Cre8Audio debut NiftyKeyz, a feature-heavy keyboard and MIDI controller rolled into one
The launch offers a 112hp Eurorack case and four-octave keyboard for considerably less than you’d expect.
Most widely known for the debut of the NiftyCase in 2019, Nevada-based company Cre8Audio is now venturing into an increasingly boutique market with the launch of its new MIDI controller, NiftyKeyz.
With NiftyKeyz, Cr8Audio seeks to bring the nuance and diversity of the Eurorack modular synthesizer format to the keyboard. With a full-sized 49-key MIDI keyboard featuring a 112hp Eurorack case mounted to the top, the new launch provides something more than a MIDI to CV keyboard – a feature-dense keyboard that allows you to create polyphonic setups with up to four voices.
Available for $600, NiftyKeyz comes at a considerably higher price range than its $200 stablemate the Cre8Audio NiftyCase, an 84hp Eurorack case that combined features including MIDI to CV converter, MIDI over USB capabilities and audio connections for a surprisingly low price.
With that being said, NiftyKeyz comes at an extremely affordable rate in comparison to what few competitors are on the market. For instance, the now-discontinued Waldorf kb37 was considerably smaller and less feature-dominated retailed at $999 – proving the new Cre8Audio launch to be somewhat of a steal.
Features of the NiftyKeyz include four paired CV pitch gate outs detailed across the top. This allows you to launch different keyboard zones to play in either monophonic, polyphonic or split mode.
Although still having to fill the controller with modules, this feature allows you to create up to four voices in polyphonic setups, generate four separate monophonic patches split across different zones of the keyboard, or even pair duophonic patches.
The CV outputs aid with aftertouch, velocity and expression, while the modwheel allows for easy modulation. In addition, a simple toggle of the modwheel can send it into LFO mode, enabling you to control the depth of clock-synched LFO with five user-selectable shapes.
A five-pin MIDI In and Out/Through, plus MIDI over USB allows the NiftyKeyz to be used as a class-compliant MIDI keyboard or as a four-voice MIDI-to-CV converter for signals from your computer. There’s an internal clock, yet the whole rig can be modified to be clocked externally or even over MIDI.
As for the keyboard itself, the four-octave rig embeds an auto-chord feature, a multi-mode arpeggiator as well as glide and swing control, enabling users to “play chords up high and bass down low, or whatever go for 2 duophonic zones, it’s all doable and then some,” according to Cr8Audio.
NiftyKeyz is available now for $600. Find out more at Cre8Audio.com