by Rob Puricelli | 4,7 / 5,0 | Approximate reading time: 4 Minutes
KORG Keystage 49 & 61

KORG Keystage 49 & 61  ·  Source: KORG

KORG Keystage 49 & 61 Rear

KORG Keystage 49 & 61 Rear  ·  Source: KORG

KORG Keystage Knobs

KORG Keystage Knobs  ·  Source: KORG

KORG Keystage Plate

KORG Keystage Plate  ·  Source: KORG

KORG Keystage 49 & 61

KORG Keystage 49 & 61  ·  Source: KORG

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A leak from an online retailer appears to suggest a new line of MIDI 2.0-ready keyboard controllers from KORG with impressive specs.

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UPDATE: 25th October 2023

Further to our report on the leak of the new KORG Keystage controllers, KORG has now officially released them. Everything is pretty much as originally reported. Some added info that we didn’t have at the time of the leak includes:

  • 16 scenes for saving different configurations
  • Integrated arpeggiator with 20 rhythm patterns
  • Chord mode with 32 preset sets and 32 user sets
  • Removable accessory tray, can be mounted at two different angles (with Keystage 61 also at two different positions)
  • Connections: USB (Type B) , MIDI IN/OUT, EXPRESSION, DAMPER, AUDIO OUT (L/Mono, R), headphones
  • Power supply: USB or optional 9V power supply (KORG KA-350), not included

Both Keystages are available to order now with first shipments likely to land in December 2023.

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KORG Keystage 49
KORG Keystage 61

 

Original Article: 28th September 2023

In an apparent leak from online retailer B&H in New York (page now removed), it seems that KORG has entered the MIDI 2.0 controller keyboard fray with the introduction of the Keystage keyboard controllers with PolyAT. The specifications look impressive, especially if MPE is your thing! Let’s take a look at what we know…

KORG Keystage 49 & 61

KORG Keystage 49 & 61 · Source: KORG

On The Surface

The KORG Keystage is currently presented in a 49 or 61-key format with 8 rotary knobs. Each of these has its own OLED screen. There is also a main OLED display to their left. There are some basic button controls, including a set of transport controls. It’s a minimal layout and looks clean and tidy. The wood end cheeks set it off nicely. KORG’s designers have clearly been studying the competition. Some obvious nods to similar products from Arturia and Native Instruments are obvious.

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KORG Keystage Knobs

KORG Keystage Knobs · Source: KORG

Oh, and the keenly eyed amongst you might notice a small logo on the far right of the keyboard. Yes, that’s right. That’s a ‘Polytouch’ logo. And who does that logo belong to? Correct-o-mundo… ASM, makers of the Hydrasynth! In an episode of the Pro Synth Network Show a while back, Glen Darcey of ASM alluded to the fact that some major manufacturer had been in discussions about licensing the Polytouch technology. I guess we all know who that is now!

Highlights

Many will be happy to see MIDI 2.0 Property Exchange implemented here. This means that there is bi-directional communication between the Keystage and supported instruments. All parameters are automatically mapped and labelled on the displays. Could this be another step towards universal controllers actually being more… well, universal?

Hot on the heels of NI’s new Kontrol range, Keystage features a semi-weighted, polyphonic aftertouch keybed with MPE capabilities. I truly believe we are now well and truly in the age of PolyAT. It’s only taken 40+ years! So well done KORG!

Under the hood, the KORG Keystage has some very impressive features too. First up, there is an integrated audio interface with direct stereo outputs. One less box to carry for gigging musicians is a good thing, right? At the time of going to press, there are no more specs on the audio interface. Other system features include an arpeggiator and chord modes for quick live performance or inspiration.

KORG Keystage 49 & 61 Rear

KORG Keystage 49 & 61 Rear · Source: KORG

Working With Software

KORG claim that the Keystage is compatible with almost all DAWs, however Ableton Live integration is a headline feature here. The Keystage will detect the currently active instrument in Live and automap itself to it. Switching devices will prompt the Keystage to remap itself immediately. As Ableton Live is MPE-ready, Keystage fits right in. Live’s Drift synth immediately springs to mind here. And if you don’t have Live, Keystage comes bundled with Live 11 Lite, as well as a bundle of other great KORG products. These include Korg Gadget Producer Bundle and wavestate native LE.

Physical Characteristics

For the gigging musician, Keystage’s weight is great too. A mere 4.2kg/9.3lbs for the 49 key and 5kg/11lbs for the 61 key version.

Connectivity includes 5-pin MIDI in & out, USB-B, 1/4″ TRS audio outs and a pair of pedal inputs. Power is supplied by an external PSU or over USB. It also comes with a detachable music rest.

KORG Keystage Plate

KORG Keystage Plate · Source: KORG

More Information

Price is listed as $599 for the Keystage 49 and $699 for the Keystage 61. No information is currently available on release dates.

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KORG Keystage 49
KORG Keystage 61

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14 responses to “KORG Keystage MIDI 2.0 Controllers with PolyAT”

    Anon says:
    1

    The individual screens per pot is such a dream. Here’s to hoping they use the same technology utilized in this to make a new nanoKONTROL Studio-style mixer controller which can also automap in Live.

    Joe B says:
    1

    Finally !

    Lucas Pou says:
    -10

    too expensive

      MK says:
      4

      Too expensive? You cannot have good poly aftertouch and this many OLEDs for 200 bucks. What are you on?

        Tony says:
        1

        Let alone the fact that it is an audio interface with I/O. Honestly it’s a really good deal! Curious to see reviews when it is released.

        Paul Eva says:
        1

        Plus a designated stereo Interface.? So it means a MIDI Controller with (hopefully) decent DAC for impressive output for stage work

    Paul says:
    0

    I hope they make an 88 note version with RH3 Action and not the poorly manufactured cheaper Natural Weighted Action…

    AR says:
    0

    Did Korg bother fixing their USB driver? Not buying anything from Korg anymore until they do so…

    Jay Neural says:
    1

    How about a polyphonic multiengine in there ! That would be cool !

    Steve says:
    0

    This looks great. I was thinking about the Komplete Kontrol MK3 but after they’ve just announced they’re dropping support for the MK1 keyboard (still being sold new only 6 years ago apparently) this looks like a safer bet. Plus it’s much thinner so will fit on my desk better.

    Charles says:
    1

    88 Keys, please…

    Friels says:
    0

    No endless encoders????

    Diki Ross says:
    0

    I know it’s not me getting older… why have display windows and panel information graphics got so small and hard to read under stage conditions..? I’ve got keyboards 15 years and more old, with HUGE displays (often color touch screens) that are a piece of cake to see onstage.

    Yes, modern keyboards are a massive improvement in OS capability, but to be quite honest, many are unusable in a pro on stage scenario.

    And what, only ONE switch input (sustain) and one continuous controller (volume), no pitch strips, no pads… that’s barebones to the extreme for a stage master controller. Even if you CAN read the tiny font in its laughable master display…

    Korg better bring out a real ‘pro’ version ASAP…

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