Keystage - MIDI 2.0 poly-at keyboard controller from KORG

  • MIDI 2.0 Property Exchange for unparalleled integration and control
  • New keybed design with Polyphonic / Channel Aftertouch and MPE compatibility
  • Powerful arpeggiator, chord modes, and streamlined workflow
  • Parameter-dedicated OLED screens for instant visual feedback
  • Integrated audio interface with direct stereo output for live performances
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Official Ableton Live integration
  • Includes Korg Gadget Producer Bundle, wavestate native LE, and Ableton Live 11 Lite

That’s nice !!! Price point is great, and so is the Ableton integration!

1 Like

What does a MIDI 2.0 connector look like? Is it the same as a MIDI 5-pin connector?

It’s not pretty, but here you go:



Good thinking, and good question. The physical interconnect medium for MIDI 2.0 is not defined in the standard.

Looking at the connectors on the back of the Keystage we see :


There is no standard provision for bi-directional comm with the standard MIDI DIN connectors, so it could be USB or something else. There are some other possibilities.


That looks interesting – and useful. I guess both stereo in and out. ( ADDED : Not certain it has both. ) I wonder if that runs on the same communication line as the MIDI 2.0 ? You’d think it would. It would be nice to have it a one click sort of option on a DAW – Korg Keystage check.

The software and hardware connection angle of this is key.

1 Like

I’m not sure there is any reason MIDI 2.0 couldn’t work over DIN, if the devices are connected on both in and out. MIDI 2.0 devices are supposed to query the other devices and see if they get a 2.0 response back, and if not, fall back to classic MIDI. I don’t know if this is implemented anywhere yet, but may be useful to connect a controller like this to a desktop synth, without needing a USB host port on one of the devices.

1 Like

Better article :

So each of the eight control knobs has it’s own mini OLED display, which should help when switching around. With MIDI 2.0 hardware devices it seems reasonable that there can be returned data that could go on those OLEDs as well.

So compared to the new Native Instruments Kontrol S-Series Mk3 keyboard how are people reacting to this ? There needs to be some head to head comparisons done on these two.

Kontrol S-Series Mk3 thread

Now the question is : can we set the OLED text with sysex/OSC/anything ?
Otherwise, missed opportunity, not for me.
Oh and also, no switch buttons ?

That’s unfortunately a weak point in terms of durability. Multiple displays and Xmas lights was what turned me off the Hydrasynth. It’s cool while it lasts.

I thought everything was mandated to use USB C. I don’t know how I feel about the OLEDs.

Would have been nice to see a bank of faders on there too…

thats just mobile devices like phones, tablets and laptops eventually

Awesome to see the under-served market for high-end controller keyboards get a new entrant. A little disconcerting to see Korg doing it given the strictly-okay build quality of their digital series synths, but it it’s built on ASM tech, that’s all I needed to know.

The one thing I’m hoping they follow this up with: a version with the Explorer mini-keys.

For me OLEDs are fine. Now we are at midi 2.0 and OLED’s, it would be really great if at some point midi keyboards would integrate automatic rotating knobs. Like the Nina synth. Even only 8 of those rotaties would be so much better than endless encoders or catch up mode. (Or at least I would imagine, I’ve never tried the Nina rotaties in action)

1 Like

Design-wise looks quite similar to NI A series. Interesting they used knobs instead of encoders, that’s not ideal for a DAW controller. I’m also missing some programmable buttons that can transmit midi CCs and maybe faders. PolyAT/MPE and midi 2.0 are great though. I guess (hope) arp is not reliant on software like on NI. 3 octave mini keys version (a-la hydra explorer) would be great for portable use with laptop, especially with it’s integrated audio interface.

Now OLED… on my NI Komplete Kontrol A61 certain pixels degraded to the point that are now significantly dimmer than others and it looks terrible. It’s because I had it connected to the computer and since it has no power button (or at least screen saver) it was constantly showing same text when I was not using it. At least I see this has power button.

1 Like

Korg and great keys? 600,- plus tax. Ouch

Ugh, I did not realize this and it seriously dampens my enthusiasm for these keyboards. The encoders on the NI A-series (and by extension, the M32, which I have) are easily the best I’ve ever used on a controller and would be very hard to give up.

1 Like

Well at least I think it’s not encoders, they certainly look like knobs. I think knobs are nicer for playing live, so maybe it’s more geared towards such use (which also the “stage” in it’s name might suggest). I hope it will support “scale” mode like on some Korg’s synths.

I reckon this is Korg dipping their toe into a potential new area of the market. They probably haven’t invested a lot into this and the price might tell you something about their initial production numbers possibly. This also puts them a step ahead of the competition, if nothing else. Polyphonic aftertouch and MPE coupled with MIDI 2.0 is a winner imo. Hopefully more to come…