M-Audio promised more wireless MIDI devices, and they’ve delivered: a 37-key keyboard in addition to the 25-key model, plus a standalone adapter you can use to turn any battery-powered instrument into a wireless controller.

The M-Audio MidAir 37 is a 37-key version of the previous, wireless 25-key model. That leaves room for extra controllers (9 faders, to be exact) and makes a more playable instrument. US$299, and runs 20 hours on AA batteries. The only problem: it’s not a strap-on, so other than reducing some cables or accommodating a tricky stage setup, you might be better off going with M-Audio’s higher-grade, cheaper wired keyboards instead.

More interesting is the new standalone MidAir adapter. At US$149, it turns any instrument with MIDI into a wireless device. Now we’re talking; at that price, you can buy a couple and start turning everything in your studio into a wireless unit. M-Audio has actually thought through how the adapter will work, with a very compact clip-on unit, and coiled cables (so you don’t get tangled).

Keytars are the first logical application here, and the ability to make a vintage, battery-powered keytar into a wireless device, you have to admit, has some geek-chic appeal. But why stop there? Most of the compact keyboards in my studio are now battery-powered, like the tiny Novation Xiosynth that just arrived. I could even see this used on DIY gear. The MIDIsense board, for instance, or (if you add MIDI ports) Arduino both run happily on a 9V battery. Plug in the sensors of your choice, and your new gyroscope – accelerometer – touch sensor – light sensor – blinkie thing can be set free, wirelessly — all without having to tune the wireless function yourself.

A number of you asked what happened to the competing WIDI line from CME. The answer is, simply, I don’t know; I haven’t seen a shipping version here in the US yet, and those of you who have ordered one haven’t seen it yet. I do notice that the WIDI standalone device looks a little clunkier. If any of you have ordered one and actually got it, let us know. (I also notice the CME looks a little clunkier than the new MidAir.) Until CME can actually ship their device, the M-Audio wins by forfeit.

Let us know what happens to your orders, though.

[tags]CME, M-Audio, hardware, interfaces, MIDI, USB, wireless, preview[/tags]

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  • velocipede

    Keytar! Indeed. I agree. Bring it on!

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  • Damon

    Now THAT is a genuinely useful idea….

  • http://Myspace.com/themysterioush The Mysterious H

    M-audio's keyboards are very simple to convert to strap ons. You just buy a pair of straplocks and screw them into the sides. M-audio actually has a photograph of me playing an Oxygen 8 with this done to it on their myspace page (and according to our brief e-mail correspondence in their lobby.)

  • http://www.batmosphere.com David Battino

    Jim "Whitney Music Box" Bumgardner just reviewed the MidAir 25 for O'Reilly Digital Media. In an interesting experiment, he plunged the wireless receiver into a crock to see how that affected latency.