The best mouse for music production and audio editing is the mouse that works for you. This applies to trackballs and trackpads as well, which could be just as useful in a studio environment.
In our rundown, we’ll take a look at which one of these mice will be right for you. You’ll get introduced to some of the most useful mice, trackballs, and trackpads you should consider for your studio!
Let’s take a closer look! 🙂
The Best Mouse For Music Production
Wired mice are still favored by many music producers, due to their straightforward design and functionality, and ease of use. The Kensington Expert Trackball Mouse is our top pick for wired mice, due to its host of “productivity enhancement” features (it’s also the mouse we’re currently using ;).
Among these are the Scroll Ring that enables quick and easy scrolling up and down your track window and the four buttons that can be customized for various DAW functions. The Expert also scores points for its excellent tracking capability, which is due largely to the Diamond Eye tracking technology.
Of course, you might prefer a wireless mouse for portability, convenience, and untethered operation. If so, the Razer Naga Epic Chroma is about the best that you could hope for in a wireless design.
The Naga has an ultra-fast response time of one millisecond. That is fast enough for even the most demanding gamers, so it should be sufficient for music production and audio editing tasks.
What really sets the Naga apart is the inclusion of 12 thumb buttons that add a great deal of functionality to an already useful device. With so many buttons onboard, you spend less time clicking through menus and more time getting work done.
In the trackpads category, the Apple Magic Trackpad 2 is the clear winner. Redesigned for enhanced functionality and ergonomics, it offers the trademark Apple convenience and ease of use in a slim and attractive package.
The Apple Magic’s Force Touch feature gives it capabilities that transcend most trackpads in this and any other price range. You can tap as gently as you wish and not have to deal with potentially messy misclicks. The pad itself is also larger than before, giving you more room to maneuver.
There’s still a spot in any studio for a regular, bog-standard mouse, and the Logitech G600 is well-equipped to fill that spot. Like the Naga, it also has 12 thumb buttons that could potentially provide easy access to various DAW functions. There is even a G-Shift button that allows you to assign even more functions to the 12 buttons, giving you more options than is immediately apparent.
For the budget-conscious, the Logitech Trackman Marble Mouse is the only real choice. Before upgrading to the Kensington, our setup utilized this handy mouse before it gave up working (about 5 years).
It’s a cheap-and-cheerful device that offers surprisingly quality performance, it has an ergonomic shape that reduces arm and hand fatigue during those extended studio sessions. Even if you do decide to spring for a better mouse later on, as we did, the Trackman Marble Mouse will definitely get the job done until you are able to afford a fancier model.
If those options don’t suit your fancy, not to worry, here is the full list of 10 mice for music producers.
Other Helpful Guides:
The Top 10 Mice For Producers & Audio Engineers
Apple Magic Trackpad
Now on its second iteration, the Apple Magic Trackpad has been redesigned to be more functional and ergonomic as ever. The much-lauded Force Touch feature remains one of its biggest strengths, providing enhanced ease of use as compared to other trackpads.
DAW users will appreciate the convenience of being able to click anywhere on the pad without giving it too much thought. The four force sensors are remarkably sensitive to pressure differences, so you get even more functionality when editing audio and navigating your way through your DAW.
The pad’s surface area is more than 30% larger than the pad on the previous version, but the entire unit still fits comfortably on most desktops. Combined with the new lower profile, this makes scrolling and swiping a lot more comfortable and efficient.
Being able to work quickly and intuitively is essential in a studio setting. You don’t want to be hindered by a trackpad that requires you to press firmly down every time you want to perform an action.
The Magic’s trackpad is a lot more sensitive than most, and even light touches will register. You can even use any finger you wish, so any sore fingers are spared from further wear and tear.
If you’ve always used a mouse for music production, switching over to a trackpad might take some getting used to. Nevertheless, it will definitely reduce the pain and discomfort associated with tweaking onscreen sliders. And if you do decide to make the switch, the Apple Magic Trackpad mouse for music production is one of the best choices around.
Kensington Expert Mouse Trackball
Music production is often all about getting as much work done in as little time as possible. The Kensington Expert Mouse Trackball can help you do just that, with its design and features that enhance efficiency and maximize your productivity.
Of course, working in the studio is about more than just cranking out as much ‘product’ as possible. It is equally important to enjoy the process and to derive a feeling of satisfaction from the act of creation. The Expert Mouse Wired Trackball has you covered in that regard as well, by allowing you to do what you need to do without getting in your way.
The Expert is marketed as a “productivity enhancer”, which really is the best way to describe its combination of features and functionality. The cursor is controllable to a remarkably precise degree, and four buttons are provided for enhanced efficiency.
You can pretty much configure these buttons any way you wish with the included TrackballWorks software. Combined with the unique Scroll Ring that lets you zoom up and down the screen, you have more control over your DAW work surface than ever before.
The ball is probably what will initially attract the most attention, and it really is what makes the Expert so special. The perfect sphere shape combined with the Diamond Eye optical tracking technology provides unparalleled precision that DAW tweakers will really love.
If long hours of studio work have left you with a painful case of repetitive strain injury (RSI), a good trackball might just provide some relief. And for the money, you can hardly go wrong with the Kensington Expert Mouse Trackball for music production.
Kensington SlimBlade Trackball Mouse
If your search for the ideal DAW control device has led you to consider a trackball, the Kensington SlimBlade for music production is definitely worth a close look. There are many good reasons for switching from a mouse to a trackball, one of which is reducing the pain associated with RSI. And for that very purpose, you might find the SlimBlade to be the perfect choice.
The SlimBlade is designed to enhance home office productivity, but there’s no reason why it wouldn’t be equally useful in a home studio. If you tend to pile on a large number of tracks in your DAW projects, you probably spend a lot of time scrolling up and down the page. And as many studio hounds will tell you, using a standard mouse for that will almost certainly result in RSI.
The SlimBlade could prevent that from happening with its unique twist scrolling feature. This allows you to easily zip up and down the page simply by spinning the trackball sideways. You therefore avoid the strain resulting from frequent spinning of the mouse wheel.
Most trackballs tend to be somewhat large and bulky. But this one actually takes up less desk space than that which you would need to operate a traditional mouse. The low-profile design does more than just give it a sleek form factor. It also requires less arm and wrist movement, so you can use it for longer periods without discomfort.
The SlimBlade isn’t the most precise trackball around, especially at high speed settings. But if that isn’t an issue, you should definitely give this one a closer look.
Logitech MX Ergo
Comfort and precision are among the most important qualities for a studio trackball. Those qualities definitely apply to Logitech’s MX Ergo for music production, which makes it a good choice for long-suffering home studio owners looking for an alternative to the standard computer mouse.
The MX Ergo is billed as Logitech’s most advanced trackball, and it certainly looks the part. The “Ergo” in the name is particularly well-suited for the device, as it has a unique sculpted design that reduces muscle strain by as much as 20%. You could even set the trackball angle from 0° to 20°, ensuring that your hand is positioned for maximum comfort.
Music producers that utilize multiple computers–or those that have a dual-monitor set-up–will especially like the MX Ergo’s multi-computer control feature. This allows for seamless navigation between two computers, and easy copy-pasting between multiple screens.
Speaking of which, you could actually use as many as three computers at a time with the same trackball. All three computers would have to be running operating systems from the same family, so you can’t mix and match Windows and Apple computers. Even so, the ability to control three computers from a single device is a benefit that power users will definitely appreciate.
The MX Ergo is a bit heavy, mainly because of the thick metal plate that is used to customize the trackball tilt. Apart from this however, there is little else that would put this out of the running if you are looking for a trackball for your music computer.
Nakabayashi Digio 2 Bluetooth Wireless Trackball
Nakabayashi isn’t quite as well-known as most of the other brands in this roundup. But the company’s Digio 2 for music production seems to have some qualities that would make it a good choice for a studio trackball.
A wireless model that connects to your computer via Bluetooth, the Digio is a compact unit that takes up much less space than most trackballs. If your desktop is already crowded with an audio interface, a preamp, and a computer keyboard, you would probably appreciate the Digio’s compact form factor.
Unlike most other mice and trackballs, the Digio automatically adapts itself to the task at hand. No messing around with configuration software is necessary to adjust the pointer speed. You can cover large areas of your DAW project simply by moving the ball quickly. Slow it down and the pointer adjusts accordingly, making it easy to set onscreen knobs and faders precisely.
If you would rather have the pointer moving at a consistent speed, you can simply set the Digio to ‘fixed’ mode with a press of the “speed” button. You’d probably want to leave the speed at the default variable setting, since it is so useful for DAW-related tasks. Nevertheless, it is nice to have the option to lock the speed if you want to.
Those with big hands might find the Digio to be too small for regular use. If you hold it as you would a regular mouse, your fingers won’t quite fall in the right spot. But if you don’t mind having to adjust your hand position slightly, the Digio is a good choice for a compact trackball mouse.
Kensington Orbit Wireless Trackball Mouse
The Kensington Orbit is a mobile-friendly trackball mouse that will work just as well in your home studio. Designed for maximum performance, it has a number of features that enhance operating efficiency and allow for a good deal of customization.
If you frequently hit the road with a mobile recording or editing setup, you will like the portability of the Orbit. The receiver can actually be stashed right in the trackball, leaving you one less item to worry about.
Other features make the Orbit equally suited to traveling producers and those that rarely ever stray too far away from their home rig. The touch scrolling feature lets you easily hone in on the various tracks of your DAW projects, simply by sliding your finger around the outer ring. This is an especially welcome feature for those that are tired of spinning the mouse wheel frantically to get from track one to track 100.
The Orbit works in conjunction with the TrackballWorks software, which can be downloaded for free. The software is actually essential for getting the most out of the Orbit for music production, as it allows you to assign various functions to the two buttons. The TrackballWorks also enables you to adjust cursor and scroll speeds to your liking.
As useful as the touch scrolling feature is, there is some room for improvement. Your finger could easily come in contact with the scrolling surface when using the trackball, which causes you to move up or down the work area unintentionally. Even with this minor niggle, the Kensington Orbit is an intriguing studio mouse that will definitely come in handy on the road.
Logitech’s G600 isn’t quite like any other mouse you have ever seen. Upon first glance, it looks pretty much like any other wired mouse. Turn it on its side however, and you will be greeted by a dazzling array of buttons that offer a hint of its impressive capabilities.
The G600 offers a superb degree of customizability that makes it an excellent choice for music production and audio editing. Along with the three primary buttons, you also get 12 thumb buttons that can be assigned to various functions. Although intended primarily for MMO games, these buttons could be set for quick access to common DAW-related tasks.
The 12 side buttons are arranged in two sets of six, so you could group functions according to your needs. This is actually a pretty good design decision, as it helps keep things organized while preventing misclicks.
The G-Shift button adds even more functionality to the G600. This essentially doubles the number of functions of every other button. Again, this is a feature that is intended primarily for gaming, but DAW users in need of enhanced functionality will surely find a way to put it to good use.
The G600 even conveniently stores up to three memory profiles onboard. You could therefore use the same mouse on multiple computers without having to futz around with configuration settings.
Many DAW users have turned to trackballs and trackpads for the enhanced comfort and functionality they provide. But there are producers that aren’t quite willing to give up on the standard mouse. If you are one of those users, the G600 for music production proves that there is still room for innovation in that traditional design.
The Logitech G900 is a wired/wireless mouse that aims to provide lag-free experience in either mode. Designed specifically to give pro gamers ultra-responsive performance, it is surprisingly well-suited to the demands of the modern-day computer-centered studio. With its state-of-the-art optical sensor that boasts of Logitech’s clock tuning technology, hand movements are translated with remarkable accuracy.
Wireless mice are generally more prone to lagging than their tethered counterparts. This is definitely not the case with the G900, which has a one millisecond response rate with or without the supplied cable. Delays are virtually non-existent with this device, making it ideally-suited for those that require high-speed and accuracy in the studio.
The PMW3366 optical sensor is largely responsible for making the G900 so fast and easy to use. Equipped with Logitech’s clock tuning technology, the sensor precisely tracks even the fastest hand movements, translating them onscreen with a remarkable degree of accuracy. The performance is so fast and responsive, that it is almost like using a touchscreen display to control your DAW.
Further enhancing the G900’s performance is the zero smoothing, which works across the entire 200 DPI to 12,000 DPI range. And with the device weighing in at just about 107 grams, your mouse pointer practically flies across the screen.
One thing that lets the G900 down slightly is the use of mechanical switches for the two buttons. These have a similar feel to the keys on a typical computer keyboard, and can feel a bit wonky in use. If you are willing to overlook this minor design flaw however, you might find the Logitech G900 for music production to be a welcome addition to your studio computer set up.
Razer Naga Epic
Wireless mice are pretty much ubiquitous in most modern studios. They are a lot more convenient than standard, wired mice, and are often more intuitive to use than trackballs or trackpads. If you are looking for a standard mouse form in a wireless design, the Razer Naga Epic for music production might be right up your alley.
Fast response is an important quality for a studio mouse, and the Naga Epic definitely delivers on that score. Whether you use it wirelessly or with the included cable, the Naga offers an ultra-fast response time of one millisecond. You can therefore perform any action you wish without a second thought, and the mouse pointer will follow along without a hitch.
Along with the standard mouse buttons, the Naga Epic also has a 12-button thumb grid that provides even greater functionality. These buttons can be assigned to pretty much anything you wish, from common commands to specialized macros. You therefore have greater control over your DAW or audio editing software, without having to use up USB ports for additional control devices.
The Naga lasts for several days even on a single charge. Furthermore, you can simply plug it in when the juice runs out, and continue to use the mouse as it charges.
Admittedly, the Naga Epic is pretty expensive–so much so that you could legitimately question whether or not the cost is warranted. But after putting it through its paces a few times, you will likely find the performance and quality to be worth it.
Logitech Trackman Marble Mouse
Looking for a high-performance mouse but don’t want to spend too much in the process? The Trackman Marble Mouse from Logitech should definitely be on your short list.
A remarkably comfortable and efficient mouse, the Trackman is one of the least expensive mice you can buy. Despite its low cost however, there seems to be no discernable compromise on quality. Sure you could pay a bit more and get a fancier and more fully-featured mouse. But if your budget is tight and you still want to get reliable performance, you probably won’t do better than the Trackman.
Right off the bat, the Trackman earns points for its sculpted shape that lends itself to easy usage. Whether you are right or left-handed, you will find that the Trackman’s ambidextrous shape keeps your arm in the same comfortable position. This enables you to perform most any action without putting undue stress on your hand or arm.
As with most Logitech mice, you get a good degree of customizability with the onboard buttons. You can do anything from switch applications to full screen editing windows, making it a convenient tool for music production and audio editing.
One thing you will only notice after using the mouse for a while is that it tends to attract dust and lint easily. Over time, this could result in a bit of resistance. This can be remedied easily enough simply by taking out the ball and cleaning the receptacle. This task takes a few seconds at most, and in no way detracts from the otherwise excellent performance of the Trackman Marble Mouse for music production.
Choosing A Mouse For Music Production
Mice, trackballs, trackpads…they all essentially serve the same function, yet they are about as different from each other as any piece of computer equipment can be.
Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and can affect your workflow and productivity in different ways. You should therefore take some time to decide which offers the features and capabilities best suited to your needs.
Mice, trackballs, and trackpads… what’s the difference?
Mice have traditionally been the pointing and selecting devices of choice. Simple, easy, and intuitive, they still have plenty of use in a modern studio environment. Early designs utilized rubber balls at the bottom that set the small internal wheels in motion. This enables the pointer to move across the screen.
Later optical mouse designs utilized a laser, which tended to be more accurate and responsive. Even so, most mice have remained essentially unchanged since the beginning, apart from the addition of more buttons and more onboard controls.
Trackballs have found favor among many computer-reliant music producers and audio editors. They essentially have fixed balls at the top of the unit, which is rolled by the fingers of the “mouse hand”. Unlike using a traditional mouse however, the hand remains in the same spot while using the trackball. This can greatly reduce the pain and discomfort associated with repetitive stress injury (RSI), which commonly afflicts people that use mice for long periods of time.
Trackpads are also useful in music studio settings, but more popular among visual editors and creators. They generally consist solely of a pad, across which you move your fingers to set the onscreen pointer in motion. They may also have buttons onboard for typical clicking functions, although most will allow for clicking right on the pad itself.
Like trackballs, trackpads provide an easy and efficient way to control onscreen functions of DAWs. However, they aren’t always as accurate or as intuitive to use as mice, so many producers use them in conjunction with a standard mouse.
Wireless vs Wired
Wireless pointing devices offer the advantages of convenience and portability. You can set them anywhere on your desk you wish, and they reduce desktop clutter. This is especially important for desks that are probably already occupied by various pieces of studio equipment.
Of course, wireless mice and trackpads will have to be charged, which could be a hassle in a fast-paced studio environment. For all the inconvenience of being attached by a cable, wired mice will simply keep on working as long as it is plugged in. They are also usually simpler and more straightforward to use, without you having to set up Bluetooth connectivity.
DAW and OS Compatibility
Most pointing devices currently available will work with any DAW and operating system. You generally have control over all the functions of your DAW and editing software even without having to configure anything.
Nevertheless, it is important to look into the compatibility of your chosen device with the DAW you plan to use. This is especially important with mice or trackballs that have added buttons, which you may have to configure for use with your system.