Welcome to my M-Audio Oxygen Pro 49 MIDI Keyboard review.
After hunting for almost 5 years to find a MIDI Keyboard which had semi-weighted keys, was not super expensive, and had at least 49 Keys.. M-Audio announced their “Oxygen Pro Series“.
Instantly, I knew the M-Audio Oxygen Pro 49 was going to be the MIDI Keyboard Controller that checked all the boxes for how I use a MIDI Keyboard in FL Studio.. and it did!
Before we continue with this review, it’s important I tell you my very first MIDI Keyboard I purchased was also by M-Audio.. it was the M-Audio Axiom 49 (2nd Generation).
The Axiom was such an amazing keyboard, and after 10 years, some buttons were starting to fail (with VERY GOOD USAGE)… so that was my reason for purchasing the Oxygen Pro Series!
The Oxygen Pro 49 MIDI Keyboard is essentially an upgrade of the Axiom, which I can see lasting even longer than the Axiom!
You can click the images to view them bigger!
The problem with the Axiom was that it had squishy buttons which started requiring a lot of force to work after awhile, and became too inconsistent for a daily driver! (But even to date, it still operates well!)
I can see M-Audio learned from that on this Oxygen Pro by switching them to clicky buttons. They are made of hard plastic which feel durable, and require little effort to push down.
Now.. the getting started part of this MIDI Keyboard was more complicated than expected within FL Studio..
It would have really dampened the excitement of learning how to make music if I was brand-new to this, as you can see others were also struggling on the Image-Line forums, too! 🙁
The M-Audio help guide, online resources, and “custom FL Studio template” didn’t help much. (It’s like they didn’t even test this thing with FL Studio.. lol 🤷♂️)
But don’t worry, after my testing and set-up (explained below).. I can highly suggest this M-Audio Oxygen Pro 49 to you, specifically for FL Studio usage.
Anyways, this was my experience when I first plugged it in..
My stomach dropped.. I thought to myself..
“Oh no.. This thing isn’t working in FL Studio as expected.. it’s not set up like their non Pro Series.. (M-Audio Oxygen..)”..
Seeing I was stuck with it, and others were also having a bad experience, I was determined to make the Oxygen Pro 49 MIDI Keyboard work WELL in FL Studio!!
AND I DID IT! I FIGURED IT OUT!!!
The issues were all pretty easy to fix (if you knew how to do it), but the hard one was having to learn FL Studio’s new MIDI Scripting feature. (This is GAME CHANGING to FL Studio! Thx Image-Line 🙏)
Essentially, MIDI Scripting in FL Studio allows you to take full control over a MIDI Keyboard. You can choose what buttons do what through coding/scripting.
I ended up writing a FREE MIDI Script for the M-Audio Oxygen Pro 49 in FL Studio which sets up the Oxygen Pro’s transport buttons. (It’s easy to install, you set it up once, and you’re good to go whenever you turn it on!)
Fixing the Easy Problems for an Enjoyable Workflow in FL Studio for the Oxygen Pro 49
The first problem was the transport buttons were intermittent.
You’d press play, and it’d work only half the time. I was so confused..
To fix this, just set the M-Audio Oxygen Pro 49’s TEMPO SYNC to EXTERNAL.. (Hold down TEMPO SYNC to get to this option, and switch the CLOCK to EXTERNAL by using the PUSH TO ENTER knob!)
By default, the M-Audio Oxygen Pro has INTERNAL for its CLOCK.
Okay, buggy transport buttons fixed.
The next issue with the M-Audio Oxygen Pro 49 out-of-the-box was its transport buttons not being set up like how a normal MIDI Keyboard is in FL Studio.. I’ve always known a MIDI Keyboard to function like this in FL Studio:
- Play should PLAY/PAUSE..
- Stop should STOP the song and bring you back to your marker. If you double press STOP, it sends you back to the beginning of the Playlist (or the beginning of your highlighted area)..
- Loop should switch between Pattern Mode and Song Mode..
- Record should arm and dis-arm the record button..
- Forward + Backward should go 1 BAR forward or backward..
This was the hardest to fix, but I solved this for you through my FREE MIDI Script for the M-Audio Oxygen Pro 49!!
And that was it for the problems!
(For your knobs and sliders to work over the 4 different banks.. you have to set a unique CC number to each one.. If you don’t want to do that yourself, I set that up for you in my Premium M-Audio Oxygen Pro User Preset.)
So now let’s get into the review.. 🤩
M-Audio Oxygen Pro 49 Semi-Weighted Key Quality
I’ll tell you right now, M-Audio made good semi-weighted keys on the Oxygen Pro MIDI Keyboard. I think it’s fair to agree with their best-in-class description, as they say on their product page!
To be nit-picky, the keys are a tad light when pressed, which steal some emotion from your playing, but for this price range, I feel like I paid a fair price for what I received. It’s fair to say these are semi-weighted keys.
If you are considering a MIDI Keyboard without semi-weighted keys, I assure you, you will be losing that emotion when you go to play the keys. Quality piano keys are a necessity for me.. I tried MIDI Keyboard’s with cheap keys, and just couldn’t do it..
Is the M-Audio Oxygen Pro 49 Built Well?
I am very impressed with the overall build quality.
This includes the keys, the actual frame (chassis), knobs, sliders, buttons, pitch/mod-wheel and drum pads.
There’s a couple of small things (discussed below), but I still give the overall build-quality 5 stars.. It’s a solid unit.
The Frame (Chassis)
The frame is made of good plastic, has a good weight to it, and has LARGE rubber feet, which holds the Oxygen Pro 49 firmly in place!
There is slight flex when you lift up the top left and bottom right corners, showing that most of the weight is in the top right and bottom left corners.
But under normal usage this thing is solid and stays in place..
There is no annoying unwanted movement, and no cheap plastic creaking sounds from my testing!!
The Absolute Encoder Knobs on the M-Audio Oxygen Pro 49
This M-Audio Oxygen Pro 49 has Absolute Encoder knobs which have a nice amount of resistance, making them feel much more luxury than just twisting a piece of plastic!
An absolute encoder has a fixed start and end position (0-127 in the MIDI world). They also have a little notch built into them so you can visually see where the knob is at, or you can use this white notch to feel where the knob is positioned without looking, too!)
The M-Audio Oxygen Pro Series also features soft takeover for both the knobs and sliders.
Here’s what soft takeover means (from M-Audio Oxygen Pro Help Manual):
Important: Both the Fader and Knobs are enabled with “soft takeover.” This means that if you switch banks, a Fader or knob will not work until it is positioned at the current value of the newly selected software control. For example, if you move Fader 1 in Bank 1 and then switch to Bank 2, physical Fader 1 will not affect software Fader 2 until the physical Fader is positioned at the current value of software Fader 2. This feature allows you to make changes in one bank and then switch banks without making unwanted changes to the new bank’s controls. The Display will show a checkered value meter if a Fader or Knob needs to be moved before it can “take over” its assigned.M-Audio Oxygen Pro Series – User Guide – v1.0.pdf
Overall the knobs feel great, and can easily be routed to your parameters in FL Studio, just like any other MIDI Keyboard Controller would!
M-Audio Oxygen Pro 49 Slider Quality
The slider caps are probably the cheapest feeling part of this MIDI Keyboard.. but the actual sliders themselves perform very well, and also feel great, too!
The slider cap has a fair bit of wiggle to it if you move it left and right (why would you!), and even when moving up and down in the proper direction, there is a slight annoying wiggle there..
But once the slider starts moving, there is a nice amount of resistance giving you that premium slider feel.. and not something that would bother me when using it..
In testing, the sliders allowed me to increase various parameters with good precision.. some plugins allowed me to adjust 1% at a time, while other parameters would jump a bit more than what CTRL + LEFT-CLICK (HOLD) would do for fine-tune control.. (That is the shortcut for fine-tuning a knob in FL Studio.)
Overall, they work, they feel good when moving them. No real complaints. The caps are plastic and a bit wiggly, but the sliding itself feels great, which is all that matters I think!
The Drum Pads on the M-Audio Oxygen Pro 49
Drum pads are not what I look for in a MIDI Keyboard, as I often find they are a “hidden cost” to a MIDI Keyboard’s price.
My outlook is buy a separate drum pad controller if that’s your main intention with making beats and music production.
I’d rather save the $30-40 by removing the drum pads, like the Native Instruments A49 did.. as the main reason for buying a MIDI Keyboard is for the piano keys and transport buttons (play, stop, record, loop, etc.)
Often producers don’t realize that a piano key and drum pad is the same thing.. it just feels a bit different..
Using a piano like a drum pad actually offers more versatility with more slices (and you still get control over velocity with how fast you press the note.)
Plus.. the piano keys on this MIDI Keyboard Controller have aftertouch!
So how are the drum pads? I’d say they are maybe a little better than your average MIDI Keyboard drum pad.. but still not something I’d use personally, or recommend.
I found myself having to use quite a bit of pressure for the hit to register.. they are definitely capable of playing different velocities, but I found it much harder to play quieter volumes consistently..
The Clicky Buttons on the M-Audio Oxygen Pro 49
I have now tried both squishy rubber buttons, and hard clicky buttons on MIDI Keyboards.. and it’s something I’ve seen debated around the internet about “what is better”..
I always liked the mushy buttons.. they felt nice to press, until they started failing on me..
I can see the clicky buttons to be longer lasting, and have the added benefit of KNOWING that the button was pressed when you hear the click sound.
The trade-off is the clicky button is loud.. when recording videos, this could be annoying.. but you can fix this through different microphone placement. And I’d rather a clicky button that works, than an inconsistent mushy button..
IMPORTANT – You DO NOT have to press them hard. That’s why clicky buttons are awesome. If you hear the click, it worked! (Assuming you didn’t get a lemon MIDI Keyboard 😉 )
Pitch and Mod Wheels on the M-Audio Oxygen Pro 49
These are both very well-built.
The pitch wheel has great resistance as you increase/decrease it, and a powerful spring back when you let go!
The MOD Wheel is a bit light, but has just enough resistance to give you great control, though!
I found if I used the bottom left edge of the MOD WHEEL, rather than putting my finger in the groove, it provided great control.
FL Studio Compatibility with Oxygen Pro MIDI Keyboard
Right out of the gate.. the M-Audio Oxygen Pro doesn’t work too well inside FL Studio..
To set up the Oxygen Pro Keyboard in FL Studio, you have to:
- Set the TEMPO SYNC to EXTERNAL for the transport buttons to work without issue. (Easy fix)
- Use MIDI Scripting to set up the transport buttons like a normal MIDI Keyboard in FL Studio. (Fixed through my free MIDI Script for the M-Audio Oxygen Pro in FL Studio.)
- (Not Required.. but will save you time) – Purchase my Premium M-Audio Oyxgen Pro User Preset which you can load into the M-Audio Oxygen Pro Editor, and have all the knobs/sliders work over the 4 banks, if you want to get “hands-on” slider/knob mixing in FL Studio (I throw in bonuses, too.. of course!)
Additionally, working in Preset Mode worked better for me than DAW Mode, as DAW Mode registers note presses on bank changes, whereas the Preset Mode does not!!
The M-Audio Oxygen Pro 49 does not have a driver to install (which is nice), as it’s a class-compliant device.. you plug it in, and you’re ready to rock.
M-Audio Software Manager: M-Audio Oxygen Pro Editor
The M-Audio Oxygen Pro 49 Preset Editor can be downloaded from the M-Audio Software Manager (this was not clear until I watched some YouTube videos..)
Once installed, I was AMAZED at how powerful and intuitive their Oxygen Pro Preset Editor was..
You literally have full control over this MIDI Keyboard in terms of the different modes (CC, Mackie, Macki/HUI), the CC number you want a knob/slider to work under, all the way to being able to change the drum pad color (you can change color when not pressed, and when pressed!)
I wish copy/paste was available for certain things like the drum pad colors.. too much tedious clicking lol.. But this is a huge leap forward in MIDI Keyboard innovation for music production. Thank you M-Audio for your Oxygen Pro 49 Preset Editor! This will open a lot of doors for users of any DAW I’d imagine..
One thing to note.. I was not able to get the transport buttons to work through the Oxygen Pro Preset Editor alone.. as that’s why I had to write my free MIDI Script (works just as good!)
Summary of the M-Audio Oxygen Pro 49 Review
I think the M-Audio Oxygen 49 MIDI Keyboard Controller is a great value.
M-Audio definitely delivered, and didn’t gouge on price. It’s priced a bit higher than the Native Instruments A49, but this is probably because of the unnecessary drum pads on the Oxygen Pro 😉 .
If you want one of the best MIDI Keyboards for FL Studio, with semi-weighted piano keys, then this keyboard controller is a good choice. The M-Audio Oxygen Pro reminds me so much of the amazing Axiom 49 (2nd Gen), which lasted me many years!
It seems M-Audio has learned from their previous designs, kept the good stuff, and improved on the weak stuff.
And.. I haven’t even touched on most of the features that this MIDI Keyboard comes with.. (like chord and scale mode.. using the built-in arpeggiator with tempo-synced timings, and many others..)
That is because in FL Studio, I keep things simple when it comes to a MIDI Keyboard. I mainly look for quality keys, and good transport buttons.
I understand these companies want to try and make “music making easier” by adding in features like auto chords etc.. but the only way to make good music is to LEARN HOW TO MAKE BEATS. It’s hard at first, but once you get it, you’ll never get that same satisfaction of making YOUR OWN MUSIC FROM SCRATCH!
I suggest to students a 49-61 key.. anything smaller is too small, anything bigger is MASSIVE! (Remember, you have octave buttons to go up and down notes!)
The biggest reason for any negative stuff on this review was because of the hard set up I had to go through to make it work great with FL Studio. Once I was set up, a huge sense of relief came over me.. and I realized, I just purchased an awesome MIDI Keyboard for FL Studio!
So I’m sure this M-Audio Oxygen Pro 49 will be a great addition to your studio like it has mine.
Once you are set up, you are good to go. It’s not hard, I promise!
I hope you have enjoyed my M-Audio Oxygen Pro MIDI Keyboard review.
Purchase the M-Audio Oxygen Pro 49 here >> (I receive a commission if you purchase, thank-you!)
If you would like to see me review another MIDI Keyboard for FL Studio usage, please contact me.
Thank-you for reading.