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Review M-Audio Keystation 88 MkII MIDI keyboard. Where to buy it?

M-Audio is a business unit of inMusic Brands that designs and markets digital audio and MIDI interfaces, keyboards and MIDI controllers, synthesizers, speakers, studio monitors, digital DJ systems, microphones and music software. I’ll tell you how this post is built. First I will list the features of this M-Audio Keystation 88 MkII keyboard. Then you have a video or two, purchase links and useful comments from other users and then you have one of the most useful parts; comparison tables with similar keyboards so you can compare.

  • 88 full-size speed-sensitive keys
  • USB MIDI connection for playing virtual instruments, controlling recording software and more
  • Transport and directional buttons to operate with DAWs and software
  • Pitch Bend, Modulation and Octave Controls
  • USB powered
  • Supports Plug-and-Play connectivity with Mac and PC
  • Lightweight design
  • IOS support using the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit (sold separately)
  • Includes Ableton Live Lite, a powerful software sequencer for music creation and live performance
  • Includes the SONiVOX Eighty-Eight Ensemble plug-in, a virtual piano instrument that captures a 9-foot Steinway CD327
  • USB port
  • 1 MIDI port
  • 6.3mm Expression Pedal Jack
  • Jack for 6.3mm sustain pedal
  • Operates via USB or optional power supply
  • Approximate dimensions: 1346 x 240 x 100mm
  • Weight: 7,30Kg approx.

review m-audio-keystation-88-mkii
This MIDI keyboard usually costs around 153.00 euros and offers 88 speed-sensitive, square-edged keys with 7 octaves, just like a grand piano, which will allow you to compose or perform the compositions you want.

Function controls include modulation and pitch bend wheels, octave up and down buttons, transport buttons (rec, play, pause, stop, etc) and a volume fader.

In connections, we have a sustain pedal input, an expression input, none is included. And it’s USB powered, plus it has an external power supply, which is also not included. It has a MIDI output.

The M-Audio Keystation 88 MKII includes Ableton Live Lite and the SONiVOX Eighty-Eight Ensemble plug-in, a virtual piano instrument that captures a 9-foot Steinway CD327 piano.

Now that we’ve seen the features of this M-Audio Keystation 88 MkII keyboard, watch these related videos to learn more.

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M-Audio Keystation 88 MkII vs Arturia KeyLab Essential 88

The M-Audio Keystation 88 MkII MIDI keyboard is priced at €205/£177/$203 when the Arturia KeyLab Essential 88 is priced at €349/£311/$345. Let’s go head-to-head:

  • Both offer 88 full-size keys with sensitivity.
  • In function controls, the M-Audio Keystation 88 MKII offers modulation and pitch bend wheels, octave buttons, transport buttons and a volume fader. When the Arturia KeyLab Essential 88 offers more functions, such as: 8 sensitive, assignable and aftertouch pads, 9 assignable knobs, 9 assignable faders, 13 assignable buttons, transport buttons, and modulation and pitch bend wheels. In addition, there is an encoder that can be pressed and assigned.
  • The M-Audio Keystation 88 MK3 features an integrated sustain and expression pedal input, an external power input, MIDI output, and a USB connection. The Arturia KeyLab Essential 88 features a USB connection, a sustain pedal input, MIDI output, and external power input (not included).
  • Finally, the M-Audio Keystation 88 MKII includes Ableton Live Lite and the SONiVOX Eighty-Eight Ensemble plug-in, a virtual piano instrument that captures a 9-foot Steinway CD327 piano. And the Arturia KeyLab Essential 88 includes the Arturia Analog Lab 3 license, Ableton Live Lite license and Model D Piano UVI license.

Let’s put the features of these keyboards in a table so you can compare

M-Audio Keystation 88 MkII

Arturia KeyLab Essential 88

  • 88 speed-sensitive full-size keys
  • USB MIDI connection for playing virtual instruments, controlling recording software and more
  • Transport and directional buttons to operate with DAWs and software
  • Pitch Bend, Modulation and Octave Controls
  • USB powered
  • Supports Plug-and-Play connectivity with Mac and PC
  • Lightweight design
  • IOS support using the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit (sold separately)
  • Includes Ableton Live Lite, a powerful software sequencer for music creation and live performance
  • Includes the SONiVOX Eighty-Eight Ensemble plug-in, a virtual piano instrument that captures a 9-foot Steinway CD327
  • USB port
  • 1 MIDI port
  • 6.3mm Expression Pedal Jack
  • Jack for 6.3mm sustain pedal
  • Operates via USB or optional power supply
  • Approximate dimensions: 1346 x 240 x 100mm
  • Weight: 7,30Kg approx.
  • With 88 speed-sensitive keys
  • 8 speed-sensitive pads with aftertouch
  • A ‘clickable’ encoder
  • 9 rotating knobs
  • 9 faders
  • 13 buttons
  • Transport section with 4 function switches
  • LCD screen
  • Tone and modulation wheel
  • Mode for playing chords
  • Compatible with Mackie/HUI Control
  • Connections: USB, MIDI out, connection for sustain pedal, input for optional power supply (not included)
  • Native USB support
  • Includes Arturia Analog Lab 3 software, Ableton Live Lite license and Model D Piano UVI license
  • Dimensions: 1260 x 63 x 260.6 mm (width x height x depth)
  • Weight: 8.48 kg
  • Attention — Internet connection required to authorize the product

In our first comparison, we found two controllers with similarities and differences. On the one hand, the M-Audio Keystation 88 MKII is a MIDI keyboard with 88 keys with somewhat minimalist functions, only found modulation and pitch bend wheels, up and down octave buttons, transport buttons (rec, play, pause, stop, etc) and a fader for volume. On the other hand, the Arturia KeyLab Essential 88 offers 8 sensitive, assignable pads with aftertouch, 9 assignable knobs, 9 assignable faders, 13 assignable buttons, transport buttons and modulation and pitch bend wheels. In addition, there is a push-button and assignable encoder.

If you want a MIDI controller that uses only the keyboard as such, the M-Audio Keystation 88 MKII is your choice. If you want a MIDI controller that, along with the 88-key keyboard, also requires more control features such as pads, knobs, faders and buttons, the Arturia KeyLab Essential 88 will be your choice. Both are good for what they offer and cost.

And here’s a video of the Arturia KeyLab Essential 88

M-Audio Keystation 88 MkII vs M-Audio Hammer 88

The M-Audio Keystation 88 MkII MIDI keyboard is priced at €205/£177/$203 while the M-Audio Hammer 88 is priced at €422/£366/$419. Let’s go head to head:

  • Both offer 88 full-size keys with sensitivity. The keyboard of the M-Audio Hammer 88 has a counterbalanced hammer action, giving you a great quality keyboard compared to the Keystation.
  • In function controls, both offer modulation and pitch bend wheels, octave buttons, transport buttons and a volume fader. The M-Audio Hammer 88 offers keyboard zone assignment for split and layer functions and 1-finger chord function.
  • In terms of connections, the M-Audio Keystation 88 MK3 features an integrated sustain and expression pedal input, an external power input, MIDI output, and a USB connection. The M-Audio Hammer 88 features a USB connection, a sustain pedal input, an expression pedal input, and an input for a second footswitch, a MIDI output, and an external power input (not included).
  • Finally, the M-Audio Keystation 88 MKII includes Ableton Live Lite and the SONiVOX Eighty-Eight Ensemble plug-in, a virtual piano instrument that captures a 9-foot Steinway CD327 piano. And the M-Audio Hammer 88 includes licenses for the following software packages: AIR “Mini Grand” Acoustic Grand Piano, AIR “Velvet” Vintage Electric Piano, AIR “DB-33” Tonewheel Organ Simulator and SONiVOX “Eighty-Eight Ensemble” Authentic Piano Instrument, Ableton Live Lite license and a 3-month Skoove license for online piano lessons.

Let’s put the features of these keyboards in a table so you can compare

M-Audio Keystation 88 MkII

M-Audio Hammer 88

  • 88 speed-sensitive full-size keys
  • USB MIDI connection for playing virtual instruments, controlling recording software and more
  • Transport and directional buttons to operate with DAWs and software
  • Pitch Bend, Modulation and Octave Controls
  • USB powered
  • Supports Plug-and-Play connectivity with Mac and PC
  • Lightweight design
  • IOS support using the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit (sold separately)
  • Includes Ableton Live Lite, a powerful software sequencer for music creation and live performance
  • Includes the SONiVOX Eighty-Eight Ensemble plug-in, a virtual piano instrument that captures a 9-foot Steinway CD327
  • USB port
  • 1 MIDI port
  • 6.3mm Expression Pedal Jack
  • Jack for 6.3mm sustain pedal
  • Operates via USB or optional power supply
  • Approximate dimensions: 1346 x 240 x 100mm
  • Weight: 7,30Kg approx.
  • Controller with a keyboard with counterbalanced hammer mechanics
  • 88 keys
  • USB-MIDI connection, Plug & Play compatible on Mac or PC
  • MIDI output for connection to external MIDI peripherals
  • Pitch-Bend and modulation wheels
  • Volume Fader and Up/Down Buttons
  • Keyboard zone assignment for split and layer functions and chord function with 1 finger (4 voices)
  • Easy parameter editing via the included Hammer 88 editor
  • Compatible with iOS with Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit connector (available separately)
  • Includes licenses for the following software packages: AIR “Mini Grand” Acoustic Grand Piano, AIR “Velvet” Vintage Electric Piano, AIR “DB-33” Tonewheel Organ Simulator and SONiVOX “Eighty-Eight Ensemble” Authentic Piano Instrument
  • Ableton Live Lite
  • Includes 3-month license for Skoove for online piano lessons
  • Includes score support
  • Powered by USB port or external power supply (not included)
  • Dimensions: 1420 x 300 x 130 mm
  • Weight: 17.5 kg

Here is an interesting comparison with two MIDI controllers from the same brand, M-Audio, and both with 88 keys. The main difference between the two is that the Hammer 88 has a weighted hammer action, which greatly increases the quality and price of the controller. If you are a pianist who is not used to or is very uncomfortable playing without the counterweight on the keys, or simply want to learn piano, it will surely be your choice. If you don’t need the counterweight, the Keystation 88 will be fine for you.

Here’s a video of the M-Audio Hammer 88 keyboard

If you want to know more about this option, click on the following link to see the M-Audio Hammer 88 review.

M-Audio Keystation 88 MkII vs Novation Impulse 49

The M-Audio Keystation 88 MkII MIDI Keyboard is priced at €205/£177/$203 while the Novation Impulse 49 is priced at €223/£205/$228, with a difference of £70 between them. We will also have your face to face:

  • The M-Audio Keystation 88 MKII offers 88 keys with sensitivity and square fronts. The Novation Impulse 49 offers 49 semi-weighted keys with sensitivity and aftertouch.
  • In function controls, the M-Audio Keystation 88 MKII offers modulation and pitch bend wheels, octave buttons, transport buttons and a volume fader. When the Novation Impulse 49 offers 8 backlit pads, 9 assignable faders, 8 assignable knobs, 6 transport keys, octave up/down, and pitch bend and modulation wheels.
  • In terms of connections, the M-Audio Keystation 88 MKII features a sustain pedal input, an expression pedal input, an external power input, MIDI output, and a USB connection. The Novation Impulse 49 features a USB connection, sustain and expression pedal inputs, and MIDI input and output.
  • Finally, the M-Audio Keystation 88 MKII includes Ableton Live Lite and the SONiVOX Eighty-Eight Ensemble plug-in, a virtual piano instrument that captures a 9-foot Steinway CD327 piano. And the Novation Impulse 49 includes Xcite+ Software Pack licenses, with Ableton Live Lite.

Let’s put the features of these keyboards in a table so you can compare

M-Audio Keystation 88 MkII

Novation Impulse 49

  • 88 speed-sensitive full-size keys
  • USB MIDI connection for playing virtual instruments, controlling recording software and more
  • Transport and directional buttons to operate with DAWs and software
  • Pitch Bend, Modulation and Octave Controls
  • USB powered
  • Supports Plug-and-Play connectivity with Mac and PC
  • Lightweight design
  • IOS support using the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit (sold separately)
  • Includes Ableton Live Lite, a powerful software sequencer for music creation and live performance
  • Includes the SONiVOX Eighty-Eight Ensemble plug-in, a virtual piano instrument that captures a 9-foot Steinway CD327
  • USB port
  • 1 MIDI port
  • 6.3mm Expression Pedal Jack
  • Jack for 6.3mm sustain pedal
  • Operates via USB or optional power supply
  • Approximate dimensions: 1346 x 240 x 100mm
  • Weight: 7,30Kg approx.
  • 49 semi-weighted keys and Aftertouch
  • Full DAW control and plug-in operation
  • 8 Backlit Drum Pads
  • 9 Fader of 55mm
  • 9 assignable buttons
  • 8 rotary controllers
  • 6 transport keys
  • Pitch and modulation wheels
  • 2-octave keys
  • Arpeggiator
  • Beat-Roll and Clip-Launch buttons
  • LCD screen
  • USB connection
  • Connections for expression and sustain pedals
  • MIDI in/out
  • Automap-Control-Software
  • Includes Xcite+ Software Pack, with Ableton Live Lite
  • Size: 846 x 332 x 100 mm
  • Weight: 5kg

In this comparison we find the M-Audio Keystation 88 MKII that we have already analyzed before, and so does the Novation Impulse 49 with 49 semi-balanced keys, 8 pads, 9 faders, 9 buttons, 8 knobs, 6 transport keys and modulation and pitch bend wheels. Where we can clearly see big differences between both MIDI controllers. The M-Audio is for users who only need the 88-key keyboard, while the Novation is for those who settle for a 4-octave keyboard and need more control features like the ones mentioned above, which allow for more precise control in the DAW to be used.

And here is a video of the Novation Impulse 49 keyboard

If you want to know more about this option, click on the following link to see the Novation Impulse 49 review.

M-Audio Keystation 88 MkII vs M-Audio Oxygen 61 Mk4

The M-Audio Keystation 88 MkII MIDI keyboard is priced at €205/£177/$203 when the M-Audio Oxygen 61 Mk4 is priced at €155/£133/$154, but the difference is so small that this may vary. Let’s move on to the face-to-face:

  • The M-Audio Keystation 88 MKII offers 88 keys with sensitivity and square fronts. The M-Audio Oxygen 61 Mk4 offers 61 keys with sensitivity.
  • In function controls, the M-Audio Keystation 88 MKII offers modulation and pitch bend wheels, octave buttons, transport buttons and a volume fader. When the M-Audio Oxygen 61 Mk4 offers 8 pads, 9 assignable faders, 8 assignable knobs, transport keys, octaves up/down, and pitch bend and modulation wheels.
  • In connections, we find that the M-Audio Keystation 88 MKII integrates a sustain pedal input, an expression pedal input, an external power input, MIDI output and a USB connection. The M-Audio Oxygen 61 Mk4 has a built-in USB connection and a sustain pedal input.
  • Finally, the M-Audio Keystation 88 MKII includes Ableton Live Lite and the SONiVOX Eighty-Eight Ensemble plug-in, a virtual piano instrument that captures a 9-foot Steinway CD327 piano. And the M-Audio Oxygen 61 Mk4 includes SONiVOX Twist (Software), Ableton Live Lite (Software) licenses.

Let’s put the features of these keyboards in a table so you can compare

M-Audio Keystation 88 MkII

M-Audio Oxygen 61 Mk4

  • 88 speed-sensitive full-size keys
  • USB MIDI connection for playing virtual instruments, controlling recording software and more
  • Transport and directional buttons to operate with DAWs and software
  • Pitch Bend, Modulation and Octave Controls
  • USB powered
  • Supports Plug-and-Play connectivity with Mac and PC
  • Lightweight design
  • IOS support using the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit (sold separately)
  • Includes Ableton Live Lite, a powerful software sequencer for music creation and live performance
  • Includes the SONiVOX Eighty-Eight Ensemble plug-in, a virtual piano instrument that captures a 9-foot Steinway CD327
  • USB port
  • 1 MIDI port
  • 6.3mm Expression Pedal Jack
  • Jack for 6.3mm sustain pedal
  • Operates via USB or optional power supply
  • Approximate dimensions: 1346 x 240 x 100mm
  • Weight: 7,30Kg approx.
  • 61 full-size speed-sensitive synthesizer action keys
  • 8 speed-sensitive trigger pads
  • 8 assignable knobs
  • 9 assignable faders
  • Transport buttons for DAW control
  • Automation for popular DAWs: Ableton Live, Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase, and more
  • LCD screen
  • USB powered
  • Plug-and-Play Support
  • MIDI-USB connectivity
  • Input for sustain pedal
  • Included software: Ableton Live Lite and SONiVOX Twist Synth
  • The box also includes: SONiVOX Twist (Software), Ableton Live Lite (Software), USB cable, quick start guide, warranty and safety manual
  • Dimensions: 977 x 243 x 94mm (width x depth x height)
  • Weight: 3.4kg

In this comparison we find a very similar case to the previous one, on the one hand we have the M-Audio Keystation 88 MKII with its respective functions, and on the other hand we have the M-Audio Oxygen 61 MK4 with 61 sensitive keys, 8 pads, 9 assignable faders, 8 assignable knobs, transport keys, octaves up/down, and pitch bend and modulation wheels. The M-Audio Keystation 88 MKII is for users who only need the 88-key keyboard, while the M-Audio Oxygen 61 MK4 is for those who settle for a 5-octave keyboard, and need more control features like those mentioned above, which allow for more precise control in the DAW to be used.

Here is a video of the M-Audio Oxygen 61 Mk4 keyboard

If you want to know more about this option, click on the following link to see the M-Audio Oxygen 61 Mk4 review.

M-Audio Keystation 88 MkII vs Arturia KeyLab Essential 61

The M-Audio Keystation 88 MkII MIDI keyboard is priced at €205/£177/$203 while the Arturia KeyLab Essential 61 is priced at €239/£215/$239. The face-to-face is:

  • The M-Audio Keystation 88 MKII offers 88 keys with sensitivity and square fronts. The Arturia KeyLab Essential 61 offers 61 keys with sensitivity.
  • In function controls, the M-Audio Keystation 88 MKII offers modulation and pitch bend wheels, octave buttons, transport buttons and a volume fader. When the Arturia KeyLab Essential 61 offers 1 pushable encoder, 8 sensitive pads, 9 assignable knobs, transport keys, octave up/down, and pitch bend and modulation wheels.
  • In connections, we find that the M-Audio Keystation 88 MKII integrates a sustain pedal input, an expression pedal input, an external power input, MIDI output and a USB connection. The Arturia KeyLab Essential 61 has an integrated USB connection, a sustain pedal input, an external power supply input, and a MIDI output.
  • Finally, the M-Audio Keystation 88 MKII includes Ableton Live Lite and the SONiVOX Eighty-Eight Ensemble plug-in, a virtual piano instrument that captures a 9-foot Steinway CD327 piano. And the Arturia KeyLab Essential 61 includes Arturia Analog Lab 2 software, Ableton Live Lite and UVI Grand Piano.

Let’s put the features of these keyboards in a table so you can compare

M-Audio Keystation 88 MkII

Arturia KeyLab Essential 61

  • 88 speed-sensitive full-size keys
  • USB MIDI connection for playing virtual instruments, controlling recording software and more
  • Transport and directional buttons to operate with DAWs and software
  • Pitch Bend, Modulation and Octave Controls
  • USB powered
  • Supports Plug-and-Play connectivity with Mac and PC
  • Lightweight design
  • IOS support using the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit (sold separately)
  • Includes Ableton Live Lite, a powerful software sequencer for music creation and live performance
  • Includes the SONiVOX Eighty-Eight Ensemble plug-in, a virtual piano instrument that captures a 9-foot Steinway CD327
  • USB port
  • 1 MIDI port
  • 6.3mm Expression Pedal Jack
  • Jack for 6.3mm sustain pedal
  • Operates via USB or optional power supply
  • Approximate dimensions: 1346 x 240 x 100mm
  • Weight: 7,30Kg approx.
  • With 61 speed-sensitive keys
  • 8 speed-sensitive pads with Aftertouch
  • 1 pulse able encoder
  • 9 rotating knobs
  • 13 buttons
  • Transport section with 4 function switches
  • LCD screen
  • Tone and modulation wheel
  • Mode of interpretation of chords
  • Compatible with Mackie/HUI protocol
  • USB port
  • MIDI output
  • Connection for sustain pedal
  • Input for power supply (not included)
  • Native USB support
  • Includes Arturia Analog Lab 2, Ableton Live Lite and UVI Grand Piano software
  • Dimensions: 882 x 76 x 248mm (width x height x depth)
  • Weight: 3,3Kg
  • Attention: Internet connection required to authorize the product

Again, we find a very similar case to the last two comparisons, on the one hand, the M-Audio Keystation 88 MKII with its functions and on the other hand the Arturia KeyLab Essential 61 with 61 sensitive keys, 1 pressable encoder, 8 sensitive pads, 9 assignable knobs, transport keys, octaves up/down, and pitch bend and modulation wheels. The M-Audio Keystation 88 MKII is for users who only need the 88-key keyboard, while the Arturia KeyLab Essential 61 is for those who settle for a 5-octave keyboard and need more control features like the ones mentioned above, which allow for more precise control in the DAW to be used.

And here is a video of the Arturia KeyLab Essential 61

If you want to know more about this option, click on the following link to see the Arturia KeyLab Essential 61 review.

Which is the best of these MIDI keyboards if I am a beginner on a low budget?

While the answer to this question lies mostly in what specific need you have, for example, if you want to have a keyboard with the widest possible note range, or if you want to have as many control functions as possible, or perhaps a mix between the two, that is without leaving behind the different connections and software licenses that most MIDI controllers offer, we will give an objective opinion according to our experience in music production and thus also with the price that the controllers demand, a kind of value for money.

In this post, we find certain 88-key controllers, and other controllers of no more than 460 And as the best 88-key controller we can mention the M-Audio Keystation 88 MKII which also offers modulation and pitch bend wheels, octave buttons, transport buttons and a volume fader. Plus pedal connections and licenses to get the most out of the controller in question. If you get the chance, go for it.

Where to buy the M-Audio Keystation 88 MkII

Amazon

  • Free Shipping and the possibility of shipping in one day with Amazon Premium.
  • Full Guarantee but they are no experts in music equipment.
  • Sometimes a better price.
  • He’s got worse stock than Thomann.

Thomann

  • Free Shipping.
  • Full warranty. If you have any problems, they take care of everything.
  • 100% reliable payment.
  • A leader in trouble-free shipping.
  • Usually the Best price.
  • Best Reputation: They are the leading online store in Europe and have the best catalog and information.

Also, look at these models with a similar price and features:

Jaime Echagüe

Hi! I'm Jaime Echagüe, a musician and an authentic fan of musical instruments. With this blog I want to give general information about musical instruments in an easy, direct and honest way. I hope you enjoy my website and that you find it very useful.

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