Feeds
80%
M-Audio Keystation Mini 32

M-Audio Keystation Mini 32

iPad savvy MIDI controller

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Geek Treat of the Week It always pays to read the fine print, especially when it’s to be found on the bottom of a box, while on the top the label says, ‘Works with iPad’. Such is the case with M-Audio’s Keystation Mini 32, a really rather good portable keyboard controller for mobile musos and the classroom.

This host powered 32-note USB keyboard isn’t much bigger than a decent baguette, although a good deal flatter. Naturally, the keys aren’t full-size, but they are velocity sensitive, so the harder you hit them, the louder things sound. At this point I should mention that this is a dumb keyboard, so you’ll need to plumb it into host computer or iPad with some music software running and synth sounds to trigger.

M-Audio Keystation Mini 32

Settling scores: M-Audio's Keystation Mini 32

If you’re bereft of such sonic software sophistication, you’re in luck because the Keystation Mini 32 features Sibelius First plus a bunch of utilities. If you were hoping for some GarageBand wannabee application, then you’re in for a bit of a surprise. Sibelius is a music scoring application that originally appeared on the Acorn Archimedes. Now on Mac and PC, v7 Professional will set you back around £420 with educational incarnation about half that.

And there’s the clue. This keyboard is an input device that is sufficient enough to allow note tweaking in a scoring application for both small and large pinkies. If you’re a Steinberg Cubase or Apple Logic play-as-you-go muso, and notes on a stave look like tadpoles to you, then Sibelius First is likely to stay in the box unopened, as you’ll probably have seizure getting to grips with it. But no harm in trying, especially as it has guitar tablature creation on-board too.

Sibelius First software

Sibelius First is focused on music scoring and editing but has a mixer and a multipart General MIDI tone generator
Click for a larger image

Indeed, hooking up to laptop simply involves plugging in to the USB port and the Keystation Mini 32 is detected as a MIDI interface which can the be used on any music software application to record live or, if you must, step-time performances.

The keys, while fairly shallow in length, are a decent width and perfectly playable. They have a decent amount of resistance to them, so you can dig in a bit, but the their size will undoubtedly hamper speedy solos, although unlike Akai's cheaper LPK25, you do get another seven more keys. It also seems fairly robust although it does flex a bit.

M-Audio Keystation Mini 32

Pitch and modulation controls are on-board but are somewhat unrefined

To the left is a control section with +/- keys to allow instant octave jumping along with pitch bend, modulation and sustain functions. There’s a volume control (which affects MIDI/virtual instruments) and an edit mode too, which enables tweaking of parameters from the keyboard including different velocity curves.

Some keys are labelled to show their secondary function in edit mode. To make velocity sensitivity changes, simply hit the edit key which lights up, press Vel (the first G key), choose 0 to 3 for increasing loudness or enter in a value from 4 to 127 for fixed sensitivity and then hit the last key (Enter).

M-Audio Keystation Mini 32

Xewton's Music Studio confirms the connections on the iPad

The volume knob can also be changed to work with continuous controller data by using the same procedure – choose the last F# (Knob) key and to change something like pan, use the numbered keys to tap in 10, hit enter again and you’re done. The Keystation Mini 32 manual, which you’ll need to download from here [PDF 1.4MB], lists the whole gamut of standard MIDI CC numbers and Channel mode messages that can be assigned.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Next page: Synth pop

More from The Register

next story
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nice computers don’t need to go to the toilet, says Barclays
Bad computers might ask if you are Sarah Connor
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
VMware builds product executables on 50 Mac Minis
And goes to the Genius Bar for support
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Microsoft stands on shore as tablet-laden boat sails away
Brit buyers still not falling for Windows' charms
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.