If you’re creating music on your computer, you’ll quickly discover that its quite hard to get various instruments on the track – virtual plugins are good and all, but to accurately insert any custom sounds, you need a physical instrument. That’s where keyboards come in – they were used extensively in the past in studios, and are still used on stage for live performances to this day. With MIDI controllers, they can be easily attached to any DAW you may be using.
The M-Audio Keystation 88 II is a full sized MIDI keyboard that provides a high quality experience at an affordable price. The keyboard has a full 88 keys (semi-weighted), which is a blessing if you’ve been using a smaller keyboard, as it lets you have a more accurate control over your tracks.
The Keystation 88 II is a compact, no-frills keyboard that doesn’t have any inbuilt software, instead using your DAW program’s capabilities to cover that (Ableton Live Lite Edition, Xpand!2 and SONiVOX’s Eight Eight Ensemble are included in the package, so you can get started right away).
The controller is fully USB powered, so you don’t need any extra cables or power adapters to lug around, although you do have the option of using a separate AC adapter and a MIDI interface if you need to.
Besides the main keys, the Keystation 88 II also features transport and directional buttons (with custom assignment support), as well as pitch bend, modulation and octave controls for better control over your performance. Aside from the USB port, the keyboard also has a MIDI out jack and sustain and expression pedal inputs.
The M-Audio Keystation 88 II is ready to go as soon as it’s connected, using standard MIDI drivers for PCs and Macs – it can even be used with an iPad/iPhone using the optional Camera Connection Kit, which is perfect for the musician on the go.
For under $200, the Keystation 88 II is one of the best choices for a simple, high quality MIDI keyboard you can get right now.