Portable / compact midi keyboard controller for practicing chords / scales

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Hi,

I'm a piano newbie, and when I'm practicing at home I use my 88 keys Roland FP-10.
As I'm often on the move I'm looking for a rather lightweight / portable option to keep on practicing (mostly music theory) even I'm not at home.
I know no small midi keyboard can really replace a full sized weighted 88 keys piano, but still - I hope it's better than not trying to practice at all.
I'd use the controller with my iPad / MacBook Pro and ALWAYS with headphones.

These are the products that might be suitable:

  • iRig Keys 2 (pro?): the pro variant has full sized keys which might be close to a real piano feeling in terms of size ratio.
    On the other hand the non-pro variant is even smaller while still offering 37 keys in total

  • Arturia KeyStep 37: smaller keys compared to a full sized piano, but what I liked was the option to see chords via the builtin LEDs and have the Arturia dynamically generate those as well as the sequence option where I could be able to record my input and add the other hand to it.

  • Arturia MicroLab: very small footprint - basic features compared to Keystep but very portable (no option for connecting a sustain pedal though)

  • Roli Lumi Keys: very portable, great connectivity to iPad, app lessons assistance for music theory seem to be ok.
    The keybed is not comparable to a full sized piano of course...
To make things even more complicated: current iPads / iPhones don't offer a headphone-out jack... which could make a portable setup even more difficult.
I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on this.

Thanks a lot
 

happyrat1

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I own an Arturia Keystep 37 and it's one of my favorite controllers. All metal chassis and real MIDI ports and simple USB power port make it a keeper.

I use mine whenever I'm testing out a new module and don't want to hook it up yet in the studio.

Controls are simple and intuitive and it even has aftertouch and ribbon controllers for mod and pitch bend.

What else does anyone need? :D :D :D

As for audio out from your phone? Bluetooth works well enough.

Gary ;)
 
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Hi Gary,

thank you very much for your response.
That's actually what I was expecting the Keystep 37 to be in terms of build quality.

I guess I'll go for the Keystep then.
Thanks!!
 
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Hi @happyrat1,

as the Keystep 37 is not available in my region, I'm currently tending towards the Keystep (32 Keys).
What are your thoughts about the Keystep compared to the Komplete Kontrol M32?
Regarding the footprint, both should be quite similar. The Keybed of the M32 is praised everywhere.
The connectivity options of the Keystep are outstanding (which I would use for connecting iPad/MacBook/Sustain Pedal).
I don't have any studio software at all and would simply start with Garage Band if no better solution is provided.
I'd appreciate you thoughts about this.

Thanks a lot!
 

happyrat1

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I can't speak as to the quality of the Komplete Kontrol as I have never owned one.

Gary ;)
 

happyrat1

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BTW, I own the older 32 key Keystep, not the new Keystep Pro.

Seriously, you could always order one in from somewhere.

Gary ;)
 
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Ah, I thought you had the Keystep 37 because you wrote that some days ago.
I'll go for the Keystep.
Thanks again. I really appreciate your help.
 

happyrat1

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And your original message was confusing. The official model names are "Keystep" and "Keystep Pro"

NOT "Keystep 32" and "Keystep 37"

But my aging memory shares some of the blame :D

Gary ;)
 

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