BEHRINGER U-CONTROL UMX61
Behringer’s new U-Control UMX61 is a Midi/USB controller keyboard and if you’re in the market for a controller keyboard, the UMX61 is a cost effective option with some handy extras thrown in to get you up and running. The extras comprise of a simple USB audio interface and a swag of software.
As far as controller keyboards go the UMX61 has a bit to recommend it. It’s one of the few controllers under $300 with 61 full-size keys (velocity-sensitive, of course), and eight rotary encoders for real-time tweaking of Midi information. Connection is via USB or garden variety Midi. Plus the keyboard acts as a USB Midi interface, allowing the control of further Midi devices via the single Midi Out port. The keys themselves feel good, although they’re somewhat ‘squarer’ than your typical synth-style keys – much more along the lines of a piano key. A mod wheel and pitch-bend controller grace the left hand end of the unit, keeping the device relatively slim for ‘under-the-desk’ mounting. There’s a polarity-recognising foot-switch jack and power can be drawn from either USB, a separate 9V DC power supply or with three AA batteries. Finally, alongside the mod wheels are octave shift keys, should you need to quickly extend the keyboard’s range – a feature possibly more useful in the 49 and 25 note versions of the UMX. Did I mention that – there’s also a 49-note ($279.99) and 25-note version ($199.99) of the keyboard, both of which are identical to the UMX61 in every way… apart from their key count, of course.
As for the additional extras, Behringer supplies a special edition of Ableton Live Lite V4 and a nifty little USB audio interface. The interface is smaller than your average 1×1 Midi interface and provides stereo I/O on RCA connectors. Combine this with the swag of included freebie VST (Mac and PC) instrument and effects plug-ins (in combination with your computer), and you’ve got a nifty little composition rig. Good value overall, and possibly the cheapest un-weighted 61-note controller available today. – Brad Watts
Price: UMX61: $299.99; UMX49: $279.99; UMX25: $199.99
Behringer Australia: (03) 9877 7170 or www.behringer.com.au