MIDI controller keyboards with built-in audio interfaces used to be less rare than they are today. Though some stage pianos and do-it-all performance synths include audio interfacing (some of it even multi-channel for DAW work), a "straight" controller-plus-interface is a bit harder to find. That's a shame, because when I'm on a trip whose primary purpose may be other than musical -- and hence I haven't devoted resources to carrying a full or even "lite" rig -- I may still need note entry, DAW control, and something for working with soft synths, and of course I'd rather carry one box than two. The integration also saves hassle and setup time for live performance, needless to say.
IK Multimedia aims at exactly this sort of use-case wth the new iRig Keys I/O, which comes in 25-key and 49-key versions, with full-sized synth-action keys. Audio I/O on both models consists of an XLR-1/4" combo jack for input (with phantom power), stereo 1/4" outputs to feed your monitor speakers or the P.A. at a gig, and a 1/8" headphone output. Maximum audio resolution goes up to 24 bits and 96kHz.
The controls complement on both models is more than decent for the size class: Four touch-sensitive knobs with two pages (so eight controllable destinations), eight velocity-sensitive and backlit drum pads, two assignable touch-strips in place of pitch and modulation wheels, and a complete DAW transport section. (IK claims the unit works seamlessly with DAWs such as Ableton Live, Apple Logic Pro X and GarageBand, and more.)
In addition to a regular USB cable, Lightning and DIN cabling comes in the box so that the iRig Keys I/O can control Apple iOS devices without kludges like a camera connection kit. This is a combination of USB-B-to-mini-DIN (ostensibly for controlling MIDI hardware as there are no traditional 5-pin MIDI ports), then a mini-DIN-to-Lightning cable. And it's more than just cabling -- these units are Apple MFi certified for plug-and-play operation with iOS.
In terms of portability, the 25-key model weighs in at 44.5 ounces (about 2.75 pounds), with the 49er tipping the scales at just under 80 ounces (five pounds).
IK further sweetens the deal with software and soundware: Included in both the 25- and 49-key versions is Ableton Live 9 Lite, IK SampleTank 3 and T-RackS 4 Deluxe, and the IK Syntronik Pro-V soft synth. Plus, iPhone and iPad users receive the full version of SampleTank. Additionally, the 49-key version comes with Miroslav Philharmonik 2 CE orchestral workstation for Mac/PC and the mobile edition for iOS.
The punchline here is the price: US $199.99 for the 25-key model and $299.99 for the 49-key. Pricing in Euros is the same.