Flying high with the Korg Microkey 25 iPad controller

Korg Microkey 25 iPad Controller
Korg Microkey 25 iPad Controller

I just received and tested the new Korg Microkey 25 keyboard controller with my generation 1 iPad and it works fantastic! I also have the iPad2 and it works great with that as well using Garageband. This week I’ll be taking a trip from Japan to the States and really wanted something I could connect to the iPad and jam with on the flight over. The Korg Microkey 25, iPad, and iPad camera connector looks like it’s going to work very well.

The Korg Microkey 25 is very light and the keys feel pretty good to my fingers. It’s two octaves but if you are proficient at practicing with good voice leading and are eager to create some new compact voicings, the size shouldn’t bother you one bit. I like playing with clusters so it should bother me much. I also could use more practice with alternate voicings so this should help quite a bit at getting me to do that. I find that if you play with one finger bass notes, use 5ths, or perhaps even 3/7 chord shells it should work fine as well. Playing with octaves might be tricky unless you record separate parts. Of course playing leads will work fantastic when soloing over a backing track.

Some other features on the Korg Microkey 25 are a nice joy stick, arpeggiator, octave shift up/down, and a tap (arp) or sustain/hold button. I haven’t tried these too much yet, but I can say the octave shift is fast and works great. The joystick is awesome for modulation, bending, etc. For example in Sampletank there are two modulation wheels. The Korg joystick can trigger both wheels by toggling left/right and up/down to control each wheel. I haven’t tried the arpeggiator yet but I will update this post with some comments after I get more experience with the Microkey. In fact, I’ll definitely write some comments about using the microkey on the plane. I should note that when tapping the keys, they don’t make too much noise which is nice. The springs feel pretty good and overall it should work well for it’s intended purpose which is to provide a means of playing some keys on the go.

I currently use the camera connection kit to connect the Korg Microkey 25 to the ipad. I thought about getting the 37 key version but learned that it might be too long for the flight and most importantly it cannot be powered by the iPad. The Microkey 25 does NOT require any additional batteries or power source other than what any of the iPads provide. This means you can save money, space, and weight with no batteries, charger, adapter, etc.

Also note that I have used two apps thus far with the Korg Microkey 25. I used both Sampletank and Garageband without any issues. I will try several other apps early this week but so far I’d say it’s all plug and play. The Korg Microkey 25 came with some bundled software discounts that you can get online, plus there is a Korg Microkey editor that allows for some additional settings. I don’t think this can be accessed on the iPad, but rather you’ll need to use an actual computer. I’m not sure about this at first glance, but will review and update later. I suspect changing arp settings for example is done using the editor. Again, I’m not totally sure.

All in all, I’m greatly impressed with the size, weight, and play ability of the Korg Microkey 25 WITH the iPad. It works very well and should hopefully work without issue on the airplane and while I’m waiting at lobbies which is why I purchased it in the first place. If you are looking for a more feature rich keyboard controller, you might want to consider other options which likely are longer, heavier, and with more bells and whistles. I basically needed something to specifically use on the airplane without having to tap my iPad. That’s drives me NUTS when playing the keys.

Stay tuned for more updates and experiences with the Korg Microkey 25 in flight shortly.

Here’s a video of someone demonstrating the Korg Microkey 25 on Youtube: