M-Audio Axiom AIR Mini 32 USB Midi Controller Keyboard Review

The M-Audio Axiom AIR Mini 32 is a 32 key USB powered MIDI controller keyboard that also includes some handy drum pad functionality. This is a small but highly capable piece of gear that can easily help launch your home studio and overall music production to the next level. Despite its size, having this keyboard in your arsenal will allow you to perform and program in a variety of ways. There’s a light version of Ableton Live included with the purchase as well, making this an amazing choice for your first piece of recording equipment.

Get your own M-Audio Axiom Air Mini 32

Newcomers and seasoned veterans alike should be able to find the Axion AIR Mini 32 worthwhile however. In order to help you make up your mind about a potential purchase, you can find a full run down of everything the keyboard excels at – as well as where it falls short – in the paragraphs below.

Axiom Air Mini 32 Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • A Name You Can Trust

First of all, M-Audio is a fantastic manufacturer that’s been in the digital audio game for the better part of two decades now. When it comes to building a studio of any kind these days, having a variety of M-Audio gear on hand is a must. Their reputation precedes them, so you should already feel fairly confident about the Axion AIR Mini 32 on name recognition alone.

  • Features Galore

Thanks to the USB functionality, you can plug the M-Audio Axiom AIR Mini 32 right into your computer and it should be picked up instantly. It will be ready for use with the included software, and also easily picked up by any audio program you’ve already been using. You’ll be able to perform and record your chords, melody lines, and solos and even assign them to a variety of different sounds within your program of choice.

Bundled in with the keyboard for no extra cost are two different types of software to help you get started if you haven’t already. The first is Ignite music creation, made by AIR. As mentioned above, Ableton Live Lite is also included. Ableton Live is one of the industry standards in digital audio workstation programs, making this a truly wonderful value.

Of course, you can also program drum parts or even layer in various effects at specific times thanks to the trigger pads. This is often done stiffly by drawing events into piano rolls through mouse clicks by musicians that are just starting out with home production. There’s a disconnect there that just doesn’t sound as good as when those kind of parts are actually performed. This controller gives you the power of actual performance, and it will make all the difference in how palatable your music turns out.

You can also toggle between different octaves, simulate pitch bends and sustain, and modulate effects in various ways. It may not look like much at first glance, but this keyboard really gives you a lot of control over what you can do.

  • Responsiveness

The trigger pads and keys are velocity sensitive, meaning you can actually capture the dynamics of your performances. The knobs also have a reasonable range depending on how you adjust them. When it comes to panning and the like, this is a big plus for getting results that are actually pleasant to the ear rather than overly abrupt.

  • Compact Size

To some, the fact that this isn’t a full size keyboard might be a turn off. For the purposes of performing melodies you’ll be recording and programming into digital audio workstations and the like however, you really don’t need anymore than what’s provided here. As you go further down the rabbit hole of music production, you’re going to covet having as much space left on and around your desk as you possibly can. The smaller 32 key build is really a blessing in disguise in the long run.

Cons:

  • Key Size

The only downside to the compact nature of the Axiom AIR Mini is that the keys themselves aren’t quite standard size. If you’re incredibly ingrained in the way a regular piano or keyboard feels, you may be thrown off a bit at first. It’s not uncomfortable however. It’s just the sort of thing you might have to get used to. If this is your first keyboard, you’re likely not to really notice any kind of issue.

  • Ignite Music Creation Sound

If you stick only with the software provided, the Ignite music creation sounds aren’t all the most professional sounding. The low overall price of the overall package (around $95) and inclusion of Ableton Live Lite help make that a non-issue however.

M-Audio Axiom AIR Mini 32 Conclusion

When it all comes down to it, the M-Audio Axiom AIR Mini 32 is a fine keyboard, especially if you’re looking for an entry level USB MIDI controller keyboard that still has a lot of functionality. For a piece of gear from a major brand, the price is a serious value, and they didn’t even have to cut a lot of corners to pull it off. You’re going to have a lot of possibilities at your fingertips here, and the compact size will make it a life saver for any home producers out there that have found themselves running out of room. No matter your level of experience, the Axiom AIR Mini 32 is sure to give you a good time.

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