Published on September 20th, 2012 | by Greg0
Alesis Q25: Cute, Easy USB and MIDI Keyboard
Full-sized keys. Velocity sensitive. Easily connect to any computer via MIDI or USB- and it even works with the iPad with no extra power cable needed. Portable and super-light at four and a half pounds, we’ve got the perfect musical instrument for the electronic piano lover who wants a controller that can fit in a small space but still offers plenty of features at a reasonable price.
The Alesis Q25 is, as you might suspect, a 25-note keyboard controller that requires only a single USB connection for data and power, or can be used with an optional external power supply. No batteries needed, which means a lighter weight, but no built-in-speakers. Using the included cable and the iPad Camera Connection Kit, we were able to get it up and running in GarageBand and other apps within a minute.
Figuring out how to use the extra functions took a bit more time: there are handy pitch and modulation wheels, as well as octave change buttons that let you move up and down the scale as needed. Plus, the keys feel solid and responsive- even if the unit itself is a bit plasticky, the important parts felt durable over some serious playtests.
The Alesis Q25 does include some software- Ableton Live Lite- so you can get your PC up and recording, sequencing, and performing right out of the box. And the keys can actually be assigned to other functions as well, though they aren’t programmable really- there is no “record” button or other controls that we might have liked. Compatible with most programs and software packages out there, we tried it on both Windows 7 and Mac OSX as well, with no real issues. There isn’t a carrying case included, but at this price, it’s hard to ask for more: $70 is a great deal on this, one of the few small keyboards with a MIDI port and that can be easily powered via the iPad itself over USB.