CME Xkey 25-key Mobile Keyboard Controller

25-key Ultra-slim USB Controller Keyboard with Full Velocity Sensitivity, Polyphonic Aftertouch, Full-size Keys, and Class-compliant USB Connectivity for Most Music Creation Applications - OS X, Windows, and iOS
CME Xkey 25-key Mobile Keyboard Controller image 1
CME Xkey 25-key Mobile Keyboard Controller image 1
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CME Xkey 25-key Mobile Keyboard Controller
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Slimmer Is Better!

If you write music, then CME's Xkey controller belongs in your mobile rig. Surrounded by a sleekly designed molded aluminum chassis, this controller is constructed similarly to a chiclet computer keyboard. The Xkey owes its extremely low profile to a key mechanism that happens to depress evenly no matter where you press on them. The end result is a freakishly slim keyboard that's only 3.6mm thick (approximately the thickness of 36 sheets of printer paper) and remarkably playable. Did we mention the keys are full sized and velocity sensitive, or that they feature polyphonic aftertouch? That's right, the CME Xkey is one serious little controller keyboard.

CME Xkey Ultra-slim USB Controller Keyboard at a Glance:
  • Redefining "low-profile" keyboard controller
  • More than playable - fun to play!
  • Cross compatible and made to travel
Redefining "low-profile" keyboard controller

We simply cannot say it clearly enough, this is one extremely slim USB keyboard controller! At an astonishing .14" thick CME's Xkey tops out the list of full-featured 25-key controllers. You could almost lose this thing in your backpack or laptop case, and if you have an iPad in a midsize carry case, the Xkey could comfortably snuggle up next to it. The only physical thing that's substantial about the the Xkey is its weight, 1.32 pounds, which is just enough to stay well rooted as you play.

More than playable - fun to play!

Despite its unusual appearance, the CME Xkey is certainly no toy loaded with mini keys whose never-quite-right key spacing will cause your fingers to fumble. We're talking about full-sized keys set into a precision-cut aluminum chassis to provide you with comfortable key separation. That includes slightly elevated black keys you can play naturally.

The Xkey's brilliant chiclet key mechanism, which causes each key to depress evenly no matter where your finger pushes down, adds to the playability, and if you've ever enjoyed the fast response of traditional synth action, you'll positively delight in the speed of these keys. Now top it all off with 128-levels of velocity sensitivity, polyphonic aftertouch, and unique touch-sensitive pitch and modulation controls, and there's nothing average about the Xkey at all.

Cross compatible and made to travel

What do you use to write music? A Macbook? A PC laptop? Perhaps an iPad or other tablet? It doesn't matter to the CME Xkey, whose class-compliant USB connection provides standard MIDI over USB to any music-making application you want to run. The Xkey is also 100% USB bus powered, allowing you to travel light and never worry about carting around a power supply or spare batteries.

CME Xkey Ultra-slim USB Controller Keyboard Features:
  • An ultra-slim and full-featured MIDI controller keyboard you can take anywhere
  • Precision cut aluminum frame provides natural key separation for 25 full-sized keys
  • Key design depresses evenly for added playability
  • Advanced sensing technology provides 128 levels of velocity sensitivity and full polyphonic aftertouch
  • High-resolution pitch bend modulation buttons utilize continuous MIDI control data
  • Octave up and down buttons give you access to an extended note range
  • Fully USB bus powered and firmware updatable via USB
  • Small enough to fit in virtually any backpack, laptop case, or midsize iPad case
  • Class-compliant USB provides full plug-and-play compatibility with most operating systems, including iOS (via the Apple Camera Connection Kit)
Streamline your mobile music-creation rig with a CME Xkey controller keyboard!

Additional Media

Interview with Jordan Rudess by Sweetwater
Can a Macbook Pro Power an Xkey and an iRig Pads at the Same Time?
Keyboard of the Day: CME Xkey 25-key Mobile Keyboard Controller
Can I connect multiple Xkeys to my computer?
iOS Update: iOS 7
CME Xkey Portable Keyboard Controller Demo - Sweetwater iOS Update Vol. 59

Tech Specs

Number of Keys 25
Type of Keys Chiclet
Aftertouch Yes
Other Controllers Pitchbend, Modulation, Sustain
USB 1 x Micro
Power Supply Bus Powered
Height 0.14"
Width 15.27"
Depth 5.31"
Weight 1.32 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number Xkey

Customer Reviews

Based on 23 reviews
Write your review

Just right

Such a solid little keyboard and feels really cool to play.....perfect for working out parts or finding the song it looks like it was made to go with my mac keyboard !!
Music background: Studio owner...metal screamer

Review CME Xkey 25-key Mobile Keyboard Controller

For on the road use, the CME Xkey works perfect with my Finale notation software. Then, when I get home, I simply transfer the files from my laptop to my Sweetwater Creation Station for track production using Sonar.
Music background: Professional Composer/Arranger

An iPad's ideal companion

Despite being small enough to fit in most laptop bags or backpacks easily, the keys actually have a nice feel to them. I use this all the time to sketch up song ideas in Cubasis on my iPad. Somehow they even managed to include polyphonic aftertouch which is usually reserved for much more expensive hardware, making it extremely expressive to play with instruments that support it (Animoog) as well as on my desktop in a DAW supporting VST expression (Cubase). I was worried about whether I could do without a full physical mod wheel, but the pressure based one is fairly easy to use and so are the pitch bend buttons. Finally, the build quality is quite good if you are worried about lugging it around all the time.
Music background: Hobbyist

Best 2 Octave Controller

I knew going into it that it looked like a good buy. Where else do you find a 25-key controller with full-sized keys and after touch, with an integrated sustain pedal? I have to say I haven't used the after touch feature yet, but this little controller helped me make more music. (I had been using my QWERTY keyboard before.) It is solidly built and somewhat reminiscent of an apple keyboard. The included USB cable is a bit fragile feeling as some have mentioned, but as long as you keep it away from young children and pets it should hold up.
Music background: Producer/Musician/Live Sound

solid and compact

i had been looking for a compact usb keyboard controller to use with an ipad mini and a variety of software synths. after reading some reviews on the sweetwater site, i settled on this particular gem. i was not at all disappointed. it is solidly built... from aluminum? not sure, but it has heft to it... it's not cheap plastic. you can stuff this in your backpack and not worry about it breaking. the keys are very responsive and it functions as i had hoped it would. i don't know if cme make any larger controllers, but if they did and i needed one, i wouldn't hesitate to buy one from them.
Music background: hobbyist

Sweetwater Advice

Matt Alexander

From my experience, the best way to sum up the CME Xkey is "compact, easy, and fun." As a musician who wants to be able to record ideas when they hit me, this little guy perfectly fits that need! Plus, it has features like a sustain button which set it apart from other compact 25-key controllers. The Xkey has found a permanent home in my laptop bag.
See also: Controller Keyboards, CME, CME iPad/iPhone Keyboard Controllers, CME MIDI Controllers