July 9, 2013 at 10:38 am

C.24, Steampunk iPad Music Keyboard, Cruises Through Kickstarter

Purists will probably email us about how the term “steampunk” does not cover the Miselu C.24, a piano-style keyboard for iPad currently seeking funding on Kickstarter.

However, we maintain that there is something steampunk about moving, semi-weighted piano keys being attached to the touch sensitive iPad, essentially reversing the evolution from buttons to no-buttons. Plus, the C.24 folds around the iPad to function as a protective case that’s suitable for toting to your next gig — or subduing your attackers with a swift turn of Bartitsu.

We are currently testing the Keith McMillan QuNexus, another keyboard that functions with the iPad, which is more advanced from the perspective of the hardcore digital musician — it even has a tilt control. But if you’re after something a bit more traditional for playing hundreds of iPad instruments, the Miselu C.24, whose ancestor we saw at SXSW, is right up your alley:

Yes, you could use the Miselu C.24 with some of the crazier, more “out there” synthesizer apps, in part because it has an expansion bay for adding hardware (assuming anyone makes it) to control knobs oncsreen, rather than using the iPad’s touchscreen for that. Also, it has a slider for toggling between octaves and pitchbending, which should be re-assignable to control other stuff in your iOS software instruments. However, we picture it being used by people who are more keyboardists than by the plug-in/virtual instrument wizards who appear to have descended from yesterday’s guitar pedal-heads.

What do we mean by this?

Basically, it looks usable by the average person or musician — the kind who don’t know (or want to know) the intricacies of daisy-chaining virtual instruments, effects, and all that jazz, and would rather just plug something into the iPad and start plunking around. It doesn’t mean the C.24 is useless by real musicians — far from it. Assuming the specs are accurate, it looks useful in a live or studio setting.

However, its true appeal — especially at the $99 price point you can lock in if you sign up for the Kickstarter now — will be in the simple, plug-and-play aspect, right down to the way the keyboard converts from case to instrument/iPad stand, connecting to the iPad via magnet. Once you pair it with your iPad via Bluetooth, the C.24 is compatible with every app that supports CoreMIDI, for sending the commands from the keyboard to the app, which, luckily, is a lot of them.

After just a few days, the Miselu c.24 Kickstarter campaign has $16,097 out of its $99,000 goal, It gathered thousands of new dollars as we wrote this post, so it looks well on its way to becoming a reality.