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Keystation Pro 88
(Click for a close-up)

M-Audio announced at Musikmesse that the Keystation Pro 88 master controller is now shipping. The world's first USB bus-powered 88-key hammer-action master MIDI controller, the Keystation Pro 88 offers a host of advanced features and integration with music applications.

The keyboard can be split into four different key zones allowing different sounds to be mapped to ranges of keys in splits and layers for maximum flexibility in performance. Despite the nature of the keyboard, the unit weighs in at a mere 47 lbs..

The Keystation Pro 88 also provides 9 Alps faders, 24 knobs, and 22 buttons, all of which can be assigned to any MIDI controller or event with the aid of a large backlit LCD. These can be used for controlling virtual mixing environments on the computer, editing synth parameters on a plug-in, triggering samples and loops, controlling transport functions of sequencers and more. The polarity of the faders can be reversed using the Draw Bar mode, making them perfect for controlling Native Instruments' B4 for example. Each controller can be assigned to its own channel, facilitating control of multiple devices or programs. Fully programmable pitch and modulation wheels provide additional expression, and the three 1/4" jacks on the rear allow connection of two footswitches and an expression pedal--a total of 60 fully assignable MIDI controllers in all.

Controller assignments can be saved in memory for instant recall on the fly, and all memory contents can be imported and exported via SysEx for backup. Customers will also be able to download a free version of the new Enigma SysEx librarian software for unlimited storage of these memory dumps and configurations.

Simple USB connectivity acts as the MIDI connection between the Keystation Pro 88 and the computer, keeping wiring clutter to a minimum. The rear panel also houses standard 1 x 1 MIDI I/O. The Keystation Pro 88 is also fully class compliant under Windows XP and Mac OS X--no driver installation is required. Drivers are also provided for Mac OS 9 and Windows 2000/ /Me/98. The unit ships with M-Audio's Maximum Audio Tools software bundle (Keyboard Edition) featuring ArKaos VJ Lite, Sampletank Free, LinPlug FreeAlpha and DSound RT Player Express.

Keystation Pro 88 will ship in mid-April with an MSRP of $599.95.

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