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Rating and Reviews: M-Audio Axiom 61 II MIDI

Play keyboards? Run Pro Tools? Control both with this semi-weighted 61-key beauty. DirectLink maps the Axiom's faders and knobs to your virtual instruments.

User Ratings
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
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"Many features implemented at a respectable, but not excellent level. High price/performance ratio." submitted December 1, 2010

Overall
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Hobbyist
Music Style: Many styles
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Feature: Decent set of all around features: Smooth endless rotary knobs that don't click at each turn (like the previous version of this product). Smooth faders with a nice rubber grip on each. All controls are assignable to custom uses, including the transport buttons. Eight drum pads with medium sensitivity out of the box (slightly better than the competing AKAI controller keyboard drum pads). I found the drum pads right out of the box to be far too insensitive, requiring one to press a bit harder than I like. For those who are ok with opening up their unit and potentially risking losing warranty, these pads can be made perfect with three layers of electric tape placed behind each (Google for the similar procedure on "AKAI drum pad modifications"). Lastly, this unit looks pretty sexy. The LCD display is way too bright (in my opinion, maybe not yours) for working in the dark or low light, but its backlighting can easily be unplugged - again if you are willing to take the risks associated with opening the unit up. Ease of Use: While I cannot comment on the auto mapping via direct link (did not try it since I define my own custom control sets), the overall ease of use is good, not great. Setting up controls for custom uses could be streamlined, and may prove challenging for those new to MIDI or hardware controllers - its really not too bad though, and most is covered in the manual. I would have rated this an 8 if the product retained the direct edit buttons from the previous Gen 1 version. Now you have to press 'Edit' and use the piano keys to make the same entries that were made previously with a single button push. Quality: I have taken this apart to modify the drum pad sensitivity (don't try this at home kids unless you know what you are doing). The build quality is respectable. For such an attractive unit made of plastic, its surprisingly solid construction, and the components inside seem to be of decent, but not premium quality. I don't care for the choice of segmented LCD display, as it is too bright and has goofy 'font' due to the segments. A non segmented display with pixels (much more resolution) would have added significant cost though. The semi weighted keys are a step up from the previous version of the product (from what I understand) but they are slightly stiffer than some semi-piano action keys you may have tried before. I'm getting used to their feel, and kind of like them now, but try them out at a store first if you have the chance. Value: I got this on sale for an excellent price - about 300 USD. I now have nice semi weighted keys, drum pads, knobs and sliders, and transport controls all in one easy to reach place. This can do a fair bit of the job of several separate controllers, and I find myself not wanting to reach as often for my dedicated drum pads or controllers, although this will not replace a dedicated controller like the BCR2000 or NI's Maschine. In summary, this product provides many useful features all implemented at a respectable, but not excellent level. Each of the features could be taken to the next level - but then so would the price. Considering this, I have to rate the price/performance ratio high. The Wow Factor: Quite nice looking. Very pretty in the dark with the blue illumination under some of the buttons. Overall: Provided this unit holds up - and I expect it will, it will be a great controller for some time.
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"Axiom 61 (2nd Generation) keyboard best in class at that price-point" submitted January 9, 2011

By a customer from markworks.com
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Features
Ease of Use
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Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: composer
Music Style: classical
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Sound: It's a MIDI controller so isn't itself responsible for sounds. Feature: I bought the Axiom 61 2nd Generation for use with Apple's Logic Pro (9) composing 'classical' music. Its features, ease of use, reliability and adherence to standard protocols make it an excellent product for that purpose. Ease of Use: Easy to use. Good manual. Good technical support Quality: Well made. It is plastic, but seems durable and does everything it's supposed to do very well. Value: Yes; the best value for money in the range - and I did a lot of research! Manufacturer Support: Avid generally provides good and well-informed support. If a little slow at times. The Wow Factor: It's well designed. Overall: This will meet my needs for 'classical' music composition for the foreseeable future.
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"Solid, it works, what more do you need?" submitted February 26, 2014

By Paul B in Everett, WA
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Sound
Features
Ease of Use
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The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Former music student, keys/guitars/vocals, gig out a few times a month.
Music Style: Rock, country, blues, electronic, etc.
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Overall: The Axiom line was suggested to me by a friend who knows a lot more about MIDI than I do. His emphasis was on the feel, software integration, and suitability for gigging. Right on all accounts, and it's been a joy to use - it basically plugs in and works. There is no sound by itself, so no rating there, but I will say it does express itself well when using virtual instruments.This is a repeat purchase from Zzounds.com, and I did use the price-matching policy, but all things being equal I'd prefer to buy from them again.
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"Poor action for for organ slides & fast synth solos" submitted March 10, 2012

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Overall: I wish M-Audio would come out with a decent quality 61 key controller keyboardthat suits my needs. I do a lot of fast synth solos & organ slides. The sharp edge keys and action on the Axiom 61 (all versions, Pro or standard) are not very good for my playing style. The build quality looks cheap too, and the sliders are oftenbroken in the stores. I really want a controller in this class that features aftertouch. Oddly, M-Audio's latest versions of the Oxygen 61 feature much better action, 9 slides I could use as drawbars, and looks nicer cosmetically onstage too. But no aftertouch or MIDI, and I need both. Come on M-Audio, get it right.
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"Cheaply made, likely to expire soon after the warranty" submitted January 6, 2011

Overall
Quality
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Quality: Like most M-Audio products these days, the Axiom build quality is poor. I've owned the Axiom 61 for ~18 mos and the USB port has failed. A quick search will reveal that this happens frequently, and typically soon after the warranty period. M-Audio products don't offer any functionality that you can't get from other vendor's products, for just a few dollars more. And those will last many -years- longer. Value: M-Audio products are in many cases slightly cheaper than their competitors, but their value is much lowe. Manufacturer Support: M-Audio's (and Avid's) support is famously awful. On their service message boards, a tech answered the long list of Axiom users with failed USB ports by stating that if the product was out of warranty they could continue to use the keboard via the midi port. Nothing about getting it serviced, nothing about how many people were experiencing the problem: just a terse statement about how to keep using their cheaply made device.
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