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For those that don't know about MIDI, it stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. This means that digital signals, in this case sent from the keyboard/or controls, are used to control parameters on a computer. MIDI signals can be used to control a number of many different things from musical notes to effects parameters and, with the right equipment, even an on-stage light show.
The M-audio Oxygen 25 is a MIDI keyboard. It is used to control musical sounds on a computer for recording or live sound. The controller can't be used on its own to make sounds, it requires a computer and software.
As the name suggests, the M-audio oxygen 25 is a 25 key controller. 25 keys means that it is very compact and great for transporting, but unfortunately means that it can only cover two octaves at a time. There is an octave button so that you can change the octaves that the keys cover, but still this would probably put off keyboard/piano players as the full range is not present. As I'm not a keys player I don't find it a problem as I only use it for simple things.
The keys are full size and have a good feel to them. They are velocity sensitive which means the harder you hit them, the bigger the velocity produced. So if used for controlling a simple instrument sound, velocity would relate to volume.
The oxygen 25 has 8 MIDI assignable knobs, which can be used to control parameters on the virtual instruments used or effects parameters on the software.
There is a master slider which gives quick and easy access to the master volume. Which is great as it is easy to silence the keys if you want to do something else.
There are two control wheels on the left. One for pitch and one for modulation. These can also be assigned to other parameters on the virtual instrument. For example I change one of them to control the cutoff on a low pass filter to make a "wobble" style bass.
A really good feature on the oxygen 25 is the row of buttons to control the recording software on your computer. This allows you to play, pause and record, and even skip through the track, without having to use the mouse of your computer. This is really good for playing back music that you have just recorded without having to move.
There is a small LED screen in the centre of the keyboard which is used to display the number of the MIDI parameter being used. MIDI normally goes on a scale from 1-127, so if you move the master slider to the very top the screen will display 127. This is very good for showing you easily how your controls have been set.
This controller uses USB 2.0 to connect to your computer. This is really really good as older controllers would use a MIDI cable, but as most of you will know computers don't have a MIDI port, so would require a separate MIDI interface. The USB connectivity makes it easy and cheaper to use than one with only MIDI connectivity.
It also uses Bus power, so no need to have extra power cables taking up space!
This controller is Pro-tools compatible, so is great as Pro tools is the industry standard recording software.
For between £60-£70 you can't complain on price with this one. M-audio is a trusted brand too so you can trust the quality of the product.
If you don't like the size this controller is also available in 49 and 61 key versions for better keyboard players.
I love this controller for recording and for adding addition instrument sounds live. For the price you can't complain about anything, mostly because there's nothing to complain about anyway!