We’ve always been huge fans of Alesis drum and music products, but recently they’ve been impressing us with their builds of keyboards. They’ve released their all new VI and V series of USB MIDI keyboards, which all include pads as well (similar to Akai’s MPKII series). Their new 25-key MIDI controller is a pretty decent rig and basically incorporates Alesis into the MIDI game. At $170 retail for a 25-key, let’s see if this is really worth competing with the other brands in the music equipment market. We’ve seen them have a lot of success with their Q and QX models of MIDI keyboards.
The Alesis VI25 MIDI keyboard is a 25-key usb-powered rig that combines semi-weighted keys (with aftertouch) with 16 pretty nicely made trigger/drum pads that are assignable to any VST with any program that supports MIDI devices. The pads are also illuminated with multicolor RBG (a trend we’ve also seen in the Akai MPK225, a competitor to this model). It also comes with some pretty cool software we list below.
Main features of the Alesis VI25 MIDI keyboard
- Retail price: $169.99
- Dimensions: 12.4 x 24.6 x 4.5 inches
- Full sized, flat-front 25 keys
- Semi-weighted with Aftertouch keys
- Great for hands-on control of DAW or any plug-ins\VST’s
- Comes with wheels to control pitch bend and modulation
- Pads are multi-color LED lit
- Assignable 8 knobs
- Assignable 24 buttons
- High quality LCD screen
- Powered by single USB cable (controls data as well)
- Transport and Present buttons (up/down)
- Input for sustain pedal
- USB MIDI and MIDI Out
- Internal clock to support tempo, sync, rolls, etc.
- Software included: Ableton Live Lite Alesis Edition & additional MIDI editor software
Our rating of the VI25
Alesis’ goal with this new series of keyboards was to focus on studio workflow and live performances (as goes with any MIDI keyboard we guess), but what we really like here is the trend leaning towards the incorporation of both MIDI keyboards and pads. This was something only seen with a few brands, such as Akai and Novation. Alesis has beeen a solid brand to us and we’ve always liked their music equipment.
One thing to take into consideration is the VI25’s competitor, the Akai MPK225. It is $80 cheaper. So what’s the difference? For an in-depth look, here’s our Akai MPK225 review. But one of the biggest differences is the VI25 comes with more pads (the MPK225 has 8). However, the Akai drumpads are a bit nicer in terms of feel so they provide better quality. Not that Alesis’ Vi25 doesn’t cut it, but they aren’t Akai-esque. Also, the Akai MPK225 comes with a lot more software. If you’re looking for software additions to your rig, we recommend the Akai MPK225. Otherwise, go with this Alesis VI25 since it’s $80 cheaper.
- Semi-weighted keys with after touch are very high quality
- Cheaper than most 25-key MIDI keyboards with pad competitors
- 16 pads as opposed to Akai’s MPKII series 8
- Doesn’t come with as much software as competitors
Other versions available:
- Alesis’ older 25-key MIDI keyboard (no pads), the Alesis Q25 ($60)
- New 49-key version of their VI line, the Alesis VI49 ($200)
- New 61-key version of their VI line, the Alesis VI61 ($250)