M-Audio Keystation 61es / 88es Review

M-Audio Keystation 61es / 88es Review

A picture of the m-audio keystation midi controllers

M-Audio Keystation 61es / 88es

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.

My Rating:

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.

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February 9, 2013 Music Production Gear And Software 3 Comments

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  1. Oleg April 8, 2013 at 6:04 am

    Sorry if this is a little late, but, this is a MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) cnrtooller, which means it doesn’t have any sounds build in, but it sends MIDI signals (I.e., what note was pressed, for how long, how hard was the key hit etc.) to your computer via USB cable. You’ll probably need some sort of software on the computer to pick up the signals and turn them into sound. Hope this helped, feel free to message me on my profile if you need any more help.

  2. Reuben April 11, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Is M-Audio Keystation 88es compatible with ipad/iPhone?

    • Ayron Thelen April 12, 2014 at 11:59 pm

      Hey Rueben, thanks for reading the review. I’ve seen people talk about using an Apple iPad Camerca Connection Kit (http://2infamouz.com/ipad-camera-connection-kit) to use MIDI controllers and that the m-audio keystation was one of the ones compatible, but I haven’t tried it myself so I can’t say 100% that it would work. Here’s a list of allegedly compatible MIDI keyboard controllers that can be used w/ this workaround:
      Akai EWI USB
      Akai LPD8
      Akai APC-40 (via powered USB hub)
      Akai LPK25 (has power issues for some users)
      Akai MPK49 & MPK61 (via powered USB hub)
      Akai MPK25 (via USB hub)
      Akai MPK Mini (plug in while iPad is in sleep mode and wait for connection)
      Akai RPM3 (audio only)
      Akai Synthstation (works via USB hub)
      Akai Synthstation 49
      Alesis DM6
      Alesis DM10
      Alesis iO Dock
      Alesis iO2 (older model, via USB hub)
      Alesis Photon X25
      Alesis Q25
      Alesis Q49 (works via USB bus – no external power necessary)
      Aturia Analog Factory CME Controller Keyboard
      Audiotrak MIDI Mate
      American Audio VMS4 DJ (works with power supply, audio on channel 1 works also)
      Arturia Analog Factory ‘The Laboratory’ 49 Key (using supplied power adaptor)
      Arturia Minilab
      Axiom 49 (2nd Gen)
      Axon AX 50
      Behringer BCF2000 (experiment with output ‘modes’, U-4 works well for in & out)
      Behringer BCR2000 (experiment with output ‘modes’, U-4 works well for in & out)
      Behringer iAxe 323 USB Guitar (audio only)
      Behringer UMA25S (audio & MIDI)
      Behringer UMX25
      Behringer UMX61
      Behringer UMX490
      Bespeco MIDI Cable
      Carillon M1X1
      Casio DG-20 Guitar Synth
      Casio Privia PX-130
      Casio WK7500
      CME U2MIDI
      CME U-Key 49 Mobiletone
      Dave Smith Instruments Tetr4
      Digitech GNX4 (audio & MIDI)
      DSI Mopho Keyboard
      DSI Tetra
      Doepfer Dark Energy
      Doepfer Dark Time
      E-MU X MIDI 1×1 Tab
      E-MU Xmidi 2×2
      EDIROL PCR-M80 (use settings to set USB driver to ‘generic’ [see instruction manual] – thanks Lorenzo!)
      EDIROL PCR-1 (via USB Hub, audio interface also works)
      EDIROL PCR-A30 (via adaptor or USB Hub, audio doesn’t work)
      EDIROL PCR-30 (set USB mode driver to ‘generic’)
      EDIROL PCR-300 (set USB mode driver to ‘generic’, works with Boss PSA-120T power adaptor, and PSB1-U also. PSU rated at +9.6 VDC 200mA center-negative.)
      EDIROL PCR-800 (set USB mode driver to ‘generic’)
      EDIROL UA-1D (via USB hub, adds noticeable latency)
      EDIROL UA-25EX (via USB hub, audio only)
      EDIROL UM-1ex (set USB mode driver to ‘generic’)
      EDIROL UM-1sx
      EDIROL UM-2ex (NB: Roland UM-2 [not EDIROL] does not work)
      Elektron TM-1
      ESI KeyControl 25 XT
      ESI M8U
      ESI Midimate II
      Evolution MK-361C (works without external power or hub needed)
      Focusrite VRM Box (via USB Hub, hardware only)
      Genovation 900-MPC Midi Patch Changer
      HDE USB->MIDI Cable ($5 on Amazon!)
      JamHub TourBus (via USB hub)
      Kawai MP8II
      Korg KP3 KAOSS PAD
      Korg Kaossilator Pro (instruction manual [PDF] has useful info for settings)
      Korg K25
      Korg Kontrol 49 (with power adaptor)
      Korg microSAMPLER & microKONTROL
      Korg M3
      Korg M50
      Korg microKEY 37 (via USB hub)
      Korg MicroX
      Korg MS-20 (via hub)
      Korg nanoKEY, nanoPAD & nanoControl
      Korg Pandora PX5D
      Korg R3 (using supplied power supply)
      Korg RADIUS
      Korg Triton TR Series
      Korg X50
      Kurzweil PC3
      Livid Block (via powered USB hub)
      Livid Block Ohm64 (via powered USB hub)
      Lexicon Omega
      Line 6 Pocket POD (MIDI only)
      LogiLink USB MIDI Cable
      Logitech Premium Notebook USB Headset (audio only – boom works for audio input, headphones monitor iPad output)
      Mackie XD-2
      Mistar MidiLink (may need a few tries to be recognised)
      M-Audio Axiom 49 (1st gen) (mixed reports – try a USB hub)
      M-Audio Axiom Pro 61
      M-Audio Evolution X-Session (with 9V DC center-positive adaptor)
      M-Audio Keystudio (via USB hub or with external power)
      M-Audio O2 (when plugged in)
      M-Audio Oxygen 8 (with batteries/adaptor, via USB hub)
      M-Audio Oxygen 8 3rd Gen
      M-Audio Oxygen 25 3rd Gen
      M-Audio Oxygen 49 (via powered hub)
      M-Audio Oxygen 61
      M-Audio Prokeys Sono 61
      M-Audio Prokeys 88
      M-Audio Prokeys 88SX
      M-Audio Uno 1×1 (Note: older models when M-Audio was called Midiman do not work. M-Audio changed name in 2002, newer/current models work fine.)
      M-Audio Keystation 49a (set USB Driver to ‘generic’)
      M-Audio Keystation Pro-88
      M-Audio KeyRig
      M-Audio XSession Pro
      M-Audio Venom (USB audio works well, MIDI a little patchy)
      Moog Little Phatty Stage II
      Moog Multipedal (Moog’s MIDI In get’s routed into the iPad also)
      Novation Remote 25 LE
      Novation Remote SL series
      Novation Remote Zero SL MK1 (via hub or battery)
      Novation X-Station (with power adaptor)
      Novation Xio 25 (audio & MIDI)
      Presonus Audiobox USB (audio & MIDI, via powered hub)
      Prodipe Midi USB 1i1o
      Roland A-300PRO (A-500PRO, A-800PRO, and equivalently named Cakewalk products should also work – TBC)
      Roland Cakewalk A-500S Master Keyboard (with batteries, advanced driver off)
      Roland FP-7F
      Roland HP 305
      Roland Lucina
      Roland Octapad SPD-30
      Sequentix Cirklon
      Sonuus i2M Musicport
      Studiologic VMK-161 (via powered hub)
      Studiologic VMK-188
      Swissonic MIID-USB 1×1
      Terrasoniq MIDI ONE
      Terratec Axon AX 50
      Turtle Beach USB MIDI 1×1 (via powered hub, sometimes works without)
      V-Machine VST Player
      Waldorf Blofeld (desktop version)
      Yamaha E430
      Yamaha Ez250i
      Yamaha KX-8
      Yamaha PSR-S900
      Yamaha S90ES
      Yamaha Stage Piano 3P00 (external power needed, set local control off, MIDI on)
      Yamaha UX-16
      Yamaha WX-5 EWI (with adaptor, via USB hub)
      Yamaha YDP-V240
      Yamaha YPG-235
      Yamaha YPG-625
      Zoom A2.1u (audio only, via USB hub)
      Zoom H4n (audio only)
      Zoom R16 (audio only, via USB hub)

      Source: http://seosocially.com/


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