Recording - January 2017 - 42

Because MIDI over
Bluetooth is built into
iOS and Mac OS X,
the Xkey Air works
seamlessly with very
little fuss. However,
other platforms need
a little help, and that
comes in the form of the WIDI BUD, which
was reviewed (with the Xkey Air) by Mark
Mosher.
"The CME WIDI BUD is a tiny USB dongle
that allows you to "pair an Xkey Air Bluetooth
keyboard to the MIDI software on your PC,
tablet or smartphone." In other words, it lets
you cut the cord and go wireless with platforms that don't support Bluetooth MIDI yet-
such as Windows. It also supports Android,
Chromebook, and Linux, supports Bluetooth
2.0, 3.0, and 4.0, and requires no driver-
it's just plug-and-play, which was confirmed by
my experiences with my Windows 7 and
Windows 10 laptops. In Ableton Live 9.6.1's
Options > MIDI tab, the "WidiBUD" device
was available immediately, and it worked
instantly, with imperceptible latency. Brilliant!
I've had the original Xkey in my studio for
quite some time. I have to say that it's not
seen that much use, mainly because I felt the
cord was always getting in the way, and I
feared I might accidently snap off the microUSB jack. Being able to go wireless was a
game changer for me and amazingly freeing.
I found I used the Xkey Air 25 constantly after
I set up my initial tests. It's just so great to able
to move around the studio with the keyboard
and change playing positions and locations
without having to think about the cord. I also
found that I was using my laptop more outside
the studio with the Xkey Air on my lap. WIDI
BUD in a performance context also means less
time setting up and tearing down, and offers
the opportunity to move about the stage as
you play, thanks to the Xclip.
If you use Macs or iPads to make music, the
Xkey Air is a great solution for not too much
cash, but if you don't, the extra money for the
WIDI BUD is a no-brainer. This approach to
wireless MIDI is worth the investment if a laptop
is at the center of your workflow and you would
appreciate a velocity sensitive, pressure sensitive
(channel or poly) keyboard untethered."
I'll second that. While the Xkey Air 37 doesn't get as much use as my original Xkey 37 (I
need a sustain pedal!), it's a lot of fun for live
use, especially with the Xclip. Even if you're not
into the "keytar" thing, the 25-key Xkey Air fits
in most laptop bags and is a great solution for
portable keyboard playing without the cable.
One final note: as we were going to press,
we received word of a firmware update to the
WIDI BUD and a new app for Mac, Windows,
and iOS called WIDI PLUS. With this new
update, the WIDI BUD is no longer limited to
42

RECORDING JANUARY 2017

just the Xkey Air; it can serve as a Windows Bluetooth MIDI receiver for any such
device on the market, including the latest controllers from Korg, the Roland A-01
keyboard, and the Quicco Sound and Yamaha products reviewed below (which
we didn't have a chance to test). This new update makes the WIDI BUD a musthave for any Windows user who wants to play with Bluetooth MIDI control!
Prices: Xkey Air, $199; Xkey Air 37, $299; WIDI BUD, $49; Xclip, $49
More from: CME, www.cme-pro.com

Quicco Sound mi.1

Bluetooth isn't a perfect solution for every studio problem, but this little
gizmo does one thing and does it extremely well.
The mi.1 is an iOS (or Mac OS X) Bluetooth MIDI adaptor for legacy MIDI
devices. It's powered completely from the 5-pin DIN ports for MIDI In and Out,
and consists of two small boxes with DIN plugs connected by a short antenna.
You use the arrows on the boxes to figure out which port goes where, plug it
in, and kablam-your MIDI device is now a Bluetooth MIDI device.
There are companion apps for updating its firmware and connecting it to
your iOS device via the Bluetooth control panel, but you can activate it from
inside any Bluetooth-savvy iOS music app. It's so compact that you don't even
have to remove it when putting a keyboard in a gig bag, and if you have an
audio interface with minimal (or no) physical MIDI connections (common on
iOS interfaces), then it's a wonderful solution.
I attached the mi.1 to an old Roland U-50, a sample player from the late
1980s with a horribly dated sound but a very nice 76-note velocity/aftertouch/release velocity keyboard and playable left-hand controls. In about 45
seconds, I had it hooked up to my iPad Air 2 and playing a grand piano
sound in Korg Module, and fell in love with its keyboard all over again.
If you've got an old MIDI keyboard whose sound or feel is still special to
you but which is having trouble interfacing with a modern studio or live rig,
or even if all you want to do is play your iPad or iPhone from a real keyboard, the mi.1 is neat, affordable, and solidly reliable.
Price: $48
More from: Quicco Sound, quicco.co.jp/products

Yamaha MD-BT01 and UD-BT01
Yamaha addresses the issue of performers wanting to get the most reliable
possible Bluetooth performance by offering a pair of devices to help the
process along. One is the MD-BT01, which plugs into the MIDI In and Out
ports on any synthesizer and turns it into a wireless Bluetooth MIDI device. It's


http://www.cme-pro.com http://quicco.co.jp/products

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - January 2017

Contents
Recording - January 2017 - Intro
Recording - January 2017 - Cover1
Recording - January 2017 - Cover2
Recording - January 2017 - 1
Recording - January 2017 - 2
Recording - January 2017 - 3
Recording - January 2017 - 4
Recording - January 2017 - 5
Recording - January 2017 - Contents
Recording - January 2017 - 7
Recording - January 2017 - 8
Recording - January 2017 - 9
Recording - January 2017 - 10
Recording - January 2017 - 11
Recording - January 2017 - 12
Recording - January 2017 - 13
Recording - January 2017 - 14
Recording - January 2017 - 15
Recording - January 2017 - 16
Recording - January 2017 - 17
Recording - January 2017 - 18
Recording - January 2017 - 19
Recording - January 2017 - 20
Recording - January 2017 - 21
Recording - January 2017 - 22
Recording - January 2017 - 23
Recording - January 2017 - 24
Recording - January 2017 - 25
Recording - January 2017 - 26
Recording - January 2017 - 27
Recording - January 2017 - 28
Recording - January 2017 - 29
Recording - January 2017 - 30
Recording - January 2017 - 31
Recording - January 2017 - 32
Recording - January 2017 - 33
Recording - January 2017 - 34
Recording - January 2017 - 35
Recording - January 2017 - 36
Recording - January 2017 - 37
Recording - January 2017 - 38
Recording - January 2017 - 39
Recording - January 2017 - 40
Recording - January 2017 - 41
Recording - January 2017 - 42
Recording - January 2017 - 43
Recording - January 2017 - 44
Recording - January 2017 - 45
Recording - January 2017 - 46
Recording - January 2017 - 47
Recording - January 2017 - 48
Recording - January 2017 - 49
Recording - January 2017 - 50
Recording - January 2017 - 51
Recording - January 2017 - 52
Recording - January 2017 - 53
Recording - January 2017 - 54
Recording - January 2017 - 55
Recording - January 2017 - 56
Recording - January 2017 - 57
Recording - January 2017 - 58
Recording - January 2017 - 59
Recording - January 2017 - 60
Recording - January 2017 - 61
Recording - January 2017 - 62
Recording - January 2017 - 63
Recording - January 2017 - 64
Recording - January 2017 - 65
Recording - January 2017 - 66
Recording - January 2017 - 67
Recording - January 2017 - 68
Recording - January 2017 - 69
Recording - January 2017 - 70
Recording - January 2017 - 71
Recording - January 2017 - 72
Recording - January 2017 - Cover3
Recording - January 2017 - Cover4
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