Reviewing the i2-Control-25 – Category: USB MIDI keyboards

In this article I will be discussing the pros and cons with the i2-Control-25.

Tickling your fingers

What I enjoyed about the i2-Control-25 was mainly the feeling of playing it. This was my very first USB MIDI keyboard. So even as a beginner it felt right while playing it. It has 8 MIDI compatible knobs a very heavy modulation and pitch wheel. As always plug’n play and you’re good to go. The red display shows you value, you might’ve programmed for other things than playing it normally. I never really got into that, so I don’t have many clues regarding that topic. I’ve had my share of many different keyboards. The feeling of playing the i2 is to this day 10 years later unreachable. What I see in many keyboards that stay on the outside without any lid or protection is that they’re turning darkish yellow. Doesn’t matter if you’re a smoker or not. I suppose the PVC keys just discolor after some years of heavy use or non-use. Some people might not like it and clean and scrub all the yellow-brownish discoloring away, but you gotta focus on the main fact that this won’t mean that your MIDI keyboard is broken now or anything. It still functions perfectly. Just a little discolored.

 

 

Tim Van De Velde - Free Tastatur Zu Spielen
Tim Van De Velde – Free Tastatur Zu Spielen

 

 

 

 

 

Getting into software MIDI faders

I made by accident a good choice. Not only does it have its 8 faders, it was also very cheap at the time. I paid 80,00,-€ for it. Now you can’t buy it anywhere anymore. It has somewhat 2 successors though.

#1 Is the miditech – midistart music 25 – You can get this one for around 50,00,-€.

#2 Is the miditech – I² Control-37 – You can get this one for around 60,00,-€.

As you can see my modell is totally outdated and not even available for the market anymore, and yet it still functions correctly to this very day. You can get twice updated hardware for half the price 10 years later. That is the mark you have to keep in front of your eyes in regard to changes and trends in the hardware world. Keyboards get cheaper and better day by day. Anyway, let’s get back to the topic here. I produced some Acid House tracks along the line and some other experimental stuff. When you want a reverb or a delay or even a distortion effect to be activated at 100% in one second at a 0% in another one, you wanna turn these knobs around manually with your keyboard MIDI knobs or an external knob-fader-USB-connection or you wanna do it by mouse. You can always use the cheapest method: mouse. But you’ll get an indescribable feeling when activating and deactivating these effects or equalizers for yourself in real time. It definitely has a more natural feel to it, as you will see.

Fundamental for live performances

The goal for live performances is to travel fast and light with good and complex gear at any time while staying robust when you perform live. I didn’t travel a lot around with the I², but I know that 10 – 20 years before these keyboards were on the market, you needed a big bunch of heavily trained roadies that followed you at all time to build up a gear. Nowadays you and you only are the boss for moving that stuff. A laptop with the proper software and this MIDI USB keyboard and you’re on your way. No heavy suitcase, just a simple traveling back. I suppose like many other MIDI keyboard companies they offer you a bag for 50,00,-€ or even a 100,00,-€, but why would you spent 50,00,-€ for a bag that is just for the MERE transportation for your 50,00,-€ MIDI keyboard? Sometimes these companies make a lot of money by selling you supply that you won’t need. Why not a cheap felt bag? As long as you don’t throw the keyboard around or spill a couple of drinks on it on one night, everything should be working out just fine. In theory, you can get yourself a big backpack and put in your laptop with the keyboard and maybe an audio interface and you’re fully equipped for long travels or you can use the stuff in a train or on a plane. Some of the best ideas sprouted when people were crammed in very tiny parcels for their feet and knees. Consider situations like these for moments of inspiration.

A big minus in my opinion…

is the pitch button since you’re only in ownership of a 25-keys keyboard. My tracks cover very deep notes and very high notes. I mentioned this before in my M-AUDIO 88es Keystation review. Personal preference needs to be your focus. I’ve never performed live so far. I’m a couch potato and I like my standardized places for my musical hardware. So why would I bother with only 25 keys when I don’t travel and stay at home a lot? The only argument that comes to my mind, is a small apartment. If you live in a small flat the I² Control-25 needs to be your choice. The M-AUDIO 88 is bulky, but I need the keys. You might consider if you have friends that have various sizes of MIDI keyboards maybe. You might trade between big keyboards and small keyboards. In the end I mainly use it for its knobs. Live performances are still beautiful with it to this day. But you also gotta align the knobs yourself. There aren’t any simple patches out there for stuff like this. I don’t know of any, so you might want to correct me on that one. Let’s say you have 15 songs and every song uses all 8 knobs. This makes 120x knobs alignment. We’re talking here about 60 minutes of knobs alignment. 2 knobs per minute. And that is the best case if you’re 2000% certain & correct at all the time, which is highly unprobable. If you open up one of the 15 songs without connecting the keyboard first, you might want to align again. At that point you’re to frustrated to work any further. You’re out of your zone and out of your flow.

So this concludes to what exactly Merlin…?

In the end we got:

– Easy to play / great feeling and touch

– Cheap

– Great for traveling

– Use 4 or 5 knobs in every few songs or so. Not in every song, or you might wanna give up the music business completely.

 

I give this one a 7/10. A true companion that I hope I’ll still be able to use in the future.

My M-Audio Keystation 88es review – THE Best USB MIDI Keyboard

I will be discussing my 5 year long use of the best USB MIDI Keyboard.

 

Cory Lavel And His Midi Keyboard
Cory Lavel And His Midi Keyboard

 

Explanation for beginners:
MIDI = Musical Instrument Digital Interface
A software language that is needed for your keyboard to
communicate with your PC / Mac / Linux system.
DAW = Digital Audio Workstation
Instead of a big physical studio, you have a software
studion in your PC. Like everything this has advantages
and disadvantages

 

My advice to you – from back then for a future perspective.

I started a long time ago with making music. About 12 years ago to be somewhat precise. Very soon I realized

that I needed to express certain melodies and lines with a USB MIDI keyboard and not with a PC keyboard

 

or via my mouse. Sometimes you need a little more human feeling in your songs or you just wanna jam

and play. You have various velocitiys and as soon as you start to play you might loose track of time. So

watch out for it’s addictive features.

 

 

I looked here and there and everywhere.

My main focus was 88 keys, since many pianos have the same amount of keys. No need for unnecessary

knobs that wouldn’t be used anyway. So I stumbled over the M-Audio Keystation 88es. I watched a lot

of YouTube videos in regards to other musicians that used the same keyboard. Every one had great

 

reviews and words about it. So I gave it a shot after 3 years of saving or so. It’s just plug-and-play.

Simple as that. As soon as you’ve plugged it in you are good to go.

I don’t regret that decision any day. It is still functioning. It endured a lot in the meantime.

 

 

The beauty of MIDI at your grasp.

Instead of buying a “real” keyboard with a limited amount of sounds, you can have the full range.

And with full range I mean FULL RANGE!!! Basically you’re limited to the content the internet has to offer

in regards to MIDI Keyboard sounds, programs, VSTs, patches, presets and so on. There are more sounds

out there to try out for free or for a paid program than your life lasts. I mainly tried out the NATIVE INSTRUMENTS

 

KOMPLETE 8 – 11 ULTIMATE stuff. A little bit here and there with FL Studio plugins. The keyboard was never the problem.

If I wouldn’t have had that keyboard yet, I would probably still be clicking with my mouse or playing stuff into my DAW with

PC keyboard. What you also have to consider is: The later you start to get into MIDI keyboards and the longer you play with

your PC keyboard, the more you’ll mislearn information that you can’t relearn freshly and good. Your muscle memory will be

 

screwed up. That won’t be a simple routine by then to learn properly. You will have twice as much trouble to learn songs for

piano or childish and cheap keyboards. Even though I’m highly promoting the M-AUDIO Keystation 88es, you can

alternatively choose between many other different types of MIDI keyboards. My first one l²-Control 25. It felt nice to play and

had a lot of knobs. But only 25 keys! You had to pitch up and pitch down with the 2 buttons to get to the next range. Now

 

imagine recording 10 instruments like this. You will see what kind of pain this is and how this interrupts your workflow. You

have the melody on your lips or on your mind. Just wanna record and quickly as possible jam it down, but then you have to

press around and fumble around to get it right at many more takes. The more songs you make or the more you demonstrate

various keyboards the more you count those seconds. Every second wrongly spend with a slow software or half-broken

 

keyboard, is a second that strays you further away from getting to your own personal sound. And at the end of the day that is

exactly what you want. Isn’t it? I bought this thing when it cost me around 300,00,-€ plus a bag and a stand, which makes

around 400,00,-€ or so. You can get ’em at the time between 70,00,-€ – 150,00,-€. If this stuff made for me back then sense

then it should make 4 times more sense to you know. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not paid by M-AUDIO or anything. I just want

 

to write down my personal experience with this piece of hardware that never failed me over the years. I feared it might break

down, since newer hardware tends to break faster because of planned obsolence. I suppose with this model they explicitly

fought against that concept. 2 nice features that are also worthy of mentioning are:

#1 It comes with a free version of AIR – IGNITE. A very basic, yet powerful way to captivate song concepts. I like its minimalistic touch.

#2 Ableton Basic version included as well. Heard great things about Ableton. Not a big fan of it myself, but I follow a big bunch of musicians that used it for live performances.

 

 

Not limited to keyboards and pianos.

I’ve played a lot of stuff into my songs. From Indian bongos to electric guitars up to looped-up car-wrecking sounds,

violins, cellos, guitars and basses. I got around a beautiful range because of that keyboard. It’s only limited to your

imagination. There are even videos about there of people that modify things like that. So if you got the knowledge and the

hunger for experimentation, you’ll be good to go.

 

 

Joe Paradiso's Modular Synthesizer ARS Electronica 2004
Joe Paradiso’s Modular Synthesizer ARS Electronica 2004

 

 

MIDI keyboards won’t grow old as fast as normal ones.

If you take a simple 88 keys keyboard like me, or a fully fledged with equalizer faders and drum pads and other nice

gimmicks is up to you. But the 88es did it for me. I know I can always purchase a cheap keyboard and drum pad afterwards.

Only the USB slots are a problem. But if you’re into computers, you’ll know: USB slots are always a problem. There a never

enough. You can also program the MIDI functions in the keyboard itself if you want. I never tried that method, but there are

 

tutorials out there on how to do it. I think it’s quite amazing that you can digitally re-work your instrument into a totally new

thing. The corelation of programing and welding makes it aswell more interesting, as mentioned before.

I also need to mention that they released a MK-II version of the keyboard. I simply won’t buy it yet, since the MK-I version

still works to good.

 

 

 

About Merlin

A beautiful day I spent out in winter
A beautiful day I spent out in winter

 

Hello there and welcome to my site. =D

MY HISTORY SO FAR

I got into music when I was very little. I had some pauses in between and started copying music. At some point I decided to create my own content and music and got some basic concepts with very simple programs. Soon after I developed a taste for certain VSTs and synth plugins and had a little contact with hardware like MASCHINE Sampler or stuff like that.

The beautiful process in that is…

#1 You can learn your whole life something new.

#2 You decide which acoustical path you go.

 

I WANT TO SHARE MY EXPERIENCE WITH EVERYONE OF YOU

In the beginning I had to watch a lot of tutorials and try out stuff for myself. I want you to help you get to your sound

as fast as you could with as little effort as possible. Sometimes you just need a little hand and that is the part

where I jump in.

 

MY PLAN IS TO HELP YOU GET STARTED AND AT A POINT TO SHOW YOU THE WAY YOU HAVE TO GO FOR YOURSELF

At first we’re getting you started as quickly as possible, after that you’ll learn the basics you need.

And after some point in the future you’ll manage your own stuff and decide what’s important and what not.

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

 

Contact me via email at merlin@wekeyboard.com for any questions you might have.

 

All the best,

Merlin Erdogmus @ Keyboards.siterubix.com