I initially picked up an M-Audio Keystation 88 a few years ago, when I needed a controller keyboard for music notation software. I liked the feel of the full-sized, semi-weighted keys so much that I ended up integrating it into my main songwriting rig. Thanks to its streamlined design that's free of sliders and extra buttons, it sits out of the way when I don't need it. And when I do need it, the Keystation 88 delivers the expression and range I need.
M-Audio Keystation 88 88-key MIDI Controller
It's a nice keyboard, you must be aware of some things:
1- You always will have a little latency, even when you have already installed an appropriate audio driver.
2- The included software is not so good, you may want to install another one, latency is an issue in this theme.
3- Reason 8.1 not recognize all buttons, including the volume fader.
Out of that, i love it.
As always, Sweetwater crew are one of the best.
Keystation is everything that I expected.
Awesome keyboard controller
Just buy it. Nothing else can touch this for the price and quality. I'm totally stoked on this new tool. I have an Oxygen 61 as well. M-Audio makes some fine gear.
M-Audio Keystation 88
Recently, I got rid of my very expensive name brand 73 note workstation with weighted keys. After a few years, I never fell in love with the sounds it contained (thousands), they were old, uninspiring and no match for the latest virtual synths. I shopped around for a replacement keyboard and decided on M-Audio Keystation 88. I'm very happy with it, the semi-weighted action feels very nice and it works great with ProTools v 12.4 and the massive number of virtual synths I use. Excellent value at this price.
The M-Audio 88 key MIDI controller is awesome. I've only had it a short while and it connected to my computer without any problem. It has very smooth keyboard action with great velocity controll and the pitch and mod wheels are at just the right sensitivity to make adjustments during play.
Very Good Affordable Controller
What makes this keyboard a great deal is it's bundled software. I thought the gem was going to be the 88 Steinway Grand VST but the biggest payoff was the Xpand2 Synth VST. Wow, what great sounds it has and the Steinway is awesome as well. All my VSTs really respond great on the M-Audio and there is no latency or bogging down on the processor. I am happy with this keyboard.
A few Cons: I like to play some classical once in a while and on quiet passages I can't play the pianissimo parts without non responses from the keyboard. I have to play the song just a little harder than it should be played in order for the key to trigger. The advanced settings seem buggy and I couldn't get the front buttons to work nor the program change to function. The edges of the keys are sharp on the front of each key so you have to be careful not to cut yourself if you want to organ slide.
All in all though, money well spent. For all you get, this keyboard is a steal.
This keyboard is great. It is very precise with its velocity measurements and feels great to play but coming from a fully waited keyboard is why im giving it four stars... it doesn't feel waited but it doesn't feel springed, its a nice mix.
Highly recommend for a thin light keyboard for midi.
Good except for the action
The first one I had was sent back about two weeks after I bought it because one of my friends who has a "tuner's touch" played it and one of the keys stopped working. The replacement has worked adequately up until now, but the middle C now is harder to press down than the surrounding keys. The action has always felt mushy to me, no matter how I tweaked the software velocity curves. I did appreciate the tremendous level of control with the sliders, buttons, and knobs, so for the money it was a good purchase.
I'll be different, apparently
I own the older model of the Keystation 88, and while it doesn't have the weighted action of a piano, it comes closer than this new generation, which is very springy - much more synth-like than piano-like. I'm not a fan of this new touch, nor am I happy about the lack of the controlling ability of the previous generation - especially the sliders that could be used as drawbars for B3 sounds.
It might have been a good idea for me to spend more money on something with a more realistic feel to the keyboard, but since I have a Receptor, I didn't want to put out for a controller that contains sounds I don't need and wouldn't use.
If you use synth or organ sounds primarily, this might be a good controller for you (minus the drawbar controls), but if you use piano sounds for the most part when gigging, as I do, the new generation Keystation may be a big disappointment to you. It is to me...
Not good for playing in flat keys
Spring tension is set up so that the higher up the key you to, the harder it is to play. That's NOT the way keyboards are meant to be set up. It should be equal tension no matter whether you're playing at the end of the key closest to you, or farthest away. Check any piano, organ, or decent synth and that's what you'll find. But on this keyboard, If you play in flat keys, where your fingers rest higher up on the keys, it's nearly impossible to play evenly. A Bb chord or Bb-sus arpeggio is an example of something very awkward to play on this instrument.
Also, on the 88 key version of this, there is an input for a volume pedal. It defaults to controlling midi volume. But I tried it with my trusty Yamaha volume pedal, and it works very poorly. You'd end up using the volume fader with your left hand instead.