At the Winter NAMM Convention, Open Labs introduced NEKO, the first open platform musical keyboard workstation and the OpenSynth™ hardware and software reference platform.
NEKO is designed to bridge the gap between the personal computer and traditional music keyboard workstations. It is a keyboard and music control surface that gives immediate physical access to the controls within “virtual” synths. It gives users of plugins, virtual instruments, and other software applications a tangible reference keyboard for performance use.
NEKO is based on Open Lab’s OpenSynth reference platform, which are open to all hardware and software developers. The OpenSynth reference platform incorporates commercially available operating systems such as Windows XP and Linux, and standard personal computer hardware into a standard that will allow developers to successfully produce musical products that will consistently work properly with one another.
Craig Negoescu, Chief Architect of Open Labs, says that “Over the past few years there has been a plethora of new and powerful VST and VSTi plug ins, but no real way to use them in a keyboard. eKo was designed to be that keyboard.”
Features of NEKO include:
- An all-in-one design that combines computer and peripherals into one unit.
- NEKO enables the musician to change settings and access programs through an interface that shields them from the complexities of the operating system.
- NEKO uses a unique process that allows the keyboard to start up in seconds.
- NEKO’s uses a standardized interface, which lets users switch interface modules to customize the instrument to meet their needs.
- Because it combine keyboard controls, control surface and a computer, it is a self-contained studio.
It looks like OpenLab’s NEKO may be the start of a new era in keyboard technology.
List prices for the standard model configurations are expected to range between $1,995 and $5,200. More information is available at the Open Labs site.