CME XKey Air on Windows 10

I’m looking to buy a small keyboard for note entry in Dorico. In this thread, Daniel says that the CME XKey works well with Dorico. I like its design, but on my Surface Pro 3, I’d prefer the new Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE) “XKey Air” version because I only have one USB port, and the eLicenser is already occupying that.

However, my internet search results are leaving some open questions: It appears that while the latest Windows 10 updates have added support for MIDI Bluetooth, there may be additional hurdles to overcome. For example, the target application needs to support a new Bluetooth MIDI protocol (?), and I don’t know if Dorico does that (on Windows - on Macs it doesn’t seem to be a problem). Unfortunately, all the reviews for the CME XKey Air I’ve found were done with Macs.

Also, on the CME website, Dorico is not listed among the compatible apps on Windows (whereas Cubase is listed, so I’d hope that that compatibility extends to Dorico?)…

So, in short: Is there anybody who is using a CME XKey Air keyboard successfully on Windows 10? Or can anyone reassure me that I won’t be wasting 300 € on a keyboard that won’t play nicely with Dorico? Or is anyone using a different wireless, portable MIDI keyboard on Windows 10 with Dorico?

Thanks a lot,

My colleague John has the wired version of the CME XKey and it works perfectly with Dorico on macOS, but I’m afraid I don’t know anything about how it might work on Windows.

Have you considered something like the Yamaha Bluetooth MIDI adaptor? John also has one of those and it’s pretty nifty, so any keyboard with a MIDI output can be connected wirelessly via Bluetooth. I think this is the thing.

I do not know that CME device, but to say the least: If it is really compatible to Cubase (and assuming Cubase 9 or 9.5) then it will also work with Dorico.
Why am I so confident? Because all MIDI is first received from the Dorico audio engine and that one is derived from Cubase’s audio engine.

Dear Daniel, dear Ulf,

thank you very much! Good to know that Cubase compatibility also means Dorico compatibility. Now I only need to find out if recent Windows editions can handle Bluetooth to MIDI directly or if I need a dongle (which would again block the USB port). CME sells a “WIDI dongle” for Windows PCs, apparently for exactly this purpose. Well, if that’s still required (the Yamaha Adaptor only lists MacOS/iOS compatibility, so I guess it has the same problem under Windows), I’d rather use the wired version then.

Last week I have tried to work with a Bluetooth iPad app (Navichord) on Mac. That works good (Apple has a standard Bluetooth midi in the preferences) but I preferred to work with USB. The developer of Navichord has give me a link to . Maybe you can contact him to ask about Midi Bluetooth with Windows.

I’ve bought an CME XKey USB and that works. I have also the Arturia Keystep that works great with Dorico (a little bigger).

I do have such an MIDI adaptor and it does connect to my Windows 10 machine. But I didn’t get it to work with Dorico. Which steps need to be taken, such that it works with Dorico?

Normally nothing, it should just work. At startup Dorico scans for all available MIDI ports and happily receives data from any of them.

Please choose from the main menu Help > Create Diagnostic Report. That will create a zip file on your desktop.
Unzip it and please post the content of the contained file VSTAudioEngine/eventdevicedoc.txt.
That will show us which MIDI ports Dorico detected.

To follow up on my earlier post: I have just bought an CME XKey Air, and currently it can’t be paired with a Windows PC running Fall Creators Update (at least not without the dongle). It works just fine when connected via USB, though. I haven’t tested it with the dongle yet, and I doubt that I ever will (because I need to use an USB hub either way to accommodate two dongles/cables).

But even with that limitation (which I still hope may be lifted in a future Windows update), it’s a very nice keyboard for Dorico.

I just purchased a CME Xkey 25, but can’t get it to work with Dorico. It works with some Xkey software I downloaded, so it’s hooked up right and the red light is on.

I tried by entering a few notes with the computer keyboard “A,B,C…” to make sure I was in entry mode, which works fine. But continuing with the Xkey does nothing. I’ve tried rebooting and made sure the midi controller was on first, and have tried restarting Dorico also. Help?

I’ve found that the XKey needs to be turned on before you start Dorico. This includes the Hub, so if you only quit Dorico and restart it from the Hub, it’s not enough to trigger a search for new MIDI input devices.

Thanks, Pietzcker. It still doesn’t work. Here’s the step by step:

  • With Xkey plugged in, I shut down and turned on my Windows 10 laptop.
  • Steady red light is on the Xkey.
  • Started Dorico, began new solo piano file.
  • Selected treble staff rest with mouse, pressed Shift-N.
  • Pressed XKey keys, nothing happens.
  • Typed “ABC” and got three notes as normal.
  • Started XKeypiano program, which works normally and plays notes correctly (and it says “Xkey connected”, and so does Windows Devices setup).

I also bought a Garmin heart rate monitor the day before which doesn’t work! Both devices should be plug and play! But that’s another story…

p.s. I couldn’t get it to work in MuseScore either. But then I rebooted and for some reason MuseScore worked with the Xkey. But Dorico doesn’t…

p.p.s. I also got it to work with Finale 25, but still not Dorico 1.2 despite rebooting several times.

The fact that it worked intermittently with MuseScore suggests that there’s something that’s not quite right with the driver. We have had strange problems reported in the past that have been solved by plugging into a different USB port (or unplugging other things, since sometimes not enough power can get to each device). Also ensure that you don’t have Dorico and any other application that uses the MIDI ports running at the same time.

How can I check if other applications are using MIDI? I’ve rebooted and loaded only Dorico, without getting it to work. And tried different ports. Other than a mouse, it’s the only thing using USB. I even tried removing the mouse. It works reliably in MuseScore now, and Finale needed a button pressed to use it. So I think there’s something fighting with Dorico.

Dorico has a preference called “Enable MIDI Input”; is that enabled with you?
Choose Edit > Preferences, then scroll all the way down to the Play preferences and check.

Aha! I didn’t see that despite looking under preferences several times – it’s under “Play”. Might I suggest putting that under “Note Input”?! Works great now. Thank you so much.