Me-too 49-key controllers have been mind-numbingly dull for the most part. The new Akai MPK49, revealed in Frankfurt at Messe, easily qualifies as different. Not only does it add trigger pads as found on the MPC line, but there’s an onboard arpeggiator, functionality borrowed from the MPC, and additional MIDI control options, as well.

  1. It’s a control surface: 8 endless encoders, 8 sliders, and 8 backlit switches, each of which can be controlled via 3 selectable banks (8 x 3 = 24 “virtual” controls each, 72 controllers total).
  2. It’s a transport control: Start/stop transport buttons that actually send MMC or MIDI start/stop messages. (I shouldn’t have to say that, but not all controllers’ transport buttons actually do.)
  3. It’s an MPC-style controller: 12 pads, yes, but unlike the pads on the Korg Kontrol49 or the M-Audio Axiom, it actually functions like an MPC, with note repeat and swing functions. Hopefully the quality will be closer to a standalone unit, as well.
  4. It’s an arpeggiator: Akai’s mum on the details, but there’s an onboard arpeggiator in the unit — a rarity in controllers.

And it’s got a full-sized, 49-key keyboard, expression input (thanks!), and a big LCD screen. Looks terrific, though my only question is the quality of the keyboard; I’ve been a bit disappointed with recent entries from Alesis on reliability and feel. (Alesis, Akai, and Numark are now made by the same company; you’ll notice the similarity of this to Alesis’ MIDI controller line.) No pricing or availability yet, but given this unique combination of features, we’ll definitely be watching.

First seen at VJ blogger S.O. Sample‘s site, and I have to say, this could be an unbelievable VJ keyboard.

  • Oetzi

    That's what I've been looking for. My problems are solved. Can't wait to gig this!!

  • http://elaughs.blogspot.com Funny Thing

    Indeed a very interesting VJ keyb. Do post the price whenever possible.

  • http://cleansmanship.blogspot.com TheNullSet

    And I was just about to buy an MPD24! I fear I shall be paralyzed with too much gear to lust over. BTW, Great coverage of messe guys, keep it up.

  • dead_red_eyes

    Wow. If I wouldn't have bought my Korg KONTROL49 a year and a half ago, I would love to get this. But so far, that and my MPD24 will suffice for the time being. But I would still love to get this keyboard, as it's everything that I need/want.

  • slapslapslap

    looks promising. although, so did the mpd24, but i've had it for over 6months (after the looong wait to get one) and they still dont have Intel support. Akai's responses have consitently been: "As of yet there is not a turnaround time for an Intel Mac Uniquest editor."

    so, i'm sceptical

  • The Cody

    Damnsitall, and I just bought an Axiom 49. This would have been a lot better, considering I wanted the MPD24 to supplant the pads on the Axiom.

  • dead_red_eyes

    Wow, there's no Intel-Mac editor for the mpd24? That sucks.

  • Fred

    Maybe the Editor is not UB but it does run on an Intel-Mac.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Right, and an editor *will* run okay via Rosetta (unlike a driver, plug-in, etc.). So unless I'm missing something, I wouldn't lose too much sleep over this.

  • octatone

    "8 endless encoders, 8 sliders, and 8 backlit switches, all of which can be controlled via 3 selectable banks (8 x 3 = 24 “virtual” controls)."

    your math seems fuzzy, shouldn't it be (8 sliders + 8 switches + 8 encoders) * 3 banks = 72 "virtual" controls?

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Sorry, clarified that. 8*3 for 24 each (sliders, switches, encoders), 72 total.

  • http://xfader.com Regend

    with the size and price of the mpc500…why not just build a sampler into this?

    any thoughts?

  • http://www.myspace.com/avemccree Da MastaMind DJ Av.

    NOw thiS lookZ like something dat all producerZ could benefit from…. OMG I was just blown awaY by da waY da Keyboard lOokS… then I has 49 keyZ dat sendS it through da rOoF….. my mouf iZ watering right now

  • dead_red_eyes

    whY r U tYpiNg lykE $uM n00b? Doo U Th|nK iTs Teh kew| to TypE lyKe tHis?

    I sure don't. That shit is annoying. Learn how to type properly and then someone might take you seriously.

    Sorry to rant about that, but don't you find it annoying? What every happened to proper grammar and such … is it really fleeting away?

  • Damon

    2 words: droo ooool…

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Maybe he reconfigured his QWERTY keyboard for live music performance. ;)

  • dead_red_eyes

    Haha, maybe so Peter!

  • James

    my korg kontrol49 looks like an absolute piece of plastic compared to this sweet thing

  • bubba

    I'm sold…

  • Kip Wagnall

    dEn Dey sEy Hip-HOp Is StOOpID Cuz of GuYz lYke DaT.

    Gramar is indeed dead amongst the youth… and I'm 23.

    What a clown.

    the MPK49 is just as good as the Axiom or Korg. But to many of us faithful AKAI users. THIS is the answer to prayers.

  • http://myles.debastion.com Myles

    Fantastic, just what I've been looking for in a mobile controller. I too eagerly await with baited breath.

  • http://sidechainmusic.com Dave Dri

    In regards to the MPC500 reference and why this hasnt got a cut down sampler built in… i coul dbe flippant and say "who wants samplers anymore". Or i could say… well its a controller. We have long long long long long since accepted Akai are actually living in another dimension and their RSS feed on reality runs through a distorion pedal with high latency, but there is some logic behind building a controller as a controller and leaving the audio stuff, everything from amplification stages to AD/DA's, out of it. The price stays down and Akai can focus marketing and as importantly, support and development, on the controller market alone and hopefully recoup R&D.

    Not that Akai have done any R&D in our dimension since the mid 90's. The last batch of post-S series samplers Akai made were a joke, and even the flagship MPC4000 came out crippled and remained so for well over a year and a half. The MPC2500 and MPC1000 are arguably at least 5 years behind where you would expect a sampling sequencer to be. As much as im devoted to my MPC on stage, it is a joke to realistically recite its features given where the industry and technology and user production devices are in 2007. Right now. The kind of "right now" that Akai dont live in. Im talking base memory amounts, crippled CF implementation, scare tactic RAM, pathetic LCD's, underpowered processing, endlessly frustrating lack of ubiquitously requested features, near non existent support software it and the list goes on. People are making their own OS hacks that have leapt miles ahead of the official supported OS!

    Anyway this controller isnt a surprising step for a company which seems to regularly lose the garage door remote to the inter-dimensional portal back to our dimension. Much like Roland (aka "lets continue releasing sh1t but use the product numbers from our only good gear in the 80's to cover it up") the once mighty Akai is clutching at status quo straws and controllers are the staff of life.

    Having raged mightily as above, i can say that yes, this looks pretty good. If its actually robust, not something Akai have been known for in the last decade, then its a winner. Price point will soar about CME equivalents and Akai will never ever ever (never say never unless its about Akai) have software or routing abilities like nimble Novation but it should fill a niche in the market left wide open.

  • http://www.myspace.com/avemccree Da MastaMind DJ Av.

    hOW muCh will thiS weiGH??????? how heAVy iS it??

  • BenM

    proBabLy 31.4 neWtoNs

  • Dr. Jek-ill

    Oh my God dude… You're not seriously trying to represent hiphop with that language huh? Look at me… I'm a hiphop producer… This is English… Stupid…

    But yo… He was right though in one thing (had to decrypt what he was saying). This MPK-49 is EVERYTHING a hiphop producer wants and needs to make beats… :) So the second i saw that MPK, i wanted to have it… And I'm gonna :P No matter what the price is… Speaking of price, does anyone know what the price is gonna be? please share your knowledge ;) Later

  • Dr. Jek-ill

    Never mind what I just asked… I've read a second ago that the MPK-49's due for July, and it's gonna cost $ 349,00… For the european people, it would be a retail price of 256.881 EUR, but with import costs and everything it will probably be around 270 or 275 EUR :) Glad to share this info :)

  • Phobik

    Meh, I bought a m-audio 02 aiming at hmm…what was it… *recalls being instigated by a 2005 NAMM video about Reason 3.0 where it was being used* oh yeah, that was why *shrugs*

    Anyway, I find the 02 lacking, mainly in the robustness and crappy digital-rubber (non-holdable in a specific point) mod and pitch buttons.

    But it "only" cost me 90€ (ebay w/ shipping) and this Akai thing seems to go way over the top.

    Nt sure about you folks, but I think I myself lost in the "gear lust comparable" mists, mostly due to lack of creativity/experience, thinking some new "top" gear will fix it. *tries to descend to earth aka reality*.

    Apart from that, and comparing features/price range with other competitors, it does look like good bang for the buck.

  • Brian

    What is the price on this??

    any1 knows??

  • C.J.

    I was watching a video from Music Messe when they launched it and the dude said it was gonna cost 399 EUR which converts to about 527 USD….but I'm still going to be in line July 1st to buy one

  • Prime

    I have the KORG Kontrol 49. I don't see any major differences between this machine and that. I suppose the pads could work a little better. The KORG is nice because of the backlit track names. Any real differences or is it just because of the AKAI name that is making everybody go craZy.

  • john doe

    true

    there's so much hype about akai

  • declau

    Hey guys, give McCree a break. If he wants to spend 10 minutes figuring out which letter should be capitalized that is his problem.

    I find the reply by dead_red_eyes: "What every happened to proper grammar and such … is it really fleeting away?" quite ironic. There are 4 grammar and vocabulary mistakes in his fragmented sentence alone.

    1.'Every' – should be 'ever'

    2.The expression 'What ever happened' though often used is incorrect. The word 'ever' here is a vague intensifier creating a hyperbole. The correct form should be "What happened" or in the worst case "Whatever".

    3.The first part "What every happened to proper grammar and such …" is a complete and independent question. Therefore, it should end with a question mark [?] and not with 3 suspension points[...] which indicate an incomplete statement. This leads me to

    4. A sentence always starts with an upper case letter. Therefore, "is it really" should be "Is it really".

    The sad part is that English is my fourth language.

    Hey dead_red_eyes, I don't mean to bust your chaps but I thought it was funny that

    you were complaining about others' grammar errors when you make them as well.

    Returning to the main subject, the MPK49 looks

    really promising. The fact that it doesn't come with a sampler as mentioned above is not a handicap. With the current and future prices of computers and especially hard drives, you can network as many stations as you want for unlimited storage capacity. Furthermore, you can manage all that storage with a soft sampler like Kontakt while having hands-on control with a device like the MPK49.

  • Steve

    Hey guys, give McCree a break. If he wants to spend 10 minutes figuring out which letter should be capitalized that is his problem.

    I find the reply by dead_red_eyes: "What every happened to proper grammar and such … is it really fleeting away?" quite ironic. There are 4 grammar and vocabulary mistakes in his fragmented sentence alone.

    1.'Every' – should be 'ever'

    2.The expression 'What ever happened' though often used is incorrect. The word 'ever' here is a vague intensifier creating a hyperbole. The correct form should be "What happened" or in the worst case "Whatever".

    3.The first part "What every happened to proper grammar and such …" is a complete and independent question. Therefore, it should end with a question mark [?] and not with 3 suspension points[...] which indicate an incomplete statement. This leads me to

    4. A sentence always starts with an upper case letter. Therefore, "is it really" should be "Is it really".

    The sad part is that English is my fourth language.

    Hey dead_red_eyes, I don't mean to bust your chaps but I thought it was funny that

    you were complaining about others' grammar errors when you make them as well.

    Returning to the main subject, the MPK49 looks

    really promising. The fact that it doesn't come with a sampler as mentioned above is not a handicap. With the current and future prices of computers and especially hard drives, you can network as many stations as you want for unlimited storage capacity. Furthermore, you can manage all that storage with a soft sampler like Kontakt while having hands-on control with a device like the MPK49.

  • Sonny Mason

    Its July…, Where's the mpk Akai????????????

  • http://bbulb.com Autodactyl

    Akai always lags.

  • BiG'LiPZ

    Damn homiez…. I'm realli feelin' the pain of having got tha M-Audio Axiom49 before this came out [about 7 months before MPK49s release]…

    How many of yall peeps find yourselve[s] under tha same circumstance while wanting an Akai MPK49 now desperately [but of course, at least 4 me, can't afford it due to chunk of $ taken from budget by purchasing the ol Axiom49/25/62..]???

    Sucks royal dingee, huh?

  • rgandy

    Where can a Guy get one of these ???

    Thnx

    Robin

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  • JohnSmithXIV
  • 100%COLOMBIAN/

    Dawm that suck. I bought the mpd 24 like 7 months ago and its nice. Now i need the keyz, if i knew this was comming out, I would of waited to get these two in 1. ( i'm so pissed) this set of keys looks hot. I'm actually thinking about getting it, but it seems kinda worthless if I already have the Mpd24. Actually the Lcd, the pads, and the control surface all look like the ones on the mpd24.. Hope i can cath some videos on youtube or something and If i like it i'll buy it.

  • nWp

    Hej guys i have this akai MPK 49 at home and i need some help! can sombody add me on msn plz and help with little thinks (real-nwp@hotmail.com) thxxx

  • Kombo Zone

    This sold me, now im thinking if i still require a sampler? maybe the roland sp-404. Anyone in the same boat, scholz4@hotmail.com .Peace

  • yamagucci

    no. u guys r stupid. this is the best midi controller for the price. I'm from NYC, yall from candyland. be serious, akai is kickin butt right here right now. Journalists have fun criticizimng (sP?) me but foreal…akai pads with weighted keys and full size sliders in a usb piece??? this shit is tite. 4 hundred is a good price for this kind o' quality haters. protools and reason. a fine addition bitches. I'm from the bay, by the way.

  • http://superbombastik.com Bombastik

    Hey all,

    I have just got my MPK49.

    I can tell you it looks nice and very easy to use. Mod weel and bend feel great. Sliders and knobs have a great smooth heavy feel.

    Keyboard has a little hard tension for my taste,

    feels a little heavy under the hand.

    Big display, easy to configure, overall great..

    Pads are great, but they skip when i play 16th notes on one key. Next time i will try to set sensitivity and see how will that work in the terms of getting the acurate 16th note feel.

    I had a lot of trouble setting up MMC+MIDI panel in Cubase, reason, ableton and such. That section is not very user friendly.

    overall it is a great piece for MPC lovers and enthusiasts and great controller for producers for hands on controll. if you wanna gig with it, thats 6 kilos under your arm !

  • mikal

    i have this dam thing and i need an instructional video to set this thing up. this is one of the hardest things ive ever done. been studying these manuals for days.

  • roguescout

    I have one and love it:

    Here is my review and some tips to get the damn thing working:

    http://tinyurl.com/yru78q

  • http://www.mijnlabel.com mijnlabel

    anyone tried to hook this up to "hardwear" yet? I can't seem to get it to play on othe synths. (E.G. a juno 106 or a nordrack)

    any hints?

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  • FNKYSHT

    Hi All,

    TO automate your MPK in cuebase do this :

    1) go to (on the menu in Cuebase) DEVICES > DEVICE SETUP

    2) Click on the Remote Devices Folder then click on the plus symbol on the top let hand corner to create a new Generic Remote

    3)Click on "Import" in the right side of the generic remote window

    4)Select the "Cubase".html preset on the MPK disc …. yer not done yet

    5)Change the midi channel on "stop, rec, play, rw, ff" from channel 2 to channel one.

    VOILA …. all automated … now export that setting to a folder where you'll find it if the settings reset.

    Hope this helps .. if you have any questions hit me up at fnkysht@hotmail.com

  • RA

    All fixed and thankyou! Ignore the email request for more suggestions that I sent.

    Seems the Cubase Preset for the MPK49 should have the transport set to CTRL (I may have moved it off this setting, but maybe not). You can then use the LEARN function to confirm the advice you gave originally.

    Many Thanks

  • unknown from 763

    does anybody know how to hook up the akai mpk49 to reasons for full optimal sounds and usage? Cant figure out anything.

  • big

    does anybody know how to set up the apk49 with Pro-tools

  • big

    does any also know how to set it up with fruity loops

  • WTF?

    cant get the mpk to work on hardware gear at all!…dead midi outs..tried EVERYTHING!…anyone get it to work!!!!!!!

  • WTF?

    ok,figured it out..you gotta have the 6volt power adapter…

  • tdd

    Seriously, the MPK looks like a really great keyboard. But IT HAS TOO MANY ISSUES…WE WANNA DO MUSIC AKAI!!! NOT PAY MONEY TO DEAL WITH PROBLEMS…wtf

    Honestly if u double the price, itl be better to get an MPC…and a EMU x midi controller or just normal analog synth…

    AKAI FUCKIN WAKE UP AND MAKE THE BEST MIDI CONTROLLER THAT WILL WORK CORRECTLY, ALONG WITH ALL THE MPCS features…then u will win me for sure…

  • sha

    tdd, relax, learn to google nub… its not that difficult, what is the issue you are having? i have had a few issues, at most it took me 30 mins to figure it out with the help of search engines… problem is people are lazy and spoiled.

  • WTF?

    the drum pads suck no matter how you set the velocities! weak,weak,weak!!!!

    if you hit the edge of the pad it wont sound…but the korg pad will trigger a sound!…looks like im getting the korg pad for drums.the mpk49 does have a nice keyboard and arppeggiator though….akai needs to address the drum pad issues and this thing would rock.