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CME U-Key 49 - White Reviews
I purchased this ( white ) beautiful toy ( v2 )in 2010, 4 years after first release. At that time among 49 key competitors for me were Behringer umx49, novation remote, m-audio axiom etc. It won with its size and versatility. So much packed in this small cheap box and after all it has some features that the others lack - for instance so useful for me SPLIT. On the top of it the sound module (128 sounds ) with possibility of editing ( attack, release, filter etc. ) makes it sometimes indpendent from a comp with VSTs. Should be listened through headphones though as the speakers built in are crap although useful at times.
Originally speakers cannot be switched off but I deal with it plugging a jack in the headphones socket;)
Th keys and knobs are ok for that price, for me enough.
I recently bought the U-key to use as a compact midi controller as my 88 key Oberheim was too big to take around! In general I have been very impressed by the unit as it has a lot of functions for such a cheap and light-weight keyboard. Starting off, the keys are very playable as the board basically comes from the CME UF 5. The velocity sensitivity of the keys is adequate but coming from a weighted action master keyboard (5x the price) there is certainly not as much response, but considering the cost of this unit I can\'t moan!
The 8 Pads on the unit are useful for triggering scenes or other control type applications, but for playing drum samples they simply aren\'t responsive enough, and playing fast hi-hat grooves is far easier with the keyboard. The 8 rotary encoders are very useful and the ability to assign multiple functions to them via the U-ctrl layer is definitely a bonus. ie. you can control all your synth parameters whilst playing and then press the button to edit volume, pan or anything else controllable in your software. I found that the resolution of the knobs was pretty good in ableton live but when used with modul8 (video) there was a lot of latency and they where pretty much useless for detailed tweaking, but again I think this is caused by the software being used.
In terms of midi functionality this product is great, it includes an additional midi i/o which is very useful and all the channel, assignment, velocity curve settings etc. are very easy to customize and edit quickly. As yet the manual is still in its plastic wrapper!
The inbuilt Gm sound module, surprisingly is not that bad and the inbuilt speakers are ok for quick practicing. But I would really recommend connecting this to a good VST, synth, sampler etc.
The ability to play / practice different types of scales (some I had never even heard of) and get feedback, is a great function for honing your skills. I think this keyboard would be an excellent choice for schools / colleges to put into there computer labs as it makes understanding midi very easy and intuitive, the game function for learning scales is also far more useful than the dreaded \"DJ button\" (weren\'t my school music lessons fun!)
Overall I am very impressed with the CME U-KEY, there is nothing else in this price range that has all of these functions, the M-Audio Oxygen 49 of the same price is a strong contender if you just need a midi controller and the addition of faders is nice. But for someone whos like to play keyboard on the train the bonus of having inbuilt GM sounds is great! (my laptop gets an easy ride)
Thanks dolphin music for selling the U-KEY around £25 cheaper than most placed, you rock!
I had a budget of £100 and wanted to get as much for my money as possible (Let\'s face it- don\'t we all) The semi-weighted keys gives the keyboard a great feel, and the 8 pads make recording a lot easier, though it\'s suprising to see them on a product of this price.
The styling is pretty good too- goes nicely with my iMac! Only gripe is the knobs could be better, they feel a bit tacky which is a real shame as the main keys on the board are great.
The thing to remember with the U-Key is that it\'s great value for money- 8 synth pads, semi weighted keys and the compact size, all for 80 quid, puts the others in it\'s price range to shame.