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NAMM2013: CME Mini USB Keyboard With Poly Aftertouch

One of the biggest surprises of NAMM came from a little booth at the end of the show! CME have a new USB keyboard coming out that sports polyphonic aftertouch and full-size keys in a tiny form factor!

Not only does it support iOS (via USB), their demo features Arctic Keys! Arctic Keys, along with other apps like Animoog and Grain Science, can make use of polyphonic aftertouch to modulate parameters. Think about it as a hardware version of playing Animoog's keyboard, where moving up and down on the keys themselves is a modulation source for that individual note. Poly AT is fairly rare in keyboards, and is usually prohibitively expensive. Even my beloved MPK61 only does mono aftertouch.

CME Xkey should be available in April for around $99. Maybe... that bit is unclear in this otherwise excellent demo from Sonic State.

Reader Comments 13

Looks pretty nifty, but I've said it before and I'm saying it again- this trend of MIDI controllers with no 5 pin MIDI ports is a Very Bad Thing.
People still use hardware alongside their iPads and computers!

January 28, 2013  | person_outline Zymos

very fashion design, indeed! :)

January 28, 2013  | person_outline gatearray

I think I'd buy this. We'll see what happens when/if they ship.

@zymos I'm 100% with you for full sized midi controllers but on something this small, they couldn't even fit a 5-pin port on it. I guess the could do the MidiMobilizer/iRig thing and use 1/8" jacks.

January 28, 2013  | person_outline Will

If they wanted to, they could have a little bulge in the back for the port, while still keeping it oh so svelte.
But that's just my rant these days, maybe not as applicable to this product as some others...

January 28, 2013  | person_outline Zymos

full size keys, welcome! pitch and mod buttons, not so much...simple flat sliders would have conformed to the design ethic, and been more functional. probably an engineering decision. that's the way things go in manufacturing for the masses.

January 28, 2013  | person_outline a1

Yea, I thought the press sensitive buttons for pitch would be okay... but why not a simple touch strip for the mod wheel? That seems like a pretty big flaw for the way that I tend to use mod wheels. I don't want to have to keep pressure on at a "sweet spot" while playing the keys.

@Tim what you wrote is what i meant...touch strip. i was thinking of the arp slider (touch strip) on my emx1-sd. come to think of it, there's no arp functionality on this keyboard, unlike the (mini-key) akai lpk-25.

January 28, 2013  | person_outline a1

Yea, the EMX/ESX touch strip is nice! I can't imagine it adding a lot of trouble (or cost) to this design, so the pressure mod button seems like a potentially fatal misstep.

Strip would definitely be better but let's remember we're talking about 99 bucks for almost full sized keys and ***polyphonic aftertouch***. Just saying.

January 28, 2013  | person_outline Will

I'd love to see a 3 octave version of this :/

January 28, 2013  | person_outline ChrisG

If it really does ship for $99, I'd consider it for the full size keys ... but ... I really really really would have preferred a touch sensitive strip for the mod wheel ... this might be one I'll wait on for a newer version after all the "suggestions" come in from version 1. I drag my feet because I've gotten to really appreciate traveling light and have adapted to the in-app keyboards ... I'm getting to the point I don't want anything plugged into my iPad ... I love the all-in-one package :)

January 28, 2013  | person_outline Marlene

@Tim ...doing voice-over work for your well dressed twin? (ha!)

January 29, 2013  | person_outline a1

Ha! That is weird, I wonder why the audio is so out of sync! The audio from the iPad is perfectly in sync, but he is way off like a kung-fu over-dub.


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