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#1304092 - 11/12/09 02:32 PM CME U-Key - reviews?
WalkFar Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/15/09
Posts: 52
Loc: Urbana, Illinois
Has anyone used a CME U-Key keyboard (Compact USB MIDI Controller)? Apparently, it has 49-semi-weighted keys and built-in sounds. I am (still) looking for a small keyboard to travel with.

Dimensions 28.6 x 8.3 x 2.3 in (726.5 x 210 x 58.3 mm)
Weight 7.3 lbs (3.32 kg)

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#1304358 - 11/12/09 09:42 PM Re: CME U-Key - reviews? [Re: WalkFar]
Bob M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/09
Posts: 208
Loc: North Carolina

I bought the M-Key version, but I'm sure the "action" is the same. In spite of what I would describe as "weightless" action, it is still pleasant to "tap" on and is responsive to the samples that are on my Mac. It does not feel like a piano, but this seems to be the adjustment one has to make to something small enough to fit across the arms of a first-class seat . After all, piano/organ/synth players make this kind of adjustment all the time.

As a result of buying it, I am REALLY skeptical of any claim of "semi-weighted" action. The resistance of the keys is based simply on a little coil spring--this is just like the construction of most keybeds on synths, keyboards, and many midi-controllers. The "semi-weighted" is a 1/2 ounce piece of metal glued on the underside of each white key (I can't resist taking things apart). The Yamaha "graded soft touch" keybeds use an elastic donut, not a metal spring, which has more resistance when you first strike the key, and then lightens in the travel. Though very light, I find this action very pleasant, and a smaller adjustment when I go to the acoustic console. But them, my NP30 is 49 inches wide.

Be very suspicious of any claim of "semi-weighted"--it's not going to feel like a DP or acoustic instrument, if that is really important to you.
Bob M

Charles Walter Model 1520
Yamaha NP 30, NP 11, PSR E333

#1304414 - 11/12/09 11:07 PM Re: CME U-Key - reviews? [Re: Bob M]
AlphaTerminus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/08/09
Posts: 549
Loc: Iowa, USA
I agree with Bob M. I also have the 49 key CME M-key. It's a nice traveling keyboard. I also have an M-audio 49 key usb keyboard, and I give the M-audio a 3/10 and the CME keyboard a 6/10.

The CME keys are full size piano keys and while it's not true "weighted piano-like action" it's much better and less spring-like than the M-audio.
Lessons since September 2009
Yamaha C6

#1304612 - 11/13/09 09:20 AM Re: CME U-Key - reviews? [Re: WalkFar]
WalkFar Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/15/09
Posts: 52
Loc: Urbana, Illinois
Thank you guys for the descriptions. It is interesting, and not that surprising, that the "semi-weighted" claim is overblown. If I want 49-keys and built-in sound, then the CME U-key and M-Audio Keystudio 49i seem to be among the limited choices. It is strange that I cannot find the dimensions to the M-Audio boards anywhere.

I hope to visit some local stores this weekend and see what they have to offer, although it may be unlikely that anyone carries CME U-key.

#1304644 - 11/13/09 09:49 AM Re: CME U-Key - reviews? [Re: AlphaTerminus]
Bob M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/09
Posts: 208
Loc: North Carolina

Though it was not in the GC store in Greensboro, I got my CME M-key for $59 thru GC on-line.

Nice to know, AlphaT, that there are other gadget-happy readers out there ( I would call the M-Audio/lCME at 3 versus 5). WF, the M-Audio 49i is 33" wide, because of the mod and pitch bend wheels on the left.

I can't leave anything alone--I added 3/4 ounce to each white key on the CME, with the little adhesive-backed balance weights tire dealers apply to alloy wheels. Adds more to the overall weight of the board than to the key feel (and what about the black keys?), but I am going to try the same with the M-Audio 49i, whenever we go next to the cottage.

Now if I would only spend as much time practicing as I do tinkering/reading/posting. Am presently trying to get "Falling Slowly" the Oscar winning song from "Once", into my fingers and memory so I can do without the printed music.
Bob M

Charles Walter Model 1520
Yamaha NP 30, NP 11, PSR E333

#1304729 - 11/13/09 11:44 AM Re: CME U-Key - reviews? [Re: Bob M]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
As for the tones on the U Key, they appear to be mobile phone tones versus the piano sample on the MAudio.
You can hear them here:


The thing I don't like about these boards compared to say the MAudio Axiom line is that the keys do not have the shape of a piano key with a flat front and flat sides which has another non-piano, synth like impact on the feel of the keyboard and when you are working on coordination of learning new pieces.

So far, however, in terms of portability and compromise of having on board sound and a halfway decent keyboard at a halfway decent price, the CME U key would seem to be the ticket (especially for those wanting something with them on business trips or being on the road having to take airplanes).

Too bad it doesn't seem to run on batteries.

Whoever winds up ordering one first, please post your feedback here!

#1641998 - 03/16/11 03:52 AM Re: CME U-Key - reviews? [Re: WalkFar]
adamtkite Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/14/11
Posts: 16
Loc: California
Thanks for the discussion guys.

M-Audio KeyStudio 49i USB MIDI Controller (31.75 x 8.5 x 3, 7lbs) (No batterie, no Speaker)

CME M-Key 49-Key USB MIDI Controller (no speaker, maybe battery, 1/8" headphone jack)
Dimensions (W x D x H) 28.6" x 8.27" x 2.3" (726.5 x 210 x 58.3 mm)
Weight: 7.05 lb. (3.2 kg)

CME U-Key V2 49-Key USB MIDI Controller in Blue (maybe battery, Speaker, 1/8" headphone jack)

Cakewalk A-500S MIDI Keyboard Controller (yes batterie. Maybe NO Headphon jack)
(32.8 x 7.25 x 3.31)
Dimensions (WxDxH): 833mm x 183.8mm x 84mm, 32-13/16" x 7-1/4" x 3-5/16"
Weight: 2.7kg / 6lb.


#1642148 - 03/16/11 11:00 AM Re: CME U-Key - reviews? [Re: WalkFar]
davinwv Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/04/06
Posts: 35
Loc: Bridgeport, WV
Wait for the CME Z-Key 49:


I have a Numa Nero, but I am excited to try the 61-key version of the Z-Key once it is released.

#1642304 - 03/16/11 02:44 PM Re: CME U-Key - reviews? [Re: WalkFar]
adamtkite Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/14/11
Posts: 16
Loc: California
Z-key looks like it has a bigger body than U key..
But I like the fact that it has nice piano-like keys, probably worth the extra size....

(I chose the U key because I liked the small size and the fact that it had a speaker, and it may be battery powered... )

Edited by adamtkite (03/19/11 03:43 AM)


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