Pearl & KMI Intro malletSTATION Electronic Mallet Controller

Pearl and Keith McMillen Instruments have introduced the malletSTATION EM1 Adjustable Range Electronic Mallet Controller. 

The malletSTATION EM1 is an expressive USB MIDI controller, designed for mallet performance. It is a Class-Compliant MIDI controller over USB, and can be used with MIDI over 5-pin DIN using the KMI MIDI Expander.

The EM1 features a master control section, with 3 programmable faders, 4 programmable buttons, and the fixed function low note and octave shift buttons. In addition, three assignable pedal inputs allow for flexibility in performance such as sustain, expression, or any MIDI parameter of your choice.

These controls are fully programmable through a software editor so changing your configuration is as easy as clicking a mouse.

The malletSTATION features KMI’s Smart Fabric Sensor technology, allowing the silicone bar material to have a sensitive, natural response, including mallet dampening and aftertouch control.

The malletSTATION’s adjustable low note range allows you to set the fundamental diatonic note of the instrument to whatever you want. The malletSTATION is powered exclusively by Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone, and Android devices through USB Bus Power, allowing performance almost anywhere with minimal set-up and equipment.


  • USB Powered MIDI Mallet Keyboard Controller
  • Universal Compatibility through phone/tablet/laptop
  • Features KMI Smart Fabric Sensors
  • Low Note, Adjustable, User defined 3.0 Octave Range
  • Accidental “Gap Caps” for visual cues when low note range is adjusted
  • Customizable mallet dampening and aftertouch modes for realistic performance techniques
  • Natural feeling soft silicone keys, all-weather playing surface
  • MIDI Assignable buttons and faders for customized control and functions
  • 3 MIDI assignable pedal inputs for expression and sustain
  • Hybrid Aluminum and Steel Chassis Design for durability and stability
  • Optional MIDI Expander to use external MIDI Hardware (sold separately)
  • Flexible mounting on desktop, X-stand, or module mounts (sold separately)
  • Mounting plates, stands, cases, covers, and other peripherals available separately
  • iOS compatibility requires Apple Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter (sold separately)

Here’s the official intro video:

Pricing and Availability

The EM1 malletSTATION is priced at US $999. See the Pearl site for more information.

16 thoughts on “Pearl & KMI Intro malletSTATION Electronic Mallet Controller

  1. I was talking to someone the other day how i want to eventuly afford a vibraphone and a modi malet device then i wale up in the middle pf the noght and see this. I think it would look so cool on stage

  2. K-Board recycled.. oops… reinvented ? 🙂

    Don’t really understand. For $999 no 2pcs of 50 cents 5 pin MIDI plugs but a $49 “expander” (proprietary USB to DIN converter) externally dangling box needed ? Really no space and buget for that inside this huge box ?

    User Manual.. sold separately ?

    Any MPE and perhaps 5D of touch ?

    1. That’s what I was about to say! Seriously, 5-pin MIDI is about the simplest communication protocol to implement. They maybe saved a buck or two by not including it. And an external USB-to-actual-MIDI box will necessarily add a few milliseconds of slop which, while arguably negligible, is particularly undesirable for percussion (struck) Instruments.

      Otherwise this is such a cool looking product. What a shame I can’t plug it directly into my synths.

      1. Clearly the DIN-obsessed are in the minority, because companies wouldn’t leave it off if it hurt sales.

        Most people understand that running MIDI over USB is faster and more reliable. We should only use DIN when needed as a legacy kludge, we shouldn’t put a 35 year old boat anchor on all our gear.

        1. Running MIDI over USB would theoretically be faster, but in current implementations it generally is not. And it is never more reliable.

          “We should only use DIN when needed as a legacy kludge”? Dude, you can’t plug this product into another instrument without an external box or a computer! That is a kludge by definition!

          I’m all for moving forward with technology, but 5-pin MIDI allows instruments to be directly connected, while USB by nature requires a host. Perhaps the next generation of MIDI will be over IP / Ethernet, but nobody’s doing it.

          It is true that DIN connectors are old and huge, and MIDI 1.0 is slow and unidirectional, but there is still no replacement for it.

          “Companies wouldn’t leave it off if it hurt sales”. While I’m sure “companies” are flattered by your unconditional confidence, are you suggesting that the addition of a MIDI OUT port would hurt sales?

  3. Yea, I’m gonna have to join the pile on with this one. Having 5-pin din as an external add-on does seem like a silly design flaw.

    It’s like they rolled it out to some beta people who said, “Um, where’s the MIDI out?” And they said, “Well, no one really uses those any more.” And the beta people said, “Um. Says who?”

    I literally use MIDI DIN all day every day. If any sells something without it, I say “f off”

    1. I spent over $750 to ensure I didn’t have to route any midi to my computer and completely do away with USB connector with the only exception being my audio interface. All midi generation, sequencing, and distribution happens without ever touching my computer.

      It was worth it. I love not having to fire up my laptop or tower until I’m ready to start recording. I no longer have to mix the compositional mindset with the engineer/producer mindset, and my music has benefited a thousand fold

  4. Wow nice to finally see a more economic option than the super expensive MalletKats!!!! I may actually be able to afford a mallet controller.

  5. There are only two things i w ant to know about a controller,
    sensitivity and resolution/data transfer method. The first is not mentioned anywhere (although i do get the guys are “forward thinking”). The second if it is only midi its obviously a let down..
    We are almost in 2020 we can do better than 127 numbers (and if this is anything like the quneo you are probably closer to 100)

  6. I like it because it looks like my XKeys! The DIN issue aside, this thing has a pretty solid pair of manufacturers behind it. I’m sure a lot of people who have pined for a MalletKat will welcome it. Its laid out like the real deal, rather than a clever but differently-focused EDM hybrid. I don’t see $999 as TOO severe, because its a niche specialty instrument aimed at serious player commitment. It feels right.

  7. Another thing in the specs. Only an ON line editor in mentioned. So you need keep your phone or a computer with internet connection to run the software beside it to connect to the internet to make change to it’s configuration , like sending presets ?

  8. This kind of makes me sad. Its a complete rip off of a malletkat. Other than the 2 sliders and 4 buttons, it doesn’t add much. Though the idea of the key caps is pretty clever. But I love Alternate Mode as a company. Mario D is an amazing fellow. I kind of wish he had reached out to McMillan first – that seemed like an obvious partnership. As for Pearl, they don’t bring much to the table other than marketing. And McMillan missed a few obvious features like MPE which could be game changing on such a device, and a few things I think I’ll keep to myself!! Alternate Mode might still be able to compete on playability and perhaps lower their prices. BTW, I love my mallet kat! But hopefully competition will be a good thing.

  9. Seems like a giant QuNexus, which would make it pretty awesome for folks who are already mallet players. Also, the chromaticism could be a game changer and allows for symmetrical playing like Roy Pertchik’s Tri-Chromatic approach. As for the USB to DIN, I already use a Keith McMillen expander for that functionality – makes sense that he’s forward thinking enough to see that USB is the future, but aware enough to have designed a solution for legacy gear. I’m excited to see one of these in person!

  10. I will most certainly buy one. I’d love to see LEDs light on pad touch (like my QuNexus), and I hope they consider the possibility to configure it (with those extra non-standard-piano-layout pads) to play non-12TET notes.
    In fact, coloured LEDs to indicate the note orientation would be a superior implementation to ‘gap caps’.

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