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Stream Deck - killer REAL button controller

whinecellar

Jim Daneker
E326CDFC-0182-4F06-9C7C-1C4161550C41.jpeg 1136F40B-951E-4A75-8D8F-33A276755348.jpeg 2E6B8784-88E8-4400-A319-6B0A89F3AD3E.jpeg 7BFD2802-69F8-496E-B16C-D04686186661.jpeg 9C9851E3-6227-452A-AB69-BB0C84DD429E.jpeg Hey Guys,

Forgive the following rave, but I’m betting a lot of you will find this useful.

I saw this little box a few weeks back and shrugged it off because I already have 2 iPads running TouchOSC and several heavily mapped hardware controllers (Behringer X-Touch & XT Compact, Contour Shuttle Pro, and so on). However, curiosity got the better of my so I ordered an El Gato Stream Deck. The more I use it, the more I love it; I just ordered a second one, and the two of them will replace one of my iPads.

The thing I like about it over TouchOSC, Lemur or even a hardware XKeys unit is that each key instantly becomes anything you want and graphically represents that function - in *any* app, not just your DAW. As nice as XKeys is, pulling all those key caps off to add custom printed labels is a big job - only to have to repeat it any time you want to change something. And those paper labels will only reflect that one function. Same idea with TouchOSC: creating custom layouts is tedious and doesn’t have graphic support, let alone the ability to do entire macros unless you set it up with OSCulator - also very tedious.

On Stream Deck, a button might be a key command (or entire macro) in your DAW. But switch to Mail, and it could apply a junk mail filter. Or type your ridiculously lengthy email address. Or add your signature. All in one press. Switch to Photoshop and that same button could become a smart tool, start a batch process, or apply a filter. Switch to Finder and that button could batch rename a bunch of files. Or open a project folder on a specific drive. In Safari it could open VI Forum in a new tab... ;)

And the best part: that button will have any graphic/text/picture you want for each assignment in any app - and the whole thing switches instantly depending on the current app. And it’s all wicked fast to set up - it’s a simple drag & drop interface.

Nothing else does this. I’ve wanted this kind of device forever - with real tactile buttons - so TouchOSC, XKeys, etc. were only stopgaps for me. I’ll still use my TouchOSC templates for articulation switching and custom CCs, but for everything else, I’m hooked on Stream Deck. Here are just a few shots of my initial setup in a few different apps.

Cheers!

Jim

P.S. FWIW, I have no ties to El Gato whatsoever - I just think this is a killer little game-changer. Best $139 I've spent in a LONG time!
 

sostenuto

Big NKS Fan !
Noted this on Reaper Forum recently with emphasis on Win 10 and macOS 10.11 or later.
No problem here and looks very cool.
 

SchnookyPants

I never metaphor I didn't like
Beware maybe? Just read one guy saying it doesn't operate w/ W7. So one guy may be wrong, but I gotta look further into this - or I suppose I could always join the rest of the planet and up to W10.

Edit: Damn you fast-fingers Sostenuto. Beat me again.
 

tmhuud

Brown Belt
That’s great Jim. I have to check and see if we ordered this or not. How did you get the graphics in there? And how to do you switch between ‘layers’. ?
 
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whinecellar

whinecellar

Jim Daneker
That’s great Jim. I have to check and see if we ordered this or not. How did you get the graphics in there? And how to do you switch between ‘layers’. ?
Hey Terry! Trust me, you will love it! I can't wait to add my second one when it shows up tomorrow ;)

Adding graphics is simply drag & drop onto the setup application; it mirrors the hardware so you just drag a jpg/png to one of the buttons and voila! Couldn't be easier.

And switching between layers is just as easy - assuming you mean multiple layers *per application* - you just tell one of the buttons to be a folder. When you press that button, it takes you into that folder; that same button takes you back out a level. In that case you effectively have 14 buttons available to use per layer.

And the whole thing automatically and instantly switches layouts for each app you set up. It's a brilliant little box. It's essentially Metagrid, but with "roll your own" icons/graphics, which Metagrid can't do.
 

JJP

I put dots and lines on paper.
I've had my eye on one of these for a while. I have an X-Keys pro that has served me for about a decade. I've always wanted something with LCD keys.

Your review and the price are making me want to take the plunge. 2 of these should replace my x-keys nicely.

@whinecellar, please report back on the success of integrating 2 Steam Decks into your system.
 

MatFluor

Senior Member
I've had my eye on one of these for a while. I have an X-Keys pro that has served me for about a decade. I've always wanted something with LCD keys.

Your review and the price are making me want to take the plunge. 2 of these should replace my x-keys nicely.

@whinecellar, please report back on the success of integrating 2 Steam Decks into your system.
They had quite nice Updates meanwhile, including the possiblity to use two stream decks simultaneously.

Here some features that are nice (through random versions):

Introducing Multi Actions
If you think tapping a key to execute an action is impressive, you’ll love Multi Actions. That’s right – assign as many actions as you want to a single key, and launch them all with a tap. Either one after another separated by intervals, or simultaneously. It's your choice. Example: Start your stream, and switch to your intro countdown scene, wait 1 minute, tweet you are live, wait 3 minutes, change your scene to full screen webcam, unmute your mic, and post a welcome message to your chat - all with 1 key press.

Multi Device Support
15 keys just don't cut it? Rejoice! You can now use multiple Stream Decks on the same PC. Unlimited actions just became, well, super-unlimited!​

Smart Profiles
Stream Deck can now automatically switch to the profile assigned to an app when that app is brought to the foreground. Think Apple's Touch Bar, but cooler!​
 
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whinecellar

whinecellar

Jim Daneker
Very nice. Something tells me 2 of these are in my future. 1 is on its way. Now to work out the ergonomics...
Be warned, it can be a black hole once you start dreaming of all you can do with it, especially if you go nuts with graphics & making it pretty - but man it's fun once you get it the way you want!
 

Mike Marino

Senior Member
Be warned, it can be a black hole once you start dreaming of all you can do with it, especially if you go nuts with graphics & making it pretty - but man it's fun once you get it the way you want!
How long did it take to get yours set up and customized?
 

MatFluor

Senior Member
Nice - got mine in the mail. I did some pre-setup yesterday (design some things already, put it in the companion software). Then plug it in and bam - done

Very quick to set up (if you don't go full OCD on graphics). The current version allows you to simply drag shortcuts onto it to start Applications - which is very nice for quick set up.

The rabbit hole is the same as with TouchOSC...What Action do I want on there? Where to position them? Maybe leave that one on the Keyboard, and put that on on the StreamDeck....
 

Blakus

Midi Magician
You convinced me, Jim. I joined the stream deck party yesterday too. Really loving it! Having it automatically switch profiles for different apps is so satisfying :dancedance: Very impressed with how easy it is to set up too! With the custom icon creator and drag 'n' drop capability, it's painless.
 
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