Sonic LAB: Korg nanoKEY Controller

Tiny USB MIDI keyboard      19/12/08

No flash plug

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4:28 mins
This one's the cheapest of the nano series from Korg and some say it shows, by that I mean the keys are essentially extended covered computer keys from like a laptop keyboard. So lets get that straight , yes it is a little wibbly and plasticky feeliing, but it does have velocity sensitivity. I mean, no one was expecting a mini KX88 or something were they? It's a bus powered device, with a mini USB connector and supplied mini to big lead. The fact that it takes very little current (100 mA or less), so you can drive it off a battery powered laptop or a passive USB hub with the other nanos attached if you wish. It's a two octave affair with +/- octave switches to give you access over the entire MIDI range - the switches have colour coded LED's to show how many octaves you are away from the middle. Bits On The Side
Additional buttons are a modulation switch - set to transmit modulation in momentary mode,, you can change this to toggle as well as the controller number and value in the editor. Lastly is the CC mode - this turns each of the 24 keys into MIDI control tansmission switches with each controller, max and minimum values assignable again via the editor. I'm sure some bright spark will come up with imaginative uses for this mode, but I was a not one of them. And thats it. In use I found it to be pretty good for triggering drum sounds, and mono lines, throwing down ideas and the like, but chords were a bit hit and miss due to the fact that it's not a real keyboard. It'll do though, and it certainly beats using the Querty keyboard like you can in Logic 8 if your stuck. That and the fact that this will slip into a bag almost unnoticed to give a workable keyboard device really deserves some kudos. With the slightly lower pricing of the nanoKEY, Korg have pretty much pitched this about right. It's really useful tool for when the real thing isn't to hand. I would questions the CC mode in favour of some program change capabilities, but on the whole I like it for what it is. Available now at $49.99, €49 or about £35 notes. Nick Batt
Check the Price - at these online stores.
$49.99 Korg nanoKEY MIDI Controller
$49.95 Korg nanoKEY 25-Key USB MIDI Controller
$49.99 Korg nanoKEY MIDI Controller Standard |
One Click search Ebay now listings for this model


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5 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
Marc JX8P    Said...

Once again, great review. I love the opening shot with the keyboard appearing massive! :-) I'm looking forward to the NanoKontrol review and I hope you'll do one where you integrate all three to see how they work together.

19-Dec-08 08:28 AM

Bod    Said...

Yep, another great review - keep them coming. Just one question though, did Nick come straight from Guantanamo Bay?

19-Dec-08 10:52 AM

Nick B    Said...

ha, Bod, no. Not this time. Maybe after NAMM if the immigration people decide I have way too much tehcnology to enter the country

19-Dec-08 10:59 AM

Bongo    Said...

The CC mode is great if you are using Live or using a CCt o CC/CC to (N)RPN converter, but I think it pretty useless if your not a Live/tracker user or having a lot of stuff with on/off-swithes.

30-Dec-08 03:50 PM

Steve Cooke    Said...

A fair review, as always. I own one of these and, you're right, it's very easy indeed to accidentally hit the 'CC mode' button, thereby cutting off whatever you're playing. One thing that would have been worth mentioning, however, is how noisy the keys are. They make a dreadful rattle and are impossible to play quietly. That matters because one of the selling points of the nanoKEY is that it's supposed to be something you can carry around and play anywhere, like on a train for example. Well, it would be pretty annoying sitting near somewhere messing around with one of these on a train, I can tell you. Much noisier than someone typing on a laptop. It's a shame that Korg didn't pay more attention to this issue and find some way of dampening the rattle.

09-Jan-09 02:38 PM

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