The CME Xkey is a small, lightweight USB MIDI controller that can be used with a variety of devices such as a tablet, smartphone, or computer to play sounds using your favorite apps or plugins. You don’t need any separate interface, power supply, or drivers of any kind, which is good because ain’t nobody got time fo dat. Plug ‘n play or GTFO. It features full size keys, touch sensitivity, and although there are only 25 keys, it has octave up and down buttons to access more notes than a grand piano. All for $99 retail.
The brushed aluminum of the Xkey was initially what caught my eye (pretty shallow, I know), and although it is extremely light (1.3 pounds) and thin (6/10 of an inch!) it feels incredibly solid. I was also impressed when Matt Harpster (President of Virgin Musical Instruments, first video below) told me that not only was it endorsed by everybody’s favorite wizard Jordan Rudess of Dream Theater, but that he had joined the company as CME’s CMO (Chief Musical Officer). Jordan explains what that means in the third video below, and though I’m still not entirely clear on what he’ll actually be doing in that regard, I’m sure they’re just tickled to have him associated with it, as am I.
It seems like if you’re a songwriter, producer, or keyboardist who travels a lot, this would be an indispensable tool (and would make your plane rides FAR more fun), but I’ll let Matt tell you about it.