Great Value and Features
I purchased the Alesis QX49 keyboard controller because out of so many USB controllers, this one has a dedicated MIDI out plug. Not having a dedicated MIDI out can be a problem if you want to control other keyboards or use a sound system like SCOPE 5.1 with dedicated MIDI jacks which does not see the USB MIDI I/O. The board maps nicely to whichever DAW you run so you get the full use of all the sliders, knobs and buttons. The zone feature is a plus because you can easily map multiple layers and splits directly on the controller with a couple of key presses. Some players may not like the somewhat resistive feel of the keyboard compared to most synth type boards but as a piano player I actually like it better because of the resistance which does not in any way affect the velocity sensitivity of the board and is better for my chops! If you are used to softer keyboards you might want to try one out in person first. Overall, this keyboard worked out very well for me as I got two MIDI outs, one dedicated 5 pin DIN and another 5 pin DIN from the USB (kind of like a free USB MIDI out interface!) which I put to immediate and welcome use. The sliders, knobs, velocity sensitive pads and transport controls all work as expected via MIDI and USB with no head scratching. The free download of Ableton Live Lite (with full QX49 mapping support) is a plus and AIR Ignite is a fun DAW complete with effects and VSTs that is intriguing in approach and great fun for newbies and the kids to play around with and get quick and satisfying results. I purchased this as a demo unit from Sweetwater and thereby saved even more on the already low price. The keyboard arrived in it's original packaging and for all practical purposes was brand spanking new. Not even a fingerprint. With Sweetwater's two-year warranty and tech support this was an unheard of deal. While I would have qualms by demos from other dealers I have no such issue here. Applying the 1.05 firmware patch was as simple as downloading the files and dragging it over the install program. Done. Having had and use many controllers from Roland, Edirol, M-Audio and Alesis I can safely say there is simply no better MIDI controller keyboard than the Alesis QX49 at this price point with a dedicated MIDI out and full set of on board controls.