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Fader Start for PlayIt Live

If you use PlayIt Live on a mixer and present the various outputs on different channels it would be desirable for a player to start when the relevant fader is opened.

Mixers often provide a switch output which changes state (either as a short “pulse” or as a simple closure) when a fader is open. Historically this was used for turntables and tape machines, more recently for CD players (which generally want a “pulse”) and similar devices.

I’ve got a D&R Airmate mixer that has a “fader start” output on each channel and I wanted the channels used for PlayIt Live to trigger an event in the playlist when the fader was opened.

PlayIt Live has a plugin for a MIDI device. That works well with MIDI devices but for me they had too many buttons and I couldn’t find something suitable to turn a relay closure into a MIDI command to a PC over USB. The historic PC “Game Port” would have been idea as that can take button presses but I couldn’t find suitable game port to MIDI command software.

After some research however, I could find a unit intended for the arcade machine industry that would turn a button press into a keypress (simulating a USB keyboard), it was also reasonably priced so I bought one.

The device is called the U-HID Nano and in the UK it is available from a firm called “Arcade World”. They supplied it very promptly and I also bought the wiring loom & plug from them to make construction much easier.


The U-HID Nano has 8 connections (and a 0 volt “common”) and can be configured by software. Once configured it does what it is programmed to do without further software running. In the PlayIt Live application I’ve programmed each connection to generate a function key keyboard press on switch closure (and nothing else).

I’ve mapped F1 – F4 to different actions within PlayIt Live and in software terms it’s done.

My mixer gave the fader connections on ¼ inch jacks (one per channel) so I put a similar connector on the box which I fitted the U-HID Nano into.

As I only needed 3 fader start connections (although I allowed for 4) I decided to put push buttons on the box for common PlayIt Live functions (play, pause, stop and next item).


That’s the box at a late stage in construction. The jack wiring matches how the mixer provides the connections so the cable is “straight”.


Installed with 2 fader starts connected (awaiting another cable).

The push buttons match the order and colours on the PlayIt Live screen .

The U-HID configuration software is excellent, well thought through and easy to use.

See a screenshot configuring the first connection (which is the green button in the picture above).

Pressing the green button generates the keypress for F1. The other three buttons are F2, F3 & F4.

For reasons I’ll come on to the fader starts are also all F4.


The keyboard key mapping in PlayIt Live.


The only problem with channel fader starts and multiple outputs in Live Assist Mode is that there isn’t a start for each player.

In practice “Start Playout” is good enough as generally you are opening the fader for the player with the next item on it hence all the fader starts are mapped to F4.

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