M-Audio continue their range of MIDI controller keyboards with the Code series; a bright and colourful controller selection that’s so much more than just a few keyboards. The Code49 landed on my desk this time around, and as it is the second time I have had an opportunity to play around with this unit, I knew what I was in for already: plenty of control and a great touch in the keybed for playing software synths.
A LOT IN ONE BOX
Home studio producers who want a lot of control in a slick package will be keen to get their hands on this. It should sit as a centrepiece for any modest recording setup, being the ideal home MIDI control surface and keyboard in one. You get transport controls, rotary encoders, 9 faders, an X-Y touch pad and 16 pressure sensitive drum pads, along with the 49-note keyboard. The Code49 offers so much control over your software given that it works as a keyboard, a sample player, a transport system, a mixing device and an effects editor, allowing you to take control of all aspects of your DAW on this one device. The centrally located controls above the keyboard have them right at your fingertips, however having the pitch and modulation wheels off to the side above the drum pads is a little annoying. I think this is more to do with what I am used to, as I naturally reach for the pitch bend wheel to the left of the lower keys. Having the drum pads there, on the left hand, is a little odd. But, you’ll soon get used to it I am sure.
The keybed itself has a nice touch to it. It’s light and easy to play when you want fast touch synth work, and slightly springy so it offers a little resistance and returns sharply to its stand still position. The rotary encoders feel a little delicate, as is always the case with tall thin knobs on any pot. It would have been nice to have had longer throw fader, but that would have made the entire unit so much bigger, so the eight channel and one master fader are really more than satisfactory for the job at hand. As for the drum pads, they respond nicely to subtle changes in pressure and velocity. I never really like using this sort of pad as I prefer the depression of a keystroke instead, but the beauty of the Code49 is that you have both on offer for various applications.
For more details, head to proaudiogroup.com.au.
Hits and Misses
Slick look, especially when sized up in front of a Mac
Plenty of controller options
Easy driver install with no reportable issues
Rotary encoders are a little delicate