Vortex MIDI Controller Revives The Keytar

MIDI controllers already come in all sorts of sizes and form factors.  That’s why it’s such a surprise that nobody ever put out a keytar one before.  Until now, of course, with the Alesis Vortex.

Just like the 80s classic strap-on keyboard, the MIDI controller lets you turn out your digital creations without being stuck behind a table.  That way, you can prance around the stage like one of those big-haired 80s poppy new wave kids, all while popping tunes without missing a beat.

The Alesis Vortex is an erstwhile full-featured MIDI controller, sporting 37 pressure-sensitive keys on the main board, 8 velocity-sensitive drum pads, large transport and patch select controls, thumb-controlled volume slider and pitch bend on the edge of the neck, multiple controls on the neck (including a touchstrip, sustain buttons and octave buttons) and a MIDI-accessible accelerometer that can be triggered by tilting the neck.  All controls are automapped for popular software synths and digital audio workstations, although each one can be reassigned for any function or parameter.

Measuring 2.2 x 35.1 x 10.6 inches and weighing 6.5 pounds, it’s extremely portable, making for an ideal instrument to carry around whether you’re hamming it onstage or chopping beats in your room.  It has connectors for both 5-pin MIDI and USB MIDI for maximum device support.  Alesis says it should be compatible with all synth software on PCs, Macs and iOS.

For PC and Mac use, the Vortex can draw power right from its USB connection, although you’ll need four AA batteries to run it on a MIDI module or an IOS device.  It will be available 2nd quarter, priced at $399.