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Old 19th July 2019
Lives for gear
Arthur Stone's Avatar
Learning hot keys/keystrokes using the mouse and keyboard have made the greatest improvements to my workflow.

Naturally (for Gearslut reasons) I'm always interested in controllers and new tech; I've lusted after many controllers - usually just out of budget - but at the end of the day the tracks still got made at the same audio quality...just a different workflow.

IME controllers do alter workflow and choosing the right one is the difference between ease-of-use and another layer of uneeded complexity (and software/firmware updates and maintenance). I've mainly used keyboard controllers (around 6 diferent models since 2001; currently: Nektar Impact LX61; Arturia KeyLab 61; CME UF6; AKAI MPD18.

My main interests were originally VST synth parameter control for performance or writing automation; also a faux hardware mixer with 'real' faders controlling the DAW mixer. Around 2007 I bought a Yamaha 01X an automatable digital mixer and controller; big investment, steep and long learning curve...and now basically, junk. Caveat emptor.

I started using basic keystrokes in Reason, then when I got an iZ RADAR Studio I saved money on the hardware controller by mapping the keys onto a regular keyboard. Now I use keystrokes all the time - even outside audio uses.

The main plus of the mouse and keyboard method is that it can travel everywhere, needs no special equipment, takes less space, saves a power socket, and will likely be around for time. It easily becomes a learnt intuitive workflow rather than interfacing through another level of tech complexity.