Starting to have fun with this machine. Took a little bit for this senior citizen to figure out the terminology but it's good and I'm starting to enjoy it. Nice little keyboard.
This is a cool keyboard. It’s easy to use and great for beginners.
This Donner STARRYKEY MIDI Controller is not exactly plug-and-play, but I downloaded Cakewalk, good to find a free DAW program to get me started. It took finding the right YouTube videos and looking around for where my computer speakers were enabled to get me to the point where I could play the piano. Definitely a learning curve with the Cakewalk DAW interface, but it was great to finally hear the piano sound and play with the pitch bender. I play guitar, fiddle, mandolin, harmonica, and pennywhistle, and I’ve toyed around with piano over the years, but it’s not really my instrument. But I do know music. I have a Casio keyboard in my basement family/music room that hasn’t seen much use. Having this Donner STARRYKEY will be a really convenient way to get some chops down on the piano keyboard. And the idea of using it as a composition tool with the free Cakewalk DAW on my laptop is just really exciting. I’m looking forward to exploring more of the capabilities of this little MIDI interface. So far, so good. I think for the money it’s great, but it’s not an area I have much knowledge about. Giving it four stars after looking at some of the competition.
Eric San Juan
I'm going to need to spend more time with this to see if I experience the dead key issue others have reported, but on my end, so far, so good. Using this in conjunction with FL Studio and Reaper has been easy, despite a manual that doesn't offer much help for beginners. No errors, all keys and functions work as expected, and multiple PCs easily recognized it. I've become a proponent of Donner products thanks to good experiences in the past, quality that exceeds the cost, and beginner-friendly packages. So far this mostly fits the bill, though it isn't as beginner-friendly as I'd have liked. The manual is as bare bones as it gets. If you've never used a MIDI controller before, you're going to have a learning curve and will need to do some research on your own. For example, there is a bank of four assignable knobs and four assignable buttons. What do or can you do with them? The manual won't give you a clue. You'll have to research it on your own. The product description on Amazon gives more information than the manual does! At $170, this should be better. The unit itself feels pretty well made, with decent heft, good knobs, and adequate keys. The action on the keys isn't bad, though I expected better from something in this price range. It feels ever-so-slightly toy-like, especially the soft plastic buttons on the left. Donner's guitars play like guitars that cost 2-3x as much. This does not. That said, they're responsive and deliver good velocity response. The keys are pretty chunky, too, which is ideal for players with modest skills. I like how portable and lightweight this is, too. Easy to slip into a bad, nothing sticking out that is prone to breaking, and I'm not super worried that dropping it would break it. Both FL Studio and Reaper easily recognized it and worked well with it. I found both responsive and worked without hiccups. It was easy to create beats, melodies, and backing instrumentation. I've found it to be a boon in many ways. At one time, creating basslines in FL Studio took tons and tons of tedious clicking on a grid. Now, I can just play what I want and fine-tune the MIDI later. That's great! As I get deeper into exploring this thing, I find I like it a little more each day. Let's hope that trend continues! While I wasn't as blown away by this as I have been by Donner's guitars and pedals, it's showing some real promise.
The Clueless Reviewer
This works with your laptop and the software. It does not work independently out of the box. If that’s what you expected then you are looking for the wrong products
This keyboard works well with FL Studio. It showed up in the software right away and was able to make the software responsive right away. The quality is great. The keys show a loaded resistance making it feel like a normal piano. Additionally, the texture of the keys is awesome. I love the overall quality and look of this keyboard. Long story short, this works bad in both the drum pad, the modifiers and keyboard keys. Great all in one keyboard for me.
As far as MIDIs go, I have tried a few - some large, some small - some good, some terrible LOL. This one is on the high end of good. It is perfect for beginners as the learning curve is not vast at all...it is easy to set up and fairly feature rich, and it works with anything that supports MIDI like GarageBand, Ableton, etc. The pads are very responsive and the keys are responsive...it is very easy to get started with making music once you get in there and start tinkering. Which, if tinkering and experimenting with sounds is your thing, this is a great keyboard for that, most definitely. The full size keys is a nice bonus as it can be tricky to find a decent MIDI keyboard with that options that is also affordably priced and easy to use. This one checks all of those boxes and then some. Recommend highly!
I've used a wide variety of production gear over the years. I still have yet to use anything that works better for me than my Akai MPC2000XL. One of my friends owns a studio for both recording as well as video editing/production work. We invited one of my Nephews, who has taken a big interest in beatmaking. The issue is that he can't really afford a pro synthesizer. Nor one of the higher-end MIDI keyboards. So I figured that this would help him in his endeavors. And also help him to discover whether or not he actually needs to invest in something more professional. We set him up with GarageBand, walked him through how the MIDI keyboard works. It should go without saying that you can't compare this to a Roland, Arturia, Akai. The difference in prices is extreme. So it's unfair to rate this two or three stars, simply because it isn't the same quality as a $500 to $2,000 MIDI keyboard. But if you're comparing it to other MIDI keyboards in the same price range, it's not a bad deal at all. So if you know an aspiring producer, anyone that really wants to make beats, it's a great stepping stone.
This was procured for a budding DAW music-creator. Even with y.t. videos it was difficult for him to get it connected and functioning inside of FL studio. And it is RIDICULOUS that Donner doesn't provide a link or very obvious access to the software that can help manage settings for this unit. Why make us go on a hunting expedition. Other than that, now that it's up and running, I'm told that it is a good tool to add to the growing toolbox. We like that it not only has the full-sized keys, but also some parameter-adjusting options, pitch wheels, plus trigger pads that can assist with drum programming.
I'm fortunate to have a troop of musically inclined children, and they wanted a MIDI controller to be able to record their creations with MuseScore. To that end, the Donner Starrykey works perfectly. MuseScore is free in the Windows store, and the controller allows the notes that they play to be immediately transcribed to sheet music. Together, they make a powerful combination, and have the potential to turn your creation game up. It is a little bit laggy. It's not my computer, but it might be the software I've paired it with. If this is your first experience with a MIDI controller, I'd suggest starting with something a little less expensive and more user friendly, and then working your way to this. It works, but can be overwhelming for newbies, but it's a ton of fun to play around with.
This is a straightforward 25-key MIDI controller with a mix of full-sized velocity-sensitive keys, programmable pads and configurable controls. It includes a USB input and a standard MIDI out port, as well as a pedal port. It has built-in dedicated switches to scale up/down an octave at a time, so even though it's a small keyboard, it can handle the range of a larger instrument. Overall, it offers a lot of capabilities in a small, lightweight package. I plugged it into Logic Pro using nothing more than a standard USB cable and was pleasantly surprised to see that it worked fine out of the box with no special setup. I was able to assign instruments to the controller and it played exactly as I expected. I was also able to use Logic Pro to configure all the programmable pads and knobs, and everything behaved exactly as expected. I was also able to wire the MIDI-out port to a Moog Subharmonicon without problem. Typical for small, low-cost MIDI implementations, I found the action somewhat sloppy. I use a Roland A-88 quite a bit...that's pretty close to a "real" piano in feel and precision. The STARRYKEY, on the other hand, worked fine and has nicely textured keys, but you'd never mistake it for a piano. It took me considerable practice to get to the point where I could get the expressive sounds I wanted. Otherwise, this is a reasonable compact MIDI controller, and if you're looking for something small and simple that gets the job done, it's worth a look - especially considering the low price.
Gregory A. Corson
First off, I'm not a musician and I'm just learning to play, thankfully I have a friend who plays keyboards in a band so I had him check it out today. He really liked the feel of the full-sized keyboard which he thought was very good for the price and played well. He also liked the extra buttons, wheels and drum pads which he thought he could get good use of once they were patched into the software he uses. My impression was similar, the keys feel nice and have good action, the velocity and aftertouch I can hear, but I'm not good enough to really take advantage of them yet. The keys are weighted, not quite as heavy as a real piano, but are way better than your average cheap synth keyboard. Be sure you understand that this is a MIDI controller only, it does not make sounds on it's own, you have to connect it to a computer, tablet or phone with music making software to use it. I tested it out by plugging it directly into the USB-C port of my iPad and found that not only did it work but that the iPad powered the whole keyboard, lights and all, without any complaints. It worked immediately with GarageBand on the iPad for playing and recording music which was great! I expect it will work with any device that has music software and a USB-C port. So this teamed with a compatible phone or tablet makes a pretty good portable music machine. If you are an absolute beginner, the keyboard part of this will probably work immediately with any software. But to get every feature of on this thing working and really dialed in you need to go to Donner's website and download the PC or Mac software for setting it up. I haven't used it yet but looking over the documentation it gives you a lot of options for customizing how it works. Note that you will find the software in the Electric Piano section of their download page under MIDI keyboards. All these options may be a bit daunting for a beginner, but from my experience with the iPad you CAN just plug it in and play it like a piano. It just takes some customization to get all the dials, buttons and drum pads to do what you want. Even thought the keys are full sized, the whole unit is still fairly compact and easy to carry around. I really wish they had included a carrying bag or at least a dust cover with it though. On the back there is a 1/4 inch jack to attach a pedal (not included), a standard 5-pin midi out and a USB-B jack. They include a USB-B to USB-A cable and an A-to-C adapter. You can do MIDI through the main connector or through USB. There is NO bluetooth option and no batteries, it gets it's power through the USB port. So overall, a really nice MIDI controller, fully configuring it for your software may take a little work, but even beginners should be able to use the keyboard part right away with whatever music software you have.
All I had to do to get this working was plug it into my computer, boot up an old revision of FL Studio, and activate MIDI controller options. It works exactly as I would expect, with each of the keys and acoustic buttons having reasonable control over volume depending on how hard you hit them. The Octave Keys and Full Level buttons worked, and the pitch adjustment wheel thing works as expected as well. I'm somewhat of a novice when it comes to MIDI and A/V software, so I didn't get very far into trying every feature, but for the price, and plug-and-play convenience, I think this is a pretty good deal. The entire thing measures about 19.5 x 7.25 inches, and measures 2.38 inches tall to the top of the dials. It takes USB-B 2.0 input for power and data, and only needs 500mAh, so any modern computer or phone port can run this thing. The included USB-A to USB-B cable is 39 inches long, and it comes with a USB-A to USB-C adapter.
Donner's Starrykey MIDI Keyboard and controller is punching way above its weight class, with a premium fit and finish that both looks and feels great to work on. The instructions are easy to follow and the software works well on my Windows 10 PC. One thing I really liked on this MIDI controller, was the detailed wood like texture on the keyboard keys! Really takes this controller to the next level. Sometimes its the little things like this. But the entire package here is noteworthy, and proof that you no longer need to spend hundreds of dollars in order to get a quality MIDI controller.
Robert Cox, NYC
We really like having this keyboard. It's small and easy to store. The full sized keys are great. It's easy to assign and edit pads, and great having the options for a sustain pedal and four octaves up and down. We integrated with GarageBand with minimal effort. While it's not the most high end midi controller, it offers a lot for the price range. Highly recommended!!!
The midi keyboard is good and worth the price. Great for beginners！
This controller is solid. Good offering of features, easy to use, and connects well to the PC. Good for the beginner looking for more features in a compact build.
I got this for two reasons. First, I dabble in music-making and wanted a simple keyboard. This works with Ableton which is my preferred software. Second, I wanted something that my son could use to play around a little. He's still in pre-school, so he's not an accomplished musician, but he likes playing with it. It's simple enough to use when connected with some kind of software and speakers. It's not the most versatile, but I wasn't really expecting that. It does have some perks and value for the low price, including pads and pitch/modulation dials. If your expectations are reasonable, I can recommend this!