will help if used as a mouse-replacement.

Can people share their experience - if you can use Ableton with a tablet / pen (with the options.txt fix) -- is it comfortable? accurate? How is entering midi notes (drawing), automation, etc.? Would you recommend this or should I stay away?

Any info will help! Thank you!
Live 10 suite (just transitioning over from 9), mix of hardware and software

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Re: Wacom Tablet for Mouse Replacement

Post by buzby » Thu Dec 08, 2016 7:18 am

i have a friend who has used one for years with pro tools loves it - it does look very comfortable to use

i ve been meaning to try this as i use izotope rx a lot as well and i think it would be excellent for that
macbookpro (2.6ghz, 8gb, 10.13.3) suite 10.0.1, izotope rx adv., apogee duet, sound devices 633, senn mkh 30, 8060, 8050, sony pcm d100

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Re: Wacom Tablet for Mouse Replacement

Post by snakedogman » Thu Dec 08, 2016 8:31 am

YES!! Using a pen is so much nicer than using a mouse. Especially for drawing notes and automation. Since naturally, drawing and writing just feels more natural with a pen, and is simply more precise than you can ever be with a mouse. Definitely give a it a try.

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Re: Wacom Tablet for Mouse Replacement

Post by markwphoto » Thu Dec 08, 2016 1:48 pm

I have been using Pen devices with Ableton and other software for over 10 years and have no issues at all (after adjusting the option.txt). If I'm not using my Logitech m570 trackball, I'm using a pen device. I have had in the past Wacom tablets but now I currently use a Yiynova MVP20U and a Surface Pro 4. Using the pen on the on the high dpi SP4 screen is a bit harder due to everything being smaller but it works. You just have to be very precise. You can however adjust the zoom size/scaling in Live and Windows.

If you're going the tablet/tablet monitor route or even trackball for that matter I recommend to all new users to completely hide your mouse for 30 days and use only the tablet/trackball for everything. Once you get used to it you'll probably never want to use a mouse again. After years I convinced my wife to try my trackball mouse and after she got used to it, she wouldn't give it back. Lol.

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Re: Wacom Tablet for Mouse Replacement

Post by theophilus » Thu Dec 08, 2016 3:11 pm

agree on the zoom... I used an old HP 2760p for a while... great pen (and it's an i7! 2nd gen but still...), but you have to either zoom it in a lot or be _very_ precise. my motivations were different - the laptop form factor is sometimes inconvenient (small spaces like an airplane seat, or laying it flat on a music stand), so was looking for something smaller. I only really tried it out on a couple of flights, so take this with a grain of salt.

i think it would have to be a good pen... fingers or a stylus just wouldn't be accurate enough (or you'd have to zoom out even more)... on the small 12.5" low-res screen, this was kind of disappointing. I also didn't like keeping up with the pen (have to put it down to type, then pick it up again afterward... not necessary that convenient in an airplane seat, it would fall and I'd have to retrieve it... at least mine was attached that made that easy, and it stored inside the laptop). And on my pen, right-clicking required pushing a button on the side & tapping with the pen, which meant either the thumb or the first finger pushing the button - not the most natural action, I think I could have gotten used to it, but it definitely was annoying at first (and Live has a significant amount of right-clicking, unless you use a lot of key shortcuts, which since in my case I was using it in laptop mode wouldn't have mattered anyways).

That said, it worked great, and the advantage is that it's the real interface - you can do everything that you can do with the real screen, so you don't have to learn a new interface. It worked just like a mouse in most of the cases I tried... I tried some VSTs too, and those mostly were fine as well (think a couple might have had issues... but given the ubiquity of touchscreens on Windows at least, wouldn't expect too many issues here). It's not much work to set up.

The other option, if you've already got a touchscreen (or an Ipad) is to integrate something like Yeco or TouchAble... i don't know if they do the automation curves, but they do a lot of other things including editing notes. I have had TouchAble for a month or two, and while I'm not exactly a power user, the basics are pretty easy to use, and it's much more oriented towards use with fingers (no pen to keep up with); i've played with Yeco a little on the windows machine but not enough to have an opinion yet. However, both have their own interface, and they are limited by what Ableton exposes in the API - so no browsing things in the user library for instance. Custom plugin windows won't be able to access their special parameters, etc. So it's not as comprehensive a solution as the pen. And in the Ipad case, you have to keep up with two things instead of one (bonus is that the Ipad can be connected wirelessly - so at least at home, you could have the mega desktop in the closet, and be sitting on the couch with only an Ipad making music.. something like that at least).

I've also just started playing around with using an Ipad Pro and Apple Pencil as a remote for the Mac using Astropad... it lets you do the same thing but it's more like a normal pen interface. It would definitely not be good enough with just fingers, and because the Mac isn't multitouch (apparently), the Ipad doesn't make it multitouch - it's still a single mouse click/drag etc.

Current plan is to try to bring up Yeco on the Mac and use the Ipad Pro as the remote, with yeco running for more 'natural' touch controlled things, and the pen still available for things that interface can't do. I hardly have time to do music these days (for a while) so it's more experiment than anything else, but I'm hopeful.

Hope this helps...

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