If you’re looking for a musical keyboard that connects to your iOS device directly, there surprisingly aren’t that many options. But two of the best offerings come from the same company: IK Multimedia. The iRig KEYS Pro is the big brother to IK Multimedia’s iRig KEYS keyboard. Both are designed for iOS devices, so you can imagine that portability is an important quality. But instead of being ultra portable with smaller than typical keys, the KEYS Pro has regular sized keys along with all the same great features present on the iRig KEYS. Yes it’s still a very portable iOS MIDI keyboard controller; in fact, the iRig KEYS Pro is probably the best compromise you can make between portability and playability when it comes to a mobile musical keyboard.
While the bigger keys on the iRig KEYS Pro definitely makes the device bigger than the smaller non-pro iRig KEYS keyboard, it’s still smaller than similar MIDI keyboard controllers. And since it has all of the same features as its little brother, it still connects to your iOS devices directly. Inside the box are cables to connect via USB, 30-pin, and Lightning connectors. Basically, it will connect to any iOS device. But the versatility doesn’t stop there. It can control any Core MIDI compliant iOS app. That said, you’d be well advised to take a look at IK Multimedia apps for iOS as they are built to take full advantage of the iRig KEYS Pro keyboard. Plus, they just make some really great audio apps, like SampleTank, that are perfect for this keyboard. There’s even a free version of SampleTank to take for a spin right away.
Hardware-wise, the iRig KEYS Pro has the same button layout, volume and mod wheels, and connections as the iRig KEYS. There’s a volume knob to control the output level of the instrument you’re controlling with the keyboard, octave up and down buttons, and program up and down buttons. Those last buttons help you control the app you’re using with the keyboard. In SampleTank, they allow you to change instruments without even touching your iOS device. You can still connect a foot pedal to further add to the keyboard experience.
While it probably doesn’t need to be said, the iRig KEYS Pro is better suited for regular play than the smaller iRig KEYS. The full sized keys lend themselves to two handed play better than the mini keys. There’s just nothing to get used to here because it’s normal! That said, I was really hoping to see something different about this keyboard other than the increased key size. Perhaps there just aren’t that many features that could be added, but I would have liked to see an actual MIDI output to make this keyboard just a bit more versatile.
Overall, the iRig KEYS Pro is a versatile musical keyboard that can connect directly to your iOS device or Mac. The regular sized keys make this a very playable keyboard, but the slim design and 37 key range still makes this something that could realistically fit into your backpack. That’s exactly what makes a keyboard like this so appealing; you can bring it with you anywhere without feeling like you packed the whole studio.
Buy iRig KEYS Pro
Provides: Keyboard input for iOS devices and Macintosh
Developer: IK Multimedia
Minimum Requirements: iOS device or Mac