While I'm not shy about voicing my opinions about rappers and producers, one thing I try not to is shit on gear companies. Having dealt with them so much when I was working at Scratch, I know how valuable they are to the brand, particularly when they advertise.

But yo, M-Audio, what the fuck?

I got this Keystation 49e, which came with Piano Wizard, which I use for practicing keyboard. It's not the greatest controller in the world, and truth be told I have like like 5 other keyboards/controllers, but it's small and compact and when you need to throw something down real quick I can just plug it in via USB and go to work.

So I had it sitting on desktop tower next to me at like 3 in the morning last night, and the USB cable was plugged in, and somehow it fell off the top of the computer onto my hardwood floor. Maybe the total fall was a foot and a half. Well the USB port somehow got dislodged, and since the Keystation is USB-powered, I was shit out of luck. So I fished out a 9v adapter to see if maybe I could power it externally, but even though the power worked, there was no MIDI signal being transmitted from the USB port to Reason 4.

I took the Keystation apart completely, separated the keys from the motherboard and messed around a bit, but short of pulling the USB port off the motherboard, there was nothing I could do to get the port working. So the unit is pretty much worthless at this point. I mean, it only retails for like $100, so I'm not going to spend money to send it to M-Audio and have it fixed. It's just too much of a pain in the ass.

Funny thing is, I'm not a gear snob, but I've always felt like M-Audio products were sort of cheaply made. I remember a friend of mine using a pair of M-Audio monitors and them joints blowing out like every three weeks. I also recall their early USB/firewire interfaces looking and feeling like disasters. They make these cheap products for the home studio user, and they just come off sort of toyish to me. And that's how I feel about this Keystation right now. Granted, what's $100 really going to get you in the grand scheme of things? Not much. But you'd like to think that a product can withstand falling a foot and a half without breaking. Imagine if I was taking it to a gig or something.

Sucks too, because I was looking to get an M-Audio Axiom soon, but seeing how this controller just broke so easily, I'm thinking the MPK49 is going to be where my dollars get spent.