Most helpful customer reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful.
Great for beginners and advanced players
This is my first midi-controller as I have just newly ventured into the world of digital music, for a beginner tool this is great, I got the full size 88-keys, the product came with ableton live(which is a pc daw, i have mac so i use garageband), Xpand!2(a virtual instrument preset), and Sonivox Eighty-eight ensemble(another virtual instrument present), which you can easily download from M-audio website after registration. There is no keyboard stand or sustain pedal you have to purchase those on your own. The key station is very easy to use, all you do is plug it into your computer usb port and turn on the keyboard, open your daw and that's it, no fuss, at least for me. The keys are semi-weighted, full-size, its pressure sensitive so the volume does increase as you play harder, the keyboard weights a little over 15 lbs, or it feels that way when i lift it up. Overall I'm very glad I made the purchase, I actually decided to buy this after seeing someone else use it and now I play with this everyday, so far its great!
PS: for all those that's not familiar with a midi controller, here's a little info, midi-controllers are not keyboard, they do not produce sound on their own, it is like a game controller, it only works when you plug it into a game console then it controls the characters inside the game, same as a midi-controller, it functions by plugging it into a computer and it controls virtual instruments inside a daw system(such as garageband if you use mac, there are LOTS of different daw system you can choose, and millions of virtual instrument presets, which M-audio provides you with 1 daw system for pc-ableton live, and 2 virtual instrument present-Xpand and Sonivox so you don't have to go out and buy your own right off the bat since they can get costly), you can't connect a speaker to this directly, just like how you can't connect a speaker to a game controller, everything goes into and out of your computer, so that's just some basic infos regarding midi-controller, hopefully it answers some of you guys confusion about what exactly key station 88 is and do.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful.
Just what I was looking for !
This product is not for novices. Perhaps most of the 28 people (with the exception of one or two quality complaints) gave one star reviews because this is a MIDI device and you need to understand what MIDI is and how to use it before purchasing this MIDI controller keyboard. This is not a toy, is a tool for digital musicians.
In my case, I was looking for this for a long time. I have an oldie but goldie Yamaha SW1000XG with a PLG-150DX attached to a Yamaha DS2416 in a Magma PCI to ExpressCard interface setup. This is a retro-90s type of setup but I love the sounds. Well, my child started piano lessons and the good pianos are not less than $700 and beyond. So it seemed pretty obvious to buy a MIDI controller keyboard and put it to work with my PC-hardware-based synths. Now my son can practice his piano lessons AND, as a bonus, I get to play and teach him a little bit of MIDI and multi-track recording. The product is not bad quality, the keys respond very well to velocity, and the semi-weighted effect does not feel cheap, although is not the feel you would have in a more expensive piano. I will update this review for others to read about my experience but, unlike others that said very negative things about this product, it seems that it will not disappoint. Just make sure you understand that this is a MIDI controller and you need software and hardware to use it and enjoy its features.
94 of 103 people found the following review helpful. See all 311 customer reviews...
By John A. deLaubenfels
It's wonderful to have 88 keys after years with only 61. But I wouldn't call the keys even "semi-weighted", whatever that might mean. To be weighted means it takes more force to accelerate the key quickly than to press it slowly. These keys have fairly stiff springs, but I can't detect any difference in force between loud and soft playing. It doesn't feel in any way, shape, or form like a real piano.
Also, because the unit is short front-to-back, the pivots aren't far behind the visible keys. I'm having to adjust my hand placement, especially for black notes, as the back half of the black keys are unusable because the pivot is so close.
The USB connection is a mixed blessing. You have to use it even if you're taking MIDI out of an old-style MIDI cable, because the unit has no power except via USB. Well, that's not quite true: you can plug in a 9-volt DC power supply, but that's sold separately. The supplied USB cable, about five feet long, barely reaches the right end of the keyboard when plugged in, so if you purchase this unit, I recommend that you also purchase a long USB cable (you need "A Male to B Male"). Or get an A Male to A Female cable extender.
I don't regret the purchase, and I'm sure I'll get used to working with this keyboard's limitations, but I'd hoped for something a little nicer.