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Suggestions needed: Mini Keyboard with Full size keys
#2764035 09/07/18 05:31 PM
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I am looking for a very mini sized keyboard that can be carried in a backpack/airplane, probably no more than 37 keys.

Requirements are:
- full sized keys
- built in sound (not MIDI only since I often don't travel with a computer and want a standalone device)
- prefer piano sounds but techno sounds are fine too
- prefer velocity sensitive
- prefer lighter but not a big issue

So far I've seen a lot of MIDI controllers with no sound at all with 25-37 keys but I can't bring around a computer to plug it into.

I also saw the Yamaha Reface CP37 which seemed perfect but it has mini keys and I switch regularly to playing acoustic pianos so I don't really like the change back and forth between keyboard key size. I would love something like the CP37, maybe with 25-32 full sized keys.

Last edited by Michiyo-Fir; 09/07/18 05:34 PM.

Yamaha C3, Yamaha Avant Grand N1 (sold), Steingraeber 170 (family's)
Re: Suggestions needed: Mini Keyboard with Full size keys
Michiyo-Fir #2764045 09/07/18 07:36 PM
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Maybe Korg Triton Taktile-25? But also...

Originally Posted by Michiyo-Fir
So far I've seen a lot of MIDI controllers with no sound at all with 25-37 keys but I can't bring around a computer to plug it into.

You don't need a computer... how about an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch?

Re: Suggestions needed: Mini Keyboard with Full size keys
Michiyo-Fir #2764047 09/07/18 07:43 PM
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It might be easier to separate the two functions, and get a small midi sound module like the Midiplus Sengine, and connect it to a small keyboard that only outputs midi. Those are so small you could velcro it to the top of the keyboard. You didn't say if you want speakers or can use headphones. This is a 25 key controller with full sized keys.


Yamaha P90, Kawai GL-10
Re: Suggestions needed: Mini Keyboard with Full size keys
MarkL #2764093 09/08/18 01:23 AM
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Originally Posted by anotherscott
Maybe Korg Triton Taktile-25? But also...

Originally Posted by Michiyo-Fir
So far I've seen a lot of MIDI controllers with no sound at all with 25-37 keys but I can't bring around a computer to plug it into.

You don't need a computer... how about an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch?


I won't have easy access to these because my iPhone battery generally doesn't hold up very well, especially if it's under heavy use like running sounds/games/etc.

Originally Posted by MarkL
It might be easier to separate the two functions, and get a small midi sound module like the Midiplus Sengine, and connect it to a small keyboard that only outputs midi. Those are so small you could velcro it to the top of the keyboard. You didn't say if you want speakers or can use headphones. This is a 25 key controller with full sized keys.


Thanks, I'll look into this! I actually didn't know they made mini plug in sound modules. I will have a look, thanks!

I will probably go check out the Yamaha Reface CP this weekend though. The sounds are super nice from it, although I don't know what kind of impact I will experience from going from such a tiny (3/4??) key size instrument to the full sized grand piano keys... I've also considered a melodica but would probably need something with headphones to not annoy people in public places that I am hoping to use it.


Yamaha C3, Yamaha Avant Grand N1 (sold), Steingraeber 170 (family's)
Re: Suggestions needed: Mini Keyboard with Full size keys
Michiyo-Fir #2764099 09/08/18 02:16 AM
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I just Googled:

synth 37 keys

and got a list of things from Sweetwater. Many (but not all) had mini-keys. And most had knobs, which increases the footprint.

I don't know if you'd get 37 full-size keys into airplane carry-on baggage. My microKorg (37 mini-keys) is just under 22" wide (including pitch-bend and mod wheel next to the keys). 37 keys on my DP measures 20.5". So you're looking at 22.5", without a pitch-bend or mod wheel, for a keyboard (allowing 1" on either end for side-panels).

If you don't need editable sounds, I agree that a small stand-alone sound generator is probably the most space-efficient possibility.

Googling

37 key MIDI controller

gives things like the iRig Keys Pro -- 37 full-size touch-sensitive keys, mod + pitch-bend wheels, width 22.22".

It _doesn't_ have 5-pin MIDI ports, just USB. So finding a sound generator might be tricky.

Even a small Android tablet should be able to run a simple sound-generator, and some of those have powered USB (or micro-USB) ports. If you check the Android Play Store for "polyphonic synthesizer", there are quite a few hits. It's not clear if all of them will work from external MIDI controllers.

Interesting problem . . . .


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Suggestions needed: Mini Keyboard with Full size keys
Michiyo-Fir #2764107 09/08/18 04:30 AM
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As for silent controllers, there's also the CME Xkey37 LE:

https://www.cme-pro.com/xkey37/

And they also mention an "Xcable" with a legacy MIDI OUT and pedal inputs.

I've never tried a one.

Re: Suggestions needed: Mini Keyboard with Full size keys
Charles Cohen #2764132 09/08/18 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Michiyo-Fir
Originally Posted by anotherscott
You don't need a computer... how about an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch?

I won't have easy access to these because my iPhone battery generally doesn't hold up very well, especially if it's under heavy use like running sounds/games/etc.

You didn't mention that the keyboard had to be battery powered in your initial list of requirements, does it? If not (i.e. you'll have access to AC), then the iPhone battery life doesn't have to be an issue, since with the right adapter, you can connect your iPhone to the keyboard and the wall charger at the same time.

Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
Even a small Android tablet should be able to run a simple sound-generator

Latency is a much bigger issue with Android than iOS. For real-time MIDI applications, the only reason to bother even attempting it with Android is if you already own one. If you're starting from scratch, stick with iOS. And in this case, he's already got the iPhone anyway.

Re: Suggestions needed: Mini Keyboard with Full size keys
Michiyo-Fir #2764136 09/08/18 09:15 AM
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I had the same demand...

Solution:
Irigkeys37 pro
Don't expect great touch, but it is on of the less flimsy boards in that categorie.
Very compact but almost natural key size (they stole a black keys width per two octaves).

Now the trick:
Miditech pianobox mini
Built-in rechargeable batterie
USB and Minijack input
Headphone out
USB chargeable
and - most important - Power for the keyboard via USB.

So you need only a headphone and USB charger which you might already take with you.


- Rhodes74

Last edited by Rhodes74; 09/08/18 09:16 AM.
Re: Suggestions needed: Mini Keyboard with Full size keys
Michiyo-Fir #2764229 09/08/18 05:32 PM
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Here's my solution to traveling with a carry-on-sized keyboard... no batteries, and built-in sound! (You can also get much cheaper with a melodica.)

[Linked Image]


Rodney Sauer
Kawai KG-2E • Kawai ES8
Re: Suggestions needed: Mini Keyboard with Full size keys
Michiyo-Fir #2764259 09/08/18 08:49 PM
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You may want to take a look at a Roland Gaia. Not very small, not very piano-like, but have a look. Runs on batteries, which is a plus, and I guess you can build a sound which may serve well enough as a piano substitute.


W.Hoffmann T122, Roland FP-50, Roland RD-64
Re: Suggestions needed: Mini Keyboard with Full size keys
Michiyo-Fir #2764453 09/10/18 05:18 AM
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+1 for the CME Xkey Air 37.

I own both a CME Xkey Air 37 since early this year and a iRig Keys37 Pro for around two years. I would suggest you to look for a MIDI controller instead of a keyboard with built-in sounds. You can easily connect the CME to the iPhone via Bluetooth LTE . Battery will not an issue. If needed you can charge the phone while using the keyboard. You can use the free GarageBand for iOS for acoustic piano sounds.

I am not aware a MIDI controller smaller than the CME. The iRig is 59 cm wide (because of the two mod wheels) and 6 cm thick. The CME is 55 cm wide and less than 2 cm thick. This means the CME (barely) fits into my backpack or hand luggage when flying but not the iRig. Apart from the size, the main difference is the keyboard action. The iRig (and other MIDI controllers) uses a synth/spring action, which tends to be a bit flimsy and spongy. The CME uses a shallow keyboard, almost like a laptop keyboard.

These portable keyboards do not replicate at all the feel of an acoustic piano or DP action. So, you will need to adapt and, especially, you will need to understand what you can actually practice on these keyboards. But they are just a temporary practice aid that will work for a limited set of exercices. If you have the right expectations a portable keyboard can be a great travel companion.

Re: Suggestions needed: Mini Keyboard with Full size keys
Michiyo-Fir #2764739 09/11/18 12:04 PM
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I ended up deciding to order the Yamaha Reface CP to try.

I somehow missed putting it in the requirements but I DO need a unit that can run on batteries. Many flights/long buses, coffee shops, etc do not have available AC plugs, or if they do have them, often they being used by other people so for my purposes not being able to operate the unit on batteries only would cut down my usage by half.

I looked at the iRig but it seems a little too big for my purposes of carrying it around in a backpack. Although I may pick up a unit for my house for fun later. I really don't like the idea of needing to bring something else (phone, tablet, laptop, MIDI sound generator) for traveling either since any additional parts means more cables, more chargers/AC, etcetera.

The CME Xkey Air 37 looks really cool, but I didn't find one in my store to have a look. Although I am pretty sure I will have a problem with the way the keys depress since it looks like they go down flat instead of on a hinge.

I talked to a few people online that play acoustic pianos and the Yamaha Reface, and despite what I feel like is a super tiny keyboard, most people said they have no troubles adapting. Plus people are playing it amazingly on youtube! I am really excited to give it a try, especially since it has a hidden acoustic piano sound! I will be off on a trip to Asia at the end of the month, hopefully it arrives by that time and I can kill some time on the airplane!


Yamaha C3, Yamaha Avant Grand N1 (sold), Steingraeber 170 (family's)

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