If you’re an iPad-using, keyboard-playing musician, Akai has your dock. Their original SynthStation was a cute little accessory, but required playing a tiny keyboard (and iPhone-sized screen). The SynthStation49 looks more serious, with nine MPC-style pads, transport controls, and dedicated pitch and mod wheels. The iPad sits on what Akai describes as an adjustable “cradle,” so you can tilt it to whichever angle you want. That could mean tilting it up for reading notation or studio use, then down again for performance.

There’s also an internal audio interface with 1/4″ output jacks, so you don’t have to worry about taking up the dock connector or messing with the headphone jack. (Well, except you don’t get input, so vocoder fans will be disappointed.)

Most importantly, the hardware supports Core MIDI, so application developers don’t have to specifically support this particular accessory. And the keyboard doubles as a USB MIDI controller, so you could use this as a normal keyboard and dedicate the screen to, say, a fake book app to read music.

http://www.akaipro.com/synthstation49

With USB MIDI support via the Camera Connection Kit, this is far from your only option even from Akai, and a dedicated keyboard and stand might be just as practical. But it’s tough to beat on ergonomics. There’s only one caveat, really, which is that Akai notes this is awaiting Apple approval.

Thanks to Rawcoco for the tip.

  • Cody

    I though they would make an APC40 with a flat recession for a horizontal iPad dock in place of the button grid, but this takes the cake. Thanks for sharing and I think I'll buy.

  • http://noisepages.com/members/derek/ Derek J. Hunt

    Jesus. Why oh why is it I can't go a day without lusting after buying an iPad. It seemed so unnecessary, so crass. I bought MorphWiz (Jordan Rudess's sweet Continuum-esque+sounds app) for my iPhone and I dream of using that with an iPad. I keep telling myself I need to wait for the next iPad revision though. This device from Akai might have sealed the deal.

    If only Korg would release the M3 software (with Karma) for the iPad and a device like this. I would be in heaven.

  • Peter Kirn

    Well, I expect in the next 48 hours you should be able to lust after buying hardware, too… ;)

  • Christopher Penrose

    Nice to see this coming so soon. I can't imagine anything standing in the way of approval — it isn't Akai's first dock connector licensed product. Hopefully there won't be too much of a price premium on it.

  • jon

    Good job you wrote MUSIC keyboard. I might've suspected it was computer keyboard. from Akai… on Create Digital Music.

    AKAI reveals 49 key iPad Controller

    or something like that you know? Snappy! I'm no writer, just pep it up a bit yeah?.

  • strunkdts

    I just cant get with this iPad thing. And this looks like the stupidest bit of kit ive seen in a long long time.

  • http://noisepages.com/members/pete_m/ pete_m

    +1 strunkdts. I'm having a hard time getting excited about the iPad. Maybe I'm not enough of a Apple devotee yet (only one MacBook) :)

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/ninjaontherocks ninjaontherocks

    @Cody

    You're not the first with that suggestion….

    http://createdigitalmusic.com/2010/07/griid-ipad-

  • http://noisepages.com/members/polite/ Polite

    Would this keyboard only be usable with the akai software for the ipad? Does it begin and end it's functionality this way, or is it possible to leverage this kind of controller for other ipad music apps? Though I guess it would just come down to a matter of support on behalf of the developers.

    It's annoying. Things like this do make the gearlust kick in, but then I remember itunes and the whole iDevice process, and I don't mind missing out anymore.

    Still… It's tempting to get one to use as a remote desktop interface for my music PC.

  • http://noisepages.com/members/polite/ Polite

    Oh wait, I re-read the article, and the stuff about core-midi clicked. My bad. ^^;

  • Spazmatron

    I don't have an iPad yet, probably next version. I'm just trying to imagine what o would have thought of this 10 years ago when I got my first soft synth. I know there are valid reasons for people to hate on the iPad, but I can't help but feel like I'm livin in the future(Back to the Future II style). 

  • damon

    I don't think anyone needs an iPad. Which probably applies to most things we don't need. I think if you have one you can do a lot with it. But as a person who does have 1, Akai finally brought it up to speed. This is a truly practical and functional solution, which is refreshing, as Akai tends to be way too conservative about moving their music products into the truly relevant zone. I guess they feel so overly secure about their MPC following they are hesitant to take chances. 

  • damon

    One thing I do notice though. It has hardly any dials or encoders that I can see. Keeping in mind all the inspired dial and encoder empowered apps available for the iPad, this will leave some potential users a bit frustrated.

  • http://wordsoundpower.org midihendrix

    damon i agree, touch interface cannot replace encoders and akai makes great ones so its too bad

  • Peter Kirn

    That's correct; I believe the knob you see there is a volume knob.

    Obviously, if you're not a fan of the iPad, this is irrelevant, just as bassoon news will be irrelevant to you if you play the pipe organ.

    But I agree with commenters here – even for iPad users, this isn't for everyone. Let's assume you do have and love your iPad, and you very badly want a keyboard, *and* you want it to be from Akai. Because the Camera Connection Kit from Apple has a USB dongle that allows any app with Core MIDI to work with any class-compliant USB device, any number of USB keyboards will work just as well.

    For that reason, this remains primarily for people who are really committed to this particular combination.

  • http://www.document02.com Document 02

    There is an internal audio interface, so this might be the first musical gadget for iThings with decent audio … the rest is just a CPU & touchscreen which is all fine by me.

  • Leslie

    Love it and I will buy it for sure :)

  • http://www.hispasonic.com Mudo

    To me it is a great idea!

    ipad2 rumours over 3 weeks and next year most of us will buy an ipad and gadgets (toys is you like) like this.

    I love this game!

  • http://maakdigitalemuziek.nl Ruud

    I just saw the Alesis Studio Dock, (http://www.alesis.com/studiodock ). This might be a good alternative for iPad users.

  • http://www.myspace.com/cygnusmusic phillip washington

    looks very ergonomic. lovely. but does it sound good?

  • http://murderlazer.blogspot.com/ bridgealantee

    If I wanted a keyboard for my iPad I wouldn't have bought an iPad.  I like to use it's touch screen, and set it on my lap, that's why I bought it.  Having a lunky keyboard kind of takes the fun and purpose out of it.

  • For-da-soul

    I hope apple allows midi data to be transmitted to apps via wifi and bluetooth and akai takes advantage of it. I bought an ipad but havent dont have much use for at the moment.

  • Chris Strobel

    Interesting rig.The new ipad is just around the corner, and I do hope Akai took into consideration the changed physical dimensions (supposedly thinner and slightly smaller bezel) of the new ipad for docking.I'll be buying the new ipad, and depending on the action maybe the new Akai 49 for traveling purposes (as long as it fits well of course)

  • Charlie Lesoine

    Do I have to buy the iPad version of the akai app now?

  • Jay

    Will this controller take midi commands from a DAW ? Anyone know ?

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  • lol?

    I would not call a 4 octave keyboard a “full-sized” keyboard

    • Stan Ubeki

      Full size refers to the scale of the keys.

  • Terrylx

    Can we get a full 88 sized keyboard interface?