The original Xkey keyboard by The CME Group is a MIDI-compliant keyboard that boasts a slim profile and strong aluminum finish, with its only issue being its reliance on a USB connection. Although its design has received positive reviews from both amateur and pro musicians alike, the questions remained: when would a wireless version be created?
For those who were waiting, the wait is now over: the Xkey Air is the Bluetooth LE-compatible version of the Xkey. The Xkey Air retains all the features that made the original so appreciated, and as such users can still expect either 25 or 37 real-sized keys that are velocity sensitive along with a suite of programmable buttons that control characteristics such as octave, modulation, pitch, and sustain. Wireless instruments have always had to contend with problems of latency and battery life and the Xkey Air does its best to address these through just a 7 ms latency and an advertised minimum of 10 hours of battery life.The more portable 25-key version of the Xkey Air with a piano learning app is $139, the 37-key version is $239, and a package containing both goes for $399. If CME’s campaign raises $10,000 by August 4, 2015, backers can expect their Xkey Air by November 2015.
Latency and battery life are the two most important factors for any wireless instrument and the Xkey Air’s stats, along with its greater number of keys and control it offers over sound, look better on paper than MIDI music-making rival Keys.