Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mobile Keys 49 from Line6

Line6 has been in the music product business for some time now, and has been making some big noise the entire time. With amp and effect modeling devices like the Pod series being their bread and butter, it is nice to see new products coming forth. Products like the new Stage Scape M20d, and their amp line have been very successful, and well received.

The Mobile Keys 25 and the Mobile Keys 49 are the newest offering from the very innovative Line6. Why do we need a mobile keyboard at all? Well, here is just one reason....

There have been many a night where I hurry to get home. I was trying to avoid loosing the song hook that I was playing over and over in my head. After one last stoplight, I sigh, as I know that it has been too long, as that idea is just about gone forever. If only I had a way of recording that hook right there, on the side of the road, on the bus, or where ever you find yourself.....

The Mobile Keys 25, and 49, were made for just one reason, and one reason only.

Mobile devices! The Mobile Keys 25 and Mobile Keys 49 work awesome with your IPad, IPod touch, and the IPhone! Your IOS device of choice actually powers the unit once you plug in the Mobile Keys, and then you are ready to start rocking! This is "plug and play" at its' simplest form! Included in the Mobile Keys package is a cable for plugging in your device to your IOS device, a "midi shortcut" sticker, and a manual. The sticker is more a keyboard shortcut type, and is to be applied to the Mobile Keys for making midi changes.

The Mobile Keys 49 is the unit that I am reviewing today.

First, let me start with the Mobile Keys 49 controller itself. This unit feels nice in my hands. There are two rubber coated "velocity wheels" to the far left of the unit, with one for altering pitch on the fly, and one for grooving out with modulation effects. There are only two knobs for us to twist, both coated with a nice "gripping" rubber. One of these two knobs is for volume level, and the other one is for left/right panning. There are three rubber coated buttons/pads on the unit too. The first one is labeled "shift", and this is for editing the midi commands. The other two buttons/pads are for changing the octaves up or down. I wont get into the midi editing features here, just know that you can change things like send and receive channels and other global data. Every button works well, and feels very nice in my fingers. A simple and elegant design. Well done Line6!

The touch sensitivity of the Mobile Keys 49 is very good. The 49 keys are full size, ahh um well, as far as this guitar player can tell anyway. When compared to my full size midi keyboard (which is for the home and not mobile at all), the key sizes look like a perfect match. However, only one will ever be able to leave the home!

The Mobile Keys 49!The Mobile Keys 49 units are perfect for writing while on the daily commute to and from work, perhaps while lounging on a couch, or while messing around with in bed. Where ever you might find yourself capturing ideas is where the Mobile Keys comes in handy! Writing hooks is what we all do. Getting them down when and where they happen is the name of the game for the Mobile Keys 49.

It is true that the Mobile Keys 25 unit is far more mobile than the Mobile Keys 49, but I am a "two hander" type of player by nature. I dislike writing and playing with one hand, and choosing octaves with the other. That very reason is why I like the larger of the two units. Although, you will need to select octaves, with either of the mobile keys devices, but the Mobile Keys 49 is "almost" twice as big. You probably knew that, so please ignore my poor attempt at humor.

Both the Mobile Keys 25 and the Mobile Keys 49 perform perfectly well, feel great, and "reek of portability". I decided to use the Mobile Keys 49 with the free "50in1 Piano app", and it was complete and total "plug and play". A perfect match. I was making music, sweet portable music, in seconds flat. This made me warm inside, as I knew that I might never forget another hook for as long as I may live.

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  1. Very cool. Looks like a great portable system!

  2. Very cool indeed. Slick in operation, and fun to boot!

  3. Hi do you Know if they work with superior drummer? thanks!

    1. Hi Luigi, I would say no, it does not work with superior drummer. The keys are for ios devices only. So, ipad, ipod, and iphone.