Back in May 2003, Paul White tested BSP's Logic Keyboard, which featured a custom set of coloured keycaps displaying the keyboard shortcuts defined for Logic v5.5. The keycaps could be bought pre-fitted to Apple USB or wireless keyboards, or in a kit form, comprising a set of loose keycaps for you to fit yourself.
Two years on, many more applications now support BSP's keyboards, including Apple Final Cut Pro, Adobe Photoshop v7, Sony Vegas, and Steinberg's Cubase or Nuendo. Strangely, although Cubase and Nuendo are cross-platform apps, the keycaps for these two packages are only available for PC, and come pre-fitted to three possible keyboard types — PS/2 Classic, USB Multimedia, or Wireless Multimedia. No DIY kit is available.
I was sent the PS/2 Classic, and although I was already familiar with many of the keyboard shortcuts, I learned many more in a short space of time thanks to this keyboard. All the letters, numbers, function and cursor keys, plus those of the numeric keypad (70 in all) have colourful replacements printed with the normal and Control functions normally allocated to Cubase (but not the shifted ones), as well as their original functions. The colours are carefully used to group related functions.
Of course, Cubase/Nuendo shortcuts are totally customisable, so these custom keyboards will only be useful to you if you haven't altered the default shortcuts. I'm afraid I wasn't very keen on this particular keyboard's action either, finding it rather 'flabby', although of course keyboard feel is a matter of very personal taste.
I would say that this keyboard could prove very popular with Cubase/Nuendo users but for one thing; PC owners are notoriously price-conscious compared with their Mac brethren, and even at the cheapest £82 street price I found for the PS/2 version, I can't help feeling that many people will find it hard to justify spending over £60 more than the price of a typical standard alternative.
- A great way to boost your Cubase/Nuendo productivity.
- More expensive than standard PC keyboards.
- Only works with default Steinberg shortcuts.
A great way for PC users to get more out of Cubase or Nuendo — if they can justify the price.
PS/2 version £92.83 including VAT.
Contech Electronics +44 (0)1438 315757.