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Korg NanoKey MIDI controller

Compact keyboard of the musical variety

On the Mac, the NanoKey works with plug-and-play simplicity with GarageBand, the music authoring application that’s bundled with all new Macs. No complicated MIDI setup is required, as the keyboard operates entirely via USB: simply plug it in and GarageBand will recognise it.

Korg Nanokey

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Korg M1 LE synthesiser software is included

As a basic controller, it’s a far more immediate experience than using either a virtual keyboard or forcing the computer keyboard to behave like a piano. And with a power consumption of less then 100mA, it can draw power directly from even an unplugged laptop for supreme on-the-road use.

The NanoKey also ships with a voucher to download Korg’s own M1 LE, a limited edition software emulation of its classic late-1980s M1 hardware synthesizer. The M1 LE is an eight-part multi-timbral tone generator with 32-note polyphony, and functions as a powerful standalone synthesizer as well as offering RTAS, VST or AudioUnits plug-ins for use within composition software.

Verdict

Because of its small size and the limited travel of the keys, you’d be unlikely to want to use the Korg NanoKey for performance, or even as a substitute for a real piano in your own home. While it’s possible to play tunes and chords with reasonable accuracy, that’s not what it’s designed for and certainly isn’t where its strength lies. But as a tiny, portable keyboard for the travelling musician, or even for the home user who wants a cheap, simple way of inputting tunes into a software synth or sequencer, it’s a neat and ingenious solution. And at just £50 – and under half a pound - it won’t weigh you down. ®

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Korg Nanokey

Korg NanoKey MIDI controller

Portable two-octave keyboard that's ideal for notetaking on the move.
Price: £50 RRP