Using Logitech G13 with DAWs: a review | #SoundDesign #Gadget

Hi, everybody! How have you all been?

Well, a couple of weeks ago I borrowed from a colleague something I have been wanting to test for a long time now, that’s supposed to speed up your editing/mixing process: the Logitech G13.

IMG_5952For those who doesn’t know it, it’s a gadget made to speed up your gaming (or, in my case, sound editing and mixing) by replacing the keyboard shortcuts with single pressing keys (G-Keys) that you can program to execute any key /mouse button combination you want. So, for example, if you use a lot the Command+Shift+T shortcut, you can program it to be executed with a single key press on the G13. Cool, right?

Although it wasn’t designed to be used by audio and video producers, googling around you can see many have adopted this little one-hand keyboard as a way of easing the editing process. So, I wanted to give it a try…

First, a little description: the Logitech G13 has 22 G-Keys, one thumb-joystick and two “mouse-alike” click buttons next to it – all of these are programable. It supports profiles for different games and programs, and each profile can have 3 different “memory sets” – profiles inside each profile that can have different sets of shortcuts programmed to it. In addition, the G13 has an internal memory for 5 profiles, g13-gaming-gameboardso you can take them wherever you go, if you are going to game or work somewhere else. It also has a LCD panel, where you can add some info and applets (that I didn’t find useful so far).

At first, the process of customizing your G13 with shortcuts and actions is very boring and tedious. You gotta get every shortcut key combination, select the G-Key you want it to
be, and program it via the Logitech’s Gaming Software (that you can download on their website). If you, like me, use two DAWs (I rely mostly on Logic and a bit on Pro Tools), it gives you even more work. I’m starting to use Final Cut Pro either, so that’s another software that I’ll be having to program my G13 to work with. If you’re planning on using it for gaming, this can be less of a problem: Logitech has many pre-built profiles that you can download for specific games. Also, it’s easy to find some others to download.

An unexpected problem I ended up having during this set-up process: deciding whichg13-gaming-gameboard-1 are the shortcuts I use the most, so you I program them to the easier access G-Keys. As you can notice by the photo, there are some keys that are right there, in a very “natural” key pressing position (like G4, G10, G11 and G12); and some others that take a bit more hand movement to reach.

Well, the good thing is: this whole process makes you think and evaluate your editing process, which can be good. You get to understand more the way you think and edit, and that can help you optimize it, understanding where are your flaws and where you can skip some steps.

After this painful set-up process, is where the fun begins. The G13 proved to be a very useful and efficient tool if you give yourself the right time to get used to it. Yes, it may take some days for you to start using the G-Keys shortcuts without having to look all the time to them, but that’s is true with every set of new gadget/gear you add to your studio, right?! But when you do get used to it, well, it really speeds up your sound editing and designing process, by making you focus less on remembering the shortcuts you need to, and also for moving less your hand around: all the shortcuts you need the most are right there, in the distance of moving your fingers.

g13-gaming-gameboard-imagesAnother big advantage of using it is not needing to remember the right shortcut for the same action on the different DAWs you use. For example: I have set the Trim Region shortcut for Logic and Pro Tools for the G11 key. It doesn’t matter that both are different, I don’t have to remember them anymore, I just need to know that both are set to the G11 key (in their respective profiles), and that’s it!

In addition, G13 has a cool feature: you can assign a specific software to a profile. That means that every time you open that program, the Logitech Gaming Software automatically activates the profile related to it, so you don’t need to manually select profiles each time you change DAWs or games.

Of course, there are bad things about this gadget, but I find them pretty minor. I have a small hand, so I found that the size of the G13 a bit big, because sometimes I have to move too much my hand to reach some of the G-Keys. Another thing is that you can choose the background colour of the LCD and keys, as well as its intensity; but the setting is the same for both. It means that If I would like to have my keys bright blue, for easy reading, I have to have the LCD bright blue also (which I find a bit distracting, to have in my peripheral vision a super bright blue LCD) – I wish both could be set with different colours and intensities.

One thing that I could not make it work was setting the horizontal scroll for the left/right thumb-joystick function. Unfortunately you can’t control the speed/acceleration of the horizontal scroll when using the G13 (at least on the Mac Logitech’s Gaming Software), and I found its speed to be VERY slow. So I ended up using the thumb-joystick to zoom in-out vertically and horizontally (in both Logic and Pro Tools).

Besides that, I haven’t found any other issues with the Logitech G13 – until now. I have only used it for two weeks, yet I’m finding that I’ll be getting addicted to it pretty fast. I have already forgotten some of the shortcuts for commands I use everyday, because I don’t need to remember them anymore.

And the best thing: I payed half of the street price since I bought it used from my friend, that wasn’t using it anymore. Thanks, Henrique Arrais, for the good deal! Sweet… 🙂

Well, hope you enjoyed this review, and that it helped you on making up your mind if the Logitech G13 can be a useful tool for your audio or video editing rig.

See you all soon!

Mauricio Ruiz – www.mauricioruiz.me

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