Its been a while since I posted, with a new job/ moving to a new city I've been a little busy with life but I wanted to throw up a quick post about programmable keypads. At this point I own several for various purposes/ tasks and different situations. Its great to be able to program and label a keyboard to your needs with a layout you want rather than trying to remember the various shortcuts depending on what you are doing. The ability to map functions to your need or replicate a console keypad is a great time saver when trying to get things do. All of the major brands that I've seen also offer a layering functionality that makes is possible to have more functions than there are keys on the pad expanding its use further. Another interesting feature is the ability to run the pads either in hardware or software mode. In hardware mode the pads function as a generic HID device and can be plugged in and used with just about any device without needed drivers. The hardware modes makes it possible to set a profile on the pad and move it from device to device without drivers. The software mode relies on the manufactures software running on the computer in the background. On a X-Keys setup this allows you to launch applications or open specific file paths and is application specific allowing it to changed based on what is in the foreground of your computer. The downside is that the information doesn't follow the pad from computer to computer without drivers.
Having tried several brands, I've found that I prefer X-Keys though other brands such as Genovation work but are lacking in some features such as the back-light but at a lower price.
Here's a list of several of the pads I have and their uses along with my configuration files and legend file:
X-Keys XK-60 - ETC Nomad/ Eos Keypad
Setup provided by ETC mimics the keypad of an Eos console for use with the Nomad software. Also includes a call for macros 701 > 703 which can be nice for customization on the console. Also works with an Eos RPU or RVI.
ETC X-Keys Info
X-Keys XK-24 - Flight Simulator
I enjoy flight sim as a hobby so having a keypad with shortcuts is nice and prevents having to search for things while flying. The back-light is also helpful here for nighttime flights with minimal lighting.
X-Keys XK-12 Jog and Shuttle (Reaper)
Setup with my Reaper shortcuts for music playback while programming.
Reaper Control Pad
X-Keys Stick 8 (ETC Ion)
Used while programming on an Ion console which is lacking some buttons found on the larger consoles. I wrote in the shortcuts for Odd, Even, and Shuffle Selection along with Macros 701>706 all of which can be called up just by plugging the stick in.
Genovation Controlpad CP24 (Podcast editing)
Used with Audacity for some contract podcast editing work I do on the side. The pads is cheaper than an X-Keys but doesn't have the layer back-light and the keys are smaller. Also the software is quite as well developed as the X-Keys but is still able to be programmed with key strokes and macros.