A Phenomenal Keyboard with Over-the-Top Features,
I’ll start off with this. They keyboard is amazing. I haven’t yet had a problem with it that the company’s drivers have not fixed!
This keyboard is loaded with features, such as direct link, plus, with physical features such as the sliders, knobs, and 8 drum pads!
Also, the USB cable is quite long! I easily plug in my keyboard from my computer desk, to my computer on the ground. (I think it’s about 5 feet).
Why Recommend the Oxygen?
The Axiom 49 (2nd Gen) is absolutely great. And honestly, for the extra money, it might be worth it as it is a step above the oxygen when it comes to the feel of the keys, sliders, knobs etc. It is definitely a nicer quality keyboard.
But why I say the Oxygen would do just as good is because it’s about half the price, and it offers about 90% of the features (if not more) than what the Axiom features. Again, just a step up in terms of build quality.
So what’s Direct Link?
Sadly, because I use FL Studio, it does not support this feature. (Written in 2013).
Direct Link allows for auto-mapping of your sounds parameters. This means that if you load up a sound, or a VST, automatically, all your knobs and sliders would be set up to control the sound parameters. These are things such as release, sustain, cut off, resonance etc. This is very handy, and saves time from now having to manually adjust what you want your knobs to do by linking to controller.
So in other words, it automatically sets up all your sliders + knobs for instant mixing, instant sound tweaking etc. (You can still do this in FL Studio.. but why pay for the feature when you have to do it manually anyways!).
Setting Up Your Axiom 49 (2nd Gen),
Learning about MIDI while starting up is quite tricky stuff! It’s like learning a different language, and can be very stressful if you are trying to learn about audio production like what delays do, reverb etc. at the same time!
So here’s a video I’ve created to help you set up your Axiom 49 (2nd Gen) to play nicely with FL Studio.
Note, now if you go to the F10 settings, and for MIDI Controller, select M-Audio Oxygen 49/61 (Depending on what size of keyboard you have), this should set you up even without this video!).
Let’s See the Axiom 49’s Connections!
If you are confused about MIDI and USB, let me answer your question. USB IS MIDI!
USB now makes it very easy and simple to connect these types of hardware. Before you had to use the MIDI cables on the back.
But for the overall connections and set up, it’s incredibly easy. Simply go to the website, download the company’s drivers for the Axiom according to your computer’s specs (Windows 7, XP, 32-bit, 64-bit etc.), install the drivers, plug in your Axiom with the USB cable provided, and turn it on!
So, What if I Want to Use the Sliders and Knobs for Mixing?
Well, I’ve had to figure this out the hard way. (Trial and error).
If you are using other DAWs, such as Ableton, Pro Tools, Reason etc. You don’t have anything to worry about, Direct Link works for you!
But for someone like me, who uses FL Studio, here’s a bit of a work around. It’s still a hassle, but it does work a bit.
The alternative route to get real hands-on mixing within FL Studio, is by getting a Mackie Control. (This is definitely much better.. but still some restrictions).
What about Enigma and the Axiom?
Remember, this is very confusing stuff when first starting up.
YOU DO NOT NEED TO USE ENIGMA WITH THE AXIOM 2ND GEN. (This is something I tried doing for the first day or two I had the Axiom 49 2nd Gen).
Enigma was used for the first version of the Axiom series, this is now the second generation, which does not need Enigma.
Enigma allows you to pretty much set up your keyboard how ever you like. If you want a certain knob to effect something on the screen, you’d do this in Enigma. But now, and with M-Audio’s pretty solid documentation, you are now able to set up your MIDI keyboard with the edit button on the keyboard itself, and by telling it certain functions.
Setting up the Knobs and Sliders on the Axiom,
Here’s a quick video showing how to set up your Axiom’s sliders and faders inside FL Studio. If you want to have them permentantly set the way you have them linked, you want to click the option, Override Generic Links when you right click on a knob/slider.
Last Minute Thoughts on the Axiom 49 (2nd Generation),
Overall, it’s a real awesome MIDI keyboard. It has so many features that I don’t even use, the build is real nice, real sturdy, and looks really appealing with the blue LCD screen!
The knobs are endless rotating, and have a nice rubber solid feeling to them. Same with the sliders, they’re a bit heavy which is nice, gives it a bit more authentic mixing feeling to it. But again, for sliders, since they’re not motorized.. it’s kind of hard to mix properly and enjoyably with them!
Thoughts Towards the Axiom’s Direct Link,
Now to mention again about the Direct Link. If you are using FL Studio, you can definitely get away with another MIDI keyboard that gives you the option of Play, Stop, Record etc. (Most MIDI keyboards have this). If you are using any other DAW, the Axiom would be a real nice addition to any studio. Even with FL Studio, I’m still very happy with it, how it looks, and how it performs. (The capabilities are there.. one just has to manually set it up).
Also, if you are intersted in the Axiom for the drum pads.. this isn’t a huge selling feature, as you can simply use your piano keys as your drum pads, which I find works a lot better and is more enjoyable!