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Editors' Blogs

The CME Xkey Arrives

May 9, 2013

The new Xkey just arrived from CME, and you can expect a review soon. I will be demoing it at the AES Nashville Recording Workshop & Expo next week, and I hope to see and meet some of you there.

Here's a photo:


The CME Xkey arrives at the RECORDING offices


The Xkey represents an interesting approach to portable keyboard control; it offers full-sized piano keys in a very slim and light package, by combining a unique keyboard action with a thin but strong aluminum frame. The keys are very loud and "clacky" when played, but are nicely responsive, and offer not only velocity but also polyphonic aftertouch, a bit of a Holy Grail for us old MIDI hounds... that lets you add expressiveness to keyboard lines by, for example, accentuating just one note of a chord you're holding.

Other nice touches include pitch and modulation buttons that are actually spring-loaded sensors rather than switches, so you can be much more expressive with bends and vibrato as you play, and a Hold button that can be assigned to latch if desired. I'll bring you all a full review soon, but in the meantime, I have one request of CME: Can you guys design one of these that has 49 keys and either folds or comes apart in the middle so it can fit in a laptop case? With one of those and a laptop or iPad, I could happily gig anywhere in the world...



4 Responses to The CME Xkey Arrives

deeeds says

May 11, 2013 at 1:30 am

Any initial thoughts on this? I can buy one now, for about $140, is it worth it?

Mike Metlay says

May 13, 2013 at 9:21 am

I first saw the Xkey at NAMM and this is, I believe, the same prototype they showed there. It is very much "not done yet" they sent it to me so I could show it in Nashville and get folks' feedback, and I will probably return it and wait for the final production run, which will (according to Zhao Yitian, the "father" of CME) have a quieter key action and will be accompanied by optional software for tweaking the keyboard's data types (which is still in beta). I want to be careful about saying too much in a blog when there's a review with a proper fact-check still to come... When I know the whole story, so will you! :)

Rolando Rivera says

August 7, 2013 at 4:13 pm

when is it coming out ? they said May, but here we are August and no XKEY..

Warren says

December 27, 2013 at 7:38 am

Out now! I got a chance to have some hands on time at a local expo. Loved it! The keys feel surprisingly natural despite their low profile, and the aftertouch is wicked. The pitch and mod feel a little off though.... maybe it would just take some getting used to, but I was expecting something similar to my QuNexus, which was not the case!

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Kef America

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