M-audio Oxygen 49 Midi Controller Review
Original author: Ivan Milenkovic
Weapon: Midi Controller
Model: Oxygen 49
Price: 140$ (Ebay reference)
Hey guys, welcome to my review of MIDI controller from M-Audio. Let's start:
49-note velocity-sensitive synth-action keyboard with USB MIDI interface 8 fully assignable MIDI controller knobs 9 fully assignable MIDI sliders 15 assignable buttons, including 6 transport buttons assignable pitch bend and modulation wheels octave up/down; transpose up/down preset up/down MIDI channel/program change up/down 7 top-panel function buttons plus additional programming functions on keybed 3-segment LED screen USB 1.1 upstream (Type B ) port sustain pedal jack MIDI Out jack powered via USB or optional power supply class-compliant with Windows XP, Vista (32 bit), and Mac OS X 10 non-volatile memories memory dump via SysEx compatible with free Enigma librarian/editor for storing and organizing setups all controllers fully programmable to MIDI controller number all controllers fully programmable to MIDI channel controller mute function mutes controller output to avoid parameter jumps snapshot function transmits all current controller settings on/off switch weighs only 7.5 lbs. includes Ableton Live Lite music production software, so you can make music right away
GENERAL IMPRESSION AND FEATURES
This unit is and M-Audio device, and because of that it is most compatible with M-Audio products. I don't say that it cannot work with other products, but I've had some troubles getting it to work in Nuendo, while the mapping system in Ableton Lite for example is much much smoother.
This unit has 49 keys (4 octaves), synth action, velocity sensitive keys. It has three-digit LED screen for onboard information about programming, keys, MIDI values etc.
It can be powered via USB port or via sepparate DC power adapter.
Construction is plastic, not very good one, but for the price you can't get anything better anyway. It is definitely a home device. Not built for carrying around a lot at all.
I'm using this controller for all my work in DAW now, because it has controllers that I've mapped into Nuendo. The controllers are very useful, especially when playing the keys, so you don't have to go the PC keyboard all the time for the shortcuts while playing. Also the amount of command that can be mapped in Nuendo (did I mention macro commands?) are virtually limitless, so you can free your shortcut space on the keyboard itself for different purposes. If you like to use your keyboard a lot and work with Nuendo then you know how this can be important.
The unit has (besides keys), 9 sliders, 8 knobs, 9 buttons, 6 transport buttons, pitch bend and modulation wheels that are fully assignable. What this means is that you can map almost any thinkable command to any of these controls inside of a DAW software, MIDI sequencer, or any device that can recieve MIDI. This can be very useful when working, because it shortens your work time effectively, and makes work very comfortable and more studio-alike.
There is also a sustain pedal input that is fully assignable too. Unfortunately, you don't get the sustain pedal in the bundle.
The controls act pretty well, based on the experience so far. It is not possible to make precise adjustments to parameters because MIDI values go from 0-127, and the sliders are jsut too short. If you wanna go precise, the keyboard is the way to go. But if you wanna do some work during recording stage and ruff producing stuff, you can do it no problem.
There are many templates for well known VST's and DAW's but a couple of those that are not directly supported, so you must do the programming yourself. Here I think that there isn't any support for Steinberg products except HAlion, Groove Agent, Virtual Gitarist and LM4. BUT where are Cubase or Nuendo? I consider this a BIG flaw for the support for this device.
Many more are supported, like Trilogy, B4, Pro53, lots of Reason products etc. You can find the list on the manufacturers website. I must say I've red that different devices have a lot better template libraries for ALL well known products, so it is M-Audio's fault, not the device's.
The keyboard has one MIDI OUT, and one USB-2-MIDI. You can use it simultaneously for PC and hardware module controlling, although I think it is built primarly for PC stuff. USB 1.1 is good enoguh for this device.
In the package you get ENIGMA librarian and programming software for the device. It provides graphical interface for programing CC functions and other parameters of controller, so you don't have to do it fro the device (it is far less complicated from enigma then from device, because on the device you have to use key's secondary functions for programming. those functions are written down just above keys on the keybed).
This controller has acted fine in real work for me, except minor problems in Nuendo mapping. I think the controller is made for M-Audio supported products more, so if you wanna buy it, go for it if you use Reason or Abletone. Consider buying it if you use Steinberg platform. I've bought this device because I didn't have any choice really, but there is a lot of other devices that support Nuendo more. Off course you can buy it if you're gonna be using Nuendo 4, because it will have better mapping abilities. If it si one thing I wish it had it would definitely be a better support from Maudio.