Acorn Masterkey 61

USB MIDI Keyboard with 61 Keys

  • Velocity-sensitive
  • Pitch and modulation wheel
  • 1 Freely assignable fader
  • 4 Assignable rotary knobs
  • LED Display
  • Connection for footswitch
  • USB Class compliant
  • Including Presonus Studio One Artist software and USB cable
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 96.5 x 19 x 7.6 cm
  • Weight: 2.3 kg

Further information

Aftertouch No
Split Zones 0
Layer function No
Pitch Bend / Modulation Yes
Rotary Encoder 4
Fader (Amount) 1
Pads 0
Display Yes
MIDI interface -
Pedal input Yes
USB-port Yes
Mains Operation No
Battery Operation No
Bus-Powered Yes

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46 customer ratings:
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4.2 / 5.0
  • handling
  • features
  • quality
27 written ratings Read all reviews
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Very Good For Home Studio!!!

17.07.2015
I decided to write a review for this MIDI Controller since it seems not a lot of people have written one. I'm going to explain several things here so I hope you bear with the long review.First of all, this is a great MIDI Controller. It is not a keyboard (so it doesn't sound on its own), and it is not a digital piano. If you're a great pianist then look for something else, because this MIDI Controller has spring keys, not weighted or semi-weighted ones (one of the several reasons it is under $100). Even so, it is TOTALLY playable, it feels nice on the touch, the keys have the right size, etc. Actually if you're a great pianist you shouldn't be in this page in the first place...The first thing you might notice is that, depending on what you're used to, you kinda have to "hammer" the keys to get high velocities. You will also notice that in the Alesis Q49 though, and even in the M-Audio Keystudio, so it's not like you have a better choice than this. You shouldn't get disappointed for it, there are actually two solutions:
1.- After two days of playing you'll get used to it and don't even care about it anymore. I guarantee you that 100%.
2.- Usually the Audio Software you're using (from now on: DAW software, DAW = Digital Audio Workstation) has settings for the sensitivity and the minimum and maximum velocity. This allows you to modify the "velocity curve" so you can make the controller more sensitive.
The Masterkey is USB powered, which is a great feature. You don't need an external power adapter for it. The pitch bend and modulation wheels are stiff enough to stay in place and don't send unwanted data and still feel very nice on the touch. All knobs and slides are configurable to whatever MIDI CC control you want. That's also a great feature you won't find in other keyboards.Another good thing his controller has is the display, that I like very much. With it you can fine-tune any knob to get an exact value to send to your computer, and it's something I don't see in other USB MIDI Controllers under $100.The Masterkey 61 is very light, so it is very portable. The built doesn't feel like cheap plastic at all. Some reviewers have specified that the keys are not exactly even, and it might be so in any keyboard under $500, but in this MIDI controller in particular if they are not exactly even some keys might be higher for less than 2/64". You WON'T notice it.This MIDI Controller doesn't need drivers and some people think this is bad because it will be obsolete one day and won't be recognized by your OS in the future. They can't be more wrong. This is recognized as a generic MIDI controller in Windows, Linux and OSX, and maybe some other OSes too. It will always be recognized by any OS in the future since it's 100% generic. But if you buy a MIDI Controller that needs a driver and the company that manufactured it stops making drivers for it, what will you do with it in 10 years? Think about it: being as generic MIDI device as possible is actually good.It also comes with Studio One Artist DAW software. It is decent but you know there are better options out there.The following sections applies to any USB keyboard out there.
LATENCY
This keyboard is USB 2.0. USB 2.0 does NOT have high latency!. Do you really think that the MIDI Specification from almost 30 years ago has lower latency than USB 2.0?If you press a key and it sounds like a second later (or worse) then you have a problem with your setup that it is very easy to fix:(This only applies to Windows though, I'm sure in other OSes is even easier)
USING A DAW SOFTWARE:
In your DAW software ALWAYS select the ASIO driver. ASIO (Audio Stream Input/Output) is a real-time/low latency protocol for recording and playback. If you use your "Primary Driver" or the normal "Windows Audio", "Speakers", etc. settings you WILL have latency, and A LOT.This means you have to go to Audio Settings and select the ASIO driver you have installed as the Output Audio Device. If your sound card is cheap (like a built-in sound card) you won't have an ASIO driver from its manufacturer. Don't worry: Download the ASIO4ALL driver (Google that) and you're set.As an example I have a Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum and I just have to select the Creative ASIO driver and that's it.Also remember to set the ASIO Buffer Latency in 12 ms or less. If you set it too low you'll hear cracking sounds coming from your speakers. Just lower it enough to make the latency unnoticeable. By definition it is impossible to have zero latency, but anything under 12 ms is unnoticeable by 95% of the people.
USING A MIDI-OUT DEVICE
Let's say you don't want to compose a song but just jam. It is really tedious to have an extremely big software like FL Studio opened just because you want to hit some keys and fool around. So what would be a "lighter" way to just play and have some fun?If you have MIDI-OUT hardware in your setup and want to play some sounds out of it I suggest you to download "VMPK - Virtual MIDI Piano Keyboard" (Google that, it's Open Source) and immediately go to MIDI Connections and select "Enable MIDI input" and "Enable MIDI Thru on MIDI Output", and of course select your Masterkey 49 as the MIDI Input and your MIDI Output device.If you don't have MIDI-OUT Hardware your only choice will be "Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth" and you WILL have latency with that really bad MIDI Software Synth that Microsoft made. Don't worry and don't feel depressed: Download "CoolSoft VirtualMIDISynth" (Google that), which is a low latency MIDI Software Synth that can even use the Soundfont Banks the Creative Labs product does. Remember to reduce the "additional output buffer" on it and you'll have very low latency.
SUMMARY
In summary this is a great MIDI Controller for just $79.99, that's why I'm giving it 5 stars. It is unfair to give 3 stars because, for example, the keys are not weighted like a $499 digital piano. It's a really great product for its value and I really suggest you get this even though you haven't heard of Acorn before.
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Total
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Working Well with Win 7 64 Bit

Nyli, 14.02.2014
I purchased this Controller to use with Cubase 5 and Reason. Although i did my research(obsessively), i was still a little sceptical that as it comes with no drivers i may have a problem linking it into my studio set up. Luckily i didn't. I am using Windows 7 Professional 64 bit. I installed no problem, and was up and running with it within 5-7 minutes. The feel and playability is not bad. I have found that with Controllers the more you pay, generally the better the feel. So if you're willing to pay more, you may find controllers with slightly better touch response. I cannot comment on build quality as i've only had it a few months, but i look after my stuff, so if there is a problem it won't be down to neglect. It ships with some oem sequencer software, and a standard usb cable.

Other Features Include

61 note, velocity sensitive, synth-style keyboard
- Pitch bend and modulation wheels (MIDI assignable)
- 1 assignable MIDI fader
- 4 assignable MIDI knobs for real time control
- 3-character red LED segment display
- 1 sustain foot switch input jack, type-sensing (foot switch not included)
- Quick-toggle between real-time functions Octave, Transpose, Program Change and MIDI Channel
- Advanced MIDI functions
- USB class-compliant. No driver needed

Overall i would say good price for a decent product.....If you're after a cheap 61 key controller, this may be worth a look.....
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MusicRadar.com Acorn Instruments Masterkey 49
Acorn Instruments Masterkey 49
MusicRadar.com (10/2011)
 
 
 
 
 
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