I’ve always been a big fan of music ever since the tender age of just five years old. I was always fascinated by what musical heroes of my young generation were able to do with a simple instrument and an opportunity. Seeing young people my age or even younger than me pop up on television screens and all over the web gave me the incentive to push for dreams of my own and discipline myself to practice. I gobbled up every piece of technology I came in contact with and was able to create wonderful art that I can now look back and be proud of.
Because of the ever-changing landscape of music and technology the way music is created and sent out to the world is rapidly transforming. No longer are we confined to stand in front of a mogul music company and beg for someone to hear our cruddy demo tape. No longer do we have to scour the country attending various talent shows and singing competitions in order to get a shot. We can work from the confines of our own home and even our own bedrooms or basements to build a creative project that can be broadcast to the world. And it is with products like the M-Audio Axiom 49 that we can do this.
Piano Buying Guide
Below, please enjoy the interactive guide that was created to make your piano purchase easier. Compare the very affordable M-Audio Axiom 49 to the best pianos and keyboards in its class based on weight, price, and even customer reviews from Amazon.com.
$ = $500 or less | $$ = $500 – $1,000 | $$$ = $1,000 and up
|M-Audio Oxygen 49||49||6.9||$||4.3/5|
|Akai MPK88||88||65 lbs.||$$||3.9/5|
|Casio WK-245||76||15 lbs.||$||4.5/5|
|Casio WK-6600||76||15.9 lbs.||$||4.5/5|
|Casio WK-7600||76||19.6 lbs||$||4.1/5|
M Audio Axiom: Keyboard vs MIDI Controller
The first thing you’ll notice about the M-Audio Axiom 49 is that it indeed is not a digital piano, and not one single review of a digital piano I have done in the past has even made reference to what it is. It is classified as a USB MIDI Controller, which you can see by looking at the name that it contains some of the same things that most digital pianos contain. And while there are some key fundamental differences that separate the two, there are also many fundamental similarities that connect both products.
Digital pianos work by storing a large amount of piano and other voice selection samples in the internal memory, which are called upon by the tone generating system to produce a sound usually through a set of onboard speakers. In this process the piano is covering the creation of the sound and the production of it. However, even in most of the digital pianos I have reviewed each one has contained an element of the technology called MIDI, which stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. MIDI is simply a technical standard that allows a wide variety of electronic instruments, computers, and other devices to communicate. A USB MIDI controller simply controls the creation of tones by other devices, usually a sound module, which is then produced and broadcasted by a sound system.
MIDI controllers are mostly used in studio and production settings, but the technology behind them allows it to be used in many other situations, including live performances. Other popular forms of MIDI controller devices would be electronic drum kits and electronic wind instruments, which are built in the general construction of the original instrument and respond to the MIDI triggers of pads or valves.
And lastly, take a look at some of the keyboards that are selling the best on Amazon:
Looks the Same but Doesn’t Act the Same
Many people could be fooled by the M-Audio Axiom because in part, it does appear generally much like that of a digital piano. In truth, with the right extensions and connections it performs basically the function of a digital piano. Initially this is how most MIDI controllers were built, as forms of keyboard controllers which mimic the build of a keyboard or piano, and it wasn’t until later that alternative forms of controllers such as drum and percussion controllers or wind controllers began to appear.
The Axiom 49 has a beautiful design, which features an all-black outer surface complete with an assortment of wheels, buttons, sliders, knobs, pads, screen display, and of course, the keybed. The keybed is no slouch, as maybe you would think because this is not a digital piano it wouldn’t be a point of focus to the creators. The Axiom has 49 piano-style keys, which have a semi-weighted action and also have the option for an assignable after touch. This is a welcome feature especially for those who play the piano, so that even though you’re using this instrument as a MIDI controller you can still enjoy some semblance of the characteristics of a real piano or keyboard.
The entire machine weighs in at a measly 6.9 lbs., which is absolutely awesome for the musician who needs to carry the Axiom 49 from places like studio, to home, and even to events. The controller is compact just as it is lightweight, with a length of 31.9 inches and a width of 11.6 inches. There simply shouldn’t be any place you won’t be able to fit this thing in, unless you’re trying to build a studio in your bathroom.
Affordable Production Power and Unlimited Connectivity
This instrument is equipped with 8 rotary encoder knobs, 9 sliders, and 8 trigger pads, all to help assist you in the creation of your music. All of these are MIDI assignable, meaning you can dedicate each one of them to a MIDI channel in order to control and manipulate them to achieve the perfect sound. The Axiom 49 also has 6 dedicated transport controls and 4 zone buttons that help to stack and split sound on up to four different MIDI channels. You’ll really be surprised at the level of precise detail you’ll achieve once you master the controls.
Understandably, one of the M-Audio Axiom 49’s main focuses is to connect you seamlessly to whatever external or MIDI devices you may be using, whether that is another instrument or a studio computer. The Axiom is built perfectly to assist you in doing that with their DirectLink system that automatically maps your controllers to work with whatever software you’re using, whether Cubase, ProTools, Logic, Reason, and many other digital audio workstations (DAWs). The Axiom 49 is also class compliant with a number of computer operating systems, including Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Mac OS X.
The best part about the M-Audio Axiom 49 is the price. Many MIDI controllers on the market today can cost upwards of a thousand dollars, but with the Axiom 49 this is not so, and is currently available for less than $250.
For additional helpful piano reviews, please visit our website as often as you can. And for more of my piano and keyboard reviews, I recommend:
1) Casio CDP120
2) Korg SP170s
3) Yamaha CP-33