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  • #16
    I like pads, so I wanted to see if I'd like the Axiom's. I was particularly interested because I'd read comments online that ranged from "pads are much worse than my MPC" to "pads are much better than my MPC." I figured this might have to do with the difference between V1 and V2 Axioms, but there's only one way to find out...



    For testing purposes I booted up Reason 5, specifically, the wonderful new Kong Drum Designer module. While I was at it, I specified the Axiom 49 as the keyboard controller, whereupon Reason wrote data into Preset 10 for controlling Reason with the Axiom. Now, that's considerate



    Before we get to the pads, a note about Reason's assignments for the Kong pads: Each pad is triggered by three consecutive notes on the keyboard, making it easy to do finger rolls and flams. Nice.



    As to the Axiom pads themselves, of course they transmit MIDI notes. But you can also assign them to transmit controllers, in which case the controller value corresponds to the amount of pressure you apply to the pad. Programming the pads for specific functions requires entering three pieces of data (Data 1, Data 2, Data 3); more on this shortly.



    As Kong has 16 pads and the Axiom 49 has 8, it's probably not surprising that the Axiom pads didn't map to the Kong pads I wanted. Undaunted, I thought it would be time to see if I could navigate the interface to reassign the notes without looking at the manual. Easy: I hit Edit, then figuring that the most important piece of data would be the note value, I pressed the "Data 1" key on the keyboard. Indeed, that did the job; I could use the up/down buttons or the numbered keyboard keys to specify the value, then hit Enter to "make it so."



    I also thought I'd check out the various velocity curves. You can try these out in Edit mode - you don't have to edit value, enter, try, edit value, enter try, etc. I found that C1 worked best for me in terms of giving a wide, predictable dynamic range.



    As to the feel, they're not on the level of Native Instrument's Maschine controller in terms of consistency regardless of where you hit the pad, but the rubbery texture doesn't "kick back," and I found it easier than I expected to get predictable velocity values for a given hit. BTW - I usually hit pads with two fingers, that seems to work better regardless of the pad's manufacturer. The one exception is the aforementioned Maschine, where I can do "finger rolls" on a single pad using alternating fingers.



    So far, so good...plain, simple, obvious, functional. Now let's check out the advanced pad functionality that goes beyond just triggering notes at different velocities.
    _____________________________________________
    There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

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    • #17
      Here are some other things you can do with the pads. Most of these depend on setting values for the Data 2 and Data 3 parameters.



      Toggle with Velocity Lock. With this setting, when you first hit the pad, it produces a fixed note-on velocity level. When you release the pad, it produces a fixed note-off velocity (e.g., 0 to turn the note off). So what good is this? Well, the first thing I found was that you could trigger eighth-note patterns if you set the note-off to a non-zero number by hitting quarter notes, because you'd get the eighth note on the release.



      Restrict MIDI note velocity. Each pad normally defaults to generating velocity values up to 127, but you can restrict the maximum to a different value by using Velocity Lock and programming a maximum value.



      MIDI controller. Now this is pretty useful, as you can use pressure to generate control. I tried assigning the pad to pitch bend, and it was interesting to use pressure instead of a wheel - for one thing, it's more guitar-like in terms of feel. But assigning the pad to volume (controller 7) was even cooler, as I could "pulse" a sustained note by tapping on the pad. The result was very much like gating the signal with a key input, except my finger was the key input.



      That's the good news. The bad news is that making all these assignments is time-consuming. For example, just to program a pad to send a MIDI note, as well as specify values that come into play should you use velocity lock, takes 17 steps (and you have to remember the code number for assigning the pad to do this, which is 147. Don't enter 149 by mistake, as then it will do MMC. The manual has a listing of what control numbers to enter for what functions, and you'd be well-advised to print this out. Fortunately, though, you can save presets for different applications, like creating a preset just for tactile mixing control, and another for playing a soft synth and bringing out particular parameters for pad or slider control). So once you've labored over making all these assignments, you don't have to do it again.



      Also note that the number of parameters you can control with the pads is mind-boggling: In addition to any MIDI controller (continuous or toggle), you can control channel fine tune, channel coarse tune, RPN and NRPN parameters, a bunch of GM parameters, program increment/decrement, and more...much more.



      Now, I'd be the last person to say "Wait! You're offering too many functions!" particularly as the more common functions are pretty top level; you only have to drill down for the more esoteric commands. Still, it's not exactly user-friendly, and you'll definitely need a "cheat sheet" if you want to take full advantage of what the Axiom 49 has to offer.



      Conversely, if all you want to do with the pads is bash them and trigger notes, you're pretty much set up right out of the box. If all you want to do is change the note assignments, that's easy.



      Incidentally, programming other controls (faders, buttons, etc.) isn't too different from the pad programming process, but we'll highlight any significant differences as we run into them.
      _____________________________________________
      There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

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      • #18
        I have the axiom 25. It's pretty cool looking alright, but not altogether so friendly with Sonar.

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        • #19






          Quote Originally Posted by DukeOfBoom
          View Post

          I have the axiom 25. It's pretty cool looking alright, but not altogether so friendly with Sonar.




          If they supported Sonar with their DirectLink technology, that would be a big help for Sonar fans.
          _____________________________________________
          There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

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          • #20
            I received an authoritative answer from M-Audio - the second generation Axiom is not supported by the Enigma editor, and furthermore, the editor has reached end-of-life and will not be updated to include future products.
            _____________________________________________
            There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

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            • #21
              That's a strange decision.
              <div class="signaturecontainer">Good times rolled with:<br />
              <br />
              WAWBanks, RadioSilence, theboywho, ponch, fruvai, joeyowen, jah_vengeance, sparkfriction, HeartfeltDawn, robw, tvrf21...<br />
              <br />
              I gave stuff to Melx for free and nothing bad happened<br />
              <br />
              <i>(Formerly known as Hides-His-Eyes)</i></div>

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              • #22
                Oh, I was thinking of buying this exact controller Anderton, really glad you're running this Pro Review.



                I have one specific question... I'm planning to buy this beast used as I do with most of the stuff that I purchase. Do you think that after the keyboard has been used for, 1-2 years, it's still gonna hold it together? (Let's assume that the previous owner wasn't too violent...)
                <div class="signaturecontainer"><div align="center"><font color="White">What's up you niggardly sons of bitches?</font></div><br />
                <font color="DarkSlateBlue"><font size="3"><b><div align="center">I wanna hit someone</div></b></font></font></div>

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                • #23
                  I owned one of the last models for 2 years without a problem.
                  <div class="signaturecontainer">Good times rolled with:<br />
                  <br />
                  WAWBanks, RadioSilence, theboywho, ponch, fruvai, joeyowen, jah_vengeance, sparkfriction, HeartfeltDawn, robw, tvrf21...<br />
                  <br />
                  I gave stuff to Melx for free and nothing bad happened<br />
                  <br />
                  <i>(Formerly known as Hides-His-Eyes)</i></div>

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Craig, pardon the OT here, but while we are discussing an m-audio product, may I put in a request for you to test drive the just released maudio oxygen88, the replacement of the keystation pro.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Got some more info today from Avid about 2nd generation vs. 1st generation models, so let's clear that up.



                      Apparently Axiom is the name of the line, not a specific model, so when the line gets updated it's still an "Axiom" - kind of like how iPod refers to those early models as well as the latest version.



                      Anyway, here are the main differences, although of course there are many smaller ones:
                      • Top panel is angled for better ergonomics in the studio

                      • LCD is centrally positioned (a big customer request)

                      • Smooth encoders (a big customer request)

                      • DirectLink mode automatically maps controls to parameters in common DAWs

                      • Instrument maps provide pre-defined settings for virtual instruments in Pro Tools and Logic (the knobs, faders, buttons automatically map to the most-used controls in Pro Tools and Logic VIs)



                      The person who sent me this info seems a little shy about getting involved, as he probably doesn't want to seem like he's hyping his product. But I've invited him to stop by any time, I think having direct input from the manufacturer is one of the reasons for the popularity of pro reviews. So to draw him in, here's a question: How hard is it to come up with a DirectLink template? If an ambitious user has a program that's not supported, is it possible to "roll your own"?
                      _____________________________________________
                      There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

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                      • #26
                        Saw you were reviewing the Axiom 49 - of which - I own a version 1 type. I recently had my music computer crash - and had to go in search of drivers for 64 bit - and found the different names - Axiom 49 and Axiom Pro - which a not the same (as pointed out in posts). I also picked mine up a couple of years ago - for a LOT less than the price you mentioned. (like a 1/3rd of your 400 ish price).

                        I read reviews before I bought - people in reviews did not like the "light touch" and that made me hesitant. I bought it and have not found it to be any issue - and it fits into my cramped home studio setup - and that way I can face the computer screen and keyboard at the same time - better workflow.

                        49 keys can keep you from certain "key switches" in some software packages but it works well for the most part.

                        I have not tried to use the Enigma editor - at all - I have not found the need.

                        Note-On and Note off -and Controlling Sonar have been great. No issues with the 64 bit driver - but I am still installing since the crash - another week of DVD sound library installs (when at home and a DVD takes 45 min to an hour to install - 28 and 35 DVD's in two of the 14 packages I have to reinstall).

                        Will try to follow the new Axiom posts and comparisons. - Your PRO reviews are great!

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                        • #27
                          So If I use my Axiom 25 right now can I delete that useless Enigma software (aptly named because it's an enigma to figure it out) and upgrade to something that is more sonar friendly?

                          Comment


                          • #28






                            Quote Originally Posted by DukeOfBoom
                            View Post

                            So If I use my Axiom 25 right now can I delete that useless Enigma software (aptly named because it's an enigma to figure it out) and upgrade to something that is more sonar friendly?




                            If it's the second gen Axiom, you can delete the (indeed) aptly named Enigma software. But I don't think there's anything that's more Sonar-friendly.



                            I've asked M-Audio how hard it would be for a user to program a Sonar-friendly DirectLink, but haven't heard back yet. Stay tuned...
                            _____________________________________________
                            There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Hello Craig,



                              I was the lead tester on this project and perhaps can shed some light on DirectLink Reason functionality.









                              Quote Originally Posted by Anderton
                              View Post



                              For testing purposes I booted up Reason 5, specifically, the wonderful new Kong Drum Designer module. While I was at it, I specified the Axiom 49 as the keyboard controller, whereupon Reason wrote data into Preset 10 for controlling Reason with the Axiom. Now, that's considerate




                              If reason attempted to overwrite preset 10, you had manually selected the Gen1 Axiom profile. The Gen2 Axiom has a dedicated port for DirectLink and no need to overwrite any presets. The drivers page at M-Audio.com will have the current profile and the user guide. Once the new profile is installed, "Auto Detect" should find the Axiom.









                              Quote Originally Posted by Anderton
                              View Post

                              As Kong has 16 pads and the Axiom 49 has 8, it's probably not surprising that the Axiom pads didn't map to the Kong pads I wanted.




                              Once in hypercontrol mode, the default pad functionality is to switch which bank of controls the encoders control which parameters. For instance, in Thor, Pad 1 takes you to the filter, pad 2 for oscillator 1-2, and so on.



                              To release the pads for regular MIDI notes, press the "P" button to the top left of the pads.



                              DirectLink for Pro Tools, Logic, and Cubase do not take control of the pads. In Live, DirectLink automatically either maps the pads to impluse, or to the bottom 8 pads of Drum Rack focus grid.



                              I hope this helps!

                              Comment


                              • #30






                                Quote Originally Posted by Anderton
                                View Post

                                I've asked M-Audio how hard it would be for a user to program a Sonar-friendly DirectLink, but haven't heard back yet. Stay tuned...




                                Unfortunately DirectLink Profiles (or "Personalities" as they are called) are proprietary code, and would be developed by Avid or the maker of the DAW. I have asked about the the possibility and if so timetable for getting a Sonar Personality developed, and hope to have a response soon.

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