Review: Carry-On Folding MIDI Controller Keyboard
Updated: Dec 16, 2022
These are all I need to make music like this on the go. Ideas can come anytime and having an ultra-compact setup with pro-level sounds that fits in my backpack helps me to produce music or practice with music learning apps anywhere.
I am going to review various features, and functionalities of this folding MIDI keyboard and demonstrate the onboard sounds in order to help you make a better buying decision.
Before we start, do check out my recommended digital pianos, keyboards, and music learning apps.
This 990 grams controller keyboard comes with 49 full-width touch-sensitive keys ensuring maximum expression with my high-quality sound samples.
Wireless Bluetooth MIDI allows me to connect to my iPad, smartphone, or laptop.
Whether it is an acoustic piano, an electric piano, a guitar, orchestral instruments, vocals, synth, percussion, or drums I found this ultra-compact keyboard was able to achieve what I needed.
For music students who want an ultra-compact setup for use with music learning apps, you will not find a more portable setup than this. There is no need for bulky power adapters or batteries as this keyboard can draw power from your iPad or laptop. It also has an internal rechargeable battery for use with a wireless Bluetooth connection.
To start you on your music learning, a copy of Melodics a music learning app with more than 40 lessons covering genres such as Hip Hop, Funk, Trap, EDM, Techno, Jazz & Pop is included with this keyboard
Due to the compact form factor, with the keyboard measuring just 15” wide when folded, there are a few sacrifices to be made.
The key pivots and travel are not as deep as full-size keyboards but my fingers adapted after a few hours of practice and adjusting the customizable velocity curves. I initially doubted if 49 keys are enough but the ability to shift octaves on the fly made playing piano samples possible.
If you prefer a controller with more keys, my recommended ones can find here
Whether I was playing staccato or legato notes, with fortissimo or pianissimo dynamics the key sensors had no issue keeping up. Finger drumming was also excellent with the touch-sensitive keys. Key noise is louder than average but that is to be expected for a budget ultra-compact keyboard.
If you want a better key action and do not mind a bigger, heavier, and slightly more expensive keyboard, check out the ones I recommend here
With an assignable touchpad controlling pitch bend and modulation, I was able to play demanding orchestral libraries in real-time.
The biggest difference between a MIDI controller like this versus a regular keyboard is there are no onboard sounds. You use this MIDI controller keyboard to trigger sound libraries on your iPad, mobile devices, or laptop computer.
There are 2 advantages to this setup. iPads and laptop sound libraries, such as those found on GarageBand & Kontakt, are of a significantly higher quality than the onboard sounds found on regular keyboards. There are an unlimited number of free and paid sound libraries available for download.
If you want a keyboard with sounds you can use without connecting to a laptop or iPad and that comes with onboard speakers, check it out here
This MIDI controller keyboard comes bundled with both mobile and desktop versions of Cubase LE which is a multi-track music production software containing almost 200 studio-quality sounds to get you started.
Being a MIDI controller, this keyboard comes with ready-mapped transport controls for use with your music production software as well as the ability to change sounds aka program changes, assign MIDI channels and transpose your playing.
Using a PC/Mac editor which you can download for free, I was able to customize the functions of the knobs and buttons for different setups such as practice, music production, or live playing.
For electronic music producers, this keyboard comes with a full-fledged onboard arpeggiator.
I was surprised by the noticeable improvement in build quality from the ultra-compact folding keyboards I reviewed 2 years ago. There is very little chassis flex, the folding mechanism feels robust and it does not feel cheap and flimsy which is something I cannot say about earlier models.
On the rear, you get a USB-C connection for a wired connection to your mobile devices,
a 3.5mm sustain pedal for controlling piano sounds,
a 3.5mm MIDI-Out connector for controlling synth, and a power button.
If you are using this with external sound modules or legacy keyboards that do not supply power to the controller, you can power up the internal battery rechargeable using this button. One thing I wish came in this package is a sustain pedal. The standard pedals available out there come with ¼” jacks and pedals with the smaller 3.5mm connection is not as readily available.
I hope you found my review of the Folding MIDI Keyboard useful. Do check out the links provided in this article for the latest and most updated information and prices on Folding MIDI Keyboard. Do also take a look at my other articles to find the best and most suited instrument for your personal need. Also, check out my Piano App and beginner keyboard course available for you