25 Key Midi Controller (full size keys)

Would like a smaller controller to use for ease of use in small space and portability. I’m a piano player so I like full size keys. Currently have a Nektar Impact 61+.

Think I’ve narrowed down to CME Xkey and the Nektar Impact 25+. I like the portability of the Xkey, but unsure of the feel/action of the keys. I like the Nektar keys feel/action, but it’s larger with more extra controls, so not as portable?

Any keys players that can comment on these boards or recommend others?

Comments

  • edited August 2018

    Want to use with gadget or other synths when not playing two handed piano parts.

  • I took the liberty of asking the Keyboard Magazine Forum users for input:

    forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2941471#Post2941471

  • Quick Amazon search suggests some candidates:
    Nektar Impact LX25+ $100
    Akai Professional MPK225 Semi-weighted $250
    M-Audio Oxygen 25 MK IV $119
    Komplete Kontrol S25 (Fatar key bed) $300

    The Fatar Keybeds are great but you're also buying a Desktop Software Product I think.

  • It seems like you would just be inputting notes with 25 keys. If that is so the action is of no consequence I am thinking while controls are?

  • I use the Xkey Air 37. The keys are a bit cliky and don’t have much depth to them, but I like that they are “full sized” otherwise. The action and feel are fine, once you get used to it it’s no big deal. Sometimes I have to look at the keys so I don’t slip to a wrong note, but it’s not as bad as mini-keys that do have depth. You will have a cliky noise following you around everywhere you play if that matters. The bluetooth latency is fine if you set your iPad latency low you can still play fast notes. The non bluetooth version has some funky dongle for sustain and expression pedal. I can’t deal with mini-keys unless it’s my melodica. I also really hate 25 key keyboards, but with the full width keys that 37 key XKey doesn’t fit in any of my backpacks. I’d buy a 49 Xkey if they made it...

  • @LinearLineman said:
    It seems like you would just be inputting notes with 25 keys. If that is so the action is of no consequence I am thinking while controls are?

    Yah, action is no big deal, but I wonder if the Xkey is too different

  • Looks cool and pricey. What is so different about it?

  • edited August 2018

    Super thin and has aftertouch, so easy to stuff in a backpack. But Nektar has regular key, but won’t go in backback...

  • I bought my daughter an M-Audio Oxygen 25 key. Springy action but not horrid. Lots of knobs. It was worth the 10 dollars used methinks.

  • I was interested in the cme xkey, but I had some difficulty getting accurate velocity when I demod it.

  • @Jmcmillan said:
    Super thin and has aftertouch, so easy to stuff in a backpack. But Nektar has regular key, but won’t go in backback...

    It has to fit in a backpack?

  • If you want something for Gadget. Korg’s NanoKey Studio has to figure into the equation as one to have a look at.

  • edited August 2018

    Backpack not necessary just nice perk.
    I’d like something small I can use at the table or sitting with the fam watching tv or out in the patio table instead of using the on screen keys or bringing my 61 key out.

    I like the Xkey for backpack-ability, but I think I will hate the action. I think I’m leaning towards the Nektar.

    I like the idea of a korg Nano something because of gadget but wonder if like the Xkey I’ll not like the action.

  • Launchkey 25 £110 ? Impulse 25 £140 ?
    Launchkey has more pads, Impulse has better quality keys....both are fully class compliant. Launchkey works with Groovebox.

  • I think the launchkey 25 with full sized keys is $150?

  • edited August 2018

    @Multicellular said:
    I was interested in the cme xkey, but I had some difficulty getting accurate velocity when I demod it.

    Yeah, I think that's a fair concern. I've kept mine (the original model, not the BlueTooth one) because I just thought the thing was so cool, it's easy to hide away in my computer room, and it's fully competent for throwing notes and chords into a DAW (which is about the extent of my piano skills anyway). But the velocity sensitivity is somewhat unpredictable, and there's just going to be some users who don't like the feel of something with basically no travel on the keys. You can adjust the velocity with software, so at least there is flexibility. I think I set mine to higher sensitivity so that most of my hits were in the 90-127 velocity range. Less dynamics, for sure, but I preferred that over inadvertent quiet notes and having to pound the keys all the time.

    I also feel like the dongles they force you to use for DIN MIDI and the sustain pedal are pretty suspect from a longevity standpoint, and the jacks are located awkwardly under the side of the device, so it's not easy to check it and diagnose a problem. Part of me is tempted to sell it just in case the cable or jack fails in the future and then it's a sunk cost.

    All of this sounds like a horrible non-endorsement, but I actually do like it and intend to use it...I just feel there's some thing prospective buyer need to be aware of because it is a premium-priced product and has some notable flaws.

    Note: I just looked up some reviews of the Nextar - a lot of people mentioned "stiff keys", so you may have the other end of the spectrum to contend with. Overall, thoguh, it reviewed quite well and looked like a good feature set for the price. Looks to be USB-MIDI only, but so are the 25-key versions of the CME XKey, IIRC.

  • I use (among other things) a Rock Band 3 keytar - 25 full-size battery powered keys for under $30! It’s no Fatar but it’s well worth the small investment.

  • @Jmcmillan said:
    I think the launchkey 25 with full sized keys is $150?

    Ahh the old £ to $ confusion, my bad. :|

  • edited August 2018

    iRig keys pro is $150 ( I don't have one). I have not seen it mentioned yet, just throwing it out there

    Edit just realized you wanted 25 keys, sorry about that. This is supposed to be smaller than other controllers so it might be worth checking out. Plus you get another octave of keys!

  • Hadn't thought of IK. Any comments on action, for those that have one?

  • @yowza said:
    iRig keys pro is $150 ( I don't have one). I have not seen it mentioned yet, just throwing it out there

    Edit just realized you wanted 25 keys, sorry about that. This is supposed to be smaller than other controllers so it might be worth checking out. Plus you get another octave of keys!

    We also have iRig Keys I/O 25 and you can find quite a few reviews via the "Reviews" link at the link. Thanks!

  • Finally decided on M-Audio Keystation Mini 32 MK III.
    Seemed to be the best for me for portability (only 16.5") and had a few more keys than just 25.

    It's on pre-order (form Sweetwater for $49 - $50 off!) and I should get it by beginning of Oct.

  • Keith McMillen KBoard is great.

  • @Jmcmillan said:
    Finally decided on M-Audio Keystation Mini 32 MK III.
    Seemed to be the best for me for portability (only 16.5") and had a few more keys than just 25.

    It's on pre-order (form Sweetwater for $49 - $50 off!) and I should get it by beginning of Oct.

    You realize it’s mini keys, right? And “low profile” which most likely equates to short travel keys.....

  • I had a dx-100 back in the 80’s with mini keys and it was great. Now have IRig Keys io/49 and would buy a 61 if they made one. The built in audio interface works super with an iPhone 8+ which has lightning jack only and no headphone.

    I wish Apple would make a special iOS touch keyboard like this phone but about a16” long display.

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