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M-Audio eKeys 37 Reviews
This mini usb keyboard is great value for money and easily one of the most portable on the market. Although the keys are smaller than standard it is still easy to play and is a fantastic tool for programming midi keys and drum parts etc. The main drawback I\'ve found is the lack of a pitch wheel and octave selector. There is room on the left side of the keys for this but M-Audio have chosen to leave them out. The pitch wheel I can live without but not being able to shift the octave means having to mess about with the drum mapping to play various midi drum units such as BFD or EZdrummer. The size is great for part of a mobile recording setup, I take mine to Thailand with me and it goes in my main bag no problem. A little bit more thought about potential users wouldnt have gone amiss though.
The eKeys 37 is a well-designed keyboard ideal for not just the would-be musician requiring learning right from the basics, but also for a creative musician needing a cheap but versatile and easy recording and arranging set-up.
The eKeys acts as a tool for getting your ideas down onto your computer and then with the easy-to-use software compiling them and forming them into a song. The software it comes with is a little simple for more experienced users who know exactly how they want something to sound, but more in-depth software is readily available, and the software provided is easily sufficient for most; the MIDI sound range is extensive and adaptable. The teaching software is decent, with applications from teaching toddlers the basics of communication to teaching you to read and play music, with the flexibility to let you import your own music files for playing and analysing. I haven’t had much use for the pre-recorded samples but they sound great and for someone who was into garageband they strike a decent equivalent, although the range is a bit more limited.
The keyboard does not suffer from latency problems as the similarly priced Creative Prodikeys dual keyboards do, and the notes have a similar feel to classic keyboards. The small notes are both an advantage and a drawback, as they make the keyboard very compact and convenient but also make playing a little difficult; thin fingers are an advantage here. A pitch bend, quick octave shift and sustain hold button would be nice, but are not essential, as the eKeys is hardly a performance item.
Overall the eKeys offers excellent value for money, and the best opportunity for effective recording and learning short of forking out hundreds of pounds. It is very easy to use with plug-and-play capabilities and straightforward software. Other than the keys being a little too small and there being no pitch, octave or sustain controls the keyboard is first-rate for my purposes, and probably the purposes of majority of those likely to buy it. I highly recommend this product.
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