How to Connect a Push Button with Audio Input and Output

Picture of How to Connect a Push Button with Audio Input and Output
A push button is one of a basic component for capturing your action. You can dynamically push a button to do something.

There are already several way to use push buttons in your projects (e.g. hacking mouse and keyboard, or Arduino, gainer, MCK). This probides alternative way to use push buttons with audio input and output.

We also present an application of this instructable from a work Monalisa "shadow of the sound".

All you need is just a push button, some soldering, and some software.

Note: This is a series of "How to coonect with Audio". Please see others: Fader, and Sensor.
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Step 1: The Parts

Picture of The Parts
All of the following components can be found at your local electronics shop (e.g. maplin in UK, RadioShack in USA, Tokyu-Hands in Japan).

1 Push button
In this time, we choose a button with push on / off locking switch. However you could choose a push button with no lock, toggle switch, or foot switch instead.

2 3.5mm Mono Plug
One for audio input and another for audio output.

1 Twin Cable
You could use loudspeaker cable for this purpose. The length depends on how long you want.

Step 2: The Tools

Picture of The Tools
These are standard tools for assembling this project. I borrow part of the list from greyhathacker45's great work, thanks!

Soldering Iron



Wire strippers



Helping hands

Step 3: Cutting the middle of the Cable

Picture of Cutting the middle of the Cable
Cut one line of the cable (usually cable has a mark for the one side) in the middle. Then strip the cutting sides.

Step 4: Stripping the ends of the Cable

Picture of Stripping the ends of the Cable
Strip the ends of the cable.

Step 5: Soldering the push button

Picture of Soldering the push button
Now you ready to solder the push button to the middle of the cable. Before soldering, the cutting side of the cable needs to be twisted to avoid expanses.

Step 6: Soldering the Plugs

Picture of Soldering the Plugs
Then you ready to solder the plugs to the each end of the cable. Be assure to solder the switch side of the cable to the center of the plug. Before soldering, the plug cover needs to be installed in the cable and the cutting side of the cable needs to be twisted to avoid expanses. After soldering, just attach the cover for the plugs.
What about a desordering iron?
nikaki4 years ago
 How can i use this to connect it on my midi keyboard volume control knob so I can control volume with my hand movement? I understand that I wouldnt need the audio transformer but what would i need instead?
Papagiorgio6 years ago
what can you use this for?
I think that the idea is that modern "high level" software has pretty much lost the ability to interface to "low level hardware" like, say, Buttons, even though it can deal with high-level concepts like sound and vision that traditionally use large amounts of CPU time. And a modern computer HAS lots of CPU time to spare, so the incremental cost of detecting that a button has been pressed by using sound-processing primitives is actually quite low; in fact, lower than figuring out how to connect a button directly to your PC hardware in ways that could be read more trivially.
ReCreate westfw5 years ago
Oh so with this you can detect ON and OFF of the switch?
jojporg (author)  Papagiorgio6 years ago
Hi, I just added "Uses? Photo Release" as one of a possible use of this instructable. Hope it works!
dodo916 years ago
what exactly does it do? you should make it so it says what it does.
westfw6 years ago
Wow. That's gotta be about the most convoluted way of reading a pushbutton I've ever seen. But you can't argue with the price, I guess (you do lose actual sound capability, right?) Can you get four pushbuttons by setting up the left and right output channels with different levels, and detecting the levels separate on left and right inputs? ("I got a LOUD signal on the RIGHT channel, that's button 4.") I oughta go into business selling cheap USB peripherals like buttons and sliders and switches and lights. (But Oh, the pain of interfacing to all that varied software!)
jojporg (author)  westfw6 years ago
Thanks for your comment. Yes, lose one channel of your sound capability. Though if you need stereo sound (still 1-ch is active) in your project, you might need external audio interface. About number of buttons, to use different level is a bit difficult (cause LOUD sound masks others), but if you have external audio generator (e.g. oscillator, synthesizer, CD player), you can use different frequency (sine wave is the best) for each button and separate these sound with filters (FFT would be nice) with your software. Best,
sounds cool , but that would involve complicated circuitry and an external power supply, right?
jojporg (author)  raykholo6 years ago
partly, yes. you need standard power for your audio generator. but you do not need complicated circuit. you just need to connect your button into your audio mixer. you also could use these kinds of connectors.

3.5mm Stereo Plug to Two 3.5mm Mono SocketsAdaptor

hope it works!
looks like a great site, but d u know any similar ones that are .com ?
jojporg (author)  raykholo6 years ago
radioshack would be nice!
yeah but too expensive, u have to get most of it off the site cuz its not in the stores, and theres is not enough variety