I sold a lot of old musical gear last week. I had received most as gifts or hand-me-downs over the last few years and I was looking to make a little cash, so they had to go. The gear included a classic drum machine, a synthesizer module, a preamp, a hardware compressor, and even a large 61-key MIDI keyboard. In general, I never used any of them, either because I didn’t need them or they took up too much space on my desk (I’ll let you guess which is which).

Regardless, I’ve never been a good piano player, and can’t usually realize my compositional ideas via keys, so the use of a full keyboard is not that paramount to me. However, manually inputting ALL of the notes and MIDI controller messages is a huge chore, and actually detracts from both the musicality and creativity my music might otherwise have. Thus, I figured it was time to really think about the kind of input device I wanted that was both enough-knobs-and-buttons-y, as well as portable so I could pick it up and bring with me somewhere and/or fit on my desk without commandeering it. The picture above says it all: I got an M-Audio Axiom 25 MIDI controller, and I’m pretty happy with it.

Not only does it basically have all the features I think I’d want (couple octaves of keys, pitch/mod wheels, bunch of twiddly knobs, drum pads), but it also directly interfaces with Logic and maps a bunch of stuff automagically. I even acquired the thing used for a good discount from retail, and without the bothersome box and wrapping I’d just end up throwing away. Messing around in Logic for an hour last night made me feel fairly well acquainted with its abilities, but I’ve barely scratched the programmability of it. If I just make a whole piece with it, I’m sure the stuff I don’t understand quite yet will come.

To celebrate the event, I took Camel Audio up on a sale they’re having where you buy one sample library and get a second one of equal-or-lesser value free. Nabbed some neat guitar morph-y stuff, some ambient pads, and even some weird voices. The Impulse OST was essentially solely written using free sounds that came with their Alchemy sampler, so rest assured I dig their stuff.