NAMM 2008: Yamaha delivers first USB controllers

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The 88 note KX8 offers a graded hammer action keyboard

The 88-note KX8 offers a graded hammer action keyboard.
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The KX25 is the smallest of the new keyboards

The KX25 is the smallest of the new keyboards.

Given its size and stature, it's surprising that Yamaha has been one of the few hardware companies not to offer a range of USB controller keyboards. It is now though: the KX series is being premiered at NAMM and contains four models.

The smallest of these is the KX25, a compact 25-note keyboard. Four- and five-octave controllers are also being launched (the KX49 and KX61) and at the top of the range you'll find the 88-note KX8.

The smaller three keyboards have a classic Yamaha synth key action, while the KX8 offers a graded hammer action that will suit piano players.

All the KX keyboards feature four assignable knobs and an abundance of buttons that can be used to control your music production software. Also onboard is the Phrase Factory - an arpeggiator that features 500 patterns that are inspired by Yamaha's Motif range of synths.

The inclusion of the KX Editor, meanwhile, means that it's possible to map hardware functions in software. Manual mapping may not be necessary, though: a range of control templates for some of the most popular plug-ins on the market comes pre-installed.

The KX series software bundle includes Cubase AI4 (a cutdown version of Steinberg's Cubase 4), Steinberg HALion One and Yamaha's new X Factor DVD. This contains instruments and sounds from the likes of Arturia, IK Multimedia, FXpansion and Sonic Reality.

The KX25, KX49 and KX61 controllers will ship in February priced at £209, £249 and £279 respectively. The KX8 should be available in March and has a projected price of £449.

More details can be found at the Yamaha website.