As I've been building up my computer recording setup, I've also wanted to add some sort of synth option. I've always loved Korg's Trinity/Triton synth sounds so I was really considering picking up a Triton rackmount unit & then using a MIDI controller for the keyboard. I still wasn't completely convinced about that option since the Triton is pretty old now and still floppy disk based but I know I would still need some sort of MIDI controller. I came across a local Craigslist ad for a Korg MicroKey Air 61 key MIDI controller for $90. The Korg website has the full details here but I was really attracted to the compact size (for 61 keys) and it also comes with a pretty nice bundle of VSTs which the seller hadn't activated.
I decided to jump on it and I've had it for about a week or two and I'm pretty happy with it so far. As the name implies, the keys are SMALLER than standard synth keys. This might be an issue for some people so it can be something to consider if you think about picking one up. The MicroKey Air connects & is powered either via USB cable *OR* bluetooth & two AA batteries. The bluetooth option is really for using this with an iPad or iPhone and not an option I'll likely use. The USB connection with my Windows 10 machine is no fuss and doesn't require any special drivers. The keyboard does have a jack for a damper/sustain pedal. I have one lying around but it's a generic sustain pedal and doesn't quite work correctly with it. It seems to work in the reverse as you might expect, so keeping the damper pressed down doesn't sustain notes. It looks like you'll need to pick up one of the specific damper pedals offered by Korg. Not a huge deal.
The keyboard doesn't explicitly state anything about having aftertouch but it does seem to respect different sounds based on the force of the keys pressed. One of the other big attractions was the software bundle that it comes with. It includes an LE edition of the classic Korg M1 synth, another "classic" bundle of 80s synths from UVI, three more sound modules from AAS, and finally LE versions of Propellerhead Reason & Abelton Live DAWs. Quite a bit of software to explore.
There's definitely some irony in me buying this because the primary reason I chose the Focusrite 2i4 interface was because it had MIDI connections built in. Thanks to the USB connection that the controller uses, I don't use the 2i4 for MIDI at all. This can lead to issues, though. When I initially got it, I had some problems using the UVI software bundles. I could see it recognizing which keys I was hitting but wasn't hearing any sounds. The softSynth programs all have the same audio interface options like you'd find in Reaper so there's some trial & error there. Eventually, I realized I needed to make sure the keyboard was USB connected & ready before I launched any programs that used the MIDI controller.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with it, and $90 seemed like a great deal. I ended up buying some additional synth software from UVI but that's another thread.