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Very often you see mixing engineers using a trackball in professional studios to control their on-screen mouse cursor when making music..

But the question.. is a trackball better than a mouse for music production?

After years of experience using a trackball and mouse in FL Studio, here’s my thoughts!

It’s important to think about ergonomics, especially as you get older, like a nice music studio chair, a comfortable for music production mouse, and posture!

Trackball vs. Mouse for Music Production (FL Studio)

In short, a trackball reduces strain of repetitive tasks, but a mouse is more accurate and natural feeling in music production software.

What You Will Learn:

  • Trackball vs. Mouse for Music Production (FL Studio)
  • What is a Trackball? (Ergonomic Mouse for Music Production)
  • What to Look for in a Mouse for Music Production (Gaming Mouse)

Trackball vs. Mouse for Music Production (FL Studio)

Kensington Expert Mouse Trackball
Kensington Expert Mouse Trackball

A trackball is a type of ergonomic mouse to reduce strain of repetitive tasks when using a computer that eventually hurt your joints (knuckles, wrists, elbows, shoulders, and even back!)

A trackball is better than a mouse for reducing pain from repetitive tasks.. however, a trackball isn’t the best mouse for music production when making beats, from my experience.

A trackball really shines for computer tasks like:

However, I’ve found a trackball to be bad for beatmaking and editing MIDI Notes.

When editing MIDI Notes after using a MIDI Keyboard, I feel a trackball mouse is incredibly awkward, especially if you have to hold down RIGHT-CLICK and move the ball for mouse movement.

Nowadays, I often switch between a mouse and trackball…

I use the trackball for the majority of my daily tasks to reduce strain on my elbow and knuckles [Repetitive strain injury (RSI)]. So blogging, or light mixing in FL Studio, the trackball is great.

If I’m teaching a FL Studio Course, the dexterity a mouse gives you is unmatched. (A mouse feels like it’s apart of your arm.. and feels so natural).

So in short, a mouse is definitely better. A trackball reduces strain, but at times it feels awkward for very critical tasks.

What is a Trackball? (Ergonomic Mouse for Music Production)

Kensington Expert Mouse Trackball
Kensington Expert Mouse Trackball

There’s actually a couple different types of trackball mice available.

I’ve only used the dedicated standalone ergonomic trackballs.

You use the ball to move the mouse cursor, and it usually has 4 buttons for a similar mouse experience, like LEFT-CLICK, RIGHT-CLICK, and MIDDLE-CLICK.

Trackballs often come with software to program how you want the buttons to work in general, or you can assign them uniquely for different software..

For example, in FL Studio I could assign a button to be MIDDLE-CLICK, or I could swap LEFT/RIGHT-CLICK. You can even reverse the scroll direction.

Another trackball option is a mouse trackball.. it’s still a mouse which you hold in your hand and click normally, but has a trackball for very fine adjustments. I have no experience with these.. leave a comment if you do!

In short, I’m happy with my Kensington Expert Trackball Mouse.

But.. for critical situations, like if I were teaching, and I need the mouse to do EXACTLY what I want it to do for the best learning experience of the student, I’d look at a mouse instead.

What to Look for in a Mouse for Music Production (Gaming Mouse)

Trackball vs. Mouse for Music Production
Trackball vs. Mouse for Music Production
Kensington Expert Mouse Track Ball
Logitech G403 Hero Gaming Mouse

View this link to see my current mouse, where I explain more in-depth about what’s the best mouse for music production (and FL Studio).

It’s actually really hard to find a good mouse.

Because of gaming, mice have become expensive, feature-rich, and very sensitive and accurate. This is good and bad.

Good because mice now give the user the best experience.. bad because the prices have jumped drastically.

In short, I like a mouse that is:

  • Wired (Not Wireless)
  • Affordable
  • Comfortable
  • Has the forward/back buttons by the thumb
  • Feels natural

Most often, you’ll want to buy a gaming mouse for music production because the sensors are designed for accurate movement, as well as comfort for long hours of use at a time.

Again, read my best mouse for FL Studio article.

Conclusion: Trackball vs. Mouse for FL Studio?

I would personally recommend a mouse for FL Studio while making beats.

However, in the mixing stage and using plugins, a trackball is quite enjoyable when just hovering over a knob and using the scroll wheel. There are times when using the Trackball’s ball for mouse movement is really nice for fine-tuning because you just move the mouse ball very gently..

The most annoying thing of the trackball is holding RIGHT-CLICK and moving the ball at the same time, it’s VERY awkward.

Questions about what a trackball is used for, why a mouse is better than a trackball, or any other disadvantages of a trackball?

Leave a comment with your thoughts!