M-Audio promised more wireless MIDI devices, and they’ve delivered: a 37-key keyboard in addition to the 25-key model, plus a standalone adapter you can use to turn any battery-powered instrument into a wireless controller.

The M-Audio MidAir 37 is a 37-key version of the previous, wireless 25-key model. That leaves room for extra controllers (9 faders, to be exact) and makes a more playable instrument. US$299, and runs 20 hours on AA batteries. The only problem: it’s not a strap-on, so other than reducing some cables or accommodating a tricky stage setup, you might be better off going with M-Audio’s higher-grade, cheaper wired keyboards instead.

More interesting is the new standalone MidAir adapter. At US$149, it turns any instrument with MIDI into a wireless device. Now we’re talking; at that price, you can buy a couple and start turning everything in your studio into a wireless unit. M-Audio has actually thought through how the adapter will work, with a very compact clip-on unit, and coiled cables (so you don’t get tangled).

Keytars are the first logical application here, and the ability to make a vintage, battery-powered keytar into a wireless device, you have to admit, has some geek-chic appeal. But why stop there? Most of the compact keyboards in my studio are now battery-powered, like the tiny Novation Xiosynth that just arrived. I could even see this used on DIY gear. The MIDIsense board, for instance, or (if you add MIDI ports) Arduino both run happily on a 9V battery. Plug in the sensors of your choice, and your new gyroscope – accelerometer – touch sensor – light sensor – blinkie thing can be set free, wirelessly — all without having to tune the wireless function yourself.

A number of you asked what happened to the competing WIDI line from CME. The answer is, simply, I don’t know; I haven’t seen a shipping version here in the US yet, and those of you who have ordered one haven’t seen it yet. I do notice that the WIDI standalone device looks a little clunkier. If any of you have ordered one and actually got it, let us know. (I also notice the CME looks a little clunkier than the new MidAir.) Until CME can actually ship their device, the M-Audio wins by forfeit.

Let us know what happens to your orders, though.

[tags]CME, M-Audio, hardware, interfaces, MIDI, USB, wireless, preview[/tags]

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