I did end up buying the CME Xkey Air 37 a couple of weeks ago. Wireless setup in Windows is a bit convoluted, so I thought I’d do a little mini-review and give some setup tips.
Pros: Long battery life when charged (haven’t used it more than 4 hours straight but didn’t run out), full size keys are great, keyboard is super thin and lightweight, metal construction feels solid, octave buttons to the left where expected, 37 keys
Cons: Keys are clicky buttons not hinged so pianists may hate the feel despite the full size keys, Windows setup is a bit maddening and requires third party apps, large for a backpack or messenger bag, expensive
With 37 full size keys it’s only 5" longer than a M-Audio Keystation Mini 32 which only has 32 mini keys, and it weighs less than 2 lbs despite the metal construction. I’ve been taking it down to the campus to use for demonstrations and the size/weight is fine, but it does hang out of my bag a bit:
Obviously the Xkey 25 would fit easily. The keyboard does automatically power down if not used in a while, but quickly powers up and is back working in a second or two. Charging is done by USB-Micro but the included cable is a slim profile cable which is necessary to reach the port. I have some other cables that are slim enough to fit and some that aren’t, so if you lose the cable, you may or may not have one sitting around in a drawer that fits.
Latency surprisingly isn’t that bad! It’s enough you probably aren’t going to want to play a gig on this, but with the clicky keys you aren’t going to do that anyway. It certainly seems fine for composition and inputting.
Now on to Windows setup, which is a bit frustrating. The only way I could get it to work was by downloading a free program called MIDIberry from the Windows app store. Once you’ve established the Bluetooth connection with Windows, you’ll then see the port Xkey Air 37 BLE appear in MIDIberry:
MIDIberry unfortunately seems to only have one Out, so I then send it to Bome MIDI Translator, which then routes the signal to multiple MIDI ports at once. If you don’t need that, you could probably just route it from MIDIberry to Dorico, but I need to send a signal to Dorico, my VSL Piano, and sometimes a Virtual MIDI Keyboard too all simultaneously. If you just need to create additional MIDI ports, LoopMIDI is free and easy to use for that. With the CME going wirelessly in to MIDIberry, then out to Bome, my Bome setup then routes the signals like this:
It would be great to skip the MIDIberry step, but if I do then Bome can’t find the incoming Bluetooth signal. In any case, if you want to use one of the CME Xkey Air keyboards with Windows, I think you should probably plan on using MIDIberry as a step in the signal chain too, otherwise I couldn’t figure out how to get Windows to recognize the Bluetooth MIDI signal.