M-Audio Keystation 88 II USB MIDI Keyboard Controller Review

The M-Audio Keystation 88 II | 88-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller is one of the bestselling MIDI keyboards on the market because it is sold at a reasonable price. In addition, the keyboard is made of durable and high-grade components that allow it to withstand the challenges posted by regular use.

On top of that, it is powered by a USB cable, does not require an external power source and can be readily used without the need to download or install any driver.

Features

  • Comes with dimensions of 9.8” x 53.9” x 3.6” inches
  • Weighs about 16.9 pounds
  • Designed to compose digital music and play virtual instruments
  • USB powered
  • Can be directly connected to a computer to gain full control of the music software
  • Equipped with 88 velocity-sensitive and full-size keys
  • Has octave buttons and volume slider
  • Has a pitch bend and modulation wheel
  • Fitted with advanced function buttons
  • Equipped with transport buttons
  • Comes with a ¼“ sustain pedal input that enables the use of an external control pedal
  • Bundled with premium virtual instruments from SONiVOX and the popular production program Ableton Live Lite

Pros

The M-Audio Keystation 88 II | 88-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller is a favorite option among MIDI keyboard buyers since it is decently priced as well as ideal in composing digital music and playing virtual instruments.

The product is equipped with user-friendly controls that allow you to play, perform and record music without the need to use a trackpad or mouse. It is also equipped with 88 full-size and velocity-sensitive keys that are convenient to use.

Aside from that, the M-Audio Keystation 88 II | 88-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller is admired for it is USB-powered and no longer require a separate power source to function.

It is also equipped with a ¼” sustain pedal input that enables it to be used along with an external control pedal. On top of that, the product is made of durable and high-grade components that allow it to withstand the challenges posed by continuous use.

Cons

The M-Audio Keystation 88 II | 88-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller, just like other MIDI keyboard models, has its downsides.

First, it easily runs out of stock since the product availability is quite limited. Second, it is not sold along with an applicable warranty to back it up. Third, it is not available for shipping to some countries. Finally, the product is usually criticized for its relatively heavy weight that makes portability cumbersome.

Comparison

Aside from the M-Audio Keystation 88 II | 88-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller, the Alesis Q88 | 88-Key USB/MIDI Keyboard Controller, and Acorn Instruments Masterkey 61 USB MIDI Controller Keyboard are also considered by buyers as their top options. This is because both of these products are reliable and durable.

The Alesis Q88 | 88-Key USB/MIDI Keyboard Controller is sold with dimensions of 4.3” x 19.8” x 10.6” and weighs about 23 pounds. It is equipped with 88 velocity-sensitive and semi-weighted keys.

The product comes with modulation and pitch blend wheels that ensure a more expressive performance. It is also equipped with octave up and down buttons that are responsible for extending the note range, and expanding the melodic range.

The Acorn Instruments Masterkey 61 USB MIDI Controller Keyboard, on the other hand, comes with dimensions of 40” x 4.3” x 10.2” and weighs about 5 pounds.

The product is equipped with 61 notes that are velocity-sensitive. It also comes with modulation and pitch bend wheels along with assignable MIDI fader, and 4 assignable knobs that allow you to have a better control of the device.

Given all of these features, the products discussed above can be considered among the best in MIDI keyboards in the market at present. But out of the three, the M-Audio Keystation 88 II | 88-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller proves to be the top option since it is reasonably priced, and comes with a long list of useful features.

The Alesis Q88 | 88-Key USB/MIDI Keyboard Controller can be regarded as the second best option for it offers some of the features that the M-Audio Keystation 88 II provides, at a similar price. Unfortunately, it is relatively larger and heavier compared to the M-Audio Keystation 88 II.

Finally, the Acorn Instruments Masterkey 61 USB MIDI Controller Keyboard comes in at third despite its very low price since it only comes with 61 notes and a shorter list of useful features, especially when compared to what the first two models offer.

Verdict

Although it suffers from a few flaws, the M-Audio Keystation 88 II | 88-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller still remains a favorite among buyers for it is decently priced and reliable. It is made of durable materials and does not easily get damaged.  It is also packed with features that enable you to play, record and create music.