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The idea of crossing an ordinary PC keyboard with a musical one seems to be obvious, but manufacturers wouldn’t give it much attention. That’s why the first All-in-One Prodikeys keyboard from Creative (37 MIDI and 104 standard keys) immediately caught the spotlight and was later awarded “Best of CES” at the Consumer Electronic Show 2003.

Creative was reservedly examining the demand and feedback, shipping the product in limited quantities (for example, they didn’t offer this gadget in the East European market).

A year has passed and now Creative offers a sequel to the original Prodikeys. It is called Creative Prodikeys DM and features additional keys, different ergonomics and revised software. The new product was announced in late 2003, and now we have received a sample for our tests.

Double Gun: Kill Two Birds with One Stone

With the combo keyboard, Creative enters a new market (the market of MIDI keyboards) and also hopes to increase the sales of Sound Blaster audio cards. They are planning to release special kits with the keyboard and audio card bundled together.

As you know, MIDI keyboards have always constituted an independent class of peripheral musical devices that connected to the computer via MIDI or USB interfaces. Professional creation of music is rather a narrow activity, and the average price of such products is somewhere around $250 as they sell in small quantities. Creative Prodikeys DM breaks this rule somewhat: it is connected to the PS/2 port as a standard keyboard and comes at a price of just $90. I think the price is really alluring, so people will buy it readily. But who’s going to buy it? Is it just a toy for children (and grownups) or professionals can find it useful, too? Creative anticipated such questions from the potential customers by publishing a voluminous FAQ at their website. So that’s what they say about the purpose of Prodikeys DM:

Q: Is Creative Prodikeys DM a music keyboard for children and amateurs only?
A: No, Creative Prodikeys DM is for anyone! All the features are designed to let anyone who wants to have fun playing, learning or creating music easily, anytime at his PC. If you were already a musician, you would appreciate the convenience of having Creative Prodikeys DM right in front of your PC so that you can try out a new tune or simply experiment with sound and music.

Well, that’s rather tricky. In other words, the company sounds like “Of course, Prodikeys DM is a toy for children and for anyone who feels like punching the keys and hearing some sound! But is there anyone who’s not a child deep in his soul and who’s not a music-lover? Just buy it and that’s all!” The company surely views children as the largest category of potential users of the combo keyboard. To make the product popular, Creative goes around schools offering the keyboard at a special price. After using Prodikeys DM for some time, I’ve come to my personal opinion that this keyboard would make an excellent gift to your child, especially if the child practices music. It would also be good if you try to make your child interested in music.

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