M-Audio Prokeys88


  The M-Audio Prokeys 88 is a rock-star keyboard on a garage band budget. To start off on the right foot it has all 88 keys that are convincing, 14 beautifully sampled instruments, and oodles of output. Other players in the same price category may have decent sounds, but lack much in other features like pitch and modulation wheels, velocity sensitive and fully weighted hammer action keys.
  What’s the deal with weighted keys? Push down the “Ivories” on your typical child level synthesizer and it feels like a toy, with simple spring action. Semi-weighted and fully weighted keys mimic the resistance of a real piano, and Hammer Action mimics the feeling of a hammer inside that piano as it plucks the string. To some this seems excessive, but to many it’s an important part of playing expressive music with feeling.
  Features like layering allow the use of multiple sounds with the same key, and there’s a separate volume level for both sounds. While duel sounding keys can play, you can also split the keyboard at the same time and have a third sound on the left half of the keys (with another volume level to control that). Layering is an awesome effect to customize your “signature sound” and for having a bright impact sound followed by a slow building voice.
  Not too many voices are included in this model, but they made sure to include the voices that count. Who uses “Machine gun,” or “ghost?” The beauty of the limited sounds, is that every instrument you have to choose from is easily accessible with it’s own button.
  Make no mistake, this board is heavy (48 lbs). It has a metal body, which is a pro in my book when you are traveling and bumping things regularly. The technology behind the velocity sensors, hammer action, the weighted keys, and the sampled real instruments carry a weight, and you’ll find this pretty much across the board with keyboards of its caliber.
  In addition to all this, the Prokeys also can be a midi controller, so if you like the feel of it, and navigation, then simply hook it up to another midi enabled device. You can then use it’s sounds, playback, beats, etc. without losing those piano-esque features.

  Cons: heavy, not hundreds of sounds to choose from.