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166 of 173 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The keyboard I always wanted
I'm an amateur musician, and I always wanted a big keyboard, something close enough to a piano, but the big keyboards were always so expensive. In top of that, they always come with lots of knobs and features that I never wanted to learn or try. I just wanted a piano-like keyboard to play.

When I saw this keyboard for first time, I loved its 'minimalistic'...
Published on September 28, 2006 by Wacharaboy

versus
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very nice for the price.
I got this to play my laptop's virtual synths out live. Keys are surprisingly solid and the action is decent. You can't expect hammer-type action (I've got the Studiologic in the studio for that), but this is better than synth action for piano sounds.

It is *very* light, which is a real plus for me as I want it for live gigs.

At this price, it's a...
Published on July 16, 2007 by Michael West


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166 of 173 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The keyboard I always wanted, September 28, 2006
This review is from: M-Audio Keystation 88ES 88-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with Semi-Weighted Keys (Electronics)
I'm an amateur musician, and I always wanted a big keyboard, something close enough to a piano, but the big keyboards were always so expensive. In top of that, they always come with lots of knobs and features that I never wanted to learn or try. I just wanted a piano-like keyboard to play.

When I saw this keyboard for first time, I loved its 'minimalistic' style: no knobs, no screens, no buttons. Just the 88 keys and the minimum necessary controllers (3 buttons, 2 wheels and 1 slider), all in a beautiful and solid silver case. When I checked its price, I suspected maybe its quality was poor, but I had good references for the M-audio brand. So I decided to give it a chance and I'm still very proud of my purchase: just plugged it into the usb port of my PC and it was inmediately recognized. I was using FL Studio, but right now I'm trying Sonar and it works flawlessly. The keys offer some resistance to pressure, so it almost feel like piano keys.

If you're interested on this keyboard, I strongly recommend it. But if you don't to know that much of keyboards (and you don't want to, anyway), you have to know this keyboard is not a exactly a toy, nor is the kind that comes with lots of sounds and rythms. It is a controller, which means you have to use some kind of software or synth device for it to produce any sound. If you know exactly what you're buying, I don't think you will ever regret of buying this keyboard. It's great!
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55 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow !, January 7, 2007
This review is from: M-Audio Keystation 88ES 88-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with Semi-Weighted Keys (Electronics)
A full and affordable lightweight 88 key MIDI controller... what more could one ask for...

How about semi-weighted key ??? Done deal !

Here's the catch - - mutch to my delight, the action is almost exactly like that of a Hammond Organ - - my main organ and coincidentally I use it with the Native B4.... The feel is so B-3 like I actually prefer the action to any of the other Hammond Clones I owned.

Of course, most people aren't going to be buying it for that purpose, but I can tell you... the feel is really nice...

If you grew up in the era the affordable MIDI keybaords = junk era, this little baby will change your mind.

Good enough for a pro... affordable enough for the serious student who needs all 88 keys.

My only issue (and its a minor one) is that the USB connection is on the far left hand of the keyboard... logical if you're going to be setting it up in front of the computer... but I don't think I Macintosh G5 and 88 key controller are going to fit on most desks... as a result I got a keyboard stand to set it up to my left, however, since the connection is where it is the cable doesn't reach. Nevertheless, not the end of the world... All in all this is one fine blessing from the Gods of Computer Music !
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great with Garage Band, September 15, 2008
By 
Karl (Bozeman, MT USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: M-Audio Keystation 88ES 88-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with Semi-Weighted Keys (Electronics)
Great to have a velocity sensitive keyboard controller with full 88 keys at this price! I purchased based on the other reviews here which helped me understand what to expect.

The keyboard is completely plug and play with OS X and works well with Garage Band.

The velocity sensitivity is not the greatest. Even adjusting the sensitivity in Garage Band preferences, I cannot be anywhere near as expressive in my dynamic range as I can be on a real piano. But, I discovered that some aspect of this is in the digital instrument that the keyboard is controlling, and not the keyboard itself.

I purchased the GarageBand Symphony Orchestra Jam Pack after using the keyboard for a couple of days. Apple Garageband Jam Pack: Symphony Orchestra The Steinway grand in this Jam Pack not only sounds better, but has better sensitivity response than the standard piano. I still lack as much dynamic range as I would have on a piano - some notes not playing and others not being loud enough if I use the same relative force. But, I'm happy with the value for the price, and with all of the other fun stuff one can do in Garage Band.

I purchased the M-Audio sustain pedal at the same time as the keyboard M-Audio SP-2 US65010 Sustain Pedal Piano Style Sustain Pedal for Keyboards and recommend that for anyone for whom simulating a piano is a prime consideration. Here, too, the standard Garage Band piano vs the Jam Pack Steinway perform differently, the sustain sounding more like a real instrument with the Jam Pack Steinway. (But, it does only sustain the depressed keys with Garage Band - it does not result in induced harmonics from the other released strings, lest I get anyone too excited. Again - this keyboard is merely a controller. With other software, other results are possible.)

Re: the posts about lead. See the other posts - there is no more lead in this than any other electronic component.

Re: USB socket on left and short cord. This keyboard can be plugged into a USB hub without problem - I'm using one of the plugs on my Apple keyboard - but you can also use a USB extension cable (or replace the included cable with a longer one) without problem, as this is a low data rate device. So, not a big deal.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great value keyboard controller, March 21, 2010
By 
Boris Chang (North Carolina) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: M-Audio Keystation 88ES 88-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with Semi-Weighted Keys (Electronics)
Just be certain what you're looking for. If you are a budding pianist, be forwarned - despite the product description telling you the semi-wieghted keys give you a "piano feel", they do not! These keys have little resemblance to a piano keyboard other than the size, shape and color. The keys just spring up quickly like any other cheap keyboard. If you are looking for an inexpensive, general-purpose keyboard controller for your MIDI rig or your PC-based music system, and you want to play some piano as well as organ, clavs, harpsichord, synths, and other instruments - then this might be the ticket. A big plus is when you schlepp this in your car to jam with your buddies, it's not super-heavy, and you won't worry about smacking it up. I would buy this again - but I would not get the 88-key version - I would get the 64-key version (smaller and lighter) and then probably also have a decent digital piano or fully-weighted 88-key controller for real piano feel. But I know that a decent fully-weighted controller will cost at least four times the price of this one. Just be realistic about what you want out of this.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More then I expected, September 18, 2009
By 
P. Brown "PBrown" (Peace River, AB Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: M-Audio Keystation 88ES 88-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with Semi-Weighted Keys (Electronics)
I am what you would call a 'piano snob'. I never, ever play anything but real instruments (electric keyboards have always felt and sounded completely ridiculous to me). Recently, however, I found myself without a piano (living in an apartment too small for one). I decided to find the cheapest 88 key keyboard I could find because I refused to invest any real money in what I consider to be very poor substitutes for the real thing.

I chose the Keystation 88es because it was the cheapest thing I could find.

Knowing it wasn't a proper keyboard but a midi controller I wasn't expecting much. I imagined myself playing with the sound off just to keep my fingers limber and used to the motion and all that.

What I got was much more then I expected. Initially I used the software that came with the Keystation and this was a frustrating experience at best. While the keys felt acceptable (semi-weighted but feels so much better then other keyboards of this price feel), the sound was completely terrible. The lower register was soft, soft and the higher register was abnormally loud. The only sound choices (electric piano) were poor.

I decided to invest in different software and suddenly I went from mildly disappointed in my product to completely pleased.

Don't make the mistake I did and blame poor sound on the keystation itself! The keystation is a controller and is not the source of bad sound! With different software then what came with the product I now have an instrument in the Keystation that I can truly enjoy in the absence of my piano!

The end of my story is if you're willing to invest in the keyboard itself as well as GOOD software to create a more pleasing piano sound then this is a good buy!
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61 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars M-Audio's explanation for the, July 2, 2007
This review is from: M-Audio Keystation 88ES 88-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with Semi-Weighted Keys (Electronics)
First, I want to apologize for the length of this post, but the content demands it.

After my review, I have two emails that come straight from M-Audio that address the "lead paint and dangerous chemicals" issue. This information goes out to Donald Sosin "farmhouse41, and anyone else that is concerned about this issue. I bought the 49e version because it's size is perfect for my space as a secondary keyboard, but this information applies to all models.

I have a Korg Triton Pro in my home studio, and bought the 49e version of this excellent keyboard to use in my living room. It operates flawlessly with my Mac G5 and Garageband, which was truly a plug and play experience. I opened Garageband, turned on the Keystation and the midi device was immediately recognized, and I began to play. It was just that easy. In short.. I love it!

Now for the "Product contains lead and chemicals causing cancer and birth defects" issue. I will post two responses that I received from M-Audio yesterday after I sent them a single email that clearly and strongly questioned every aspect of this "Warning". In my email I wanted to know where the lead was used and if it could harm my family and me. My primary concern was that they had used lead in the silver paint or anywhere on the exterior of the keyboard. Here are the two responses from my single email:

"Al,

This warning label is now required on all electronics devices that contain lead. The keyboard contains lead soldering on the circuit board, which is something you will never come in contact with under normal use. If you ever take the unit apart, which we don't recommend, you'll just want to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water afterwards. This will remove any trace of lead that may have rubbed of on you. We understand the concern that such a label would cause, but we can assure you that you are not in any danger while using this product as intended.

Best Regards,

Name withheld for privacy. Here is the second response from another M-Audio employee:

Hi Al,

Just to chime in here...

The warning posted in our 49e Keystudio manual is also found in the manuals for all of our other electronic products. We are located in California, where we are required by state law to use this warning on any product containing even minute, trace amounts of lead (et al). The warning is State of California boilerplate.

Since the RoHS act (Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive) was passed in the European Union, our products are safer than ever. We have updated the components and materials in all of our current products to comply with the standards set forth therein. [...]

Also, don't hesitate to contact us with any further questions you may have regarding this matter.

All the best,

Name withheld for privacy.

I suggested that they amend the Warning in the Quick Start Guide to include this additional information. I don't know if they can or will do this, so I'm not holding my breath. I hope this information that comes "straight from the horses mouth" proves helpful in alleviating the concerns that a lot of us experienced and does not keep anyone from buying this excellent line of keyboards.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Quality - Excellent Price, February 26, 2006
By 
jd (Harrisburg, PA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: M-Audio Keystation 88ES 88-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with Semi-Weighted Keys (Electronics)
I bought an Oxygen 8 keyboard about 2 years ago to use with Sonar. I didn't really expect to become a keyboard player, but, over time, I have. And the Oxygens two octaves just don't cut it. So I browsed around here on Amazon and found this keyboard. It's just what I was looking for - a piano-sized keyboard, and no dials (I never use the ones on the Oxygen, anyway).

The keys feel great (semi-weighted as opposed to the Oxygens non-weighted synth-action keys), it seems quite sturdy, and set-up is a breeze. If you use soft synths and are looking for a full-sized no-nonsense keyboard - this is it!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect for my needs, February 19, 2006
By 
W. Wooden (Burlington, VT) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: M-Audio Keystation 88ES 88-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with Semi-Weighted Keys (Electronics)
I have been teaching myself the piano over the last 2 years. I was using a basic Casio 61 key keyboard until I bought this about 6 months ago. I wanted a full range keyboard that I could connect to my computer, I didn't need any extras such as nobs or faders. This keyboard fit my needs perfectly. It is very light (22lbs), looks great and the keys have a nice feel. They are semi-weighted keys, so they fall between the cheap springy feeling of basic keyboards and full on hammer-action keys.

There is no setup time, just plug and play (if you have a Mac with OS X).
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very nice for the price., July 16, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: M-Audio Keystation 88ES 88-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with Semi-Weighted Keys (Electronics)
I got this to play my laptop's virtual synths out live. Keys are surprisingly solid and the action is decent. You can't expect hammer-type action (I've got the Studiologic in the studio for that), but this is better than synth action for piano sounds.

It is *very* light, which is a real plus for me as I want it for live gigs.

At this price, it's a good bargain. Octave +/-, Transpose +/- (Perfect for me as we tune down a half step); pitch bend, mod wheel and volume slider are all user assignable. I don't make any use of the Program Change features, so I can't comment on those.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good keys for a good price, December 11, 2007
This review is from: M-Audio Keystation 88ES 88-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with Semi-Weighted Keys (Electronics)
Got mine couple of weeks ago and I must say I am pleased with it. I needed lots of keys for piano parts my studio and it's doing just that. Its not fansy and full of controls, but I have other controllers for that. The keys are semi-weighted and velocity senitive, (which is a must have). I hooked it up my computer and it recognised it immediately.
One of the best features is that is can be totally powered by USB! Only one wire for everything.
Bottom line: if you're low on cash and need extra keys, its a very good buy. If you have some cash laying around or you need more control then there are others you could consider.
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