Top positive review
Great Hardware; No Printed Manual
Reviewed in the United States on July 24, 2006
The Axiom line is the only M-Audio line with aftertouch - which is required for a serious MIDI controller. Another bonus over the Oxygen line is the display - which is actually usable in this model.
The transpose and octave shift buttons are well-placed and are easily accessible in real-time performances.
Key action on this controller is very nice. It is reasonably firm without being tough, and the aftertouch is readily available without tripping it accidentally too much. If you're doing a lot of piano recordings; I would recommend a fully-weighted action keyboard (with 88 keys) - but for everything else, this works very well.
The programmable sliders are highly useful for working with complicated sample sets. After a bit of experimentation, I have them set to control vibrato rate, note effects, breath noise, attack variation, panning, and volume levels. Once you get them set where you want them - just start recording, push the SnapShot, and all of your settings will get recorded in your MIDI file. (same for rotary controllers)
The only real problem I have is the lack of a printed manual.
18 month update. Well, my first Axiom 61 is now broken after months and months of use. It was never moved, just sat on the desk... yesterday, 41 of the keys stopped working.
I ordered a new one.