M-Audio Oxygen MIDI Keyboard Review
If you’re on the hunt for a MIDI keyboard and you’ve decided to go with the larger sixty-one key model, then the Oxygen by M-Audio will not disappoint. While most producers feel that a forty-nine key MIDI can get the job done in terms of having just enough creative options, with these sixty-one keys you will be able to really control and play the keyboard fully, while also enjoying a large range of scales. There are many models out there that offer high quality sixty-one key models, but this one really knows how to shine and standout from the crowd.
The Oxygen MIDI keyboard by M-Audio is a third generation model that works with both Macs and PCs. This model delivers improved functionality in a portable model and features nine assignable sliders, eight knobs that are assignable and dedicated track and transport select buttons. Direct link is a mode that works to automatically map the controls that are common to DAW functions such as mixer, transport, plug-in parameters, and track pan. This model by M-Audio has a lot to offer and then some and it’s a MIDI that’s loaded with all of the bells and whistles you could ever want.
The Oxygen Midi Assessment
The included presets provide fun virtual instruments straight out of the box, which means no complicated setup needed. The sleek compact design and velocity sensitive keys work to round out a portable control that’s just what you need for performance and production. Considered by many to be the best MIDI keyboard on the market in this price range, this model is designed with functionality in mind while still remaining very easy to use.
The streamlined session control features nine assignable sliders and eight assignable knobs, track up and down switches and dedicated transport controls. This model gives the user total creative control over a session, allowing them to remain engaged in the creative process of mixing and recording instead of being constantly interrupted by the need for constant back and forth between a MIDI controller and a standard keyboard. The direct link mode will automatically map the sixty-one controls that are common to most DAW parameters. The factory presets offer instant mapping for such virtual instruments as Velvet, Hybrid, Xpand!2, Oddity, Strike, MiniMonsta, and ImpOSCar. The user can choose the dedicated buttons to switch quickly to the MIDI presets and channels for control over software instruments and multi-timbral hardware. Working with an MIDI controller and music software programs has never been easier.
When it comes to mobile MIDI keyboards, this model is a true pioneer. You’ll find that the Oxygen controller has a reliable, solid build and puts as much functionality into a keyboard as it does into other MIDI controls.
Right out of the box this keyboard offers Pro Tools compatibility, which is a program that’s the industry standard DAW and one that you’ll often find in professional studios. Thanks to direct link this keyboard is able to instantly map to important parameters for Pro Tools, Edit and Transport, in addition to the powerful suite of instruments that comes with Pro Tools.
When teamed up, Pro Tools software and the Oxygen provide a more streamlined workstation with a ton of interface options, not to mention industry standard compatibility.
Other features include six dedicated transport controls, dedicated transport and track buttons, Pro Tools compatibility, direct link mode, three fixed velocity settings and four velocity curves, sustain pedal input, unique select buttons that allow for on the fly step through for MIDI channels and program changes.
Keyboard MIDI Controller Pros and Cons
Pros: This is a budget friendly model that has important features such as the eight velocity sensitive pads, which are considered high quality. The nine faders and eight assignable knobs, in addition to the transport controls for the DAWs are big selling points for this model. As is the simple setup, which requires the use of a single USB cable to provide both MIDI data and power. The mod and pitch wheels are also a huge plus.
Consumers were also drooling over the included software bundle, which is a big deal for many. The keyboard layout is nothing short of perfect, and the keys themselves have a nice, firm feel. The modulation wheel is snappy, just the way it should be. The mixer controls provide the user with quicker access to output volume for each track. The mixer knobs will let you mix up the variables of every sound during a recording, which means you have total freedom to create some truly unique sounds.
Cons: A major disappointment for some consumers involved the fact that the software doesn’t come with plugins, VSTs or effects. However, the consumer can choose to upgrade. The pad and key quality aren’t quite as good as the Akai Professional MPK249 MIDI. Some consumers had issues with the quality of the keys stating that they felt like thin, cheap plastic.
One consumer felt that the velocity curve was flawed because there simply aren’t enough steps. When experimenting we counted seven. While most people could live with that if they owned a cheap keyboard, the difference between the sixth and seventh levels is just too significant for the price you have to pay for this model. Overall, it tends to make the keys less useful as a whole. The keyboard will work fine for many lead and synth parts but it’s not great for pianos or any other instrument that requires dynamic control.
M-Audio Conclusion and Rating
Consumers who purchased M-Audio Oxygen MIDI Keyboard gave it a rating of five out of five stars, which makes this MIDI our top rated product. If you’re new to audio production, this model will hit the mark for everything you need. It works to seamlessly integrate your digital workstation and has a balanced, fantastic feel. With a ton of extras, a high quality software bundle and a number of customization options that give you more control over your work, you’ll love how the M-audio Oxygen can take your music to the next level. The perfect setup for the beginner, navigating the user interface is easy, simple and smooth.