Korg microKEY 37
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Korg microKEY 37

microKEY 37, 32/37-Key MIDI Keyboard from Korg in the micro series.

BlackWinny 03/14/2014

Korg microKEY 37 : BlackWinny's user review

« The best mobile keyboard for leads »
5

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It was launched in July 2013. I needed a small, 3-octave keyboard to accompany my M-Audio Axiom 49 (with the goal of playing pads and accompaniments on the 4-octave M-Audio but most of the leads on a small, sensitive, 3-octave keyboard with mini-keys). There are quite a few options for 37 mini-keys keyboards on the market... but as soon as you start comparing them, the options start shrinking more and more and this Korg is always on top. In the end, this is the only one left standing. Absolutely everything about this keyboard is done to please you. Among the advantages that made me fall for it:
- It's velocity-sensitive in a very fine and adjustable way
- The keyboard is extremely soft but with a clean Note On triggering, with no odd action.
- Octave transposition (it has a range of 7 octaves!)
- The two indispensable wheels
- There's no need for any particular drivers (you plug into an available USB port, Windows 7 installs straight away its internal driver and you are good to go!)
- It doesn't need power supply (unless you use it with an iPad)
- It has one USB output and TWO(!) USB inputs! Which broadens the possibilities when you have a micro-computer lacking USB ports for other MIDI devices (it works as a sort of hub for two additional MIDI devices).
- It comes with the Korg Kontrol Editor software, which allows you to program it entirely (you can program MIDI messages, assign Control Changes to any key, for example, split the keyboard and assign them to different MIDI channels, modify at will the velocity, create patches, etc.)
- A bundle of free software that are no toys, but true VSTIs distributed by big and well-known names (a free license for Korg M1 LE, a free license for Toontrack EzDrummer Lite, a free licesnse for AAS Strum Acoustic Session, a free license for AAS Lounge Lizard Session, a free license for AAS Ultra Analog Session. More than enough to keep you busy for quite some time and it's all of good quality! Plus, 50% off the full Korg Legacy Collection (which is the best of the best when it comes to vintage synths and you can get for only $130!))

UTILIZATION

The keyboard is VERY nice. It's truly the best mini-keys keyboard I know. It responds perfectly to velocity, the keys don't have any play, release is instantaneous, you can play really fast (that was my goal when looking for a 37-keys) with perfect control. Even the two wheels are sturdy, perfectly adjusted, without any play and not flimsy at all.

There's no aftertouch, but is it really necessary on a keyboard conceived to play fast a fluently? For pads, long sustains and aftertouch I use my M-Audio Axiom 49. Mini-keys with aftertouch is nonsense. Lots of people confuse aftertouch and velocity (which is important on a keyboard with mini-keys to play leads).

And the shell of this keyboard is not made of soft plastic like on other models by well-known brands! This small Korg is almost an all-purpose keyboard, despite its 37 keys. I can take it with me when I go into town and also on weekends to the countryside in any bag and I can even take it on holidays without the fear of it getting damaged! Even the two wheels are as solid as on a normal-sized keyboard. One year later it is still in perfect condition despite using it every day for several hours.

It is extremely easy to set up: Just plug it in and that's it! (If you want o do more specific things with MIDI messages you can install the Korg Kontrol Editor software and it all works seamlessly).

MIDI channel selection is done automatically by all software programs so you don't have to worry any more than you would for any other keyboard.

The manual is perfectly clear (in 5 languages).

OVERALL OPINION

I've been using it every day for several hours since July 2013.

What about the value for money, you ask? Unbeatable! I bought it last summer for $150... And now, in March 2014, it sells for only $120 (and in some stores even $110).

Would I buy it again based on my experience? Yes, for sure! If I ever need another 3-octave mini-key keyboard in the next months I'll buy this one without wasting any time comparing it to any other products!