NAMM 2012: Line 6 unveils Mobile Keys MIDI controllers

NAMM 2012: Line 6 has taken the wraps off its Mobile Keys MIDI controller keyboards, which come in 25- and 49-note varieties.

Both models come with full-size, velocity sensitive keys plus pitch and modulation wheels.

Curiously, the Line 6 website bills them as "the world's first tri-platform keyboards" - presumably because they're compatible with Mac, PC and iOS and can connect directly to both your computer and iPhone/iPod touch/iPad without the need for any kind of interface.

Both keyboards will be shipping early in 2012: the Mobile Keys 25 is priced at $149.99 and the Mobile Keys 49 will set you back $199.99. Here's the official press release.

Line 6 Mobile Keys press release

Line 6 is showing Mobile Keys™ premium keyboard controller for iPad®, iPhone®, Mac® and PC at CES 2012.

Mobile Keys 25 and Mobile Keys 49 are a pair of new, lightweight, ultraportable keyboards designed to control iOS music apps and do double duty as USB MIDI controllers for Mac® and Windows® computers. Both models have full-size keys and solid keyboard action. The keys are velocity sensitive, allowing them to accurately interpret the nuances and subtleties of a keyboardist's playing. Both Mobile Keys models are compatible with any iOS app that supports the CoreMIDI standard for input, including GarageBand® and numerous drum machines, synthesizers and virtual instruments.

"With Mobile Keys 25 and 49, not only do you have two extremely portable options for playing and recording on the go with your iPhone and iPad music apps," says Line 6 co-founder and digital audio innovator Marcus Ryle, "but you can move seamlessly between your iOS music apps and your Mac or PC, as well."

The keyboards require no additional hardware to function—they plug right into an iOS device's dock connector. They're bus powered, so they need no external power supply or batteries. The two keyboards are equipped with pitch bend and modulation wheels for additional sonic control, and they also have a pair of 1/4-inch TRS jacks for plugging in sustain and expression pedals. Both keyboards also have USB jacks and are USB class-compliant, allowing seamless connection with Mac and Windows desktop and laptop computers. Suggested retail price for Mobile Keys 25 is $149.99, and Mobile Keys 49 is $199.99, and both are shipping early 2012.

Mobile Keys 25 and Mobile Keys 49 are compatible with iPod® touch (3rd and 4th generation), iPhone® 4, iPhone® 3GS, iPad® 2 and iPad®, as well as Mac® and PC computers.

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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.