Posted 20 hours ago

IK Multimedia iRig Keys Pro Mobile MIDI Keyboard with Full Size Key for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and PC - Black/white

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iRig Keys PRO gives you the best of both worlds. It’s a super-compact, bus-powered, “plug and play” MIDI controller that you can use anytime and anywhere. Yet despite it’s small footprint, if offers full-size, velocity-sensitive keys, allowing for a realistic playing feel. The abilities of mobile technology — smart phones, tablets and the like — have not only progressed, they’ve leapfrogged from genre to genre. Who, amongst those of us old enough to remember rotary dial phones, ever imagined taking a photo with one? And you do this with the Edit Mode, in which you’ll have to get used to a certain set of key presses and data entries to make assignments. The SET button has four LEDs to its right. They indicate which of the four saved setups is active. The setups are user-configured. too bad because it has other nice things about it: it's the only 37 keys controller i know of with full sized keys and without a ton of pads and encoders which i didn't really need... it is also quite light and portable, so it's really a shame the connection is so shitty.

While 37 keys is just enough to play with both hands, it is enough. Octave changes require only simple button touches. Florid keyboardists may be frustrated, but as a portable keyboard with full-size keys, it’s enough. Let them carry their own Rhodes 88. To the right of the knob, two LEDs indicate mobile device or USB connection, confirming device handshakes. As an effective plug-and-play device, I haven’t experienced an issue with any connection not immediately confirmed by LED. And no complaints about it being plastic-y - c'mon guys, who really wants metal and / or wood in their hand luggage?

DAW-ready of out the box

With its 37-key (3-octave) keyboard, you can play legitimate two-handed parts. What’s more, it has loads of pro performance features that will make your creativity come alive. On the whole, the iRig Keys I/O is a great success, but there are a few areas where it falls short. Most notably, with only one mono input, it doesn’t exactly add up to a comprehensive recording solution - it should be enough for singer-songwriters and guitarists, but it’s never going to be a main audio interface for serious production purposes. Also, as mentioned, we’re not into the mini-DIN connector at all; and while we appreciate the need to substitute pitch and mod wheels with touchstrips as a space-saving measure, we still prefer the mechanical ‘real thing’ when it comes to performance. Despite measuring just 693 x 208 mm, the iRig Keys I/O somehow manages to squeeze in a full-size 49-note keyboard. The next pair of buttons are the OCTAVE up and down selectors. Pressing both selects EDIT mode. The final pair, PROG, use up and down buttons to change program selections within apps. Batteries or optional power supply (Art. 417705 - not included) with charging function for connected iOS devices

When it comes to portability, iRig Keys PRO is the leader in its class. Compared to 11 of its closest competitors — all compact MIDI controllers with full-size keys playable with 2 hands — iRig Keys PRO is the smallest in width and height, and among the smallest in depth. It gives you an unbeatable combination of compactness, convenience, and pro features. Weight Matters First impressions of the iRig Keys I/O are fine. It’s not the prettiest keyboard we’ve ever seen, and it looks and feels quite plastic-y, but it acquits itself as sturdy enough. Hook-up to PC, Mac or iPad is done via IK’s archaic USB-or Lightning-to-mini-DIN cable (both are in the box), which we don’t like at all, as regular USB cables are much more easily replaced. What we do dig, though, is that the unit can be powered via USB or four AA batteries (oddly, only two are included), so you don’t have to invest in a separate power adaptor for use with your iPad. The included one-piece tablet stand is another very nice touch. Controls include a headphone Volume dial (to control volume from your apps), plus Octave Up and Down buttons that also enter Edit Mode when held together. Here you can assign MIDI CCs to the controls, change MIDI channel, velocity sensitivity and much more using the actual keyboard keys to select parameters.Much more exciting than those, however - and of more relevance to those who already have the DAW side of things covered - are IK’s own contributions. For starters, you get Miroslav Philharmonik 2 CE (€180), a 10GB orchestral ROMpler featuring over 700 instruments, edited, processed and mixed in an easy-to-use interface. Then there’s Syntronik Pro-V (€60), a sample-based emulation of the Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 and Prophet-10 synths. To change the MIDI CC per dial for example, enter Edit Mode, press the keyboard Knob button, then the number of the Knob you want to assign, Enter and the value. That’s a lot of key presses, but it is easier than it sounds once you get used to it. Conclusion Rather than take up valuable space with regular pitch and mod wheels, IK has instead opted for a pair of short touchstrips. Likewise, the Octave shift, Program Change, and dual-purpose transport/editing buttons are touchpads. The transport buttons can be set to output MIDI Machine Control, CC and Real Time data. This expanded the capabilities that existed within the devices, which were touch and keyboard-based. Yet, playing keyboards on a touch screen is hardly the tactile wonderland presented by a piano, for example.

While some might not be overly impressed with the size and design and the keys, the build quality here is as good or better than anything in the price range I’ve put my hands on.It seems as though IK has specifically sacrificed some space for portability, and that it has certainly achieved." Controls on the Keys Pro are basic, but they are all you need for most applications. As with many controller keyboards, the piano keys serve double duty, accessing various programming parameters as well as typical performance duties. In terms of VFM, the iRig Keys I/O is a pretty good deal on its own, but IK has sweetened the pot big time by throwing in €750 worth of software. a bandmate bought the same (we both use it with an mpc one) and it's the same story... this is really the biggest problem, but it's something that will make you hate this keyboard and regret you bought it. This is where IK Multimedia came in. Celebrating 20 years in the digital music world in 2016, the company embraced the non-standard recording opportunities offered by mobile technology.For much of the time that I had the iRig I used it as a generic keyboard controller and interface on my Mac, working in Reason, Pro Tools and Live, with a little bit of Logic to test the integration. The keyboard feels positive and ‘non-budget’ and the pads are robust with decent sensitivity and range. Pitch and Mod controls are on touch sliders, which I like, and the other buttons are under similarly damage/liquid-resistant flat surface covers. Alongside the sliders you have octave shifters, Program Change triggers, then three buttons that double as transport controls for connected software and internal edit controls for the keyboard. Lastly, there’s an Alt button, which toggles the other controls between their main and secondary functions. So not only is iRig Keys PRO significantly smaller than any other keyboard of its type, it's also a whole lot lighter. When it comes to portability, there's no comparison. iRig Keys PRO is the hands-down winner. This may not be the best keyboard for entering beats because of that. I don’t consider that a strike against the Keys Pro, not with the plethora of pads available. Even a tablet’s touchscreen is a good beat-entry system. With connectors on the left end of the keyboard, a left-handed player may not notice an issue. Someone as painfully right-handed as me, though, will find the connected device on the wrong side for useful manipulation.

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