I like things that make my life easier. It doesn’t matter if it’s an apple-peeling gizmo or duct tape for taping the kids to a wall when they’re misbehaving. (What!? You do that, too, right?!)
Anyway, when I find something that really makes life (or my job) easier, I like to shout about it and let the world know of my new found shortcut! See how smart I am for getting this? See what it can do? See what you can do, too…if you’re as smart as me?
So, when I opened up the new Studio One Shortcuts keyboard from Editors Keys, I knew I had something special in store and that I should ready the old vocal chords to start shouting. Here’s what I found:
Opening the Package
When the package first arrived, I was at work. I got home to see a plain, brown cardboard box on the kitchen table. My lovely wife had brought it in for me. Of course, I was excited…so I rushed into the studio with my new package. I did have to stop briefly to kiss the dogs and pat the wife and kids on the head. In the studio, I opened the outer box and, to my surprise, found a beautiful package within the box. Having ordered new keyboards in the past, I expected this one to be inside the brown box, wrapped in bubble-wrap or, even worse, peanuts!
The inner box is a piece of artwork in itself. It is solid black, is tastefully decorated with the Editors Keys logo, and is a very sturdy case that reminds me a little of the box that my fruit emblazoned laptop came in. It’s made of a very dense and sturdy cardboard. There is a front flap that you lift in order to open the box. It is held in place by magnets and is, therefore, re-closable. This means the box is meant to be used for storing and/or carrying the keyboard. Very nice indeed! Inside the box is a form-fitted foam compartment that holds the keyboard and a pamphlet. At first look, I thought the pamphlet was a manual (which would be silly and unnecessary for a plug-and-play keyboard). The pamphlet is actually a mini catalog of the company’s other products. It’s always nice to get goodies in the box. The keyboard itself is wrapped in a heavy plastic sleeve that keeps it clean and well protected. Additionally, they threw in a nice ‘gel-style’ wrist rest that feels comfortable under my wrists. It’s black with the EditorsKeys logo emblazoned in the middle. Sweet! As I said, I love goodies!
I have to admit (sheepishly) that I replaced the keyboard and removed it and replaced it again several times because I was so enamored with the box it came it. I know, I know…I’m easily amused; but it really was some of the nicest gear packaging I’ve ever seen!
Slim Sexy Will You Please Stand Up
Now… to the nitty-gritty. The keyboard is a standard wired Mac keyboard of the slim-line persuasion. This is not one of the old style keyboards with clunky computer keys, but a slim and attractive brushed aluminum keyboard that looks very professional and even sexy (?) on the desk. It includes the number keypad, so it’s longer than standard wireless Mac keyboards. (A PC version is also available, so this review isn't just for Mac folks!) It is printed with all the most used shortcuts for Studio One and are grouped according to function. The colors chosen are bright yet don’t seem garish at all. Even in low-lighting it’s pretty easy to see. (NOTE: For those who work in constant low-lighting or who just like the latest and greatest new gadgets , Editors Keys is now taking pre-orders for their new “backlit” version!) Aside from the color coordination, the functions are also printed on the keys. The lettering may be small, but it’s sharp and not too challenging to read. Once you’re used to the color combinations, you shouldn’t need to read the keyboard anyway.
They keyboard took no setup whatsoever. I plugged it into my USB hub and it immediately started working. Every function worked like a charm. Additionally, I have become accustomed to my wireless Mac keyboard and the keyboard on my MacBook Pro…neither of which sport a number key pad. BOY! Have I been missing out!! All the transport controls are on the number keys there. You have Play, Stop, Forward, Rewind, Back to Start, Loop Toggle, Go to Loop Start/End…all right there together! What’s more, there are seven marker locators. This allows you quickly jump to any markers you may have set in your song (up to seven, of course). I’m not sure what you do if you have nine markers, but even having seven is a help. And, of course, they are all color-coded to allow for quick visual recognition.
So What, You Say?
Anyone who knows me knows that my memory leaves much to be desired. I’m lucky to even remember my wife’s birthday (which, by the way, I’ve forgotten twice in a row in recent years). So, having a keyboard with all the commands printed on it is extremely helpful. I found myself navigating around functions in S1 much faster than normal because I had a quick visual reference.
Editors Keys have certainly created well thought-out and useful products in their computer shortcut keyboard line. It is very exciting to know that they have thought to include Studio One in their growing list of DAW keyboards. I was also very happy to see that they did not cut any corners on this excellent product. It’s sturdy, well designed, easy-to-read, and an overall joy to use. Thank you, Editors Keys! Now to convince my wife that I really NEED to buy one of these to get more work done faster!