Arduino interaction with DAW


So I've successfully built a small control surface for use with a DAW (pro tools) just triggering keyboard commands through buttons and knobs.

My next go around I wanted to make this control surface a little more sophisticated. I've been toying with ideas to have the DAW communicate with the arduino. Basically I'm trying to keep the arduino updated to the state of the DAW. If a button has been pressed on screen I would like the arduino to know and update its status. Is there anyway to do this? Say if I click in a location relative to a window? Can the arduino use that as a trigger to run a script? Is there a more efficient way to do this? Thanks

Start by explaining what a DAW is and what interfaces it has available to communicate with. How did you do your control surface project?

Hi vwyf11,

Your project sounds interesting! I hope you don't mind if I ask a question please!?

So for instance do you have a dial or button, (which would/could relate to R+T zoom in + zoom out for example as a normal ProTools keyboard command), which you would press or turn to initiate these shortcut commands?

Sounds cool if thats the case, turn a dial to zoom in and out.

Do you have any pictures available of your project to look at please?

Im sorry I can't help you with any scripting as I'm very new to all this myself, but wish you good luck!



DAW is an acronym for digital audio workstation. I’m not really sure of any other way that pro tools communicates other than through midi. MIDI may be limited though in what uses that protocol in the software.

Yeah I’ve been using a knob for zoom and it’s clickable. It’s much more intuitive. Here is a pic of the prototype case with one knob attached. Ignore the bright green hahah.

There is no real standard implementation for MIDI out. Most DAWs don't send out anything, unless you select a specific control surface model.

One approach could be to implement one of the proprietary protocols used by these supported control surfaces. (E.g Mackie HUI or Mackie Control Universal)
They are based on MIDI.
Here are some interesting links:

This only works for controls that were implemented in those surfaces, so it's quite limited.
I haven't been able to find any DAW settings to change the behavior of the MIDI output.

Another approach would be to use OSC (Open Sound Control). It's supported by Reaper, no idea if it works in Pro Tools though, but it works very well, and a lot of parameters are sent out by the DAW.


Yea nice idea, the colour ain’t that bad!

Would be good to add another dial or button to use for cutting in slip or grid mode, so one dial to zoom in-out and one button/dial to click and cut if thats possible!


Yeah I have a button planned that will be for splitting regions, dials for slip/grid, dial for edit modes.

That link for the midi mapping is actually a step in the right direction. I do wish there was more mapping for edit modes etc.

Does Pro Tools work with Max/MSP? Abelton works with MSP and that would be the glue between the DAW and hardware.