mKey MIDI keyboard

Ah, those wacky folks at CME. CME is China’s big music tech distributor and manufacturer, and for the last couple of years they’ve been wowing the US market with quite-decent keyboards priced way lower than they should be. (Their keyboards are even showing up free in software packages, kinda like a really sweet Cracker Jacks prize.) If anyone else said they were introducing a one hundred-dollar, ultra-thin keyboard, I’d scream and run away. But CME’s kit has proven to be pretty nice (Thomas Dolby seems to like his controller keyboard, for one). So the new M-Key actually looks pretty interesting.

Yes, it’s a cheap keyboard, and yes, it’s ultra-thin — which means you probably don’t want it as a primary keyboard, just a mobile backup or keyboard for programming synths in tight spaces. But it has some interesting features, like a joystick and semi-weighted keys. Specs, let’s just copy and paste here:

  • 49 ultra thin, velocity sensitive, full action semi-weighted keys
  • 1 x Programmable Joystick
  • 1 x function button, 2 x data entry button, 1 x slider (assignable), 1 x power LED
  • 1 x USB port, 1 x MIDI out, 2 x pedal connect
  • USB MIDI, class-compliant with Windows XP and Mac OS X
  • Firmware upgraded via USB
  • Universal pedal connector, compatible with switch and expression pedal

  • Note-key shortcut function

There’s a nice software bundle, too: “Magix Samplitude SE, Arturia Analog Factory SE, Waldorf Edition LE, TruePiano demo, Keytosound Remedy VST and Musicator MW5 UF Edition.”

Press release
M-Key product page

Hmmm, $99 CME keyboard, kinda boring looking. You know what this means. Get out the paint, give it a new livery and create a music video in the process. (Unlike the good people in the picture, I do remember a little masking. Unless that’s what they meant with the line “Reject all the masks.”)

I need to get my hands on one of these to see if it’s any good. Stay tuned. And, uh, CME — forget that I said anything involving the word paint.

M-Key side view

CDM is a home for people who make and play music and motion.