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Rating and Reviews: M-Audio Keystation 88es

Get 88 keys worth of MIDI control for an affordable price! This Keystation boasts full-sized, semi-weighted hammer-action keys and both MIDI and USB output.

User Ratings
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
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"A great inexpensive open door to 88 keys" submitted April 16, 2005

By a customer from whycalvary.com
Overall
Features
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Active Musician, Studio owner
Music Style: Christian music, jazz, acoustic, etc.
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VERIFIED BUYER
zZounds has verified that this customer bought this product from us.
Sound: Doesn't make any sounds... Feature: This is what it is, a great, inexpensive controller. The semi-weighted keys feel great and it performs well. Could use a power supply... Quality: It was a surprise when it arrived, looked and played great. Value: Can't get a better deal on 88 keys. Manufacturer Support: M-Audio is great with updates, etc. The Wow Factor: Looks great in the studio Overall: Best bang for the keyboard dollar period.
37 of 39 people (94.87%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Beautiful in its simplicity!" submitted August 1, 2008

By a customer from potsdam.edu
Overall
Sound
Musical Background: Active Musician, Band Leader, composer/arranger, amateur recording engineer/producer
Music Style: Tango, Electronica, Jazz, Salsa, Blues, Funk, Hip-Hop, Rock, Classical, Contradance
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SPOTLIGHT REVIEW
Sound: This keyboard is a MIDI controller. That is, it has been designed for use with a computer or other MIDI capable device. Therefore, it can sound every bit as good as the source of your MIDI sounds. I use the m-Audio keystation 49e with Garageband and Logic on my mac, and have found that a controller like this one expands the possibilities of music creation exponentially! Feature: Anyone thinking about purchasing this keyboard would do well to consider adding a sustain pedal and a keyboard stand to their order (if you don't already have one!) And don't forget about the MIDI cable! The volume, pitch-bend and tremelo sliders are really nice for adding expression to the sound. On smaller keyboards (49 and 61 keys for example) the octave +/- comes in quite handy. However, at least with Garageband, I have never found any use for the "advanced function" button Ease of Use: On any reasonably modern Mac, this keyboard couldn't be easier to use - simply plug it in with the MIDI/USB cable, fire up Garageband and it's ready to go! The only thing is that this keyboard can't generate any sounds of its own, so it has to be used in tandom with something that CAN, like a computer. But Garageband comes with lots of MIDI tone generators, and most of them sound really good! Quality: Lightweight and portable, this is a great keyboard to use at home, in a studio, or for gigs on the road. Practically ZERO setup time, with just the one cable to plug in. It IS fragile, though... unfortunately, mine took a spill off a table while still connected to the computer and never worked again (I used mine for four years without a single hitch). So BE CAREFUL not to drop it, and it will treat you well. Manufacturer Support: I voided any shred of a warranty when I brought my busted keyboard to an independent, local repair guy, and it STILL didn't work. So if you ever do need to get a repair, have it done by m-Audio! The Wow Factor: Very sexy! Knowing what I know about the MIDI tone generators of Garageband and Logic, a controller like this one opens up limitless possibilities for the creation of original music - no more loops! Overall: I know this product is totally ideal for someone like me (working musician and composer/arranger/producer). In fact, I am looking forward to replacing my broken keystation 49e with an upgrade to the 88. I appreciate how simple it is to use, just plug it in, and turn it on! I wish it included more accessories (at least a MIDI cable) but that's business, I suppose... Anyway, these keyboards are great, and I recommend them highly to anyone making music with a computer and software. If you're looking for something more self-contained, with built-in MIDI tone generators, look somewhere else.
38 of 43 people (88.37%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Barely usable, only for those who can't afford any better" submitted December 28, 2007

Overall
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Active Musician
Music Style: Contemporary church, experimental electro-rock
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Feature: I feel bad about rating the features with only a 5, because the only reason I bought this controller is that it is the only 88 key controller that doesn't cost a fortune due to the extreme simplicity of the design. But really, this controller doesn't have many features. Pitch bend and modulation wheel, little slider, and two buttons that can EITHER change the octave up or down, change the pitch up or down a semitone, or change the midi channel the signals are sent through (maybe these buttons can do something else as well, but I don't think there was anything else worthwhile). There is only a MIDI out jack on the controller, so if you are using this as a part of a chain it has to be your first thing. I have an old keytar controller from the 80's that I like to bring out on stage every now and again just for kicks, and since that is only MIDI out as well I have to unplug one to plug in the other. Other than the one MIDI out you have a USB midi thing and a damper pedal input. I should also mention that I cannot get the controller to send the signal from the damper pedal to anything I hook up with MIDI; I have to hook the pedal up to the device I am using the controller for. It does come with a USB cable and some stuff for a computer, but I have never used this for a computer, only as a real instrument MIDI controller. Ease of Use: Everything is easy to use about the keyboard, but the actual keys themselves are miserable to play on, for a few reasons. First of all, apparently "semi weighted" means sticking a spring(s) under each key. The end result is that the further down you press any given key, the harder it becomes to press. Also, it takes a good deal of effort to keep the keys held down, because there is so much upward force from the springs inside. Its honestly easier to press down the keys of a piano than these keys, and it is certainly easier to hold down piano keys than these. The second problem is that the keys can be pressed much further down than any piano, organ, or synth. I have no idea why they designed the keys this way, because it is really difficult to play softly or quickly on this controller. If you think about how hard it is to press the keys all the way down because of the springs, and then add the problem that the keys have to be pressed down further than a normal keyboard, the end result is an awful keyboard to play on. The final problem is that the black keys are much more sensitive to velocity than the white keys. The same amount of force played on a white key will yield a significantly different velocity signal sent than on a black key. For my M3, each patch I use is based on oscillators that make different sounds at different velocities. As a result, I have to be careful on certain patches to make sure I play the black keys more softly than the white, so that I don't accidentally make a different sound on just the black keys. Even still, just by listening anyone could easily distinguish between the white keys I play and the black keys. So like I said, this keyboard really is miserable to play on if you are used to playing a piano, organ, or synth. Quality: Hard to judge to quality right now, because I have only had mine for about 6 months. However, even though it is only made of plastic, everything seems to be holding up alright so far. I use this controller all over the place, and I usually end up taking it out of my apartment once or twice a week. I've dropped it and bumped it on stuff plenty already, and although the plastic casing is scratched plenty, everything works like new still. I have heard that banging on the keys too much will cause them to stop working within a couple of years, but so far I have had no trouble. Value: I definitely bought this controller because it is the cheapest 88 key out there. However, for as little as it does and how terrible it is to play, and for the fact that it is 100% plastic, it seems a tad overpriced even. For the price you pay for it, it doesn't even include a power supply! I realize that most people probably only use these for USB stuff where you don't need it, but if you don't use the USB you need the power. I was fortunate that the guy at the store I worked at just gave me a power supply (since I was already spending $2300 anyway), but otherwise I would have had to have spent another 15% of the total cost of the controller itself just to power it. The Wow Factor: Its not ugly, but its not really supposed to be sexy either. So just average. Overall: I only bought this controller because at the time, Korg was only selling the 61 key version of the M3. I am so sad that they don't have a 76 key synth weighted M3, because the keys that come with the M3 are so lovely to play! The store I bought my M3 at let me borrow the 61 key M3 for a practice with a band I was playing a gig with that weekend, but I found that 61 keys weren't quite enough. So I got the tabletop M3 and then bought the only 88 key controller I could find that I could still afford after getting the M3. It is just barely more worth it to me to have all 88 keys and to have to tolerate this terrible controller. I still give it a 6 though, because its not supposed to be a dream to play. It is just supposed to be cheap and usable. But it is barely usable, and still costs more than it is worth.
62 of 78 people (79.49%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"GREAT PRODUCT!!!" submitted February 7, 2007

By a customer from yahoo.com
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: digital music recording, active electone player
Music Style: any kind
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Sound: no sound Feature: no controller knob, the idea suddenly lost because no instant knob and should edit w/software not hardware. Better edit w/knob manual hardware Ease of Use: very easy, usb only. Quality: so far is no prob Value: it is worth to my expectation, 88keys and cheap better than to the other items Manufacturer Support: so far is no prob The Wow Factor: ok design, the color is like a new millenium Overall: My musical goals helped by this product, very easy to use
5 of 8 people (62.5%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Does what it's supposed to. Buy it!" submitted April 15, 2006

By a customer from gmail.com
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Hobbyist,
Music Style: Everything
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Sound: Doesn't have sounds it's just a controller Feature: Features it has are all I need. Ease of Use: Works as expected Quality: It's sufficient Value: Great price! Manufacturer Support: Don't know. Haven't had to deal with anyone The Wow Factor: Useful for anyone with a DAW and sound software. Overall: Should work for a long time for my application. By the way, The guy from Denver in the review above doesn't know how to use the equipment. The keyboard is fine. Please read the manual.
4 of 7 people (57.14%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"The M-Audio The chosen Midi controller full range ." submitted March 18, 2006

Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Back to Product Information
Sound: Has no sound But still only need vsti and will work great. Feature: Very outstanding feathers a must get for any seroius producer not trying to brake in the bank. Ease of Use: Ease of use is not only easy but very good if used with fruity loops ,Orion Platinum,Motu Synphonic Instrument,NI,Steniberg,Vsti,Rtmas,Protools,And many more. Quality: Works great has great but you don't get a substain pedal. Value: I got it for cheap . Manufacturer Support: Don't need to fix yet . The Wow Factor: I want it due to the fact that it is very good to use and looks like a champ .If you by also get a stand due to the fact that it is very tall about 4 foot 8" . Overall: i am very satisfied about that i bought and i only expect them to give a substain pedal.
4 of 8 people (50%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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