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Akai MPK88 Weighted USB / MIDI Controller Keyboard

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Description

Reviews

Akai MPK88 Weighted USB/ MIDI Controller with MPC pads

Great in the studio, but even better on stage, the MPK61 gives you all the functionality you'd expect from Akai and puts it into a controller keyboard that would be challenged by only the most complex of MIDI rigs!

One of the things Akai are most famous for is the quality of their sample triggering pads, and the MPK61 does not skimp on them. You get 16 pads with velocity and pressure sensitivity as well as Akai's Q-Link controllers for control of up to 72 parameters.

The keyboard itself is carefully weighted for great playing action as you'd expect from a keyboard that has been designed to inspire your performance, whether it be recording in the studio, or live on stage. The MPK61 has plug and play MIDI over USB operation for seamless integration with your PC or Mac.

Here's what Akai say about the MPK88

Piano-action production powerhouse.
 
The Akai Professional MPK88 is a professional performance keyboard controller with MPC production controls. The MPK88 draws on the design of the popular MPK49, the first keyboard ever to features MPC pads. This first-of-its-kind keyboard is ideal for performance, starting with a premium, fully weighted, hammer-action keyboard, adding MPC pads, Q-Link controls, and a selection of MPC technologies. The MPK88 is born for the stage and is equally at home in the studio.

CREATIVE INPUT

MPK88 features an 88-key keyboard and 16 genuine MPC pads. The hammer-action keyboard is fully weighted and features aftertouch for expressive melodic control. The MPC pads are pressure and velocity-sensitive to capture every nuance of your creative concepts. The pads can access four banks of sounds, so you have 64 samples at your fingertips with the touch of a button.

The MPK88 places dedicated transport controls within your reach for easy control of some of the most important tracking and editing controls. The MPK88 has modulation and pitch-bend wheels for expressive musicality, and two assignable footswitch inputs enable you to connect an expression pedal or other continuous controller and a footswitch for momentary controls like patch change or start/stop.

Q-LINK COMMAND

One of the most important input devices on an MPC is its Q-Link assignable control section. Akai Pro built a massive collection of Q-Links into the MPK series. The MPK88 gives you eight virtual knobs that are assignable to control nearly any software parameter. You can control three different parameters per knob thanks to the knobs' three-bank selection, totaling 24 parameters of instant, hands-on control. Like the virtual knobs, eight virtual faders and eight virtual buttons also control three banks of parameters each, so you get 24 virtual faders and 24 virtual buttons. That's 72 Q-Link controls!

EXPRESSIVE ENGINE

Two technologies pioneered in the MPC series and built into the MPK series are MPC Note Repeat and MPC Swing. These note-modifying features can be heard in many of the most popular tracks over the last two decades. MPC Note Repeat is a capability that enables the MPK (or MPC) to automatically play a rhythm pattern, such as 16th notes on a hi-hat, for accuracy and speed of entry. MPC Swing is sometimes referred to as "the heart and soul of hip hop" because it turns perfectly aligned sequences into human feeling time alignments. You can specify exactly the degree and timing of swing you want to apply for the perfect feel.

The MPK88 has Key Split, enabling you to control two different sounds from the same keyboard. On top of MPC technologies, the MPK88 has its own arpeggiator, which enables you to create quick, creative riffs in seconds. Just pick a note or chord and a rhythm pattern in the arpeggiator's library and the MPK will play your notes in the rhythm and sequence you choose.

The MPK88 also has MPC Full Level and MPC 16-Level on its pads, as well as Tap Tempo and Time Division so you can nail the tempo, timing, and dynamics exactly as you hear them in your head.

COMPLETE SYSTEM

The MPK88 is a MIDI controller that sends its MIDI values over USB. It is bus powered, so all you need to connect and power the MPK88 is the supplied USB cable. Because it is MIDI compliant, the MPK88 works with most MIDI recording, sequencing, and performance software for musical performers from keyboard players to producers to DJs and even VJs!

The MPK88 comes with Ableton Live Lite Akai Edition, one of the most popular and powerful performance and production programs in the world. Ableton Live Lite enables musicians to spontaneously compose, record, remix, improvise, and edit musical ideas in a seamless audio/MIDI environment.

Hit the stage with the only keyboard designed to enable you to perform the way today's music is made.

Features

  • 88-key fully weighted, hammer-action keyboard with aftertouch for expressive melodic creativity
  • 16 genuine MPC pads with pressure and velocity sensitivity
  • MPC pads access four banks each for instant access to 64 samples
  • Control up to 72 software parameters with 24 assignable Q-Link knobs, buttons, and faders
  • Key Split enables two different sounds from the same keyboard
  • MPC Note Repeat, MPC Swing, and arpeggiator aid in creative process
  • Transport controls for use with sequencers and DAWs
  • MPC Full Level, MPC 16-Level, Tap Tempo, and Time Division assist with tempo and dynamics
  • MIDI output over USB, bus powered, class compliant: plug and play with one USB cable
  • Comes with Ableton Live Lite Akai Edition software
  • Works with virtually all MIDI recording, sequencing, and performance software
     

Includes

  • MPK88 keyboard controller
  • USB cable
  • Software CD
  • Quick Start guide

Specs

  • Number of Keys: 88 + 16 x 4 banks of drum pads
  • Type of action: Fully weighted hammer action
  • Aftertouch (Channel)
  • Computer Interface: USB/MIDI
  • Displays: Custom LCD
  • Footswitchable Patch Changes: yes
  • Number of Independent MIDI Ins/Outs: 1
  • Programmable Continuous Footpedals: 1
  • Programmable Footswitches: 2
  • Programmable controllers: MMC, MIDI START/STOP, MIDI CC
  • System Real-Time Controls: MMC, MIDI START/STOP, MIDI CC

 

    Mr. Philliph McMurtry | Purchase date: 16 June 2010
    Rating

    When I opened the MPK88 AKAI MIDI Controller Keyboard from it's packaging, it appeared to be well protected from anything sharp coming within it's vicinity. I was surprised to find out that there was no power supply but after going through the manual I quickly discovered that the MPK88 was powered up using the USB connection at the rear and that worked all fine. The software editor and LIVE LITE was easy to install but I found the AKAI editor software not to be terribly intuitive. I was disappointed to also discover that the PRESETS did not include controlling PRO TOOLS or Logic Pro. After going through the net, there were not any download PRESETs either and a lot of people appear to be in the same boat as myself. So, I had to program the MPK88 myself to transmit certain controller cc MIDI messages in order to control PRO TOOLs (& PLUG-INs) and also learn how to manipulate MPK88 software editor. All of the KNOB and FADER / SLIDER controls worked using the MPK88 but the PANPOTS are erratic. This is not to do with the MPK88 but more to do the the substitute M-Audio driver which is available within PRO TOOLS PERIPHERALS. The 88 Keys have a harder action than the FATAR SL990 and when playing PP (Pianissimo) it feels like it's difficult to fully depress the keys but perhaps this is because I was used to the FATAR???? It would be interesting to compare the AKAI MPK88, FATAR SL990 ( other) and a GRAND PIANO as a benchmarking exercise. Also, the TRANSPORT buttons rattle a little if the player (i.e. me!) is depressing the middle keyboard keys but I found by putting some pressure on them that this quickly disappeared. Also, it's only evident when the MONITOR Volume is very very low so for most this rattling is not an issue. It is something that AKAI should look at from a Quality improvement perspective though! The rest of the quality is excellent and robust and I hope that you don't feel as though I'm deliberately trying to give the MPK88 a rough ride. Well worth the money for the amount you get and I would recommend it to novices and intermediate players but some experienced players may find the action a little hard to come to terms with! It's probably subjective though!

    Mr S Robinson | Purchase date: 11 December 2009
    Rating

    It seems that if you want a full sized midi controller you have to accept compomise. After Reading many reviews and nearly buying a casio priva I decided that what I really wanted was the akai mpk88. I was a little apprehensive purchasing without having tested it out. The casio was the only hands on experience I've had in my price range. I shoul add I have an old upright piano but wanted something for my studio that I could learn to play on.

    I wasn't put of by the weight. My friend owned a triton and this is only a little heavier.

    Initially, after unpacking, I regretted my purchase. The keys felt nothing like I was expecting. Stiff and springy. I quickly plugged it into ableton and that did nothing the improve my misgivings. The keyboard didn't respond the way I was expecting. It didn't feel expressive. I tried velocity curves built into the unit but that didn't help. Finally I bought a copy of true piano and my experience changed completely. I could control the velocity curve and tweek it until the keybed started becoming a very expressive tool. It really makes you want to get stuck in. I guess that's all I want from it. So the moral is experiment.

    For the price - and let's face it £600 is still cheap for a full weighted hammer action keyboard- you get a lot. The keys need tweeking but can be a lot off fun. I find the pad fine too although I have no experience of more expensive mpd pads. The controller works well with my daws ableton and logic. The build quality is great but the keybed build quality is mearly acceptable. This is far better than any m-audio or novation controller I've played. Recommended.

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