M-Audio KeyRig 49 USB/MIDI Controller Review
Original author: Todd Simpson
Weapon: MIDI Controller
Model: KeyRig 49
Price: 100 USD
At some point, you may need/want to add a MIDI keyboard to your home studio. One way to go is to get a "dumb" MIDI controller. These can be had for about $100 for a nice unit. Keyboards used to cost wads of cash as they used to be stand alone units with expensive hardware inside. Thank goodness, most Keyboard sounds/samples/virtual instruments can be done entirely in software. Whatever DAW you are using, you can probably use virtual instruments right away or just by downloading some free software or buying what you need. LOGIC has some amazing virtual instruments as does GarageBand and many other DAWs contain similar features.
A keyboard is a handy way to trigger string/symphony samples, drums, or anything else you can trigger with MIDI control. Even if you can't really play the keyboard, it still makes a handy device for triggering samples and laying down custom drum beats.
A Midi Keyboard that I use and can recommend is the M-Audio KeyRig 49 USB/MIDI Controller.
These units are about $100 new from any music retailer. The keyboard has "semi-weighted" keys so it does not feel like a real PIano. However, for the price, you would not expect fully weighted keys. The keyboards in this price range use spring loaded keys that are "semi-weighted" or in other words, counter weighted by springs. So if you are a hardcore keyboard player, skip this unit. But if you are a guitar player wanting a good midi controller this is worth a look. Here is a link to more info on the vendor site.
The unit connects to your PC/MAC via USB cable so no midi interface is required. Also, it's driverless so just plug and play. I recently started working on Movie Soundtracks and this keyboard came in very handy for triggering string section samples using SAMPLE TANK. So grab some software, get a keyboard and add some depth and new instrumentation to your tracks!
Here is a link to some free virtual instruments to get you started.