CME Xkey Intros 37-Key USB Keyboard With Enhanced MIDI Features


2015 NAMM Show: CME has introduced the Xkey37 – a new version of its portable Xkey MIDI control keyboard that offers an extra octave and enhanced MIDI connectivity.



  • Lightweight brushed aluminum chassis.
  • Piano-size velocity sensitive keys
  • Polyphonic aftertouch
  • WQuick-touch multiple octaves up/down plus sustain, pitch bend and modulation
  • Improved MIDI connectivity
  • Plug & play compatible with Apple iOS, Android, Windows and Mac devices.


The new Xkey37 features enhanced MIDI functionality with the Xport feature.

“Xport enables the Xkey37 to connect directly to external MIDI controllers without connecting to a PC or tablet. This unlocks the full range of MIDI features for pro musicians,” notes CME Chief Technical Officer Jérome Dumas. “We have also included upgradable firmware so that Xkey37 will stay at the cutting edge of MIDI compatibility and functionality.”

See the CME site for a detailed comparison of the new Xkey37 vs the original Xkey25.

38 thoughts on “CME Xkey Intros 37-Key USB Keyboard With Enhanced MIDI Features

  1. CME never updated the drivers for UF Series making these keyboards ready for #trash.
    I quote myself here
    “By the way, after some years of using CME UF5 i discovered a lot of bugs in this keyboard controller : the hardware is fine but the firmware is really a crap. The big problem is with MIDI Sync: UF5 always send its internal MIDI clock and the only way to stop this is to reset the macine or to switch it off…For people looking after a simple and ready to use controller I strongly recommand not to buy CME UF5. And by the way,NO UPDATED DRIVERS FOR 4 YEARS. Forget it if you use Vista…or OSX. Generally a lot of drivers problems with CME.”

    CME ? Never again !

    1. You are talking about a discontinued product !
      I own a CME Xkey25 and I can tell you it works like a charm, build quality is amazing, and they offer configuration software for iOS, MacOS, and win.
      This Xkey does not require any driver, it is class compliant to all OSs

  2. Direct MIDI out with no need for USB power has me intrigued, if I read that right. Keys and modulation are crappy, if it’s like the 25 version 🙁

    1. There definitely is need for USB power, so probably there will be a separate connection for the Xport connector (direct MIDI)….

      Edit: I did some searching on google images and it seems that the USB power connection is on the top right of the unit and the Xport connector can be connected on the top left of the unit.

      1. That’s correct, I asked them the same question, there is separate port for Xport cable and separate for micro USB on the other side which you can connect to USB power supply.

  3. i would be really happy if they would update there existing products instead of constantly pushing out new gear. i loved my bitstream3x (except the crappy faders) but now it is unusable, there`S not even a way of opening the editor in newer versions than 10.7 on osx

  4. nice to see a manufacturer develop a product based on the requests of its users.
    looking forward to seeing this in stores,hopefully it’ll also be affordable
    good work

  5. The CME XKey 37 reportedly will have a street price of $199 which is double the price of the original model for relatively modest improvements. There are a lot of MIDI controllers in that price range that offer more features. This model was delayed quite a bit due to production issues. Still, it’s kinda cool in it’s own way and I am on the fence about getting one.

  6. I’ll cast a positive vote here, having used the 25-key model for a year. Yes, it has flat little mini-keys that clack a little, but its as responsive as hell. The Poly AT requires that you crank up the sensitivity on the receiving end, but it works. With only a 3mm key throw, its not exactly for piano solos, but its appealing for synth work. You can do rapid flurries on a key and it triggers tightly, so its great for brass & percussion sounds. I think some people misunderstand the thing as a useful addition, not a be-all solution. You don’t use a Jupiter-80 just to trigger a Volca. 😀 The pitch-bend and mod buttons are almost on/off triggers, so don’t count on subtle expressions with them, but the other controls feel fine at their jobs. While no one is wild for breakout boxes, I’m likely to roll with it for the sustain pedal aspect. The added octave sells me, too. I “need” the added reach for pads & Mellotron noises. It may be less appealing if you need trigger pads for Ableton clips or onboard transport controls, but it occupies a decent spot in the controller field. You can run up to 4 of them from a powered hub, which has possibilities. Its physically tough, too. I updated the firmware once, tweaked it with the free editor and its been smooth in use ever since. Gear choices are mostly subjective, but despite being more of a full-keyboard player, I get a lot of mileage from the XKey. Don’t dismiss its good points too easily.

    1. I agree, Fungo. It’s got its quirks – but I like that. And since I’m frankly not one of the world’s great keyboard players, I like the short travel stroke of the keys. I’ll almost certainly pick up a 37 key version – although my innate sense of fair pricing tells me that it should sell for more like $130 – $150.

      Also – the 25 key version kicks ass for portability: fits easily into carry-on luggage or a computer bag. The 37 key version might not fit into a computer bag, but it will probably still be a viable option for travelers who want to engage in some hotel room music-making.

      They used to have some oddly amusing posters / pics of a semi-nekkid model holding (I think) the 37 key – but I think they caught flack for it so maybe they took them down 🙁

    2. I, too, felt the need to chime in here.

      First let me start by saying I have no experience with any other CME products. I only own the original 2-octave Xkey 25, which is working really well for my needs. The device is class compliant, so no need for drivers. I plugged it into both my Mac Pro desktop and iPad and it worked right out of the box with all of my plugin synths.

      I needed something small for working with my iPad on the go, and I wanted something that could transmit polyphonic aftertouch for leaving on my desktop while working in Logic. In both cases, it does the job admirably, but YOU HAVE TO change the velocity scaling to suit your playing. Also, there’s an option you have to change in the CME app that makes aftertouch kick in AFTER your initial key press. (It’s turned on by default that aftertouch plays at full tilt with every key press. Most people don’t want this and they should change the default option.) I also like that it looks like my Apple wireless keyboard. The keyboard is VERY responsive and plays well. I also hear lots of great things about the QuNexus but the way the keys are laid out, I’d never be able to play chords on it. (The non-standard layout confuses my eye.)

      I was ready to bring it back until I discovered changing the velocity scaling and the aftertouch option. I was also ready to hate it because Jordan Rudess endorses it and that guy whores himself out for anything.

      All in all, I really like it and it’s built well. Again, I’m just reviewing the Xkey and not taking into account CME’s past. Taken on its own, I think it deserves a fair chance. Really good product.

      Full disclosure; I’m a professional (producer and session keyboard player) that has been making records for 20 years and I am NOT ENDORSED by CME. I just wanted to let people know that this is a very good product.

  7. If it’s reasonably priced it’s a day 1 buy for me–I’ve been in desperate need of a mini keyboard controller with DIN MIDI for years. All it’s going to do is enter notes into sequencers, so short throw and lack of dynamics is fine and even desirable.

  8. I’ve watched a lot of demo videos of the 25-key model and that click-clack mechanics put me off.
    I wonder if this is the same physical mechanics?

    1. I hear you. I’m a pretty solid hater of bad builds, but the Xkey just has one layer of klack. I’ve played full keyboards that sported two or three levels of it, ugh. I’d prefer a silky Roland Jupiter-80 mechanism, but they don’t offer that anywhere BUT the $#@! flagship. I’d buy that action as even a very plain controller if I had to sell plasma for it. It sure wouldn’t cost just $200, either. I was dubious when I first started using the XKey, but its earning its keep because its stable and transparent to my work flow. Let’s hear it for class-compliant anything!

    1. Do you mean three octaves exactly or three octaves or longer? Because there is the Infinite Response VAX77 if you have two grand to spare, the Haken Continuum if you have two grand to spare, and the Roli Seaboard if you have three or four grand to spare. The rest are all legacy keyboards like the Yamaha CS80 if you have ten grand to spare, the Yamaha DX-1 if you have ten grand to spare, and in the more sanely priced department, the Roland A50 and A80, the GEM S2 and S3, some of the Ensoniq keyboards after the ESQ-1, the Kurzweil MIDIboard, etc and so on, you can find more with a quick search and some patience.

      1. I believe the Linnstrument would also fall into this category – it’s $1500 (and they’re taking orders for a 2nd batch, BTW).

        I’m curious where you found a Haken Continuum for $2K.

        1. I just threw a number out of my head. I realize they cost more than that, like three to six grand. The point is, any other polytouch keyboard beside the Xkey and the QuNeo are going to cost an arm and a leg and sometimes a substantial portion of the house. Your best bet is to go for one of the legacy models that come up for sale here and there.

  9. Novation SL do not have full Poly AT and the same with the Arturia Lab, This is the cheapest option for a POLY AT keyboard without waiting for one of the legacy keyboards to come up on Ebay as far as i am concerned

    1. The cheapest keyboard with polyphonic aftertouch that i”m aware of it the Keith McMillen K-Board, which is $70 at Guitar Center.

      IMHO, it is a good device, if all you need is a USB midi controller. I sprung for the QuNexus and MIDI expander, though, because it lets you use the controller with just about anything (DIN MIDI and CV).

      Be aware that a lot of synths don’t know what to do with polyphonic aftertouch. That’s something that needs to change!

      1. Fair point, i should have specified more on the size thing. The K-Board is the cheapest but it’s not big enough for me. I will be receiving my 37key very soon and will be using it with my Prophet 12 Module exclusively. I agree that more VST and hardware synths need Poly AT.

  10. I have a GEM S3 and S2 Turbo, but I don’t use them that much because I use softsynths 90% of the time, and I don’t have a convenient place to put the computer with the full-sized keyboards. (Talking about first world problems, jeez.)

  11. This quote from McMillen website says the K-Board doesn’t send polyphonic aftertouch: “When multiple keys are held down K-Board will output the average pressure value of all currently active keys”

  12. I own an XKey 37 and love it. I had the original XKey (25-key) but found it too small to practice much on. Much of the time I don’t have access to my piano during the day, so I have the XKey 37 plugged into my iPad Mini just to try out some riffs and chord progressions. It’s very useable. I also bought the case for the XKey 37 and my iPad Mini and USB cables fit into the pouch that the XKey 25 is designed for. A really portable studio!

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