Some MIDI controllers and keyboards come with features that allow you to lock the keys to a certain scale or key, but many do not. Artificial Noise aims to rectify that by offering a handy little box to bring that’ll work with any MIDI keyboard. Key Control is two knobs worth of simplicity and off you go.
Looking every bit like a Unversity electronics project the Key Control is a simple, no-nonsense key and scale quantizer for any MIDI keyboard or controller. Simply drop the box into your MIDI chain, between your keyboard and the destination, and dial in the scale or key. That could be before the computer, or the synth module or sequencer. If you want to quantise the synthesizer or keyboard that you are playing then simply turn local “off” and loop the MIDI back into the MIDI input.
The two knobs control Key and Scale. With Key you simply dial in the transposition up to 11 semi-tones. On the Scale side you choose from one of thirteen preset scales and will transform the played notes to conform to the scale. It works slightly differently to most keyboards with this feature. The chosen scale appears melodically on the white notes. The black notes trigger chords within that scale. That’s quite clever but probably takes some getting used to.
- Harmonic Minor
- Melodic Minor
- Hungarian Minor
- Chromatic / Thru Mode
MIDI vrs USB?
It’s an immediately useful box but I do wonder why there’s no USB connection? Many controller keyboards these days only have USB connections and assume you are going to be running directly through a computer. If the Key Control had a USB port then it could potentially be part of that chain, or it could appear as a device on the computer and have notes routed through it within your DAW or music software.
However, that may bring added complications and actually the beauty of the Key Control is that it’s a simple aluminium box with a pair of knobs that does its job perfectly.
The Key Control is $199 if you pre-order and should ship in 3-6 weeks.
Artificial Noise Key Control website.