M-Audio Keystation Mini 32 by Scoox
In this review I am mainly going to focus on the negatives. Everything else just works as you would expect.
Generally speaking, the unit is well put together and looks good. The black plastic material seems to be highly scratch-resistant, which is desirable for a product that is going to be used on the road.
I just returned a CME xKeys because it was almost impossible to send note velocity values below 100. The M-Audio Keystation Mini 32 allows much more expressive control over note velocity, but there are some problems.
Key feel is a big spongy, especially the black keys. When I order this keyboard I was not expecting Fatar keys but I am sure the keys on a Casio PT-1 would feel better. They black keys require more force to operate than the white keys. When tapped lightly, the black keys will send double notes at full velocity (127) which is not nice. This is one problem the CME board didn't have because it has a setting to debounce the keys. Clearly M-Audio engineers don't use their own products.
I could try to write a MIDI script to debounce the keys in software but nobody should be expected to do this.
Programming this keyboard is not intuitive due to the lack of a software editor or a display on the unit. All programming is done through the piano keys, but a lot of the keys don't have any labels above them to tell you what they do, so if you don't have the manual handy you will be stuck (hence 3 stars for easy of use). Luckily it remembers settings after power is removed, and most settings are set-and-forget type, so it's not much of a problem.
The default velocity curve that came pre-programmed with my unit was fixed velocity = 127, so I had to dive into the manual to figure out how to select a variable velocity curve and I am sure any user with little experience will think the velocity sensing feature is faulty.
32 keys is really useful compared with 25 keys.
Summary: Great little unit, keys feel OK, but the lack of key debouncing (which can be found even on the cheapest typing keyboards) is a very stupid oversight.
It's alarming how in 2015 controller manufacturers just keep making the same stupid mistakes over and over.