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X-Keys

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X-Keys

Postby Bob Bickerton » Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:11 am

This may well be old hat for many readers, but I've often been on the lookout for a standalone programmable USB transport control.

Of course there are a myriad of controllers out there, these days I use a Korg Nano Control Studio when I need physical faders to tweak a mix on the fly (which I often don't).

Anyway, I've just discovered the X-Keys range of programmable controllers: http://xkeys.com/xkeys.php, and bought the X-keys® XK-24 USB Keypad.

After just a few days, I'm suitably impressed.

Now I'm well aware that all this can be programmed using a standard keyboard, but I'm rather taken with having all my common key strokes in one place. When tracking or editing, I can now pretty much do away with my standard keyboard and rely on this nice tactile surface instead. You can programme it to illuminate the buttons (I have play/record illuminate red when recording).

Here's a pic of how I've set it up:

Image

Works fine with a Mac and is compatible with Windows, Linux.

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Re: X-Keys

Postby Dave B » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:29 am

Nice! :)
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Re: X-Keys

Postby ConcertinaChap » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:31 am

What neat gadgets! Worth bookmarking because you never know when they'll come in handy.

Thanks, Bob.

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Re: X-Keys

Postby OneWorld » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:47 am

Bob Bickerton wrote:This may well be old hat for many readers, but I've often been on the lookout for a standalone programmable USB transport control.

Of course there are a myriad of controllers out there, these days I use a Korg Nano Control Studio when I need physical faders to tweak a mix on the fly (which I often don't).

Anyway, I've just discovered the X-Keys range of programmable controllers: http://xkeys.com/xkeys.php, and bought the X-keys® XK-24 USB Keypad.

After just a few days, I'm suitably impressed.

Now I'm well aware that all this can be programmed using a standard keyboard, but I'm rather taken with having all my common key strokes in one place. When tracking or editing, I can now pretty much do away with my standard keyboard and rely on this nice tactile surface instead. You can programme it to illuminate the buttons (I have play/record illuminate red when recording).

Here's a pic of how I've set it up:

Image

Works fine with a Mac and is compatible with Windows, Linux.

Bob

Just the job!

I have been trying to adapt an ordinary Wireless USB Qwerty Keyboard to sort of mimmick this, especially a foot controller, so I can be playing guitar and start record/stop/loop/play/delete/undo/return to zero etc with my foot but my electronics knowledge isn't up to the task
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Re: X-Keys

Postby Alba » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:01 am

OneWorld wrote:I have been trying to adapt an ordinary Wireless USB Qwerty Keyboard to sort of mimmick this, especially a foot controller, so I can be playing guitar and start record/stop/loop/play/delete/undo/return to zero etc with my foot but my electronics knowledge isn't up to the task

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGr3lvBtMV0
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Re: X-Keys

Postby The Elf » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:48 am

It's a good solution. I used to use a similar little X-Keys device for transport controls and did consider one of their larger devices.

I never managed to develop sufficient familiarity with my X-Keys, and I eventually found a solution more suited to my needs in a Frontier AlphaTrack.

Good devices though - I've found them especially helpful when you need to set up simple press-button systems for non-technicians.
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Re: X-Keys

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:14 pm

It's indeed an elegant solution, but am I the only one who considers it a little expensive (in the UK, Amazon sell this 24-button version at £159 !! )

https://www.amazon.co.uk/PI-ENGINEERING ... B003MB780E

I've bought mini-synths for less than that, but then perhaps I'm just a cheapskate :beamup:

I'll get my coat :roll:


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Re: X-Keys

Postby Alba » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:21 pm

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Re: X-Keys

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:12 pm

Alba wrote:Here's one for the stingy, like me https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07 ... WD6J&psc=1

Image

Now that's a bit more like it Alba, especially for £59.99! :clap:


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Re: X-Keys

Postby ConcertinaChap » Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:33 pm

As I went Amazooming around this one appealed to me. Every button its own LCD display. The software not only customises the buttons it customise their appearance too.

Image

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Re: X-Keys

Postby Bob Bickerton » Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:07 am

Yes, that looks pretty cool.

Whilst it's largely designed for bespoke streaming software, the keys can be programmed as hot keys too.

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Re: X-Keys

Postby The Elf » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:15 am

That would be perfect for my live rig! Great find, mate! :clap:
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Re: X-Keys

Postby Amokka » Mon Aug 20, 2018 2:45 pm

From another fan and long time user of x-keys and products from PI-Engineering, I find it worth mentioning that x-keys comes in different sizes.

Among other features:
- buttons can be rotated. You can orient the controller as it pleases you.
- You can make and/or print your own buttons
- There is also a foot switch/pedal

These products are originally intended for professional CAD/CAM etc. and industrial use.
They are build to last, unlike some of the other products I have tried.

IMHO one of the most important features are the ability to program each key in hardware. You can even program macros in hardware. This means that it will work regardless of the OS and software:
In other words: if your device works with a normal USB keyboard, x-keys will also work.

This reply may look like an ad, but I am just a fan and in no way affiliated or associated with x-keys or their resellers.
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Re: X-Keys

Postby The Elf » Thu Aug 23, 2018 7:08 am

ConcertinaChap wrote:As I went Amazooming around this one appealed to me. Every button its own LCD display. The software not only customises the buttons it customise their appearance too.
Owe you a drink for this one, mate. Ideal as a stage controller for Cantabile.
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Re: X-Keys

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:41 am

I believe a full SOS review is being organised...

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Re: X-Keys

Postby The Elf » Thu Aug 23, 2018 9:58 am

Good move. A lot of the information about the Stream Deck is very off-putting, since it seems to assume that we all want to play video games, stream our efforts to the world, video the top of our head and chat as we do it. There's not a lot of information out there that doesn't assume this! Once you get past all that nonsense this is a really good generic control interface, especially for stage work.
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Re: X-Keys

Postby ConcertinaChap » Thu Aug 23, 2018 10:05 am

That was the impression I got from reading the manual. Can't afford it right now having spent all my spare bucks on a new machine but well up my list of things to get. I'm a sucker for things that look that cool.

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Re: X-Keys

Postby ManFromGlass » Sat Aug 25, 2018 11:55 am

ConcertinaChap wrote:I'm a sucker for things that look that cool.

+1 especially if they come close to doing what the marketing dept says they can!
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Re: X-Keys

Postby OneWorld » Sat Aug 25, 2018 12:47 pm

Alba wrote:
OneWorld wrote:I have been trying to adapt an ordinary Wireless USB Qwerty Keyboard to sort of mimmick this, especially a foot controller, so I can be playing guitar and start record/stop/loop/play/delete/undo/return to zero etc with my foot but my electronics knowledge isn't up to the task

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGr3lvBtMV0

Thanks for that, that's the sort of idea I had in mind but with a smaller box and bigger switches. I did get hold of an ancient midi switch panel but they don't seem to make them these days eg a midi floor pedal with just switches which can be config'd to control common commands. It's great to be able to map a macro in Cubase for example such that one press with the foot stops a recording, undoes the last take, moves to left locator and then re-records

I did get a Behringer FC1010, but that was sort of over egging the pudding, too big. I'll get there.

Another gizmo I use is a PC remote, the ones with the bigger keys, I can be standing 20 foot away from the PC, recording a voice take at the mic, and I have a fully functioning transport with UNDO/PLAY/STOP/RECORD/PAL/FF/RW/DELETE/LEFT LOC/RIGHT LOC etc in the palm of my hand and the thing only cost a fiver!
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