M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro vs Arturia KeyStep Pro: An In-Depth Comparison and Review

You're ready to make a big purchase, but you're having trouble deciding between these two powerhouses, the M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro and the Arturia KeyStep Pro.

Trust me, I know how difficult that decision is… especially if you have no plans on whipping out that dreaded return postage label!


I've got you covered.

I've broken down the good, the bad and the ugly of these babies, so providing you have a clear idea of exactly what you plan on doing with it, you will have a clear idea on which one is best for you, by the end of this article.


Let get into it…

At A Glance:

M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro


Arturia KeyStep Pro

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Key Differences Between The M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro And The Arturia KeyStep Pro

M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro vs Arturia KeyStep Pro

The main differences between M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro and Arturia KeyStep Pro are related to their key features, usability, touch response, and pricing.

M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro is a full-sized, 88-key MIDI keyboard controller that offers graded hammer action, mimicking an authentic piano feel. It is particularly ideal for professional musicians, semi-pro players or students who require an unadulterated grand piano touch in a MIDI controller.

The unique features of “Smart Control” and “Auto-Mapping” provide enhanced control over enharmonic or custom plugin parameters thereby aiding in workflow optimization.

On the other hand, the Arturia KeyStep Pro shines with its powerful sequencing capabilities making it a versatile choice for keyboardists. Providing extensive controls, it takes into account professional user feedback to ensure all popular features from their premier piano-feel products are maintained.

Moreover, users often remark that Arturia's products feel more like real keyboards compared to competitors.

Pricing might be another distinguishing factor. For instance, depending on your location the Keylab Essential could be priced around €399 while the Hammer 88 Pro can cost about €499.

Here are some key points:

  • M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro: Full-sized keys with graded hammer action; Ideal for musicians seeking authentic piano feel; “Smart Control” and “Auto-Mapping” for better control; More expensive.
  • Arturia KeyStep Pro: Highlight includes sequencing capabilities; Feels more like real keyboards according to users; Can be cheaper than M-Audio Hammer 88 pro.

Both these controllers have been listed in top recommendations by experts in multiple MIDI keyboard & controllers rankings indicating they're both reliable options.

Choosing between M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro vs Arturia KeyStep Pro will ultimately depend on specific needs such as size of keys (full-sized or mini), budget constraints, necessary functionalities (like sequencing power), and personal preference regarding key interaction/feel.

SpecificationsM-Audio Hammer 88 ProArturia KeyStep Pro
Type of KeysFully-weighted, Hammer actionSlimkey, velocity-sensitive with aftertouch
Power Supply12V DC power supply (included)USB bus power
SoftwarePro Tools First M-Audio Edition, Ableton Live Lite, 3 Months of Skoove, MPC Beats, 6 Virtual Instruments from AIR Music TechMIDI Control Center

What You Need To Know About M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro

The M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro is your key to unlocking your full music production potential. With 88 touch-sensitive, weighted keys, it's designed to feel just like a real piano. But there's way more cool stuff to play with here than just keys.

First up, the M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro comes with 16 drum pads that light up in different colors. You can use them to make beats, launch clips or even trigger sound effects. Fancy mixing things up a bit?

There are 8 knobs and buttons, and 9 faders that you can assign to control anything you want – from virtual instruments and effect plugins to controls in your digital audio workstation (DAW).

Now let's talk about making things easier for you. This MIDI controller does the hard work with auto mapping for DAW & plugin parameters – clever stuff! Plus it has Smart Chord & Scale modes and an Arpeggiator feature for easy composition of melodies. Not forgetting pitch & mod wheels as well as input spots for three footswitch pedals and one expression pedal.

What's more? This awesome gear gives you traditional MIDI Output through a standard five-pin connection.

And we can't forget about software – this package comes with all you need to start producing music right away including Pro Tools | First M-Audio Edition, MPC Beats, Ableton Live Lite and several high-quality virtual instruments & Akai Professional MPC Expansion packs from AIR Music Tech.

Get more details on the M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro official page. It might just be the game-changer your studio needs!

My 1 Month Review Of The M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro

My 1 Month Review Of The M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro


Wow, what a month it's been with the M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro! This isn't just your typical keyboard. It's like having a full orchestra at your fingertips. To say I'm impressed would be an understatement.


The M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro doesn't come with flashy knick-knacks or any unnecessary bells and whistles. But don’t let that fool you! Getting it out of the box and set up was a breeze, thanks to the clear instructions and user-friendly tutorial videos.

User Experience

From day one, this keyboard has delivered in terms of performance. The natural piano touch keys give me the authentic experience of playing my grand piano at home. Plus, with 88 fully weighted keys, it offers a dynamism that takes my compositions to another level.

What really sets this piece apart though isn’t just its performance capabilities – it’s how intuitive this keyboard is to use.
With faders, knobs and pads for control over my DAWs and virtual instruments –
– I can quickly transition from playing to editing without losing any creative flow.

MIDIVision Software Integration

Yes! You heard right: The Hammer 88 Pro comes with MIDIVision software integration.
This enables me to not only capture but also enhance my performances in real-time or post-production.

To put it simply:
• MIDIVision allows for easy recording, editing, mixing and mastering of music
• It integrates seamlessly into my workflow
• And offers some really cool features like drum pads(8 in total) and note repeat functionality that add unique layers to my creations

When paired with its impressive functionality as a MIDI controller – the possibilities are endless!

Durability & Design

One thing is for sure: This is not your average looking MIDI controller keyboard;
The build quality of the M-Audio Hammer 88 pro is fantastic; From its matte black finish to its sturdy design – everything screams high quality.This beauty looks sleek in any studio setup without taking up too much space.

In terms of durability too- this beast feels solid enough to withstand even the most heated jam sessions!


All in all, after a month using this nifty piece of gear,
– It’s clear that M-Audio has poured thought into every detail here -from design aesthetics through software compatibilities on through performance capabilities.

Overall,I’d highly recommend the M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro if you’re looking for a top-notch MIDI controller keyboard packed full of features yet intuitive & easy-to-use!
. This beauty definitely ticks those boxes while remaining affordable!<

What You Need To Know About Arturia KeyStep Pro

Alright, let's talk about the Arturia KeyStep Pro, an all-in-one performance controller that's got a MIDI keyboard, sequencer and arpeggiator for your musical needs. It's a pretty neat piece of kit – the slimkeys are velocity-sensitive for nuanced play, and its hands-on controls offer total creative versatility.

One thing I love about this is how easy it is to make complete songs on it. With things like Chord Mode, Quick Edit, Time Shift and Touch Strip Looper at your fingertips, the KeyStep Pro has some seriously impressive features that help you take your compositions up a notch.

Whether you're creating complex melodies or storing entire live performances with polyphonic sequencing and 16-pattern chaining – it can handle it all! Check out more info here

Now onto connectivity. If you're like me and have an ever-growing collection of Eurorack modules, analog synths or VST instruments – this controller has got you covered. It comes with 4 CV, Gate and Mod outputs along with 8 dedicated drum Gate outputs- which is great!

Plus there’s a solo metronome output (great for keeping time), sustain pedal input (for those dramatic moments), and USB inputs for easy power and DAW control.

That being said…there are some downsides too. The manual can be tough to navigate if you’re not familiar with music technologies. There’s also no built-in speaker which isn't ideal if you want to just plug in and start playing straight away – so keep that in mind.

The KeyStep Pro really shines when it comes to intelligent sequencing- let your ideas come alive by hitting record at any time- from custom arpeggios to chord mode to automation- make every note count!

Lastly let's not forget about beat-making; whether you’re using a drum machine or your DAW – this has an awesome polyrhythmic drum sequencer making quick work of hard-hitting beats on Track 1.

So in summary? The Arturia KeyStep Pro could be exactly what you need if sequencing complex melodies or needing lots of connectivity options are high on your list. But remember – always do your homework before investing!

My 1 Month Review Of The Arturia KeyStep Pro

My 1 Month Review Of The Arturia KeyStep Pro


Oh, the joys of making music! Can we talk about the Arturia KeyStep Pro? After a month of playing, I've got quite a lot to share.

First Impressions

When I first set my gaze on the Arturia KeyStep Pro, its sleek design immediately grabbed my attention. It's portable and easy to set up, making it a dream come true for any nomadic musician.

The Feel

Here's something that might sound strange but trust me, it matters – this thing feels great.
Whether you're tickling the ivories or hammering out some synths, these keys feel naturally weighted and respond well under your fingers. They're not too heavy or too light – just right.

The Features

The features on this thing are simply off the charts.
There are four independent polyphonic sequencer tracks and 16 step-buttons which allow for real-time sequencing – talk about multitasking!
I was also thrilled to find that I could control all my hardware with multiple outputs and MIDI in/out.
And oh boy, that looper! The most fun I had was with this feature… looping some intense rhythms while jamming over top is just pure bliss!

The Sound

Sound is king when it comes to musical equipment and Arturia really hit it out of the park here.
Whether you're into making techno beats or smooth jazz grooves, this equipment can deliver.
The range of sounds available is simply phenomenal.

The Learning Curve

Yes, there was a learning curve. But honestly?
It wasn't as steep as one might think. Plus, Arturia provided an excellent user manual (as well as online tutorials) which made things much simpler.

In Summary:

  • Sleek design and good portability.
  • Natural-feeling keys.
  • Huge range of features including sequencer tracks & step-buttons.
  • Gorgeous sound quality across diverse music styles.
  • A manageable learning curve with great support provided.

After one month with my Arturia KeyStep Pro, I can confidently say – this little beauty will be pumping out tunes in my studio for a long time to come.

Who The M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Arturia KeyStep Pro

Who The M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Arturia KeyStep Pro

The M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro is an excellent choice for professional and semi-pro players, as well as students who seek a realistic grand piano feel. This may make the product more appealing to those that prioritise the following:

Authentic Piano Action: The Hammer 88 Pro boasts of a graded hammer action, offering a truly authentic piano playing experience.

Sophisticated Controls: The “Smart Control” and “Auto-Mapping” features allow for enhanced control over enharmonic or custom plugin parameters. This is ideal for users looking to optimize their workflow.

When it comes to pricing, the Hammer 88 Pro may be slightly pricier (about €499) which could be a consideration depending on your budget range.

On the other hand, the Arturia KeyStep Pro shines in its own right and might be more suitable for those who want:

Versatile Controls: Its sequencing power sets it apart making it a versatile choice for keyboardists.

A Real Keyboard Feel: User reviews suggest that Arturia’s products feel more like real keyboards compared with competitors. If this is a priority, then KeyStep could be your go-to.

Although potentially cheaper (around €399), judging by quality alone both keyboards come highly recommended by experts in multiple MIDI keyboard & controllers rankings.

Ultimately these insights should help you determine which model best suits your specific needs and preferences – whether that's full-sized keys with the M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro or versatile controls with Arturia KeyStep Pro.

Who The Arturia KeyStep Pro Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro

Who The Arturia KeyStep Pro Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro

The Arturia KeyStep Pro is an excellent choice for keyboardists seeking versatility and extensive controls. Here's why you might prefer it over the M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro:

– It comes with a powerful sequencing capability, making it stand out as a controller. This is especially useful for musicians into complex compositions or live performances, where real-time control over sequences can be crucial.

– Arturia has incorporated professional user feedback, ensuring the keyboard retains the popular features from their premier models. User reviews often praise Arturia products for having a more authentic “real keyboard” feel compared to competitors.

– For those on a tighter budget, the KeyStep Pro may also be more attractive. In some locations, it's priced around €399, while the Hammer 88 Pro can go up to €499.

M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro, on the other hand, appeals more to professionals or semi-professional players, or students seeking an authentic grand piano feel.

– It offers a full-sized, 88-key MIDI keyboard with graded hammer action for that authentic piano interaction. This feature could tip the scale in its favor for pianists who prioritize touch response and dynamic expression in their performances.

– The “Smart Control” and “Auto-Mapping” features are built to enhance control over plugin parameters easily – optimizing your workflow when dealing with various digital audio workstations or virtual instruments.

In summary:

  • The Arturia KeyStep Pro caters well to users looking for powerful sequencing capabilities, extensive controls and an authentic key feel.
  • The M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro is more suited for those after an authentic grand piano touch response and streamlined control over digital audio workstations.

It's important to remember that personal preference plays a significant role in choosing between these two fine options – considering factors like key size preference (Full-sized vs mini), budget constraint, certain functionalities (like sequencing power), and overall comfort level with keyboards' interaction/feel will help guide this decision.

If the products featured in this post, M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro and Arturia KeyStep Pro, didn't quite meet your needs, I've compared similar items in other posts that you might find more suitable.

You can check out my comparison between M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro vs Nektar Impact LX88+ for a closer look at some alternatives.

If you're interested in Akai Fire, I've also reviewed it side-by-side with M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro in my post on M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro vs Akai Fire.

For those of you looking into the Akai MPC Studio, see how it fares against other brands like Arturia and Novation in my posts comparing Akai MPC Studio vs Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 and Akai MPC Studio vs Novation 61SL Mk3.

There are plenty of options out there, so make sure to explore all available comparisons before making your final decision.


What are some of the unique features or offerings that both M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro and the Arturia KeyStep Pro MIDI controllers provide to their users?

The M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro stands out for its full-sized, 88-key, USB powered MIDI keyboard controller with graded hammer action which offers an authentic piano action. It's ideal for professional and semi-pro players or students seeking a realistic grand piano feel. On the other hand, Arturia KeyStep Pro is recognized for its sequencing power that sets it apart as a versatile controller for keyboardists. Its extensive controls are based on professional user feedback ensuring key features liked about their premier piano-feel are retained.

How does pricing play into deciding between M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro and Arturia KeyStep Pro?

Pricing can be a significant factor when choosing between these two models as there might be differences depending on location. For instance, in some places, the Keylab Essential could be offered at around €399 while Hammer 88 Pro can go for €499. Therefore, it's important to consider your budget constraint while making your decision.

In terms of user preference how do M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro and Arturia KeyStep Pro compare against each other?

User preference may greatly vary depending on several factors like size of keys desired (full-sized or mini), needed functionalities (like sequencing power) and personal preference for interaction/feel of keys. According to user reviews, products from Arturia feel more like real keyboards compared to competitors. However if one desires a realistic grand piano feel then they might opt for the M-Audio Hammer 88 pro.

If someone is new to music production which MIDI Keyboard would you recommend from these two options?

Although both keyboards offer high-quality functions and top recommendations by experts in multiple MIDI keyboard & controllers rankings suggesting they're solid options in their own rights – someone new to music production might find M- Audio Hammer 88 pro a bit more suitable due its ‘Smart Control' & ‘Auto-Mapping' feature which allows easier workflow optimization thus making it beginner friendly compared to Arturia keystone pro which has extensive controls based on professional user feedback.

Buyer's Guide: Important Things To Consider & Look Out For When Buying A Midi Keyboard

1. Examine the Key Types: Weighted vs Velocity-Sensitive Keys;

When purchasing a MIDI keyboard, one of the most fundamental factors to consider is the type of keys it has. Your choice often balances between weighted keys, like those found in traditional acoustic pianos, and velocity-sensitive keys. The M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro offers fully-weighted keys, which give a more natural feel for piano players. In contrast, Arturia Keystep Pro has velocity-sensitive keys that respond to your touch's speed and force. Both options can drastically impact how you create music and should be considered carefully in any MIDI controller comparison.

2. Check Aftertouch Capabilities & Control Voltage Compatibility;

One feature you might want to look for when buying your ideal midi keyboard is its aftertouch capabilities. An aftertouch offers additional expressiveness in playing by allowing varying effects depending on pressure applied on the key after an initial press. On the other hand, control voltage (CV) compatibility, featured in units such as the Arturia Keystep Pro, can be a game changer if you're into vintage synthesizers or modular gear.

3. Evaluate Performance Controls & Functionality;

Performance controls are another crucial aspect when selecting a MIDI keyboard online – these include pitch bend and modulation wheels, sliders, knobs among others. For instance, when considering M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro vs Arturia KeyStep Pro: both offer extensive performance controls including dedicated pitch bend and modulation wheels. These features allow real-time adjustment of parameters adding depth and intensity to your music.

4. Consider Arpeggiator Functionality & Sequencing Capabilities:

While not essential for everyone's music production setup, having arpeggiator functionality can add another layer of creativity to your tunes by automatically altering playbacks' sequences at different pitches or rhythms.

MIDI keyboards with sequencing capabilities, like the Arturia KeyStep Pro give even greater compositional versatility – they can send musical data directly to other MIDI-equipped devices for synchronous performances.

5.Consider Size And Portability:

The size of your MIDI Keyboard significantly impacts its portability – crucial if you're always on-the-go or have limited space in your home studio.
When selecting between larger digital pianos with full 88-keys like M-Audio Hammer 88 pro or smaller units such as Arturia Keystep pro (37-keys), keep this aspect on top of mind.

6. Prioritize Integration Capability With Your Music Production Equipment:

Ensure that whatever MIDI keyboard you choose integrates well with other pieces of music production equipment You already own or plan to acquire soon.
Whether this relates to connection types available (USB/MIDI/CV), included software bundles relevant DAWs supported: You don't want issues bridging this essential hardware into your existing digital audio workstation setup.

7. Read Reviews And Compare Prices:

Lastly but certainly not least: dig up some reviews online! Obtain objective feedback from users who've used both models you’re considering (like M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro Vs Arturia KeyStep Pro) gives further insight into practicality beyond cold specs alone.
Simultaneously check various platforms offering these keyboards online – prices may fluctuate remarkably from one vendor to another so ensure you get best value for money!

About Author

Arielle P

Arielle P

Songwriter | Music Producer | Engineer.

With a background in music production and a strong passion for education, Arielle is dedicated to helping emerging artists navigate the music industry. She has worked with a diverse range of artists, from indie rock bands to well-known hip-hop and grime artists. Arielle's unique approach to teaching focuses on empowering artists to take control of their brand, ensuring they retain creative ownership throughout their journey. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting with new sounds in her home studio and sharing her insights through music production tutorials and workshops.

📧 Email Arielle