The ‘First Tri-Platform Keyboards’ – Line 6 Mobile Keys

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2012 NAMM Show: Line 6 has introduced Mobile Keys a new line of ‘tri-platform’ keyboard controllers for iPad, iPhone, Mac and PC.

Mobile Keys 25 and Mobile Keys 49 are a pair of new keyboards designed to control iOS music apps and do double duty as USB MIDI controllers for Mac and Windows computers. Both models have full-size keys and velocity sensitive keyboard action.

Both Mobile Keys models are compatible with any iOS app that supports the CoreMIDI standard for input, including GarageBand and numerous drum machines, synthesizers and virtual instruments.

“With Mobile Keys 25 and 49, not only do you have two extremely portable options for playing and recording on the go with your iPhone and iPad music apps,” says Line 6 co-founder and digital audio innovator Marcus Ryle, “but you can move seamlessly between your iOS music apps and your Mac or PC, as well.”

The keyboards require no additional hardware to function—they plug right into an iOS device’s dock connector. They’re bus powered, so they need no external power supply or batteries. The two keyboards are equipped with pitch bend and modulation wheels for additional sonic control, and they also have a pair of 1/4-inch TRS jacks for plugging in sustain and expression pedals.

Both keyboards also have USB jacks and are USB class-compliant, allowing seamless connection with Mac and Windows desktop and laptop computers. Suggested retail price for Mobile Keys 25 is $149.99, and Mobile Keys 49 is $199.99, and both are shipping early 2012.

Mobile Keys 25 and Mobile Keys 49 are compatible with iPod® touch (3rd and 4th generation), iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2 and iPad, as well as Mac and PC computers.

Pricing and availability info is to come.


17 thoughts on “The ‘First Tri-Platform Keyboards’ – Line 6 Mobile Keys

  1. Not so different from any class compliant USB keyboard controller, which you could connect via the CCK … are the Mobile Keys able to charge the connected iOS device?

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  2. I mildly disagree. I’m leaning towards a Nocturn or Impulse, but if this one’s FEEL is responsive and not clacky, its worth the price. If the list is $199, street will be about $170-180. That seems reasonable for a good playing surface. Yes, the lack of aftertouch can be an issue. How often do you really use it? I like to assign it to reverb time and/or release time, but its not a constant need. Its Line 6, so its probably got a good build.

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  3. Problems with this device:
    1 – The “Tri-Platform” marketing is B.S. But whatever, so is most all marketing
    2 – It’s feature to price ratio is way off. The $199 unit is too expensive for the “pick up and go” player who already owns something like an LPK25, and it’s “pro” features are too lacking to be a reasonable alternative (like no aftertouch, no control surfaces, knobs or pads, etc)
    3 – They stress portability, but 49 keys is way too big to be moving back and forth all day. A 49 key sits in one convenient place and devices come to it. An 25 key moves around in a backpack or laptop bag. But again, the 25 key is overpriced for what it delivers. For the same price you can get both an LPK45 and an LPD8.

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  4. “Seamless” as in iConnectMIDI-style routing, or “seamless” as in what most of you are already saying? I suspect the latter. Smells like hype, but who knows.

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  5. I hope this isn’t the product that they said was going to be the biggest and most important in company history…

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  6. unless I missed something – since it is bus powered, how about battery drain on the iPad? my experience has been with the MIDI adaptors for usb to iPad that the battery drains real fast…

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  7. An annoying problem with the iPad is that there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to charge it while USB devices are connected via Apple’s USB adapter (and potentially draining the battery.)

    That’s one reason the SynthStation49 seems nice – it powers (and charges?) the iPad while you play.

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  8. The biggest problem with using an ipad as a softsynth is getting the ipad into a sturdy and accessible position relative to the keyboard. Anybody unaware of this does not use ipad for music. This product is no different than any midi keyboard, therefore Line 6 ought to hire designers who use their own products if they wish to make relevant gear.

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  9. I would totally get this if it could supply power *to* the iPad rather than draining the battery.

    The iRig MIDI, Alesis IOdock, etc. connected to the keyboard of your choice are superior options because they can charge the iPad while you’re playing.

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  10. Also, disappointed that it doesn’t have a standard MIDI out. Sometimes I want to use a MIDI controller to control my Tetra. How come there’s no controller with all three of these: 1) Ability to power the iPad, 2) A safe way to attach the iPad, and 3) standard, old-fashioned MIDI out. Oh, and aftertouch would be nice.

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