USB Remote recording gadget?

Hi Everyone,

I do a lot of recording for people - audiobooks, language learning courses, that sort of thing. Particularly with the longer pieces of work, I make a fair amount of mistakes - no problem, pause and repeat - I’ll delete the offending passage later.

Now, it’s struck me that what I could really use is a live-scroll device, where as I’m recording, if I make a mistake, I can simply hit slow-rewind, and re-record from the point where I made the mistake. It would save me a lot of time, and as a result I would be willing to buy one of these gadgets, so I wondered if someone with the know-how had managed to put this sort of idea into action, and if anyone on this site would know where I could find such a thing.



Audacity doesn’t have “punch-in” correction of mistakes, so I assume you are not recording with Audacity?

I don’t know about remote controls for arbitrary recording devices, but you can do punch-ins with Zoom H4n: .



I haven’t come across the term punch-in before - I understand the concept now that I’ve read up on it, and I can appreciate that it could be a pain in the neck - any instability on your system at all, and you could lose the recording.

Right, so that brings on the second question. I looked into a contour pro v2 USB gadget, and it has scroll/jog wheels and lots of nifty buttons, which can be assigned to different tasks. I now think that the best solution would be something like this:

Record, make a mistake and then hit pause, click back to the point on recording where I made the mistake, then hit a key on the contour gadget that then starts append record - it kind of works the same way (this is spoken audio only, so no need to keep up with beats etc.) I could then assign a few useful buttons, like fade out, noise removal etc. and then the contour gadget would contain all the commands that I need to work from that and mouse, running asap.

So new question: has anyone tried that on Ubuntu 14.04 (I use Ubuntu Gnome and Ubuntu Studio) and does it work?

Also, is there a way to get audacity to recognise jog wheels? again, it would be a great time saver.



The short answer is, no, Audacity does not support such gadgets. However, there are some interesting points regarding this:

The type of gadget that you are talking about is often called a “control surface”. Often a control surface will use MIDI commands (Musical Instrument Digital Interface), which allows it to be used with a number of different DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) programs (but not Audacity as Audacity does not have the necessary MIDI support).

If a control surface was able to emulate keyboard keys, then it may well be possible to use it with Audacity, because much of Audacity can be controlled directly from the keyboard. (Audacity Manual) But that then raises the question, why bother spending a load of cash on a control surface if you already have a keyboard? That cash could go toward a new microphone, or something equally useful in your home studio.

It’s a nice idea, but you’ll probably not be surprised to hear that it has drawbacks. The main problems being that in your new “take” it’s likely to be very noticeable that you have made a correction. It’s difficult to keep the speech rhythm across that type of edit, and likely that there will be a slight click at the join. Possibly more serious is the possibility of winding back too far and (permanently) overwriting a good bit, and not knowing that you’ve done so until days later when someone points out the problem to you :blush:

However, there are probably occasions where “professional” production is not as important as getting the job done quickly. I’ve some suggestions for that, but I need to go out for a while. Catch you later.

  • Press the Record button (or the “R” key) to start recording.
  • Start talking.
  • When you make a mistake, click the Stop button or press Spacebar.
  • Select from just before the mistake to the end, either by click and drag with the mouse. or left cursor to move the mouse, then “Shift + End” to select to the end of the track.
  • Press the “Delete” button to delete.
  • Press Shift + R to resume recording.

To check that you have selected the right bit you can press the spacebar to play it. Spacebar is used for both Play and Stop.

If you mean the ShuttlePRO2 there is a software app here that maps it to key presses: .


In case anyone else comes across this post, looking for a similar device, I managed to get a ShuttlePRO v2 off ebay for about £20. Using the link that Gale mentioned, I managed to (eventually - around 2 hours of playing) get the thing setup quite nicely. Here’s what I’ve set it to do:

Record Append
Noise Removal

and on the jog wheel:
Zoom in/Out on the outer ring
move left and right by increments on the inner wheel.

In order to set this up, I edited the ‘default’ setting in the .shuttlerc file which is installed following the instructions in the link above. Here are my new ‘default’ settings, if you want a shortcut to getting going with this thing copy and paste this as a replacement default:


K1 XK_5 # Noise Removal
K2 XK_space # Play/Stop
K3 XK_R # Record
K4 XK_Shift_L/D “r” XK_Shift_L/U # Append Record
K5 XK_Control_L/D “c” XK_Control_L/U # Copy
K6 XK_Control_L/D “v” XK_Control_L/U # Paste
K7 XK_2 # Amplify
K8 XK_Control_L/D “l” XK_Control_L/U # Overwrite with silence
K9 XK_Delete # Delete
K10 XK_Control_L/D “s” XK_Control_L/U # Save
K11 XK_Control_L/D XK_Shift_L/D “e” XK_Shift_L/U XK_Control_L/U # Export
K12 XK_3 # Bass/Treble
K13 XK_4 # Tempo
K14 XK_Control_L/D “z” XK_Control_L/U # Undo
K15 XK_Control_L/D XK_Shift_L/D “z” XK_Shift_L/U XK_Control_L/U # Redo
JL XK_Left # Zoom Out
JR XK_Right # Zoom In
S1 XK_Control_L/D “1” XK_Control_L/U # Step Forward
S-1 XK_Control_L/D “3” XK_Control_L/U # Step Backward

NB: I had to assign some arbitrary shortcuts to the keyboard shortcut menu in Audacity to make some of the effect windows pop up.

You can download my copy of Audacity_keys.xml and install this as a replacement to the standard shortcuts in Edit>Preferences>Keyboard. Other than the extra ones I’ve assigned, it’s standard.

You will note that the ShuttlePRO probably won’t be read by standard, in which case you need to start up shuttle in Terminal when you start up your system:

sudo shuttle

I will probably adjust my system to autostart that when I start my machine, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

One final note: The shuttle pro will now be live for pretty much all applications with this setup, so it will enter these commands in other applications as well.

Audacity-keys.xml (17.7 KB)