iRig Keys Mini – Jam, with your friends, like never before in Garage Band or riff like a champion with SampleTank.
Music has always been a part of my life. Whether I was listening to music with my parents (CCR, Dr. Hook, Alabama, Journey to name a few) or actually playing an instrument, flute (fifth grade), Baritone Horn/Euphonium (Grade 6-8, 9-12 and four years of college), Trombone (Grade10-12 and four years of college) or dabbling in the banjo, I have been engrossed. Piano/ keyboard has never been a forte of mine, likely since I have never tried. I can read both bass and treble clef, but I have never tried to read them together. I do not remember any keyboards in my life, other than the standard QWERTY. I can no longer say that as I have an iRigMini keyboard to review.
Have you ever played Garage Band or used the SampleTank or iGrandPiano Apps? These 3 apps are actually recommended on the packaging. There are free versions of the latter 2 and GarageBand is $4.99 in the App Store. I had purchased GarageBand about 3 years ago and I had to try the SampleTank and the iGrandPiano applications. Of the 3, I really like the iGrandPiano. This is not a review of the apps, but you cannot truly talk about the keyboard, without the software. I turned to YouTube to learn a few simple keyboard riffs and came away with Heart and Soul, Axel Foley and the beginning to Lean on Me. It took about 15 minutes to learn all of them and then about 10 minutes of practicing to be able to play with minimal errors. The keyboard is very responsive, the keys are sensitive, easy to depress and have good recoil. I love that you can change the octave. This means that you have 2 octaves on the keyboard at any time. By pressing the octave up/down buttons, you can move up or down a standard keyboard. It is too narrow to actually play with both hands. However, you can learn to practice one of the hands and then use the other hand, to improve those sections with some weakness.
The packaging is very professional, as I have come to expect and appreciate from iRig. Their products are well packaged and well dressed. Truthfully, you can tell a great deal about a product, based on the exterior. I have found few products with exceptional packaging that were not quality built. There are exceptions, however. The product arrives in a rectangular cardboard box with the front and back panels in sterile white and the sides, top and bottom in a fire-engine red. The cover displays the iRig Keys Mini very well. The side panel provides some much appreciated additional information, to include suggested apps (as above), functions with iPhone/iPad/Android/Mac/PC, volume knob, 2 backlit (Octave) buttons, 25 velocity sensitive mini-keys. The packaging contains the 12 3/16” by 4 5/8” by 1 1/4” mini keyboard, an instruction manual, product catalog and three separate connector cables: 27.5” MicroUSB to Lightning, 40.5” microUSB to USB A cable, and 27.5” MicroUSB to MicroUSB. The cables are more than long enough to sit in front of your device, except maybe the PC. If you are using a laptop, this may reach to the side USB ports, but a desktop may not reach in some situations. I do not find this to be an issue with the iRig though as this would be a personal spacing issue.
The keys are glossy white, and black, standard 25 mini-keys. The keys have a nice rubbery feel and provided good bounce back, returning to the resting state. The Keys are responsive, whether you play slowly or quickly. I was able to learn a few quick songs as listed above and a few additional easy tunes: Marry Had a Little Lamb, Happy Birthday, When the Saints Go Marching IN. The product manual is very nice to look through. There are many other offerings from iRig. Personally, I have yet to find an iRig accessory that I did not like. I use their lapel microphone regularly for interviews and for review purposes.
If space is an issue, this keyboard will suit you very well. This is not a full-size keyboard and does not try to invade that space. If you are interested in a full-size keyboard, this product will be a let down for you. If a full-size keyboard is your aim, look into the iRig Keys Pro or the iRig Keys with Lightning. This little keyboard is perfect for on the go, limited space situations. The volume key on the keyboard is really nice, the octave button is really nice. Lastly, like most accessories, you can only experience what the application will allow. Luckily, iRig tries to help you with this too by suggesting applications for use. I love Garage Band, but I also have started to really like the SampleTank app. I have only started to scratch the surface of the free app. The Keyboard delivers a quality product, quality packaging and provides yet another amazing example of iRig gear. I would rate this at 5/5 stars based on use with the apple iPad Air 2, iPhone 6s Plus. I have not tested the product on PC, Mac or Android.
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