Shortcuts II: Using a Second USB Keyboard

I’ve ranted before about how important learning shortcuts is for sound editors (SD101: shortcuts) & I’ve also posted about a nifty USB device which enables you to assign shortcuts to dedicated keys in any layout you like (the Ergodex) but recently I found out about a means of adding dedicated physical keys that must be the most cost effective yet: simply plug in a second USB Mac keyboard!
Now like me you probably thought of this long ago & discovered it wasn’t possible. I had dreams of using gaffer tape to permanently hold down eg the control & command keys on a second keyboard & thereby have a whole new set of 100+ keys to assign shortcuts to. But I soon discovered that to hold down the command key on one keyboard equated to holding it down on both keyboards, so I wrote off the idea as fundamentally flawed, and so I bought my Ergodex (which I like, but I don’t use it as much as I imagined I might)
And then Quickeys version 4 was released and all that changed!

Quickeys devices setup

In Quickeys 4 there is a menu item for DEVICES, which lists all the USB devices connected and by choosing “Use this device exclusively with Quickeys” you can preclude it from having any effect on anything else on your Mac, other than as a means of triggering Quickeys! Brilliant! (And thanks to Emile for pointing out this new feature!)

two USB keyboards

Also of potential interest, Quickeys 4 supports the iPod Touch/iPhone, so you can trigger Quickeys shortcuts or scripts via wifi – check the iTunes App Store for more info…. but thats not all, check this:

Quickeys MIDI triggers

So any time I play a tritone it can dim the lights? Handy….

A small sidenote: Quickeys 4 requires OSX 10.5+ which I have finally made the leap to… So I’m also now on ProTools 8, which I am still getting used to…. and after migrating all my plugins and applications, guess which was the only company that required me to completely reinstall the plugins AND the libraries & then totally reauthorise? Native Instruments… FFS! I’ve only updated my home Mac & PT LE – I still have to go through the same painful process for my studio PT HD… Grrrrrrrr! Native Instruments get my vote as having the worst authorisation process!

8 thoughts on “Shortcuts II: Using a Second USB Keyboard

  1. Ayush Ahuja

    Tim you’re a saviour, i’ve just been thinking about this as someone gave me one of those mini bluetooth apple keyboards.

    And tell me about NI, since upgrading and reauthorizing everything for PT8, plugs like Kontakt still don’t show me their full list of presets in their effects section, in fact, for convolution, I only get two!



  2. Dan

    I guess I’m a somewhat reluctant fan of NI, but I’ve had the same issues when upgrading OSX. The last time I upgraded I actually started from an initialization (in an effort to “refresh” my system) … so it was 3 days or so getting everything running again.

    Another NI silliness that’s happened, which might explain Yush’s situation, is that Kontakt’s preset location has moved for each upgrade (for convolutions, EG presets, everything)… they can’t seem to make up their mind. So check your version and find the correct drive location. Copy all your existing presets there.

    Two keyboards via QuickKeys though! Tim, you’re a genius. I need to upgrade my QuickKeys, but what a great way to put an old keyboard to use! Brilliant.


  3. Enos

    Wow! Nice stuff re Quickeys! I will need to buy a new computer but when I do, I will put multiple keyboards to work! Thanks again!

  4. Ayush Ahuja

    Just downloaded the trial version of QuicKeys 4 and i’m now running all my audiosuite plugs/processes and other protools processes off of my small apple bluetooth keyboard. This is great!


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