Last week at the Musikmesse fair in Frankfurt Germany (the largest music fair in the world) there were a number of announcements of cool technology. While many things were already shown at NAMM, there are a few things I will highlight. The first is that Korg has expanded the microKEY series of USB-powered MIDI controllers with two new models (25-key and 61-key in addition to the 37-key) and an expansion to the software suite included with the top-end model.
Here are some details:
Compact USB Powered MIDI Controllers
For added flexibility and control, the microKEY 37- and 61-key models both serve double-duty as a USB hub. Two USB ports (Type A) allow users to expand their control center by adding on a Korg nanoPAD2, nanoKONTROL2 or any other USB device. The Mac and PC-compatible microKEYs also run on USB power, making them well-suited for on-the-go laptop musicians. For iPad musicians, the microKEY-25 can be used to control apps such as the Korg iMS-20 via MIDI.
All microKEY models feature velocity-sensing mini keys, using the same Natural Touch keybed found on the Korg microKORG XL and microSTATION. This keybed has been designed with careful attention to the touch and feel: the proportions of the black keys and white “waterfall” keys have been adjusted for optimal playability, with a key touch that makes it easy to play chords, glissandos and rapid-fire phrases. The microKEY also accurately conveys the dynamics of the user’s performance to any software package.
Octave Shift buttons, when used in conjunction with the Key Transpose function, enable the full range of notes in the MIDI specification to be covered. For added expression during a performance, the 37- and 61-key models feature a pitch bend wheel and modulation wheel. The 25-key model features a built-in arpeggiator, a sustain/tap button, and an assignable joystick for pitch bend, modulation, or any other control change.
As noted, the 61-key model ships with a special ‘Legacy Collection’ software bundle, but all versions come with a bunch of great music-making software:
Korg microKey Software Bundle
Free “Korg KONTROL Editor” software enables users to customize microKEY for their production or performance system. Eight velocity curves plus fixed velocity (nine total types) are provided, as well as options for specifying the control change number of the modulation wheel or joystick and the maximum and minimum values.
In addition to the Korg Legacy Collection software included with the microKEY-61, all microKEY models ship with the following software licenses and discount coupons so users can start making music right away:
- A license to download “M1 Le,” a limited edition of Korg’s M1 software synthesizer that brings the sounds of the M1 Music Workstation to computer musicians. Users may also upgrade to the full “M1 software synthesizer,” “Wavestation v1.6 software synthesizer,” or “MDE-X v1.2 multi-effect plug-in” bundles (included with 25- and 37-key models only).
- A license to download Toontrack’s software drum sound module “EZdrummer® Lite,” giving users access to numerous high-quality drum sounds. Visit http://www.toontrack.com for details.
A discount coupon for Ableton’s “Live,” “Live Suite,” or “Live LE” DAW software, widely popular for its sophisticated functionality. For details on this software, please refer towww.ableton.com or http://www.h-resolution.com.
- A license for “Lounge Lizard Session,” the physical modeling sound module from Applied Acoustics Systems, famed for its richly expressive electric piano sounds. For details on this software, please visit http://www.minet.jp/aas/lounge-lizard-session.
- A license for “Ultra Analog Session,” the analog modeling synthesizer from Applied Acoustics Systems, acclaimed for its fat, powerful sounds. For details on this software, please refer to http://www.minet.jp/aas/ultra-analog-session. .
Pricing & Availability
microKEY-37 – U.S. street price $79.99
microKEY-25 – U.S. street price $69.99
microKEY-61 – U.S. street price $179.99
See the Korg site for details.