M-Audio products are designed, manufactured and distributed by Avid Technologies, a parent company who controls M-Audio as well as Pro Tools and other audio software and devices. The M-Audio range of devices are marketed to the entry level musician, engineer or producer seeking powerful audio processing at a low price. M-Audio offers low-priced MIDI keyboard controllers for computers, which can be prone to damage at their USB ports.
USB Port Issues
The USB port on many M-Audio keyboards is the main connection between the controller and its host computer. As these controllers offer only input information from the musician, this connection is vital for proper operation of the device. This USB port is a standard circuit board mounted connector with minimal structural attachments to the keyboard's surrounding enclosure. When a USB cable is plugged into this port, it can be easily damaged if the cable is pulled hard or hit on stage or in the studio.
Musicians, engineers and technicians alike have reported various quick fixes for broken or loose USB ports on these controllers. If the port has broken free from its surrounding plastic enclosure and a quick fix is necessary, a spot of super glue around the outside edges of the port only -- taking care to keep the glue from the connector's interior -- can hold the port in place temporarily. Toothpicks, guitar picks and gaffer's tape have all been reported as wedges to hold the port in place as well.
Replacing the USB Port
Technicians with excellent soldering skills can replace the USB port directly, offering a more professional and permanent solution. The USB connector found on most M-Audio controllers is a standard computer component, and available from online supply houses. Replacing the port requires a disassembly of the controller, desoldering of the damaged jack, circuit board trace inspection and cleaning, and soldering of the new connecter directly to the circuit board.
M-Audio Technical Support
The most comprehensive repair solution is to contact M-Audio's technical support department for the repair or replacement of the USB port. M-Audio's warranty on the device might cover the repair costs on a case-by-case basis, and only if the device is still under warranty. Registering the device after purchase solidifies its eligibility for warranty service, and can help expedite any needed repairs. M-Audio also offers device repair for a fee after the warranty expires.
Larry Rivers has contributed his recording and audio production expertise to Nashville and Los Angeles alt-weeklies as well as industry magazines since 2008. He is a music recording expert, holding a Bachelor of Science in audio production and bringing over 12 years of album production and live sound engineering to his how-to articles.