Summer NAMM 2012: Korg Demos microKEY USB-Powered Controllers

korg microkey usb midi controller familyAt the 2012 Summer NAMM Show, Korg is showing the latest models in its series of microKEY USB-Powered Keyboards and MIDI Controllers.

The microKEY-37 (available now; MSRP $79.99) is now joined by the portable microKEY-25 (expected ship date: September ’12; MSRP $69.99) as well as the five-octave microKEY-61. Geared for the studio musician, the microKEY-61 (expected ship date: late summer 2012; MSRP $179.99) comes with effects plug-ins and the exclusive Legacy Collection Suite – a collection of software versions of some of Korg’s most iconic synthesizers.

The microKEY can be used to create a compact and customized MIDI command center. Adding a measure of flexibility and control, the microKEY 37- and 61-key models both can also serve as a USB hub. Two USB ports (Type A) can accommodate the addition of a Korg nanoPAD2, nanoKONTROL2 or any other USB device.

The Mac- and PC-compatible microKEY devices also run on USB power, making them well-suited for on-the-go laptop musicians. For musicians working from an iPad, the microKEY-25 can be used to control apps such as the Korg iMS-20 via MIDI (see korg.com for more details).

All microKEY models feature velocity-sensing mini keys, using the same “Natural Touch” keybed found on the Korg microKORG XL and microSTATION. 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.

Software Bundle

The microKey controllers come with bundled software and ‘lite’ or demo versions.

The free “Korg KONTROL Editor” software enables users to customize microKEY for their production or performance system. It offers 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 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 to www.ableton.com or 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 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 www.minet.jp/aas/ultra-analog-session

Korg microKEY keyboard and MIDI controllers will be available as follows:

microKEY-25
September 2012
U.S. street price $69.99

microKEY-37
In stores now
U.S. street price $79.99

microKEY-61
August Summer 2012
U.S. street price $179.99

For more information, see the Korg site.


4 thoughts on “Summer NAMM 2012: Korg Demos microKEY USB-Powered Controllers

  1. I use and love Korg synths, but I am not a Japanese schoolgirl. My hands can reach an octave and a half on the piano, so I’d have to play these things with a stylus in each hand. For me, too much miniaturization makes things less playable. Its one thing to trigger sounds- and most any method is fine for that- but its quite another to lay your hands to an instrument and feel it in your bones. Playing Hammond organ sounds from a mini-controller is a universe away from sitting at the real thing and being fully engaged in a very physical way. That’s my only critique, because I can see these as being great for vacationing with a laptop.

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    • You’re so right. Where is the good quality Korg stuff, equipped with useful features? Where’s the successor for great MIDI keyboards like the old Korg Kontrol 49? Instead, they release one toy after another. At the moment I want to replace my Korg K49, which was Korgs first step into a wrong direction: a small, plastic-like and cheap keyboard with a below average keyboard action.

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  2. Not every keyboard is for everyone. I have several full sized keyboards. Yet I also use small ones as well, they are very useful for laptop use, desktop use, and also having extra keyboards on the main stack for bringing in sound effects and playing minor background parts. Problem is most small ones are only 2 octaves. I will definitely be picking up either the 37 or the 61 here. Pity it doesn’t have aftertouch and a pad though!

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  3. More joysticks! I’d like to see something in the nano form factor with two joysticks on either side and two x/y pads in the middle.

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