M-Audio Oxygen line of portable MIDI controller keyboards

For the travelling synth musician/composer, the M-Audio range of Oxygen keyboards provide a versatile range of MIDI control options, good looks and portability, in value for money packages.

Oxygen 8They’ve just redesigned the baby of the range – the 25-key Oxygen 8 version 2, which features a 2-octave full-size velocity (not aftertouch) sensitive synth-action keyboard, 8 fully-MIDI assignable controller knobs, 6 transport buttons, LCD display, 5 dedicated function buttons, and two fully assignable data wheels set top-left of the machine. It can be powered directly from an active USB port, and weighs in at only 4 pounds.

Full specification is available here.

Oxygen 49The 4-octave Oxygen 49 builds on the compact 8, providing 8 input knobs, 9 sliders, 15 assignable buttons, 2 data wheels, and a sustain pedal input. The data wheels have been moved to the left-hand side of the keyboard.

Full specification is available here.

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Oxygen 61The top-of-range 5-octave Oxygen 61 is virtually identical to the Oxygen 49, simply sporting an additional octave.

Full specification is available here.

All three keyboards come with a free copy of Ableton Live Lite 4 and will connect to PC and Mac without problems.

None feature direct keyboard aftertouch response, but for this price you wouldn’t expect them to. The compactness of the Oxygen 8 will be useful as a trigger keyboard and a very compact sequencer-buddy. Musicians needing more creative control of their synths and software will probably appreciate the additional controls, particularly the sliders and the sustain pedal input, on the upper models.