So how does it work with an iPad? After a bit of tinkering, very well, as it happens, but as the small print says, you need the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit. This accessory will set you back £25 and includes the iOS-dock-to-USB adapter that you use to plug in the Keystation Mini 32.
And your bird can sing...
I tried it on a bunch of apps and nothing worked. Then I quit all the apps on my iPad 2, unplugged/replugged the keyboard and started again, kicking off with Xewton’s Music Studio 1.6.1. Apart from being an impressive sequencer, this also reveals the status of the MIDI configuration, which boosts confidence. Incidentally, running a MIDI controller with iOS devices or through the camera connector isn't unique to this product, but it is a neat combination.
Tests with Apple's GarageBand followed, which was all well and good, but unlike Music Studio, the virtual keys didn’t move when playing from the Keystation Mini 32, even though you could hear every note. It’s not a big deal, but when it comes to hooking up with external controllers, the Xewton app seems more refined than Apple’s offering. Incidentally, I did try it with an iPhone 3G, but attaching the camera kit prompted a message that it isn't supported and the keyboard didn't power up either.
Educational goal: the Sibelius software will score points with music students – the hardware anyone can play with
The M-Audio Keystation 32 Mini has appeal for quite a diverse range of players. With its Sibelius First software it offers an educational tool as well as scoring functions for more traditional arrangers/composers. Those not versed in music theory can use it alongside more contemporary music applications on a laptop, desktop or iPad – although they might want to consider splashing out a bit extra for a larger keyboard with additional controllers.
Still, it is a very handy size, but the main catch for iPad users is that the camera kit adapter is almost half the price of this keyboard. Yet try it and you’ll be hooked, as makes a huge difference when knocking out fondleslab fugues. ®
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So in short, USB MIDI keyboard behaves like USB MIDI keyboard?
Why a full page talking about iPad compatibility? By far the vast majority of USB MIDI keyboards work fine with the CCK. This is not a new thing. If it shipped with a Dock connector USB lead, removing the need for the CCK that'd be one thing. Otherwise, someone just got sucked in by marketing.
I really don't know for sure but I'd be surprised if it didn't work. Most USB-based MIDI keyboards work in the same way and use the same driver on Linux. My Casio Privia was pretty much plug and play.
...if you're after a copy of Sibelius First then this is a very cheap way of getting hold of it.
AVID (who now appear to own both Sibelius and M-Audio) flog Sibelius First for ~£120 directly, or you can buy the Mini 32 with full Sibelius First thrown in from around £55 (e.g. Amazon, Thomann). No-brainer really...
John Smith Clive
Do the pitch bend/mod buttons behave like normal pads - i.e. velocity sensitive switches? Would be nice if they were continuous controllable but maybe that's expecting too much... but since the knob is assignable, I'm sold!
Evil educational licences :-(
The only trouble with that is that is that it's a false economy because you end up with all your coursework in a proprietary format and are then locked into full price Sibelius forever, unless you find getarounds like this - which still leaves you locked into reduced price Sibelius forever. Usual story: you can export MuseScore files to Sibelius easily but not the other way round, but it does look like there is paid-for software to do this.