Avid KeyStudio review

The whole keyboard and caboodle

TODO alt text


  • Works with Garageband/Logic
  • Super cheap


  • Pointless audio interface
  • Very basic Pro Tools included

The Avid KeyStudio is a three-in-one for new music-makers. First up there's the most basic set of keys imaginable. There's no MIDI port, it's exclusively USB powered and there are none of those extra sliders we love. It's light, it's got a rather sticky and plasticky action; it's strictly budget all the way.

Next in the box is an audio interface, or rather a cigarette lighter sized USB dongle with 3.5mm stereo ins and outs – exactly the same ports that are already on any modern Mac.

It's all thanks to the bundled Pro Tools SE software which, even in these more enlightened times, still insists on having some Avid hardware plugged in (and hogging a second USB port). But now you can join the pros, albeit with just eight virtual instrument tracks and 16 audio tracks.

Fortunately, SE is upgradeable to the full Pro Tools 9 if you need the extra elbow room.

Things make most sense with GarageBand. The KeyStudio performs perfectly, which is unsurprising given its simplicity, and it's hard to knock in terms of sheer suitability for this roll. It even fits neatly under your iMac screen.

Overall, don't be fooled by the all-in-one package here. Pro Tools SE is a great way to get familiar with Pro Tools, but it isn't actually any better than the GarageBand you get free with your Mac. And despite the lure of an audio interface, it's so super-basic that it's simply a hardware dongle for their software.

That said, view this package as a budget, iMac-styled 'my first keyboard' and you'd be hard pushed to find cheaper.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeSoftware
Software Main TypeUtility
Brand NameAvid
Software Sub TypeMusic Editing/Composing
Licence PricingStandard
Licence TypeComplete Product
Platform SupportedIntel-based Mac, PC
Operating System SupportedMac OS, Windows
  • complete recording system > turn your PC or Mac into a full-featured studio
  • Pro Tools SE software > record, edit, and produce with the same platform used by top audio professionals
  • M-Audio KeyStudio 49-note keyboard > play the huge virtual instrument library in Pro Tools SE
  • over 100 virtual instruments > fly solo or be the entire band
  • extensive library of templates and loops > quickly and easily make music in any style
Licence Quantity1 User
ManufacturerAvid Technology, Inc
Product NameKeyStudio
Package TypeRetail
Software NameAvid KeyStudio
Manufacturer Part Number82503001101
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.avid.com
Marketing Information

Powered by the same technology behind many of today's greatest hits, Avid KeyStudio instantly transforms your Mac or PC into a full-featured recording studio. The streamlined combination of Avid hardware and software - the 49-note, velocity-sensitive M-Audio KeyStudio keyboard and Pro Tools SE music creation application - makes it easy to turn your inspiration into a professional-quality song. Just connect the keyboard to your computer, fire up the software, choose from over 100 different instrument sounds, and start playing. You can build out your composition with loops from the huge included library, then add effects, polish your tracks, and share them with the world.