Hands on with iRigKeys I/O

Keith White
22 December, 2017
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iRig Keys I/O

IK Multimedia, www.ikmultimedia.com/

Pros 

Compact, professional, versatile. Full-sized keys. High-quality audio circuitry.  Generous bundled software

Cons 

None

from $370

Reviews

The iRigKeys I/O from IK Multimedia at first glance seems to be a pretty complete musical workstation so I’ve been running it through its paces to see how complete. I’m using the smaller version with 25 full-sized keys because, although I can shape a few chords and bash out the odd riff or two, I’m not really a keyboard player. The good news is there’s a 49-key version for those of you who are.

Plugged into my iMac I’m bashing away through all the fabulous sounds in Logic Pro, and doing MIDI recordings. Using the unit as a MIDI controller I have two touch-sensitive sliders and five knobs – all fully programmable. I also have eight velocity-sensitive multicolour assignable pads. Which pretty well takes care of ‘Keys’ in the name, but what about ‘I/O’?

As well as being a fully-featured keyboard this device is a professional 24-bit 96 kHz audio interface. On the rear panel is a high-quality input for guitar, bass, line and microphone. A 48V button kicks in phantom power if I need it. There are also left and right balanced outputs and a headphone socket with a gain control. A small switch toggles between USB power and 4 supplied AA, batteries. There is also a DC input for the supplied power supply with four international adapters. The iRigKeys I/O has definitely got all power options covered!

Included cables connect directly to iOS devices via Lightning and via USB to Mac and PC. So that takes care of the I/O aspects.

The unit is sturdily constructed of plastic and the velocity-sensitive keys feel great to the touch. Having used many mini keyboards in the past the full-sized keys on this unit are very kind to my fat, football-degraded fingers. Definitely the best keyboard that IK Multimedia have produced. Out of the box it was plug and play firstly with my iMac and then my iPad, which clips neatly into the supplied holder.

The real sweetener in the deal, if I needed one, is the bundled software. Sample Tank 3 sound workstation, T-RackS 4 Deluxe mix and mastering suite, and Syntronik Pro-V vintage synthesiser. Bundled with the 49–key version you also get Miroslav Philharmonik with a complete symphony orchestra of high quality sounds.

Macworld Australia‘s buying advice: So in short, I have a fully-featured professional 25-key keyboard controller/audio interface which I can fit inside a shopping bag. Fantastic for musicians on the go or working in confined spaces. Great thinking to combine a keyboard, MIDI controller and audio interface. At $370 ($550 for the 49-key version) the iRigKeys I/O is unbeatable at the price for a professional musician.

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