A music producer’s computer is a battle station. Having a reliable machine is crucial to actualizing your ideas in the most efficient way possible. That also means having a computer keyboard that satisfies your needs as a producer. Hence in this article we take a look at some of the best computer keyboards for music production that you can buy. Read on.
How To Select The Right Computer Keyboard
First off, we must distinguish what we mean by computer keyboard. In musical application, when we talk about “keyboard” we are usually referring to something that has black and white strips of plastic that makes a musical sound when you press down on it. That’s not what this guide is about. We are talking about it the kind of keyboards you normally use to write office documents with.
Now, there is a best computer keyboard for music production and home studio application. But there are a few things you have to remember when choosing a computer keyboard.
Some considerations include whether your machine is a (1) PC or a Mac, (2) DAW compatibility, (3) shortcut features, and (4) connectivity.
PC or Mac
Whether you have a PC or Mac determines your initial choices. Without getting into another debate on which system is better for music production, let’s just say that both brands appeal to different kinds of producers. Having a PC means more flexibility, but that also means having too many options. On the other hand, Mac’s top-notch customer service can be huge plus on the consistently of product quality, but it also severely limits your keyboard choices.
DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)
You also have to check what kinds of keyboards your DAW supports. You’d have to check out your DAW’s manual for possible issues on compatibility and latency.
Most DAW-specific computer keyboards for music production have built-in shortcut features which can make your work a lot easier. Whether you want such a keyboard or something less specific to your DAW of choice is another decision you have to make.
We would also have to add things such as comfort and ergonomics which can vary widely depending on the product. Nonetheless, it’s also important not to get too caught up in the bells and whistles. All you need is a fast, reliable, and durable keyboard.
Without further ado, let’s head to the list.
Best Computer Keyboards for Music Production
LogicKeyboard Advance Line Mac Keyboard Pro Tools
- Made especially for Pro Tools
- Text and icons for main Pro Tools custom key commands
- Light and durable aluminum case
- Pricier than most keyboards considering that it is not wireless
- Cord length is just three meters and you may need a longer one
- May be difficult to use with other DAWs
For a product that claims to have “helped editors creating epic movies like, The Revenant, The Godfather, Captain America, Harry Potter,” and others, we can say that the LogicKeyboard Advance Line delivers on its promises and is nothing short of impressive.
Features & Specs
The Advance Line’s biggest selling point is its integration to Pro Tools. Since ProTools utilizes a lot of keyboard shortcuts, having them under your fingers with a keyboard like this can be a game-changer.
The color-coded keys also help in visual recall when trying to remember shortcuts. Beats using sharpies and tape by a mile.
It also uses a USB connection which can be a turn-off if you’re keen on going wireless. Nonetheless, that also means that there is no more need for charging.
ProTools is considered the industry standard in professional audio work, so having a tool made especially for it can be a huge plus in improving your Pro Tools workflow. The LogicKeyboard Advance Line Mac Keyboard is also a learning tool that can teach you to use more of the useful ProTool shortcuts. That being said, it would be a bit difficult, if not impossible, to use this if you plan to use another DAW.
User Video Review
LogicKeyboard ALBA Mac Keyboard for Pro Tools
- Dedicate to macOS using a macOS chip
- No more keyboard mapping, keyboard shortcuts are built-in
- ProTools integrated
- Two USB ports
Similar to LogicKeyboards’s Advance Line, the ALBA Mac keyboard is a Pro Tools dedicated shortcut keyboard. The two have similar multi-color design and lay-out. The ALBA also uses a built-in macOS chip for faster integration with any macOS-operated machine.
Features & Specs
The ALBA boasts scissor-switch keys which LogicKeyboards claims to increase stability during typing. This same mechanism gives the ALBA a unique typing feel.
It also has two built-in USB ports which can be convenient when using a wire-connected mouse or multiple hard drives.
The keyboard also has a typing angle of 8.5 degrees with leg lift and 4.5 degrees without the leg lift. These are optimum angles to ensure the highest level of usage comfort.
Because of the macOS chip, it is completely plug-and-play. No more need to install special drivers or to map keyboard functions
Finally, it has three LED indicators for caps lock, FN lock, and power.
While it is not much different from other Pro Tools dedicated shortcut keyboards, the ALBA’s two USB ports can make the difference.
Aside from that, the ALBA’s keyboard shortcuts and its macOS integration are still its best features. We don’t even have to mention that sleek visual look.
Editors Keys Avid Pro Tools Keyboard for Mac
- Fully back-lit
- Complete macOS and ProTools integration
- No USB ports or hubs
- Plastic body
Editor Keys Pro Tools Keyboard for Mac is another Pro Tools friendly shortcut keyboard on our list. This one with beautiful backlit functionality. Available in a classy black frame, the Editor Keys’s primary selling point is its backlit feature. This is perfect for those who prefer to work in the night or a dark studio.
Features & Specs
Like most Pro Tools shortcut keyboards, the Editor Keys is plug and play and is fully integrated into the macOS and Pro Tools environment.
It is fully back-lit and is also color-coded, which helps in improving your Pro Tools workflow.
The Editor Keys’ keys have gaps between them, making them less prone to clipping when typing.
The Editor Keys is great to look especially in a dimly-lit setting. Aside from that, it is practical for working in such low-light environments. It also works perfectly with ProTools. Some users, however, were not very pleased with the price considering that it has a plastic body.
LogicKeyboard Slim Line PC Keyboard
- Works perfectly with Pro Tools and Cubase
- Two USB 2.0 ports for peripherals
- Keys might feel too squishy for those who are used to mechanical keyboards
LogicKeyboard has also released a line of shortcut keyboards for PC users of ProTools and PC user of Cubase/Nuendo. These Slim Line keyboards have a brushed metal finish on top and a plastic back. Serious users of Pro Tools and Cubase/Nuendo will find this product a huge help in improving their use of keyboard shortcuts.
Features & Specs
The Slim Line shortcuts keyboards have the same functionalities as the previous keyboards in terms of DAW integration. In addition to these features, it also has access to multimedia controls for fast media playback and volume management.
Aside from the keyboard shortcuts and illustrations, there are three LED lights on the left for Shift, Caps, and other keyboard functions.
A welcome bonus is the inclusion of two USB 2.0 ports. Each of these ports provide 5V 100mA power.
Many users were impressed with the Slim Line’s solid build, as evidenced by the use of brushed metal foe the front panel. You have to admit that the metal finish also makes it look a lot cooler. The colors of the keys of this keyboard are also logically organized and pretty as well. Overall, the Slim Line is a fine learning and working tool for users of ProTools and Cubase/ Nuendo.
LogicKeyboard Astra PC Backlit Keyboard
- Dimmable backlight
- Automatic backlight dim when not in use
- Pricier than most other shortcut keyboards
LogicKeyboards’ Astra Backlit Keyboard have made a name in the industry because of it many features and compatibility with many DAWs. Aside from the controllable backlight with automatic dim, it has two USB ports.
Features & Specs
The dimmable backlight, available in five levels, is an impressive feature of this shortcut keyboard, especially to those who want more control over their keyboard’s backlight levels. The backlight also lights up the entire key and not just the letters.
There are also multiple levels of shortcuts which can be accessed using the shift, alt, and control keys. These shortcuts are intelligently organized through a color scheme.
The scissor-switch keys also make typing a pleasure when using this keyboard. It also has a set eight-degree typing angle.
The Astra line of shortcut keyboards by LogicKeyboards are definitely up there among the best keyboards in the market. The durable build, the highly-quality-looking colors, the scissor-switch typing feel, the adjustable backlights, and all of the other accessories make them truly special.
All of these, however, make the Astra keyboards among the priciest keyboards in our list.
Editors Keys Ableton Live Keyboard for Mac
- Backlit keys
- With numerical keys
- No wireless version
- May take up a lot of desk
Editors Keys Ableton Live Keyboard for Mac is a dedicated keyboard for Ableton Live Mac users. This one by Editors Keys was intuitively designed for perfect integration with Ableton Live’s workflow. A product of a successful crowdfunding campaign, this shortcut keyboard is a product that many Ableton Live users have been itching to get their hands onto.
Features & Specs
Editors Keys’ Ableton Live Keyboard boasts a sleek design coupled with a three-level backlight feature. The color grouped shortcuts will assist users from beginners to advanced users in getting to grips with Ableton Live’s most important commands.
The keyboard has two small pop-up feet to change the typing angle according to how you see fit.
It is also fully compatible with Ableton Live 10.1 and below.
Editor Keys’ Ableton Live Keyboard is a great tool to get Ableton Live’s shortcut keyboards under your fingers. Its backlighting features and the sleek visual aesthetic can make your working experience a lot more satisfying. However, this DAW-specific keyboard may only appeal to those who work primarily with Ableton Live and not those who use different programs in a single workflow.
Logitech Media Combo MK200 Keyboard and Mouse
- Multimedia and internet access controls
- Spill-resistant design
- Plug-and-play connection
- No keyboard shortcuts for DAW
So far we’ve covered DAW-specific computer keyboards. However, if you’re looking for a more versatile consumer option, the Logitech Media Combo MK200 is a great option. This duo of a keyboard and a mouse is made to endure constant professional use, including music production.
Features & Specs
The Media Combo MK200 boasts multimedia controls and internet access through the keyboard. This means you can play audio files, change the volume, among other functions, without using a mouse.
Its spill-resistant design, both for the keyboard and the mouse, makes it a lot more sturdy than it looks. That means it can tolerate some abuse, especially if you like snacking while going on a binge production streak (not that we recommend it though).
It also has a standard layout with a number pad. The keys are quiet which is perfect if you prefer working with as little sound as possible.
Logitech’s MediaCombo MK200 is a low-key and utilitarian keyboard and mouse combo. If you’re the type of producer that uses multiple programs, this may be your most versatile option. While this keyboard doesn’t have the fancy keyboard shortcuts as its DAW-dedicated peers, its spartan build and sensible design makes it suitable for any kind of work. On top of that, it is also not as expensive as the other keyboards. It is a practical option for home studios and serious hobbyists.
Apple Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad
- With wireless bluetooth function
- Scissor mechanism for each key
- With numeric keypad
- Stylish look
- No keyboard shortcuts for music production
Another keyboard for general use that we’re including in the list is the Apple Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad. Similar to the classic Apple Magic Keyboard, this newer iteration was made to appeal to those who have to type a lot of numbers. This can also appeal to music producers, particularly ProTools users who need as much keys as possible to map their shortcuts.
Features & Specs
The keyboard uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Used daily, a full charge can last over a month. Charging and wire connection is through USB with a USB to Lightning cable.
The keyboard includes brightness, volume, and multimedia playback controls. Mission Control and apps from the Launchpad can be opened through the function keys.
It also supports customization and keyboard mapping. A direct access to macOS finder and application menu commands can make double-tasking a smoother experience.
The Apple Magic keyboard is by itself solid and beautiful. It has all the basic things, and more, that you’d expect from a high-quality Apple keyboard. However, it lacks the ease of using DAW specific shortcuts that the other keyboards in this list have. Nonetheless, the Apple Magic keyboard is a great tool for multi-purpose machines, especially if you’re the type of producer who uses a bunch of different programs.