M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro USB MIDI Controller Keyboard
Overview by GAK
If you need a feature-packed MIDI controller with a gorgeous key action at an affordable price, the M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro is a fantastic solution. The Hammer 88 Pro can works equally well as a studio centerpiece and as a primary keyboard for a laptop-based gig rig.
Stage + Studio Ready
The M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro is a powerful USB MIDI controller that’s primed for the stage and the studio. With a wealth of features and plenty of scope for customisation, you can easily tailor the Hammer 88 Pro to your unique style and workflow. If you’re a gigging keyboardist that opts for the flexibility and convenience of a laptop-based setup, the Hammer 88 Pro is a fantastic choice. It’s also an excellent main controller for a studio-centric composition or production setup. If you’re a discerning pianist that demands an authentic piano touch from your MIDI controller, we’re sure you’ll be amazed by the Hammer 88 Pro’s graded hammer-action keys.
For gigs where you need a score/sheet music in front of you or for home practice, you can attach the included rest and have the music right where you need it.
Setting up the Hammer 88 Pro couldn’t be easier. It can be powered via USB and is class-compliant so you can plug it in and get creating straight away. The Hammer 88 Pro can also be used as a master controller for your hardware setup as it features USB-MIDI, full-size MIDI In/Out ports and can be powered with a 9V DC adaptor for standalone operation. With the sustain, expression and two footswitch inputs, the Hammer 88 Pro perform as a hub for hands-free control.
Astounding Keybed Design
What makes the M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro stand out is its incredible pro-grade keybed, which has a natural piano feel. Boasting 88 graded hammer-action velocity-sensitive keys with advanced scanning tech, the Hammer 88 Pro is ready to convey the expression and nuance in your playing. If you need a MIDI keyboard with an authentic response that works beautifully with your acoustic and electric piano sounds, the Hammer 88 Pro has you covered.
Unlike most other 88-key MIDI controllers, the Hammer 88 Pro features assignable aftertouch, providing you with a deeper layer of expression. After you’ve pressed down on a key, you can gradually apply pressure to it to dynamically affect the instrument/software you’re using. The aftertouch can be creatively assigned to any MIDI mappable parameter, like the cutoff amount of a soft-synth or the feedback amount of a delay plugin.
Using the assignable keyboard zones, you can split the keyboard to have access to more than one instrument at a time. This is an essential feature for live use and performances, as it allows you to have all the sounds you need without having to worry about frequently changing programs.
M-Audio’s Hammer 88 Pro features an array of assignable controls, giving you tactile and immediate access to key parameters. There are 8 robust knobs and 9 smooth sliders, which can be used for analogue-style control over your software instruments and mixing/editing tools in your DAW.
Assigning the Hammer 88 Pro to your DAW is dead-easy and intuitive thanks to the crystal-clear OLED screen. From here, you can automatically map essential DAW controls such as faders, pan pots, transport and more. If you use Ableton Live, Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Cubase, Studio One or any other major DAW, select the map on the Hammer 88 Pro and let Auto-Mapping take care of the rest! Plus, the Hammer 88 Pro will instantly map to the world-class software instruments that are included.
M-Audio includes a Preset Editor software alongside the Hammer 88 Pro, which allows you to quickly and intuitively create custom MIDI mappings on your computer and load them onto the keyboard.
Powerful Performance Features
The Hammer 88 Pro is equipped with inspiring performance features that can take your music to the next level. First up is the built-in Arpeggiator, which has controls for Type, Octave, Gate and Swing, allowing you to create a myriad of exciting musical patterns in a flash. Next is the Note Repeat, which is used alongside the 16 velocity-sensitive pads. With Note Repeat engaged, holding down a pad creates a repeating rhythmic pattern. You can set Note Repeat to either Momentary (any note played with a pad automatically repeats) or Latch mode (assigned notes repeat without having to hold down the Note Repeat button), with a variety of note divisions available.
The pads are RGB backlit and are freely assignable. They’re an invaluable tool for beat making as they allow you to programme grooves with finger drumming, launch clips and more. There’s also ergonomic and sleek pitch and modulation wheels, which are easily accessible when you need them during a solo section.
Inspiring Smart Controls
The Hammer 88 Pro’s Smart Controls are great for sparking imagination and creativity, allowing you to focus on creating fresh musical ideas. There’s Smart Chord, which allows you to play full chords with just one key. You can either select the chord structure or use Custom Mode to play the chord in manually. You also have Smart Scale, which assigns a predetermined scale across the keybed - making it easy to stay in key and avoid playing “wrong” notes. There are 16 scale variations to choose from so you have plenty of moods to experiment with.
Premium Software Bundle
In addition to receiving a top-notch controller keyboard, M-Audio also includes a bundle of premium software alongside it. With these tools, you’ll have everything you need to start producing, composing and performing. There are two versions of major DAWs which have their own distinctive workflows (Ableton Live Lite & Pro Tools First), seven virtual instruments from acclaimed developer AIR Music Technology and nine MPC Beats expansion packs.
Make sure you download the latest firmware update to experience fresh features and deeper integration with Ableton Live. In addition to improved pitch & mod wheel performance, time clock and an enhanced Preset Editor, the new firmware adds Automatic Mapping for Ableton Live. Now you can control clips with pads, use the faders to control track functions and more. You can learn about the Hammer 88 Pro's tighter intergration with Ableton here.
The M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro is one of the best 88-key MIDI controllers around, with all the features that an active performer and producer would need - and then some. With an attractive price, a premium key action and a tonne of customisable features, the Hammer 88 Pro is a top choice.
- Best-in-class 88 graded hammer-action keys with aftertouch and assignable zones
- 16 RGB, backlit, assignable, velocity-sensitive pads with Note Repeat for beat production, clip launching, and more
- 8 assignable knobs & buttons for controlling virtual instruments, mix plugins, DAW controls, and more
- 9 assignable faders for controlling virtual instruments, plugins, DAW faders, and more
- Preset and DAW buttons for auto-mapped DAW controls & plugin parameters
- Smart Chord mode enables playing of enharmonic or custom chord voicings
- Smart Scale mode eliminates wrong notes making it easy to craft a perfect song
- Arpeggiator with Type, Octave, Gate and Swing controls
- Ergonomically designed pitch and modulation wheels & (3) footswitch pedal inputs and (1) expression pedal input
- USB-MIDI connection and 5-pin MIDI Input and Output for connecting to external MIDI gear
- Intuitive layout featuring an OLED screen for quick control edits
- Includes music rest, MIDI editor software and a complete software production package featuring Pro Tools | First M-Audio Edition, Ableton Live Lite, MPC Beats, 7 Virtual Instruments from AIR Music Technology (Hybrid, Velvet, Mini Grand, Xpand!2, Vacuum, Boom, DB-33) and 9 MPC Beats Expansion Packs
- Power: 9V DC, 800 mA or USB bus-powered
- Dimensions (Width x Depth x Height): 56.0” x 11.1” x 5.0”, 142.2 x 28.2 x 12.7cm
- Weight: 40.8 lbs., 18.5kg
No upgrades available