Support Knowledge Base

M-Audio Hammer 88 - Frequently Asked Questions

The M-Audio Hammer 88 is a USB/MIDI keyboard controller with 88 hammer-weighted, velocity sensitive keys. This article answers some common questions about the features and functionality of the M-Audio Hammer 88. 


Frequently Asked Questions



Do I need a computer to use the Hammer 88?

The Hammer 88 will require either a computer with accompanying software* or a sound module (such as the M-Audio Accent Module) in order to generate any sound. The keyboard will send MIDI messages over USB and the 5-pin MIDI Out port which will trigger sound in the connected software or sound module.

*The Hammer 88 includes the Ableton Live Lite software and several plugins to help you get started.


Does the Hammer 88 require any drivers?

No. The Hammer 88 is class-compliant and does not require any drivers for use with Mac and Windows operating systems.


What are the computer requirements for the Hammer 88?

The Hammer 88 is compatible with Windows 7 and up, and Mac OS X 10.10 and up.


Do I need a power supply for the Hammer 88?

No, a power supply is not necessary. The Hammer 88 is powered through the USB connection with your computer.

An optional 9V DC, 800mA, center positive power supply can be used to power the keyboard when using without a computer. 


Does the Hammer 88 come with any software?

Yes, the Hammer 88 comes with the following software.

  • Ableton Live Lite
  • SONiVOX Eighty-Eight Ensemble
  • AIR Mini Grand
  • AIR DB-33
  • AIR Velvet
  • Skoove 3-month premium subscription
  • Hammer 88 software editor

All software (with the exception of Skoove, and Ableton Live Lite) will be available from the user account page once the Hammer 88 has been registered. See the questions below for more information about accessing Ableton Live Lite and Skoove:


How do I install Ableton Live Lite?

A software download card for Ableton Live Lite is included in the box with your Hammer 88. Here you will find a download link and authorization code to activate the software. Follow our video below for a complete walkthrough.


Do I need to use Ableton Live Lite with the Hammer 88?

While Ableton Live is a great software for users of all experience levels, it is not essential to use with the Hammer 88. The Hammer 88 is compatible with virtually any DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), virtual instrument, or other audio production software that accepts MIDI note data.


What is Skoove?

Skoove is an interactive, online piano tutor complete with hundreds of high-quality videos and lessons for players of all experience levels. Use the Hammer 88 to play along with lessons and receive real-time feedback.

The Hammer 88 includes a 3-month premium subscription to help get you started. Visit their website to learn more. 


How do I access Skoove?

To receive your 3-Month Premium Subscription from Skoove:

  1. Go to
  2. Enter your name, email, and unique promotional code (found on the included Skoove insert card).
  3. Sign-up and follow the on-screen instructions.


Can I send a program change from the Hammer 88?

Yes! The +/- buttons on the left side of the keyboard can be used to send program change, bank LSB, bank MSB, and CC messages. Use the included software editor to assign the desired functions. 


What are the default assignments for the controls on the Hammer 88?

By default, the controls and control inputs for the Hammer 88 will be assigned to the following:

  • Master Volume Fader - CC7, Volume
  • Pitch Bend Wheel - Pitch Bend
  • Modulation Wheel - CC1, Modulation
  • Expression Input - CC11, Expression
  • FS2/Soft Pedal Input - CC67, Soft Pedal
  • Sustain Pedal - Sustain
  • +/- Buttons – Program Up and Program Down


What is a soft pedal?

A soft pedal is used to soften the notes and modify the tonal quality of a piano. This is the standard left-most pedal on a piano and achieves its sound by shifting the hammers so that they only strike two of the three strings per note. 

A sustain-type pedal, such as the M-Audio SP-2, can be connected to the FS2 input to send a soft pedal message to your software to mimic this response. 


Can the pitch and modulation wheels be assigned to other functions?

Absolutely! The pitch and modulation wheels are both assignable controllers on the Hammer 88. Use the included software editor to change their function.


Can I adjust the range of the pitch wheel?

Yes, the pitch range can be adjusted from anywhere between a half-note to a full octave up/down. Use the software editor to set this to your preference. 


What type of footswitch should I use for the Expression Pedal input?

The Hammer 88 expression pedal input will accept any standard expression pedal using a 1/4" (6.35 mm) TRS connector. The input is set to normally open, meaning the pedal will be Off in its up or open position.

An expression pedal, such as the M-Audio EX-P, can be connected to the EXP input to send an expression pedal message to your software.


Do I need a specific sustain pedal for the Hammer 88?

The Hammer 88 will accept any standard momentary-contact foot pedal with a 1/4" (6.35mm) TS connector.

A sustain-type pedal, such as the M-Audio SP-2, can be connected to the SUSTAIN input to send a sustain pedal message to your software.


The sustain pedal function is reversed. What do I do?

The polarity of the sustain and expression pedals is determined by the keyboard on startup. If the sustain or expression pedal is pressed down during startup the keyboard may incorrectly assign the polarity of the pedal, resulting in reversed operation. If this occurs, restart the keyboard with the sustain or expression pedal in the off/up position. You can also check your sustain or expression pedal for a polarity switch, usually found on the bottom or back of the pedal. 


What are zones and how do I use them?

The Hammer 88 features 4 assignable zones. This allows you to divide the keyboard into sections, or zones, to send each zone to a different MIDI channel and instrument. For example, two zones could be created to send one side of the keyboard to a piano instrument in your DAW, while the other half is sent to play a synthesizer plugin. The Hammer 88 can assign up to 4 zones simultaneously, each with its own MIDI channel.


Where do I download the Hammer 88 software editor?

The Hammer 88 software editor can be found on the user account page after registering the keyboard, or on the M-Audio Drivers & Updates page. 


Further Technical Support

Whether you are a customer or dealer, if you already own an M-Audio product, or if you just have pre-sales questions, the experienced M-Audio technical support team is available to help!

Visit the link below to connect with any of the following support options: online community support, phone support, email support.