keyboard with plenty of custom keys

hello, music/Cubase lovers,

i would like to have your opinion regarding some keyboards.
like everybody,i think, we all wish we could have a keyboard with tons of extra customizable keys, to assign those hundreds shortcuts we often use. But 99.99% of the keyboards in the world are the classic 105 keys-classic numerical pad, and that’s all.
i’ve been using google, and i could find a couple of gaming keyboards, with a bunch of extra keys, on the left hand side. Surely, those require a special driver and app, to manage all the keys, and assign the available shortcuts from the game (mostly World of Warcraft…).

Today, i just came across a brand, Active keys, and on their website, they sell a bunch of keyboards, and some models have like 32 extra custom free-assignable keys.
here is a link to one of them:

they also sell something (like the detachable numeric pad, on the expensive and heavy logitech Dinovo series), which they call “point of sale keyboard”, with 35 programmable keys. here is the link:

for me, this would be like a dream: using an ultra small keyboard, with the standard 105 keys, and on the left or right, a beast like the 35 custom keys, on the above link.

so, here comes my questions.

Question 1 (maybe only Steinberg can answer??) :
Once installed on my windows 8.1 64bit, and detected by the system as, i guess, an additional input device, or additional keyboard, WOULD CUBASE 8 64bit BE ABLE TO USE those extra new keys, ex, and assign a shortcut/function, to that particular key, via the shortcuts window or device manager ?

Question 2: is anyone using some kind of special keyboard, like these from this brand, or another brand ? is everything working fine?

Question 3 : Is anyone using this kind of “more standard” keyboards, like this one on this random google picture:
or the Corsair K50:

can you use all those extra keys (3 banks of 18 assignable keys) inside Cubase, without any issues?

and the 4th question:

is it possible and simple to grab a cheap 2nd-hand 7" tablet, install a particular app on the tablet (i guess something like the OSC…), then, customize the app interface, like adding buttons or keys, ex: 10 or 15 keys, if possible,with different colors, and finally, once all the apps are installed, wifi, etc, go inside Cubase, and assign whatever function, command, macro, to each one of those created keys.? and why not creating 2 buttons, “Previous Bank”, “Next Bank”, and create different “panels” of keys, and simply navigate between them, via the prev-next bank buttons ???
So, is anyone using a 7, or 10" tablet this way, along the classic keyboard-mouse, just to be able to have a bunch of ready-to-use keys, for controlling Cubase ? any info on how eventually do it, which tablet is better suited to it, which app works better with the OSC protocol, which app works better for creating buttons and assigning functions and macros, or any other help, WOULD BE FANTASTIC.

in advance, 1000x THANK YOU GUYS for your help and answers.

too bad nobody is using a keyboard with more than 105 keys.
oh yeah, there is only one keyboard that works with mac: that excludes half the users.

nobody ??


I use a programmable keyboard by Preh Keytech (German I believe). It’s an 84-key version called MCI-84:

For this brand I pretty much think the programming software is sub-par. It’s not intuitive and documentation isn’t clear either. Having said that everything works as advertized.

They way these keyboards work - and this is a POS keyboard (Preh has other configurations as well) - is that you use the software to program the keyboard itself. It then sends out regular key strokes to the attached device (computer). So for Cubase / Nuendo it looks just like another computer keyboard. Since it’s just like another keyboard you’ll use it to access key commands and macros that are programmed in Cubendo. Also note that the POS keyboards can also execute macros.

In addition to macros and regular single key strokes Preh allows for different layer types. So you can have certain keys trigger certain commands always, other will send some keys during some circumstances, and the shift to a different layer if you want to. So this way you can send a great deal of keys from it. But it gets complex (for Preh keyboards) trying to figure it out actually.

The one thing to look out for here is the timing of the commands being sent if you’re using macros. Nuendo (and probably Cubase) seems very sensitive to the timing, and gets confused if the incoming key strokes are faster than commands are executed. So if you create a macro that consists of (I forget the actual names of the commands btw):

  1. cut
  2. go to previous track
  3. paste
  4. duplicate
  5. play

and for some reason Cubendo is slow on #3, it may skip #4 and go straight to #5, play. So if you want to program macros make sure the keyboard supports either a) different speed output of macros, or b) “pause” commands.

Other than that I recommend using them. One great thing is that since you’re programming the keyboard itself, not a driver or app on the computer, all your stuff will apply on any computer. So if you have a desktop with Cubase installed, and also a laptop, you only have to program it once and it should work on both. You can check this by opening up a regular “Wordpad” app or “TextEdit” or whatever, and press your keys on the POS keyboard. If you’ve programmed a macro that sends the keys “a Y X X x [alt+f]” for example, then all of those letters should print in the text editor, followed by alt+f which would probably open up the file drop-down menu. So only be careful that your key commands in Cubendo don’t change though of course, since this all relates to them (and NOT the device manager).

I changed my setup recently, and will do it yet again when Nuendo 7 comes out (and probably before), but I’ve used my Preh to:

  • open/close mixer windows
  • select viewable items in those windows
  • execute macros for dialog editing
    and more.

For some of the keyboards the restriction isn’t that it “doesn’t work on a Mac”, it’s a) that the software that you program the keyboard with doesn’t run on a Mac, meaning you can borrow a PC and program it and then connect it to a Mac and it should work, and b) that the layout may not be for a Mac.



if the thread is still running…

Since a few weeks I use the SteelSeries APEX
It has 88 macrokeys (4 x 22) and has customizible backgroundlight in the different sections like i.e. the numeric part, the QWERTY, the F-keys and the macrokeys.
The “feeling” is excellent and the quality is very fine, it doesn´t look cheap and it isn´t.
But it was worth it.
Only one problem with it:
It doesn´t make my english better, sorry :laughing:


Looks “sharp”. Thanks for sharing.

oh, and your English is fine!