M-Audio Keystation 61es / 88es Review
Keyboard Midi Controllers at an Affordable Price
The M-Audio Keystation comes in both 61 and 88 keys, and connects via USB.
I’ve always rocked M-Audio midi controllers, my first being the M-Audio Axiom 61. In the 8 or so years that I’ve had my axiom 61, I’ve never ran into a problem with it. There are plenty of midi controllers out there, some built better than others, but I’ve had good luck with M-Audio so I’ve stuck with them. This is why I decided to go with the M-Audio Keystation 88es when I wanted the additional 17 keys. The keystation also comes in the smaller size of 61 keys but is exactly identical besides the key count.
Overall : 4.5 / 5 – The M-Audio Keystation’s are exactly what I expected for the price. A midi controller with only the essential functions: transpose, pitch bend, mod wheel, volume, keys.
Quality: 4 / 5 – As far as functionality, the quality is superb. It connects via USB, is identified by most of the popular DAWs, and plays very well for a midi controller with semi-weighted keys. Its clearly made up of plastic, and I’m sure a nice smack against the wall would result in it breaking in half, but I’ve had mine for a couple years and it works exactly as it did when I bought it.
Value: 5/5 – Seeing how this starts at around 150 dollars, I’d say the value is great. You’re not going to find a much better controller for the price.
I’ve owned the m-audio keystation 88es for 2 years now and it’s endured quite a bit of abuse. It’s survived several different moves throughout Michigan, a couple drops and a cup of coffee being spilled all around it. At first when I purchased it, I was a little skeptical about the construction of it, as it seems to be made of relatively cheap materials. Regardless of my skepticism and it’s cheap appearance, this thing has proven to be quite durable.
- Easy hookup with USB, and plug and play.
- Very affordable and still provides the essential controls you’d want in a midi controller keyboard.
- Trusted brand with good customer service (in my experience).
- The keys do not require much pressure to be pressed, and although these are velocity sensitive, it’s hard to control which notes play hard and which play soft until you get used to it.
- Not the most sturdy piece of equipment in my studio. Mine’s surprisingly still in perfect shape, but I could see it getting broken easily.
If you are looking for a low cost midi controller that has all the necessary functions the M-Audio Keystation is for you. If you need more extensive control such as sliders/faders for automation and control in your DAW, I’d recommend looking at a more expensive controller like the M-Audio Axiom 61.
Specs and Features:
- 61 or 88-note keys that are both velocity-sensitive and semi-weighted.
- Pitch bend and modulation wheels
- Volume Control Slider (can also be assigned to other features in your DAW)
- Input for the m-audio sustain pedal (sold seperately).
- Transpose buttons to change octaves (up or down).
- Separate MIDI out jack routes MIDI signals from your computer to control external devices
- Powered via USB (included) or 9V Adaptor (sold seperately)
- Plug and play for both Mac and Windows OS’s.