Alesis has overhauled the Q series keyboard controllers. In addition to the Q49 MKII and Q88 MKII, the revamped Q series introduces the Qmini with 32 mini keys.
Alesis Q49 MKII and Q88 MKII
The Alesis Q series keyboard controllers are affordable, no-nonsense controllers that forgo all the bells, whistles, faders and pads of many competitors and instead focus on the basics: keys, a handful of controllers and ease of use. This concept remains the same in the new generation. But Alesis has given the new Q series a couple of new features for better integration into modern setups and workflows.
The Q49 MKII and Q88 MKII with 49 or 88 semi-weighted keys both offer pitch bend and modulation wheels, octave buttons, an assignable fader for volume or other CC data, and a sustain pedal jack. They’re USB bus powered and can also be used with iOS devices via an optional Apple Lightning-to-USB adapter.
The Q88 MKII offers a traditional DIN MIDI output in addition to the USB port, which means that the controller can also be used without a computer using an optional power adapter. For whatever reason, the DIN MIDI Out was axed on the 49 key model (the previous generation did have one). Another feature exclusively available on the Q88 MKII is the expression pedal jack.
One improvement over the previous generation is the addition of transport and cursor buttons. Now you can control the most essential features of your DAW from the keyboard, which is a nice touch even if you don’t need the control capabilities of larger, more feature-rich MIDI keyboards.
Instead of an updated Q25, Alesis has introduced the Qmini, an ultra-portable keyboard controller with 32 velocity-sensitive mini keys. There are buttons for pitch bend, modulation and sustain, as well as octave buttons and a volume knob. Like the larger models, the Qmini can be used with Mac and Windows computers and iOS devices.
Does the Qmini look a bit too familiar? The keyboard appears to be exactly the same as the Keystation Mini 32 from sister brand M-Audio, which has been around for a good number of years. For what it’s worth, you now have a choice: Would you prefer an M-Audio or Alesis logo on your new mini keyboard?
Price and availability
The new Alesis Q series is now available. The Q88 MKII and Q49 MKII are USD 229 and USD 109, respectively. The Qmini costs USD 59, which is exactly the same as the current street price of the M-Audio version.