LINE 6 TONE PORT KB37
AT writers get to review a lot of gear and we’re expected to send it back once we’ve finished spilling beer and leaving sticky fingerprints on stuff. Wanting to keep it is always a serious occupational hazard. So it was with the Line 6 TonePort KB37.
The complete package is a 37-key MIDI keyboard and well-featured USB audio interface with a stack of guitar amp models included. It has two separate preamps that can handle a pair of XLRs or unbalanced 1/4-inch jacks – or any combination. There’s also a (padded) instrument input, which overrides the first preamp. Because guitars are Line 6’s ‘thing’, the unit also houses two footswitch connections and an expression pedal. Add an S/PDIF port, two analogue outputs, phantom power and a headphone jack to that list. To control everything are large, cool-looking chrome-style knobs surrounding a pair of VU meters, and ranging across the top of the piano are transport buttons, pitch and modulation wheels, four rotary knobs and four hot ‘keys’ and ‘sound select’ buttons. Last, there’s an octave selector. In other words, the basics of a MIDI control surface. All it lacks is a generic fader (might I ask, why?).
The KB37 has everything the home studio enthusiast needs for driving any DAW software. There’s also a huge library of guitar sounds and various presets for the microphone inputs. The keyboard allows you to peck out a melody or layer pads with chords, meanwhile the transport and MIDI controls will just about put your mouse out of a job.
Remember the KB37 is an audio interface. It’s controlled by the installed GearBox software on your computer, but everything happens within the KB37, so to speak. Your recording software of choice receives a processed signal via the KB37’s USB port. You can upgrade GearBox to act as a plug-in by purchasing various packages from Line 6, which activate this feature – extra amp models are also thrown in to sweeten the deal.
Apart from the aforementioned fader it’d be nice to have a MIDI In to connect a full-sized piano, for people who can play with both hands, but personally I can’t so… – Graeme Hague
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