October 25, 2010

M-Audio Axiom Pro 61 Review by TJ from AVID

Our buddy T.J. Martin from AVID stopped by the office to talk about the M-Audio Axiom Pro 61. We asked him, “what makes this line from AVID “Unique” (haha)” and he responded with these points.

  • They are a surface controller that does MIDI. Not a MIDI controller that can control your DAW.
  • M-Audio’s Hypercontrol does bi-directional talk with a DAW or VI without using a shell/plug-in in the background. This uses less CPU power then.
  • There are two main modes: DAW surface control and Plug-in control. You can map any parameter to any fader, knob or button you may need.
  • It is the only controller on the market that is mapped out to control Pro Tools – HD, LE or M-Powered.

Here’s more in depth information touching on T.J.’s points:

Enhanced DAW Integration with HyperControl Technology

Thanks to revolutionary M-Audio HyperControl technology, your Axiom Pro 61 controller will automatically map to commonly used parameters of popular software instruments and digital audio workstations including Pro Tools, Cubase, Logic and Reason* systems. HyperControl updates the virtual instrument or track parameter mappings of each control in real time as you sequenceóit doesnít get any easier.

The HyperControl Difference

While other controllers offer mapping, only the M-Audio Axiom Pro line has HyperControl technology. HyperControl synchronizes Axiom Pro with your DAW, ensuring that your hardware and software collaborate to form a single work environment. The technology utilizes the Axiom Pro 61 graphic LCD to group software controls together in a modular fashion. Similar controls are organized in named groups and accessed via four dedicated softkeys, which are continually updated to reflect the mapped parameters. A dedicated button toggles between Mixer and Instrument modes for instant hands-on control of all of your softwareís functionality. Dedicated Track buttons allow sequential navigation of your mixer and instantaneous mapping of software instruments within the selected track. You can even control software instruments without opening them.

DAW Transport and Track Navigation

The six dedicated transport buttons on the Axiom Pro 61 controller give you immediate hands-on access to all of your host DAWís playback and recording controls. Unlike other all-or-nothing systems, Axiom Pro 61 also features a transport-only mode. This option lets you access DAW transports and track navigation via HyperControl technology, while creating and controlling your own custom MIDI assignments for the trigger pads, buttons, sliders and encoders.

Expressive Playability

With great feel in a lightweight chassis, the Axiom Pro 61 controller provides a new level of creative inspiration. The M-Audio TruTouchô keybed combines professional semi-weighted action with advanced high-speed keybed scanning technology for an ultra-expressive playing experience. Assignable aftertouch adds an extra measure of expression and control.

The Ultimate Pro Tools Keyboard Controller

Whether you are working on a Pro Tools M-Poweredô, Pro Tools LEÆ or Pro Tools|HDÆ system, the Axiom Pro MIDI controllers set a new standard for Pro Tools keyboard control. Advanced M-Audio HyperControl technology puts instant access to all of your Pro Tools parameters at your fingertipsóincluding mixing, individual track functionality, and unparalleled control of virtual instruments such as Xpand!, Strike and Hybrid.

Different Strokes

The Axiom Pro keyboard controller line is the first to combine MIDI control with ASCII keystrokes. You can assign any button on Axiom Pro 61 to send ASCII messages accessing any of the available QWERTY keyboard shortcuts within your host DAW. Imagine the possibilities with Copy, Paste, Duplicate, New Trackóanything you want to assign.

Complete MIDI Control

Axiom Pro 61 has an amazing 65 MIDI-assignable controls, putting complete session control in one place. The eight velocity-sensitive trigger pads integrate acclaimed M-Audio Trigger Finger technology for laying down rhythm tracks or triggering loops and samples. Smoothly control parameters like filters, EQ and panning with the eight rotary encoder knobs. The nine 40mm sliders (each with its own fully assignable button) feature auto-mute to prevent jumpingóideal for controlling mixes, virtual organ drawbars and more. The keyboardís extensive controllers also include 12 fully assignable buttons in the keypad arrangement, a data/octave button, pitch bend and mod wheels, aftertouch, and dual assignable pedal jacks. In addition to USB connectivity, youíll also find traditional MIDI In and MIDI Out ports for connecting external MIDI devices.

Total Recall

The Axiom Pro 61 keyboard has 50 memory locationsóeach with four quick-access profiles of controller assignmentsóallowing you to easily create and manage your own extensive library of presets with unprecedented power, ease and flexibility.

Let us know what you think by leaving us a comment here or on the video on the Unique Squared Youtube page. You can also check out our entire Axiom line on our site.


Hi, my name is TJ Martin with Avid and I’m here to demonstrate today the Axiom Pro 61. It does come 25, 49, 61. But today we’ve chosen the big mamajama here because I have more real estate to work with.
So, let’s show you around a little bit on it. We’ve got a numeric key section over here and that allows me to dial up presets and parameters. What I like to use it for is something we’ll get into in a minute, I can actually program this thing to send messages to DAW’s.
We have soft key functions under here, and let’s move over to the fader section. So here I’ve actually got nine faders, the first eight here are for changing values for volume and stuff like that inside your DAW. And then we’ve got a whole section here of knobs, these are endless encoder pot, so, I can just spin them around and around 360.
Drum pads over here, obviously for making beats and whatnot. And a semi-weighted key action on here. They come in black and white keys which is helpful. On the back there is a MIDI in and out section so you can do external stuff. Really, what’s cool about this first and foremost is this is a surface controller.
Most folks think of it as a MIDI controller that costs a heck of a lot of money, so, I think it’s important to get across today why the Axiom pro costs more than other MIDI controllers out there. It uses something called hypercontrol and hypercontrol is actually a two way speed between your DAW, or your virtual instrument, and the Axiom.
So, it has a nice screen here that will show you a lot of different parameters on there which you’re controlling on the screen, so, you’re getting bidirectional talk and feedback. So, let’s take a look at it in action with just Pro Tools.
So, here I’ve got a song all cued up, and one of the things I’ve already done is I’ve taken the time to program on the numeric pad, number 3, I’ve programmed to switch between the mixer and the waveforms because a lot of times I might be editing and then I’m like, what’s happening with the mixer section? So, I’ll head over here and then it calls up my mixer section which is really handy.
So, let me prove to you that it is possible if I call up the, let’s say, Logic preset… call that up. Hit load. So, first I hit load, dial it up on here, then hit the load button and let me switch over to Logic and there you see the familiar screen for Logic.
I can bank around with my bank buttons on here which is handy.
So, I’m getting different sets of eight each time, so, you’ll see there’s nine faders here. That’s cool if you’re using a B3, because a B3 always has nine drawbars. These act as your drawbars on a B3. But, by default on this ninth one, it’s always your master fader, and that’s cool to always have something handy for overall master volume. Otherwise I’m going to bank around and go from channels 1 through 8, and 9 through 16, that kind of thing.
For me, what saves a lot of trouble on the wrist is being able to change presets without constantly holding down the mouse to see menus and submenus.
If I dial up synthesizer, one of your favorite synths, you might see categories for pads, or pianos. Now you’re in the piano category you can look for upright, stage piano, all that.
I can do it from here, I can actually force it to open up the preset for me, and I can go page, and now I’m advancing through all the different presets. And that right there is worth it’s weight in gold alone, just that alone makes it heads and tails above the rest. That makes it easier on my life.
So that’s the Axiom Pro in a nutshell, again I just want to hit home the point that this is first and foremost a surface controller, this controls your DAW. Switch the mode, now it controls virtual instruments, oh, and by the way, it does MIDI. And that to me is why the Axiom Pro is such a cool piece.
If you need to score an Axiom Pro, the best place to do it, I think, would be, obviously. Be you, be unique, at UniqueSquared. Again, I’m TJ Martin with Avid and I’d like to thank them for having me out.


  1. Daniel says:

    great post, thanks for sharing

  2. nathan zorndorf says:

    The M-Audio AXiom Pro 61 is a piece of garbage. The model that is out has a known issue where keyboards will break after 4-6 months and show nothing but a blue blank screen on the LCD screen. Mine also had a key stop working. At best, when the item functioned, it automatically mapped some parameters, some of the time. Spend your hard earned money else where.

    1. Matt says:

      Could you recommend better alternatives?