M-Audio Keystation 88

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by Kyle McCormick, Jul 5, 2014.

  1. Kyle McCormick

    Kyle McCormick Active Member

    Anyone use The M-Audio Keystatioin 88 if so what are your thoughts I'm in the market for a midi keyboard controller and my budget is $200.00 any suggestions?
  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Believe it or not, all controllers are not alike. And I'm talking more than just differences in key counts.

    It really depends on what you want to use it for. If you are looking at playing piano parts primarily, you probably want a controller that has 88 weighted keys, or better, one with hammer action.
    This will give you the closest feel to that of a real piano, allowing you to play with a sense of dynamics and finesse.

    The Key Station 88 has synth-action keys, making it a good choice for parts/instruments that you want to be able to move quickly on with the keys. This makes it sufficient for triggering drums, strings, B3, and of course, various synth patches.

    The ES model has a semi-weighted action, which is a bit slower than a synth action, and a little closer to a hammer action...it's good for Rhodes and Wurli patches... but still allows for fairly rapid playing as well.

    Both models have mod and pitch bend wheels, and you'll want these. Beytond controlling the modulation of a synth patch, the mod wheel is also what is used to engage the Leslie effect on VSTi's like NI's B4 Hammond Organ. It's also used to control the dynamics of orchestral patches in Garritan's GPO. It's a must-have if you want to be able to swell string sections, or to control the vibrato of flutes, oboes, sax, etc. This wheel will also control the velocity of instruments, like brass - if you want them to "bite" or, if you want them to sound soft and pad-like.

    Again, the downside to a synth or semi weighted controller is if you were doing a lot of piano tracks... probably at some point, you'd get a little frustrated trying to emulate the feel and performance of a piano with synth or semi weighted action.


  3. apstrong

    apstrong Active Member

    If you can increase your budget a little bit, you might consider the Keystation 88 Pro - looks like Maudio doesn't sell it anymore but there's a couple on Ebay for around 275-300$. It has hammer action plus a ton of programmable rotary knobs, sliders and buttons, including pitch wheel, mod wheel and transport controls. I have one and like it quite a bit, although take that with a grain of salt - I'm not a keyboardist and couldn't say how the action compares with other similar devices, but it does the job for me.
  4. Kyle McCormick

    Kyle McCormick Active Member

    Thank you for all the input

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