A useful (and often very affordable) macro trigger option is MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface).
MIDI devices are often used in the audio and events industries, but can be found in other realms as well. Literally thousands of devices and systems of this sort are available.
The Macro Configuration panel system can ‘listen’ for button presses from most MIDI controllers, just as it recognizes input from the keyboard or native control surface (see Section 17.3.2). Too, a wide variety of MIDI software and extensions are available for other devices, including mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones. These can be used to create unique custom control alternatives.
Note: Many MIDI devices provide ‘plug-and-play’ convenience. Some, though, require nonstandard device drivers. Generally, adding device drivers to NewTek products is discouraged, since these may not have been prepared with the rigorous demands of live production in mind.
If you install a driver and encounter unintended consequences, you can resolve the problem by restoring to factory defaults and, if necessary, updating to the current software version appropriate for your system.
MIDI Configuration Add-On:
The Add-On group in 3Play’s Session page (Startup) includes a link named Ableton Novation Launchpad. This link opens a simple configuration application that allows you to alter the colors used to illuminate buttons on this popular MIDI device.
Simply choose a specific device from the menu at upper left, choose a Fill Color, and click a button on the screen with the fill bucket mouse pointer. (Alternatively, each button has a right-click menu you can use to select the color for that button.)