Keith McMillen aims to take the keyboard controller to another dimension

Keith McMillen Instruments has previous form when it comes to creating next-gen MIDI controllers - his QuNexus and K-Board products are both compact and expressive - but it looks like he's aiming to produce a real player's instrument with the K-Board Pro 4.

With four octaves of keys and a traditional layout, this certainly looks more like a more conventional keyboard controller than McMillen's previous offerings, but it has several tricks up its sleeve.

The keys respond to pressure and finger movement across the Y and X axes, giving you modulation options aplenty. You could, for example, adjust the vibrato and timbre of notes on an individual basis.

How does it feel?

What won't be apparent until we get our hands on it is how the K-Board Pro 4 feels to play. Those keys may look conventional, but it appears that they don't have a standard 'down-up' action. Keith McMillen says that the keyboard is "fast and accurate", but it may not be to your taste if you've been raised on traditional keys.

The K-Board 4 is the latest in a line of what have been billed as 'Polyphonic Multidimensional Controllers'; essentially, more expressive alternatives to standard MIDI controllers. Other products that fall under this banner include Roger Linn's LinnStrument, the Eigenharp and ROLI's Seaboard.

In the past, these controllers have been prohibitively expensive for a lot of us, but we hear that the K-Board Pro is slated to retail for $495. This means that it should undercut the £599 SeaBoard RISE, ROLI's more compact and affordable version of the SeaBoard, which the company announced last month.

We'll bring you more on the K-Board 4 in due course, and we imagine that it'll soon be making an appearance on the Keith McMillen Instruments website.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.