Swissonic ControlKey 88

USB MIDI Keyboard and Controller

  • 88 Semi-weighted, velocity-sensitive keys with Aftertouch
  • Pitch bend and modulation wheel
  • 16 Velocity sensitive trigger pads
  • 9 Faders
  • 9 Rotary control knob
  • 9 Mute and Solo buttons
  • Backlit LCD display
  • Transport controls: Rewind, fast forward, stop, play, record
  • Octave transpose button
  • Menu buttons: Menu, scene, bank, track, patch, channel, page, value, enter, exit
  • Assignable features for trigger pads: Bank, velocity curve, 8 levels, full level, hold, roll, Aftertouch and mode
  • 30 Scene memory slots
  • 6.3 mm Jack input for sustain or expression pedal
  • 5-Pin MIDI output
  • USB port for transferring MIDI to computer
  • Power supply via USB or optional power adaptor 9V 500 mA
  • USB cable included
  • Compatible with PC and Mac
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 1283 x 320 x 87 mm
  • Including Thomann Studio Starter Kit LE (software package with DAW software, software synthesisers and effect plugins)

Further information

Hammer Action Keys No
Aftertouch Yes
Split Zones 0
Layer function No
Pitch Bend / Modulation Yes
Rotary Encoder 8
Fader (Amount) 9
Pads 16
Display Yes
MIDI interface 1x Out
Sustain Pedal Connection Yes
USB-port Yes
Mains Operation Yes
Bus-Powered Yes

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Swissonic ControlKey 88 Master Keyboard Review

08.05.2015
The beggining of the sory was not so funny.
The first Swissonic ControlKey 88 that came in my studio from Thomann was defect.
No aftertouch with the keybooard except pads.
No way to assign MIDI cc manually with the master fader (The 9th one)
Thomann replace immediatly the defect unit with another.
Great ! Keys Aftertouch works now.
But I can find any way to program my own midi cc to this master fader (S09)
It works with pre-programmed DAW setups (Cubase, ProTools, Logic) but if want to copy one of those pre-programmed setups to a user bank or program manually a different cc to this fader. This is not working. Bug ? (firmware of my unit is v1.17)

Pros:

- Robust, solid ans stable structure. The keyboard will not move on your desktop.
- Good semi-weighted key touch impression. Key sensitivity is high but tweakable.
- pads are solid and velocity/polypressure sensitive
- Those blue led lignts give a pretty look and are useful with rotative pots whre a a led shows you are in the middle of the course (pan pot)
- you can change parameters of each pads (note, channel?) choose several velocity/polypressure modes. Hold and roll modes.
- DAW pre-programmed setups seem working so far. I tested the « Cubase Scene » with Mackie Control device setup loaded into Cubase Software. The Swissonic can send and receive DAW midi messages on a second virtual midi port and then reflect some DAW states (play, rec, ?)
- the USB power of the computer (iMac her) was enough for the keyboard. No need of external Power Adapter.

Cons:

- Toggle switches are not very easy to play with. If you press just too long time (half a second or so) on it, the value increment/decrement of 2 or more?
- the modwheel rubs a little bit on metal structure of the keyboard. The adjustment of pieces are a little bit approx.
- The rotattive faders are a little bit hard to? rotate. They are unusable at the same time you play (as cutoff parameter for example). These are more DAW control oriented.
- the manual is very incomplete. there are many things undocumented.
- it seems impossible to copy DAW presets into user banks without loose some parameters.
- no way to program master fader (S09)
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Total
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For the price perfectly in order

MXK98, 31.07.2017
I bought the Swissonic ControlKey 88 to use it as a masterkeyboard for playing VST instruments. Even when unpacking you notice that it is not a light weight, which is not surprising with the metal case. Although the sides are made of plastic, but the keyboard makes a clean processed impression? And since I use it in the studio, small details do not play a big role.

For me the keyboard is the decisive criterion, because I would like to play VST instruments. A hammer mechanics I would not and I do not expect at the really low price, but the keyboard is too lighter for my taste. A bit more resistance would not be bad, but otherwise it is well processed. I'm from the pianist faction, and I expect a little more counterbalance, but anyone who is accustomed to a synthesizer or organ will surely feel comfortable (especially aftertouch-capable). In any case, this is not a cheap keyboard keyboard.

The 16 pads I have not used so often, but they can be played dynamically and look quite solid. With the faders and Potis Cubase to control I have not yet managed, but the keyboard is certainly a practical solution.
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