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Alesis Vortex keytar adds an accelerometer to your new wave jam session

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Alesis has announced the Vortex, a new keytar MIDI controller with 37 velocity-sensitive keys and a MIDI-assignable accelerometer.

Alesis Vortex Keytar
Alesis Vortex Keytar

There's only one way to rock out to Devo's "Girl U Want," and that's with a keytar — but what if you want some swing with your keyboard riffage? The Alesis Vortex may be what you're looking for: a 37-key MIDI controller that adds an accelerometer to the mix. Announced this week at NAMM, the keytar boasts velocity-sensitive keys with aftertouch, eight drum pads, an assignable touchstrip, and volume, sustain, and pitch-bend controls on the neck. The accelerometer lets you control any MIDI parameter simply by tilting the device, putting you just a sway away from that vibrato you're looking for. At 6.5 pounds it does have some heft, but it can draw power over USB so you can forgo the extra weight of batteries or the DC adapter, if you'd like.

While this isn't the first time we've seen an accelerometer in a controller — the Mad Catz Fender Mustang Pro guitar for Rock Band 3 included one — we love seing manufacturers adding new methods of interaction to their instruments, particularly for use in live settings. The Vortex is compatible with Macs, PCs, and iOS devices (using Apple's Camera Connection Kit), with Engadget reporting that it will be available in the second quarter of this year at an estimated street price of $249.