M-Audio keystation 88 II Review 2018- Pro’s & Con’s

M-Audio keystation 88 Overview

M-Audio keystation 88 is a budget-friendly MIDI keyboard controller designed for both professional and beginner music lovers in mind. It’s a multi-keyed and performance-oriented keyboard controller through which you can seamlessly play cybernetic instruments and reorganize your favorite music on a computer. It comes packaged with 3 supplementary pieces of software which include Ableton Live Lite music creation software, virtual SONIVOX piano, and Xpand!2 Multitimbral DAW software. It’s a multipurpose keyboard controller that can be used to practically perform all music composition, recording and performance projects.

M-Audio keystation

M-Audio keystation

Traditional beginner keyboards were manufactured focused on making sure that learners have an easy time using the keyboard. The features of such pianos were also quite limited with the manufacturers believing that learners didn’t need sophisticated specs because they are, after all, never going to use them. These misconceptions resulted in some average keyboards which became obsolete the moment a student started growing, and this is a huge problem. If you are a music student-focused and dedicated to building a successful career, you need a keyboard that will keep challenging you throughout your development process. A keyboard that you will never outgrow. One with something new and unique that will continuously push your skills and guess what; the M-Audio Keystation 88 II piano is exactly what you need. Why so? There are so many reasons why this is the perfect keyboard not just for students but also to advanced piano players. Here are some of the reasons why the M-Audio Keystation 88 II is the ideal choice for you:

M-Audio Keystation 88 II Design

It measures 9.8 inches wide, 3.6 inches deep and 53.9 inches high. It weighs 17 lbs. Of all the keystation 88 series keyboards, it’s the longest and largest. The keyboard is super-solid and feels very nice when operating. The keys are semi-weighted which means you require more energy to operate them. Its Octave buttons are super cool and natural. On the frontage, the keyboard leaves a slim footprint which guarantees enough spacing for keeping your other essential music instruments on the desk. The keyboard doesn’t include lots of unnecessary pads and buttons which makes it easier to learn and use.

M-Audio Keystation 88 II Features

M-Audio Keystation 88 II is richly supplied with fitting and super-effective features. It has got 88 full-sized super-rapid keys that promise to mimic and improve your piano playing experience. The keys are super cool and natural which makes the keyboard suitable for both professional and amateur musicians and performers. The 6.3 mm sustain pedal input works perfectly with all universal control pedals to guarantee real piano sustainability. The keyboard is USB powered and it works perfectly with USB-MIDI connectivity, Apple iPad camera connectivity and iOS connectivity.

It includes a space-age Ableton Live Lite program that allows you to efficiently and smoothly compose, record, remix and edit your musical ideas in a fluid audio environment. This amazing virtual keyboard controller as well comes with a Multitimbral workspace referred to as Xpand!2 which includes 4 dynamic audio components on each area. Each component integrates with one MIDI channel and features one mix, modulation, arpeggiation and note range effects settings. What makes this keyboard controller more amazing is the FM synthesis and wavetables sampling capabilities as well as available of many different ready-to-play patches.

Another wonderful feature of the M-Audio Keystation 88 II is the SONIVOX’s 88 Ensemble piano system that lets you reliably capture 9-foot CD327 Steinway piano. This device is knowledgeably experimented and will allow you to proficiently add your favorite performances, compositions, and recordings. With its outstanding synth pads, choral pads and layer strings, you can authentically create lush embryonic textures and soundscapes.

  • 88 Full Sized Keys

How often do you come across a beginner’s keyboard with 88 keys?! In most cases, student’s keyboards usually have 61 keys going down. This may help you master the keyboard much faster but how does it prepare you for playing a real acoustic piano? Aren’t you better off getting the practical experience of an 88-full sized key keyboard similar to one from an acoustic piano? This full-keyboard will ensure that you learn on a more realistic piano. One where you can effortlessly adapt to an acoustic instrument without having to spend unnecessary hours on additional practicing. These keys are also velocity sensitive, and according to the manufacturer, they are semi-weighted which should make playing a bit easier.

The beauty of having a full-sized keyboard is that people of different skill levels can use the piano. If you are an advanced player and want a keyboard that your son can also learn with then look no further.

Advantages Of M-Audio Keystation 88 II

M-audio Keystation 88 II is a bestselling keyboard controller that is linked to many benefits. Musicians and performers who previously used this key station recommend it due to the following benefits.

  • Excellent durability and portability

The keyboard has a solid body design and is portable enough to be easily moved around the studio. Weighing l7 lbs, this keyboard can be safely rested on any kind of table.

  • Comes with multiple easy to operate keys

The 88 audio-sensitive keys in this keyboard are easy to maneuver and don’t require you to have any special skills and knowledge.

  • It can be safely powered by a USB.

This means, when you invest in this keyboard, you will reduce wire cluttering in your studio as well as increase your savings on energy.It makes playing all out of box piano sounds possible. The keyboard is enriched with superb features like VSTi piano instrument, Ableton Live Lite, and SONiVOX 88 Ensemble which make it possible for you to smoothly play all out of the box piano sounds.

  • The controls

The M-Audio Keystation 88 II has some cool octave buttons for control purposes. Every control feature on this keyboard has been added to ensure that it delivers its intended purpose while also giving the keyboard a pleasing aesthetic appearance. You won’t find any superfluous pads and buttons as is common in many other MIDI controllers.

It is also inevitable to miss out the slim footprint of the keyboard. It will comfortably fit on a desk and even leave some space for your other musical devices.


  • DAW Compatibility

The ability to link a gadget with other devices always provides endless opportunities. M-Audio 88 realizes the importance of integration in digital instruments, and this is why this keyboard is compatible with DAW. This gives you a chance to use your keyboard with both Mac and PC, and you will do this easily without the need for any assistance from a tech geek. Its connectivity to PC is made even easier with the Ableton Live Lite software. The keyboard can also work with other Pro Tools and Garageband that boosts its compatibility with Mac. A quick glimpse at the user testimonials shows just how useful this feature is.

  • Portability

Portability is an essential factor especially if you are a beginner who will spend some time moving with the keyboard from one place to another. Performers also need portable instruments which will make gigging much easier. M-Audio 88 II has taken into consideration this factor, and that’s why the keyboard is made lightweight for simple transportation.

  • Student and Pro Friendly

You have to admit that finding the middle line where both students and Pros can find the keyboard exciting and straightforward to use isn’t easy. The M-Audio 88 has somehow managed to achieve this. As a beginner, you won’t need hacks or tutorials to get the keyboard running. It can also work with plug-and-play, and the digital audio workstation connectivity will help any student learn how to use other devices in improving music production. Two virtual instruments preset will also give a newbie an easy time learning the keyboard.

For a professional set up this keyboard is just as easy as they come. The advanced features will also keep you occupied and ensure that your skills are well sharpened.

M-Audio Keystation 88 II Specs

  • 88 Full-sized and velocity sensitive keys
  • SONiVOX and Ableton Live Lite Ensemble
  • Plug-and-play connectivity
  • Sustain pedal for advanced and dramatic performance
  • External sound module connectivity
  • MIDI keyboard capability
  • Digital Audio Workstation enabled
  • Lightweight and sleek designing
  • Semi-weighted keys


    • The keyboard features a solid body; not too massive to make carrying it a nightmare but sturdy enough to make it a durable item.
    • The keyboard offers SONiVOX 88 Ensemble, VSTi piano instruments and Ableton Live Lite which makes playing the keyboard an extremely fun experience.
    • This keyboard uses USB charging, and this is a massive advantage that can easily be overlooked. Through this port, power consumption is very limited, and this will significantly reduce your power costs. The USB port also eliminates wire clutter problems in the studio. Users can also choose to use a power supply, but this is hugely discouraged.
    • The keyboard has 88 keys which are an advantage to anyone coming from a piano with no adapting will be necessary. Beginners also get a chance to practice on replica size of an acoustic piano.
    • The M-Audio 88 keyboard weighs less than 19lbs. You can move the keyboard around with ease.

Cons Of M-Audio Keystation 88 II

While a large number of the customers who bought this M-Audio Keystation system rated it positively, there are a number of negative things they pointed out about it. These include;

  • Makes lots of noise because of the spring installed beneath the keys.
  • The USB port packaged with the keyboard is too short.
  • It hardly feels like playing a real keyboard.
  • Some people found the springs used below the keys noisy
  • The USB cable picked with the keyboard is also quite short


M-Audio Keystation 88 II is just what you need to hit the ground running in your music career. It equips you with all the skills a beginner will ever need and then gives you the chance to master them. If you are a pro, then this is just the right instrument that you need to keep your game at the top. It’s a brilliant yet simple instrument which also happens to be very budget friendly.



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