iRig Keys 2 PRO MIDI Controller iRig Keys 2 PRO MIDI Controller

IK Multimedia’s new iRig Keys 2 PRO MIDI Controller is entering a crowded field of MIDI controllers for today’s modern workflows. So, what sets this apart from other keyboard controllers on the market? Read our full review below.

For starters, you get a full 3 octaves of FULL SIZE keys. For producers and home recording enthusiasts who despise mini keys, this is a welcome addition at this price point. The keys feel pretty good, too. Not the best action, especially when compared to something like the Akai Road 88 that we recently reviewed, but that was geared more towards the traditional piano crowd with weighted keys and realistic action. The iRig Keys 2 PRO is decidedly more synth-action and plastic feeling, but not spongy or cheap in any way. Best of all, it’s velocity sensitive, so you can really dial in the dynamics with your VST-based synths and even when controlling external hardware synths and modules that accept velocity.

The pitch and mod wheels feel good, as well, and didn’t require any special mapping in our DAW, nor when using analog hardware. There’s even a handy headphone jack so you can listen to your work when tinny laptop or iPhone speakers just won’t do. The top panel is rounded out with your standard octave up/down pads as well as program change pads, which allow you to move quickly between your sounds. There are also a few programable dials that you can map however you see fit; not as many as other controllers we’ve tested, but again, you’re talking under $150 here.

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And the kicker is the software. Here’s where the value proposition becomes downright ridiculous. Yes, we can easily control desktop synth modules with this unit, and honestly that might be enough to justify the price tag. But you get a TON of really killer virtual instruments (like, thousands) with the free download of IK’s SampleTank 4 SE, which means your Mac/PC or mobile device will never be starved for sounds again.

At the end of the day, this is a killer MIDI controller. It feels good, it offers full size keys with velocity sensitivity, nice pitch/mod wheels and even a few custom knobs to map in your DAW. But the software package just puts it over the top, and should make this an easy buy for any home studio or producer looking to beef up their sample library or VST-based instrument locker all in one fell swoop. Highly recommended.

PROS:

great price, awesome soft synth package, full size keys, 3 octave keybed

CONS:

none

STREET PRICE:

$149

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