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M-Audio Axiom 25 Review: Is It the MIDI Keyboard for You?

M-Audio Axiom 25 Review_ Is It the MIDI Keyboard for You

Are you looking for a MIDI keyboard that you can fit in your backpack?

The M-Audio’s Axiom 25 might be the one you’re looking for. When you combine this with the right software, you won’t need any other instruments to make music.

This little wonder from the Axiom series is perfect for making music solo! Read on to find out more.

Table of Contents

M-Audio Axiom 25 Overview

M-Audio Axiom 25 Overview

This keyboard’s deceptively compact form factor hides a wealth of features. It looks plain, but it’s stuffed to the gills with enough different features for all your music-making needs.

You can bring this keyboard on trips and vacations and bust out a tune anytime and anywhere.

While this device will help you create and fine-tune any sound you want, don’t expect much from the Axiom 25 right out of the box.

Apart from the piano and an extremely bare-bones guide, this doesn’t come with anything like a power adaptor. You’ll have to fiddle around to unlock the instrument mode!

That’s fine since it adds to the Axiom’s portability — but what if you’re stuck without a power source for your equipment? You’ll have to spend extra on that.

Barring those slight power issues, the Axiom’s fully equipped to provide you with a wide range of MIDI notes.

The best part is that you won’t need a direct power supply just to use your new keys. If your computer has even a single USB port, you’ll have no trouble supplying power to this M-Audio device.

Plus, this keyboard’s not too picky with your OS. If your laptop’s running with older software, it’s alright! This keyboard’s compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Mac OS X.


  • Has transpose buttons utilized for moving a collection of MIDI notes
  • Has keyboard zones feature for layering or splitting sounds
  • A backlit LCD graces the top panel
  • Automatically maps sliders, buttons, and encoders to common DAW
  • Alters the range of a pitch bend message
  • Compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Mac OS X
  • All controllers are fully configurable to the USB MIDI controller channel and number
  • Dedicated track buttons
  • Has an input/connector for expression pedals
  • Has more hands-on control with your DAW software and VST plugins
  • Has a nice trigger pad perfect for banging out drums that are built-in with your key
  • Comes with regular-sized, semi-weighted keys


  • Doesn’t come with a full manual
  • Supplied Ableton Live Lite doesn’t support MIDI remote control

M-Audio Axiom 25 – Full Review of Features

M-Audio Axiom 25 - Full Review of Features

Let’s dive into all the features this Axiom series keyboard can offer!

1.) It’s Deceptively Compact

If you’re a veteran producer, you’re probably familiar with the pain of lugging your instruments between venues. You won’t have to worry about that with this keyboard!

It’s a scaled-down piano that’s fully kitted out to make music from any genre. But don’t let its size fool you!

Unlike most MIDI controllers, this keyboard’s furnished with full-sized keys. However, note that this fidelity comes at the cost of weight; This instrument clocks in at 6.9lbs!

2.) 25 Piano Playing-Style, Semi-Weighted Keys

This keyboard has 25 piano-like semi-weighted feeling keys that deliver a superb musical experience on a portable keyboard.

Semi-weighted keyboards have a spring-type system involving a spring-action key that simulates a weighted feel.

This added springiness provides delightful feedback and makes playing this piano a joy!

3.) Comprehensive MIDI Keyboard Controller

This MIDI keyboard controller has every button you’ll ever need. With a mod wheel, pitch bend, and sustain pedals, you’ll be able to adjust your sound however you want.

You can use this keyboard as a mixer, drum machine, and an all-in-one controller for triggering samples and loops. You won’t need other gear with this compact wonder!

This all-in-one keyboard is perfect for jammers with limited space; since you won’t have to buy each instrument separately.

NOTE: The “25” in this keyboard’s name refers to the number of keys. M-Audio also offers much larger 49- and 61-key versions, if you want more keys to play around with.

4.) USB-Powered

You won’t need a power supply with this keyboard because it’s USB-powered! Your keyboard will be powered directly by your PC.

Thanks to M-Audio’s convenient solution, get ready to play anytime and anywhere!

Don’t worry if you’ve forgotten your computer! The Axiom’s got a standard port, too, so you can power it with any power supply that meets the following requirements:

  • 12V DC
  • 250mA – 300mA
  • Center positive

5.) Built-in USB Cable MIDI Interface

The Axiom 25 has a MIDI interface that lets the keyboard have a MIDI In/Out to and from a computer. That’s fairly standard, but it can also be integrated into keyboards, pad controllers, control surfaces, and audio interfaces.

Picking up this controller will also give you access to M-Audio’s Enigma software. This software lets users program, store, and load setups from their Axiom for further convenience.

You’ll be able to press play, stop, and record music without having to rely on your mouse. This will speed up your production and further slim down your production kit!

DID YOU KNOW: You don’t have to program your Axiom because its DirectLink mode automatically maps sliders, buttons, and encoders to popular DAW and virtual instrument parameters.

6.) Backlit LCD for Easy Viewing

The angled top panel and bright backlit LCD of this music-making machine are great for easy viewing.

You can finally be in touch with your Axiom 25 and program it how you feel.

Aside from the features mentioned earlier, this keyboard’s fitted with your standard transport buttons in a nice central position.

We’re happy to report that the dedicated transport controls work great. Furthermore, it has LED lights for DAW feedback and six edit buttons.

7.) Dedicated Instrument Mode Button

The new instrument mode button has built-in controls for Virtual Studio Technologies (VSTs). This function will let you play other instruments directly from the keyboard.

It is also utilized for instant switching between controlling mixer and virtual instrument parameters.

This feature is make-or-break for some folks, so it’s a great addition. It is best utilized when composing beats and sounds.

8.) Wealth of Trigger Pads and Encoder Knobs

This keyboard’s fitted with eight trigger pads and eight rotary encoder knobs. You can use these pads to further customize your music’s response curves.

Programming beats will be easier than ever, thanks to the eight pads on this device! Those encoder knobs on the side will let you master every facet of your software.

9.) Ableton Live Lite Pack Integration

Ableton offers a free live pack for all Axiom series keyboards, including three custom programs.

The live pack contains comprehensive controls that will help you take full advantage of the Axiom’s drum pads.

10.) Affordability

All these features must command a jaw-dropping price, right? Not at all! This keyboard controller is extremely affordable.

Depending on the condition of the keyboard you’re going to buy, whether it’s brand new or pre-owned, this keyboard’s price starts at about 100 dollars.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions-

How Do I Connect My Axiom 25 to FL Studio?

If you plug the controller in, Windows should automatically recognize your controller as a generic controller.

Press “F10” to open your settings and check that the input is enabled for your controller. Now, look for the “enable button” on the bottom left of the input box.

Once you’ve found it, highlight the controller and see that the enable button is orange.

PRO TIP: Ensure the keyboard is plugged in when launching the software settings. Otherwise, the Axiom won’t detect that it’s already plugged in.

How Do I Use Axiom 25 on Ableton?

Once you’ve installed the Axiom multi-client driver, follow these steps:

Step 1: Download And Install The Axiom Live Pack

Ableton has posted a live tutorial pack containing the programs we need; you just have to download the Axiom live pack and enable all settings.

Once you’ve downloaded the live pack, extract the software and begin the installation. The software will be automatically installed.

Step 2: Configure MIDI and Dump Programs to the Axiom

Inside the live button, click menu, then options, then preferences. Afterward, click the “MIDI Sync” tab. Look for the control surface and select “Axiom 25 Classic.

The input should be set the same as in the diagram below:

USB Axiom Input PortInput Port From External MIDI INUSB Output Port to Axiom
Mac OS XUSB Axiom Port 1USB Axiom Port 1USB Axiom
Windows Class DriverUSB Audio DeviceUSB Audio DeviceUSB Audio Device
Windows Multi-Client DriverUSB Axiom InUSB Axiom In (2)USB Axiom Out

Will Any MIDI Keyboard Work With FL Studio?

The FL software will work with any generic MIDI keyboard, but check the M-Audio website for model-specific drivers.

Learn more about the Axiom 25 by checking out its manual here.

Alternatives to the Axiom 25

There’s no other keyboard like the Axiom 25, but it’s not the only contender!

If you want to consider other options, here are some great alternatives you can check out:

1.) Akai MPK Mini

Akai MPK Mini

The Akai MPK Mini is an entry-level MIDI Controller that’s well-known for being convenient and easy to use. It also boasts rock-solid build quality.

This MIDI controller proves that you don’t need to break the bank for pro tools. This keyboard’s pretty affordable, so it’s great for making music on a budget!

If you’re after specs, you should go for M-Audio’s product. However, if you’re after portability, The MPK Mini is the perfect keyboard controller for you.


  • Has tap tempo controls
  • Has velocity-sensitive keys and pads, plus a sustain button
  • Has an arpeggiator function
  • Is much lighter and more portable than the Axiom 25


  • More expensive than the Axiom 25
  • Lacks an LCD display
  • Lacks transport controls

2.) Arturia KeyLab 25

Arturia KeyLab 25

The KeyLab 25 is Arturia’s flagship product. This MIDI keyboard’s packed with more knobs and encoders than the Axiom.

This hybrid synthesizer gives you instant access to the most important synth and plug-in parameters. Not only that, you’ll get the satisfaction you need with its glossy looks, solid feels, and extensive controls.

Depending on the functionality you need, either of the two given keyboards would be a great choice. If drum patterns and pads matter to you, then you should pick M-Audio’s controller.

However, if faders, knobs, and encoders are your thing, you should choose the Arturia KeyLab 25!


  • Has responsive, velocity-sensitive weighted keys
  • Has more faders and knobs
  • 3 more encoders (3 vs. 0)
  • 23.4% less body volume (9699.9 cm³ vs. 12664.35 cm³)


  • Some users report having popped-up keys
  • Features a premium price
  • Is not plug-and-play
  • Doesn’t have automapping technology

3.) Novation Launchkey 25

Novation Launchkey 25

The Novation Launchkey 25 is a great value-for-money option. This device is fairly colorful, but its appearance lacks the “innovation” that its name promises.

This mid-ranged keyboard is jam-packed with key features like 16 velocity-sensitive pads, Ableton Live Lite, a loop masters sample pack, and Mac OS software compatibility.

If you’re going for the best keybed without minding the price, we recommend going for the Novation Launchkey 25. However, if semi-weighted keys and MIDI in and out ports are your top priority, the Axiom key is for you!


  • It has an input/connector for the sustain pedal
  • The device is mappable with automapping technology
  • Has 8 more pads (16 vs. c8)
  • Has velocity-sensitive pads


  • Chassis feels cheap
  • Some users report latency errors
  • Mod wheel isn’t very responsive


The Axiom 25 is a wonder among controllers. It’s got features that other pro tools can only dream of while also being lightweight and extremely portable.

M-Audio has created an incredibly feature-rich device that stands head and shoulders above the competition. No other piece of studio equipment comes close!

This mobile controller’s worth buying because it combines all the production power and performance you need to extract from your music software studio.

About the author


After becoming obsessed with the beats that were the soundtrack to his youth, Nick became a student of hip hop, digging for vinyl records, looking for the perfect break. Before he got his hands on an MPC sampler, he would mash these records, beats, and breaks into mixtapes and live DJ sets.