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As more and more people make music using laptop and desktop computers, they realize that using a mouse to make changes is a pain. As soon as you try and change several soft synth parameters, or make a mix, you find that using a mouse is slow, cumbersome, and stands in the way of you and your music.
mAudio's Oxygen 8 is one of the more popular tools for avoiding mouse fatigue when your making music with your computer. The Oxygen 8 lets you control any 8 MIDI-assignable parameters within your favorite software programs. It's a USB MIDI interface so it does not generate sounds but needs your computer to do so.
The Oxygen 8 is great for use with software synthesizers, because it gives you instance access to 8 parameters. This gives you enough control to change synth settings on-the-fly. It won't replace the need for using your mouse when programming new sounds, but it does the job when performing. Typically, you'll want quick access to two or three synth parameters while playing, such as filter cut-off, resonance, and tuning. Doing this with a mouse would require that you stop playing, move to your computer, change a couple of settings, and then start playing again. With the Oxygen 8, you can play with one hand while you tweak with the other.
The keyboard itself is small, only having 25 keys. It's a two-octave synth keyboard, which means it's great for playing basslines and leads, or for pad backgrounds, but it's not going to cut it if you're looking for piano-style action. There's a transpose switch, so you can quickly jump the keyboard up or down and octave to get to the range that you want.
The Oxygen 8 makes it easier to mix music with popular sequencers, too. It gives you immediate access to 8 track parameters, so you can adjust the volume of each track as you play through a mix.
Because of it's small size and light weight, the Oxygen 8 makes a great portable keyboard controller for making laptop music. The Oxygen 8 has been popular with laptop techno artists since they came out. They are inexpensive, and give you enough controllers to work live. People that are looking for a controller for a home studio will find the Oxygen 8 a great tool, but may prefer a larger controller with more knobs and sliders.
Velocity sensitive 25 key MIDI controller keyboard.
8 MIDI assignable knobs, 1 assignable slider
Inputs and outputs 16 channels of MIDI to and from your computer
Power the Oxygen 8 with the USB port or 6 'AA' batteries, or with included power supply
Pitch Bend Wheel: Used for raising or lowering the pitch of a voice during performance.
Modulation Wheel: Produces a vibrato effect shortly after the sound is generated.
Data Entry Slide: Allows you to adjust Volume, Velocity, Chorus, Reverb, and Pan pot.
MIDI/SELECT button: Select different MIDI commands on certain keys.
MIDI/SELECT Button and MCH (MIDI Channel) Key: Select the transmitting channel.
MIDI/SELECT, Function Key and Data Entry Slider: Allows you to select the transmitting value of the velocity, reverb depth, chorus depth, pan pot, volume, or CC data.
MIDI/SELECT Button and the Octave Key: Allow you to shift the active keyboard range one octave higher, or lower.
MIDI/SELECT button and the Reset key
Control Change by Numeric Keypad: Oxygen 8 allows you to use the numeric keys to specify your Control Change DATA parameter instead of data entry slide.
Program Change: The Oxygen 8 allows you use the Program key and numeric keys to select any patch number between 1 and 128.