M-Audio unveils Hammer 88 Pro keyboard for Mac with OLED display, but it’s going to cost you

M-Audio is unveiling its new weighted keyboard controller known as the Hammer 88 Pro. As the name suggests, it is the pro-version follow-up to its already feature-rich Hammer 88 model with a focus on “musicians everywhere that want real piano feel.” It combines a real piano-feel key bed with what M-Audio refers to as auto-mapping and an OLED display. Anyone looking to bring a hardcore MIDI controller home for their Mac and recording setup will want to take a closer look here. More details below. 

M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro weighted keyboard controller

The Hammer 88 Pro weighted keyboard controller features 88 keys across a USB-powered setup with “graded hammer action that opens up a wide world of creativity.” It also has all of the usuals found on most MIDI controllers including pitch and modulation wheels, as well as a series of more advanced features like note repeat, a built-in arpeggiator, channel aftertouch, a Smart Chord mode (“enables playing of enharmonic or custom chord voicings”), and a Smart Scale mode that locks the keys to specific notes. 

Centered around the OLED display, M-Audio says the new Hammer 88 Pro can automatically map DAW controls along with all of the controls on the included software instruments (Hybrid, Velvet, Mini Grand, Xpand!2, Vacuum, Boom, and DB33).

Hammer 88 Pro can control any DAW and automatically map commonly used functions such as Transport, Faders, Pan controls, and much more! Whether you use Pro Tools, MPC Beats, Cubase, Logic, Studio One or any other major DAW, just select the map and Auto-Mapping will take care of the rest!

This is supported by the eight assignable knobs and buttons alongside the nine assignable faders “for controlling virtual instruments, plugins, and DAW faders,” as well as dedicated preset and DAW buttons. 

All of this isn’t going to come cheap though. The previous-generation M-Audio Hammer 88 comes in at $499, but for its new pro-model weighted keyboard controller, you’ll have to drop a whopping $799.

9to5Toys’ Take

As soon as we saw the weighted hammer-grade keys, auto-mapping, and OLED display, we knew we were in for hefty price tag. The nearly $800 USB MIDI controller certainly isn’t for everyone, but it’s interesting to see at least a little something new here. MIDI keyboards and USB microphones tend to just get simple upgrades and new models without much in the way of innovation or notable additions, but the smart auto-mapping might actually be of interest here, effectively leaving owners with what sounds like a complete, all-in-one physical controller for their DAW, software instruments, and more. Although it would seem that you’ll still want a Launchpad for Apple’s new Live Loops environment inside of Logic Pro. It’s just too bad only those with deep pockets or in the music-making business will be willing to invest in it all.

Be sure to check out the new Q mini MIDI keyboard for Mac and iOS from Alesis, our review of the hybrid USB-C Tula Mic, and the new New Marantz USB-C podcasting variant

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