Friendchip Mac K..AT
FriendChip released the K..AT - a remote control device accessing keyboard strokes - for the Atari ST last year and have now followed it up with an Apple Macintosh version. The small grey box attaches to the ADB socket of the Mac (used for the keyboard and mouse) via four metres of cable and has seven buttons labelled: 'Play', 'Stop Record', '+', '-', '<' and '>'. These, along with two more marked '2nd Function', allow the Mac K..AT to handle a total of 21 functions which have key equivalents.
The labelling shows that the Mac K..AT is intended for use with MIDI sequencing programs - as was the ST version. However, whereas key equivalents on the ST are not only a rarity, but also different from program to program, this is not the case with the Apple Macintosh, where certain key equivalents are standard to all applications. Consequently, Mac K..AT is likely to be as useful to someone using an art or desktop publishing program as it is to a musician.
So how does Mac K..AT work? Included on disk are two files: a driver which has to be placed in the Extensions folder and a small configuration program. On booting up, a warning 'bleep' is heard if the K..AT is not connected to the computer, otherwise the driver icon appears. Once installed, running the configuration program allows you to set the various keystrokes by simply clicking on a location and hitting the required keys. Up to 16 configurations can be saved which should be sufficient for most people.
On the side of the Mac K..AT is a socket for a standard, single-pole footswitch which acts as an eighth button and is useful where you want to carry out a function when your hands are occupied - punch in/out being the most obvious. Cubase and Notator Logic configurations are supplied on disk which is a clue as to the country of origin of FriendChip. But it would be nice to also see set-ups for Performer, Vision and MasterTracks provided as standard.
Mac K..AT performed a treat on an SE/30 and a IIci under both System 6 and 7. Although £110 may be a little on the expensive side, if you use a Mac and have to keep flying across the room to get to the computer keyboard, take a look at Mac K..AT - I think you'll be impressed.
Price: £110 inc VAT
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