The Korg Keystage is set to be one of the first MIDI keyboards to adapt MIDI 2.0 (more on that later), it boasts polyphonic aftertouch, an in-built audio interface and official Ableton Live integration alongside a suite of other features setting it up to be a next-generation MIDI Keyboard.
It seems like everyone knows MIDI 2.0 has been in development, but no one is quite sure what it is and how it will be implemented into the tools and instruments we love. Put simply, it expands the capabilities of MIDI by making it a dialogue protocol rather than simply sending or receiving messages.
KORG’s keystage takes advantage of MIDI 2.0 Property exchange which allows it to ‘talk’ to Ableton Live devices and detect things like parameter names, midi cc messages and more. What this means is that Keystage can automatically map and display the name and value of any Ableton Live device parameter directly to its 8 OLED screens and adjoining knobs. This means no more time wasted mapping parameters and more time dialling in instruments and effects on your tracks, pretty neat.
Alongside this is an intuitive and creative set of in-built features. There’s an arpeggiator that has features like ratcheting triggered by aftertouch and a chord mode that lets you store customized chord patterns on each chromatic note of the keyboard. There are a set of transport functions that let you control Ableton remotely and the inbuilt audio interface means you don’t need an external audio interface to get recording.
The future potential of MIDI 2.0, workflow and performance features make this suited to a wide range of potential players and it’s all delivered in a high-quality piece of hardware that looks quite elegant and has a professional feeling keybed.
The Keystage is available in both 49 and 61 key versions.
Here’s what KORG are saying:
Experience MIDI 2.0 Unleashed -the ultimate Poly Aftertouch Controller
Keystage is the ultimate MIDI keyboard solution for producers and stage performers. As the first keyboard to adopt the MIDI 2.0 Property Exchange, Keystage puts unparalleled integration and control at your fingertips, taking your music-making experience to a whole new level.
Featuring a new keybed design with outstanding touch response, Polyphonic / Channel Aftertouch and MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression) compatibility, Keystage offers hands-on control and instant visual feedback through its parameter-dedicated OLED screens. It features a powerful arpeggiator, an array of chord modes, an integrated audio interface, and official integration with Ableton Live.
Whether producing in the studio or performing live, Keystage offers an unparalleled integrated and distraction-free experience to keep your musical creativity flowing uninterrupted.
Inspiration doesn’t wait for anyone
Say goodbye to time-consuming MIDI mapping, guesswork, and uncaptured inspiration. When the muse strikes, you need to capture your musical ideas quickly and precisely – Keystage allows you to do just that.
Keystage is at the forefront of keyboard innovation, being the first to truly tap into the potential of MIDI 2.0. Simply connect the keyboard to compatible software, and Keystage automatically assigns parameters and even displays their names on its crystal-clear OLED screens. Each screen is paired with a dedicated knob for real-time adjustments, meaning you always see the parameters assigned and their exact values, empowering you to make informed decisions and act on your musical instincts without breaking your creative stride.
Experience the magic of immediate plug-and-play connectivity with Keystage. It’s compatible with most DAWs, and provides unmatched official integration with Ableton Live and Korg Gadget.
Keystage-49: Polytouch keyboard*, 49 keys
Keystage-61: Polytouch keyboard*, 61 keys
Features velocity sensitivity, aftertouch and polyphonic aftertouch
Velocity curves: 21 (—10–0–+10)
Octave range: 7 (—3–0–+3)
Pitch bend wheel, modulation wheel, parameter control knobs × 8
VOLUME knob, SETTINGS button, WRITE button, EXIT button, SHIFT button, ARP button, CHORD
button, VALUE ^/ buttons, VALUE dial, PAGE —/+ buttons, transport buttons, TEMPO button,
OCTAVE —/+ buttons
Main display: organic EL (electro-luminescence) display
Sub display: organic EL displays × 8
Scenes: No. of scenes: 16
Arpeggiator: Arpeggio rhythm patterns: 20
Preset chord sets: 32
User chord sets: 32
Input/output jacks and ports
USB port, MIDI (IN, OUT connectors), EXPRESSION jack, DAMPER jack, AUDIO OUT (L/MONO, R jacks), headphone jack
AUDIO OUT (L/MONO, R): 6.3 mm TS phone jack (unbalanced)
Headphones: 6.3 mm stereo phone jack
DAMPER (half-damper supported)
MIDI: IN, OUT
MIDI: 1 in/1 out
Audio: 2 ch out
Audio format: 44.1 kHz, 16-bit
USB bus power or AC adapter (9 V DC, : Korg KA350, sold separately)
Dimensions (W × D × H)
Keystage-49: 814 × 234 × 82 mm/32.05 ̋ × 9.21 ̋ × 3.23 ̋
Keystage-61: 979 × 234 × 82 mm/38.54 ̋ × 9.21 ̋ × 3.23 ̋
Keystage-49: 4.2 kg/9.26 lb.
Keystage-61: 5.0 kg/11.02 lb.
Included items : USB cable (Type A-Type B), expansion plate, Quick Start Guide, Precautions
Keystage is due in stores around Mid November
More info here: https://www.korg.com/au/