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Rating and Reviews: Akai MPK49 Controller

Play your DAW's virtual instruments more expressively on the Akai MPK49 USB MIDI controller keyboard, with 49 semi-weighted keys and 12 genuine MPC pads.

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"Solid, practical and the best compromise." submitted November 25, 2008

By a customer from hotmail.com
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Sound
Features
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Musical Background: Pre midi analog through software synthesizers, Sound designer and electronic musician.
Music Style: Ambient, space music, future rock.
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SPOTLIGHT REVIEW
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Sound: For a CONTROLLER it makes awesome sound...really, I can hear the midi signal as it races down the wire! Of course this unit makes no sound on it's own, if you expected it too, you might need remedial MIDI classes. Feature: While apreggiators are not everyone's cup 'o tea, the MPK 49 has a pretty nice setup. For someone used to actually using a keyboard arpeggiator this one is pretty nice indeed, a real bonus for me. I do have some in my software and some in my hardware like my Waldorf Q rack, but as many know, nested loops are really quite awesome. use this function for jamming or for recording. Make some decent loops of your own to sample! While the unit has no power switch, to me thats fine, when I boot up the computer it is ready to go! Thats a plus and seeing the keys ready to go makes me reconsider doing another 4 hour stint on World of Warcraft...like a gentle reminder, "Hey remember-you write music!". The LED screen is large enough to read easily.The lighted pitch and mod wheels are nice to see also. The recording interface is like having an actual recorder making software recording seem even more like the 'good old days' of reel to reel or whatever. I used Otari 8 tracks and also 4 track cassette recorders, this controller moves the computer into a realistic mode for me. Less mouse work is good! Ease of Use: Ahhh, the interface is the very heart and soul of a controller and I condider the keys, knobs, buttons, sliders and pads to be the featured event. The large LED makes it easy to see what I am going for and the apparent reliability of the hardware eases my fear of a second rate bargain. This has several presets and I already have most of the sofware loaded up. If you are a beginner in MIDI you may have to work to get the exact setup you want. I see this controller as being just what I need for really flexible music making and sound design. There are more choices and you don't have to use them if you like it simple, what could be easier. Quality: The sturdy frame of the MPK 49 is way retro reminding me of my early Akai purchases, X7000 sampler and s-612 rack. Wow, this is as nice as I expected. The knobs feel very, VERY good, the sliders are better than some I have had and more than I expected in this price range. The buttons are a professional grade. That brings me to the pads and something I that I have read a few opinions on. It is normal for people to expect a LOT for their money but expecting a 2-3 thousand dollar set of pads on this is a bit unrealistic. If you REALLY want the top dog Akai pads you will pay for them. These are solid, maybe a bit hard to push but they do the job for me. The keys feel as good as virtually every synth i every used in my life and better than most. yes, I used a T-1 before, again, for 400$ this is not a T 1 keyboard! I have to give this machine a solid 10 with NO reservations. Value: If I need to trigger loops with a CC or a sequence, I simple tell the MPK 49 what I need. The sliders are great for bringing a running track into a live mix, or for doing an audio mix. I did consider the Novation controller (Thanks Tweek for the reviews on selecting a controller keyboard!) but I do things my own way a LOT and the reports of wobbly and unstable joysticks and way unresponsive pads on the Novation put me off a bit. If I get a chance I will own Novation as well as this Akai. I love their older synths. This is a deal at 400$ or more. Manufacturer Support: I have owned several Akai products over the years and never ever needed their support. When the UPS front loader ran over my x7000 it only broke a few keys, heh they paid full price and i got another Akai. Insurance is good. Hopefully I will not use support.The Akai website is well made and offers videos of the MPK 49, I also got a quick answer to a quest prior to making the purchase here at zZounds. The Wow Factor: Ahh the red and black...the warm glow of the pitch bender and modulation wheels, so smooth to my touch so attractive. I must touch this machine and my music will touch someone, somewhere. It says Professional right on it.Mmmm! Overall: I have had a bad case of gear lust for years, my FIZMO still has the original box, my Micro modular too. Wait- all my gear has the original packaging some after 10 years +. Think about that. This buy was researched for days and I put a lot of consideration into all the choices in controllers available, the price was right and the specifications. Cubase LE is a nice addition to my software also. It works just as it is, no need to upgrade if you are happy with it. I used Cubase when it was first out. And performer... I bought this realising that two octaves of keys were not enough for me, 88 keys too big. I am used to 60 key controller but space is at a premium until I get a larger recording area.(A recent move to the far North!) 49 keys fit right in front of my monitor and my computer keyboard is in front of the MPK. Compromise is not a very popular idea with some people, I first started programming semi modular equipment back when patch cords were used. I miss my old gear sometimes and if I placed some of the newer stuff side by side I would find both good and bad about then all. Digital Music that is recorded at a high digital resolution is DIFFERENT from music recorded on analog gear from analog sources then mastered on tape and pressed to vinyl...better or worse? That a matter of taste. We live in a digital age and even high quality computer music is reduced to a grinding 128k sample rate or even lower for many consumers/listeners. I am making the most of what I have and what I can obtain, that is both technology and inspiration/ability. At some point we all decide what we need and not always what a reviewer thinks. Keyboard magazine and E Musician hardly EVER saw a piece of gear is horrible. Yes, they do try and give all the takes on a piece of equipment but they depend on the advertiser. I am being objective here and gain nothing other than knowing I may help someone make a good choice. Now I have pads, sliders, buttons and endless rotary knobs as well as keys all in a piece of gear that fits on the desk in front of me. I consider my studio to be connected through the computer/mixing board to my main controller. All that comes between me and my musical creativity is this keyboard... I can place my rack gear and other synths on the sides when I am ready for that. Setting up a workable home studio is an art.
104 of 111 people (93.69%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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Akai MPK49 Controller Customer Review submitted March 28, 2010

By a customer from mac.com
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Musical Background: hobbyist
Music Style: electronic
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VERIFIED BUYER
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Sound: No sounds Feature: My only complaint about this keyboard is the pads. You have to push them down hard to get to full volume. So if your used playing on a more tap-able interface this is a no go. I was hoping to use them to play drums but it's actually easier on the keyboard. Beyond that it's a really nice solid keyboard. Ease of Use: Plugged into USB, no power needed. Added it to my midi devices. Opened Reason, set the keyboard preset to Reason and that's it, what ever instrument I selected was mapped to the knobs and sliders. If you were around in the 90's when getting your audio/midi/hardware/software all working at once required sacrificing a goat, you know this is pretty amazing. Quality: Feels like a real keyboard, not a toy. It's fairly heavy, the sliders and buttons are substantial. Value: Considering how well it's built and that it's a well thought out piece of gear, not just a collection "features" it's cheap. Manufacturer Support: No need for support yet, but signs are good. They've upgraded their software and firmware (which means it's an ongoing product and the company has an interest in supporting it). The Wow Factor: Fix the pads and it's a 10. It looks cool and it works well. Overall: I'd like to give it a higher rating but the pads are just flat out wrong. I've used lot's of drum pads and these just don't work.
29 of 31 people (93.55%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Controller's dream..." submitted January 11, 2009

By a customer from in.gr
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Musical Background: Hobbyist
Music Style: Ambient
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Sound: Sound? Not on this one but it surely smells nice! Feature: Ok, the good features: 1. Abundance of physical and virtual encoders and faders (probably the most in this product type). 2. Many presets available. 3. Preview feature. Extremely essential and absent from all other similar products. 4. Lighted wheels. 5. Arpeggiator (I rarely use it but good to have it on board) 6. Very solidly built. 7. Pads provide the famous Akai features (note repeat, full level and 12-level). 8. Very reasonably priced for what you get for your money. Now for the bad features: 1. No preview function for the pads and the keyboard 2. No keyboard MIDI zones 3. The ready-made presets do not provide very extensive VST support 4. No power on/off switch and it doesn't ship with a psu. 5. Sluggish pads. 6. Pitch bend range can't be edited. Ease of Use: A child's play. Anyone familiar with electronic music will never need the manual except for understanding the abbreviations used for some settings (like TGL, MTY, PPR etc.). Once familiar with them, you can edit this unassuming beast in no time! An additional bonus is the pc editor which makes editing a walk in the park. Very easy to use! Quality: Very well made! The design might not meet everyone's taste but it surely makes you drool when seen all this abundance of pads, knobs and sliders... The keyboard is very well built and seems to withstand hard pressures. The knobs and sliders are very responsive and provide the right amount of resistance to their movement as to help you make accurate micro adjustments. The wheels are very well built and their orange lighting is an eye catcher. As everybody says, it is built like a tank! Very solid indeed! Manufacturer Support: They responded immediately to my e-mail. I'm sure I'll never need them again since this is a perfect product to own! The Wow Factor: Already got it! Lots of hours in reading manuals from other similar products led me to the MPK49... Overall: I'm not using this keyboard for elaborate playing. I'm solely into ambient music and this little beast is just perfect for triggering samples, editing sounds and you can also have fast access to any parameter you like. I also like its overall design and dark looks. Somewhat from the 80's one might say but still of a very professional design. I only wish it had a controller/pad labeling system like some other units out there (Novation Remote series and Korg Kontrol49). A great buy at a great value for money!
21 of 23 people (91.3%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Awesome Midi Controller" submitted November 16, 2012

By Gabriel R in Pawtucket, RI
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Music Style: Hip-Hop, Latin, Rap
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Overall: Great piece of hardware. Sturdy pads are a little hard but works the greatest. Keys are weighed perfectly. I truly have no bad experiences with this device works flawlessly with abelton Live and I use it to create beats with Beat Thang Virtual.
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"mpk49" submitted December 13, 2007

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: indy producer
Music Style: R&B/Soul
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Sound: its a controller it doesnt make any sound Feature: some minor issues, the arpeggiator could use more variation, along with the transport controls Quality: the build is excellent Value: the pricing is good Manufacturer Support: just got it, tried to register it online but akai doesn't have this poduct vaailable yet for registration The Wow Factor: i got it! Overall: just received it today i waited a long time for this and I'm not disappointed. first of all its built like a tank, a lot heaver than i thought it would be. i was surprised to see that both mod and pitch wheels are lit. the display is nice and the external controllers are killer. but i had some issues, first it was cool that the templates for reason 4.0 came with the unit but it was very confusing on how to make reason 'SEE" this controller good this i know my way around the mac OS or i would have been screwed. if reason has the program they stated would load the profiles for this keyboard reason didn't know because nothing on the phead site gave me any clue how to do this. once i manually put the files in the proper place, while playing some reason instruments using the pitch wheel would cause the reason inst's pitch wheel to stay at that position until u click it. i don't know if this is a akai bug or phead but it needs to be fixed because i use the pitch wheel a lot. but thats a software thing. on the hardware side everything is cool expect the pad the sensitivity never feels right plus they are so thing it felt like i was dam near banging to the frame. to compare the pads are not as nice as the axiom 49 but the akais are more functional, and the keyboard be-it a Little springy feels better than the axiom 49 also. my only other gripe is that even though its usb power you have the option of plugging in an ac adapter, but they don't supply one i guess i have to get your own but other than that I'm hyped about this board. i do recommend it and i give it 4 out 5 stars. or 8 out of 10
18 of 22 people (81.82%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Akai MPK49" submitted August 28, 2012

By Derriziel P in Cleveland, OH
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Musical Background: I jam at home and at some house parties. I compose and do sound engineering.
Music Style: Dubstep, Electronic, Hip Hop, Rap, R and B, Gospel and House
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Overall: Took about 6 weeks to get here. Just got it today and I love it. She's sturdy and has a look that begs you to use your imagination and play. The keys have a nice bounce back feel and the modulation wheels are very responsive and rubbery to the touch. It was easy to set up with Logic and controlled my DAW and my DAW controlled the Akai MPK49. The only thing that's annoying about it are the drum keys or pad keys. You have to press pretty hard to get sound from them. Just will take a little getting used to. All in all it was good investment.
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"Analogue !" submitted September 10, 2012

By Michael Rivard in Seattle, WA
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Musical Background: Play at home piano, software instruments, acoustic and electric guitars.
Music Style: background music you can listen to all day.
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Overall: This is a good midi controller, with hands on analogue controls. Gave it a MPC pad upgrade and once installed correctly the pads are much more expressive and sensitive. BTW the current promotion from SONiVOX is so cool, I'd jump on that before it expires by all means, they have wonderful products.
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"Perfect. With unforgivably stupid software." submitted June 22, 2008

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: Student, bandleader
Music Style: Electric jazz-metal pop
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Sound: It's a controller. Feature: This is more control than you can imagine. The virtual banks are a huge plus; I don't know why everyone doesn't put that feature into their controllers. Out of the infinite universe of things that a controller could be missing, this is only missing two: Aftertouch and another row or two of buttons. I particularly miss the buttons. Ease of Use: The programming software is my big complaint. It's straightforward but INCREDIBLY SLOW. You can't make changes to a group of controls; you have to program every single one, and there are 24 * 3 + 12 * 4. And they force you to use the mouse for a lot of it (e.g. channel decisions). Quality: Fantastically sturdy frame. It could only be sturdier if they made the knobs and faders out of metal instead of (pretty hard) plastic. Come to think of it, I once had it standing on its end and it fell flat. I have a thin carpet on my floor. There was no discernible effect. Value: As far as I can tell, not having bought all its competitors. Manufacturer Support: Don't know. The Wow Factor: I'm buying a second. Overall: It's compact, it's got a zillion controls, it's never given me any problems. It can do anything. But programming it is slow (see below). The only thing I'm aware of that *might* beat this unit is the CME VX-5. It's got aftertouch, and the faders are motorized (although that doesn't matter to me). But they're a new company, out of Beijing, and I just don't know anything about them. (I have nothing against the Chinese.) Also I've already learned to use my first Akai MPK49, so I can just port all those presets I've made onto the second one I'm about to buy.
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"AKAI MPK49" submitted March 25, 2014

By a customer from hotmail.com
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Overall: Nice piece of musical machinery for the money. If you're starting out and want a midi for your programs, This one should get you started nicely.
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"The mpk49" submitted August 28, 2011

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: hobbyist hoping to make it big
Music Style: hip hop r&b pop
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Sound: I produce hip hop and r/b musik and I love the mpk49 its awsome but I'm a fruity loops user and the mpk dosent map the controls out automatically so I returned it for the korg m50 61 key synthisizer which is awsome by the way.but they mpk didn't come loaded with sounds so that is what caused my return of that wonderful machine the drum pads are very responsive and the note goes all the way to 32 tripplets the overall qauiltity of the mpk49 is great.I just need some new sounds so it wasn't for me currently I use ableton live 8 suite and adobe audition v3 along with the m50 so now I don't have any limitations Feature: The mpk49 has some great features like the mpc drum pads and note repeat.I just wish it came loaded with sound.all together the pads and note repeat were the most useful things to me Ease of Use: I think I was pretty easy to use just dont use it with fruity loops unless you feel like mapping all the controls yourself which is a pain in the rear end Quality: I don't have any coplaints about the quaility as long as it gets the job done Overall: Overall great product just don't use it with fruity loops better known as fl studio
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"Hottest controller on the market!" submitted January 28, 2008

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Sound: It's a controller Feature: Only thing it's missing is an automap feature. Ease of Use: Kind of difficult to set up templates. Quality: Keys feel better than any controller I've purchased....Axiom/Novation SL Value: Would have liked to see it aroud $300 but it's still worth it. The pads are killer. Same pads as MPC 500 and 1000. How can you beat that? Manufacturer Support: Didn't need to use it yet. The Wow Factor: It's a must have depending on the music that you make. Overall: Best controller I ever laid hands on. Transport controls are a little problem but not too big of an issue.
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"Buy this , you won't regert it" submitted November 29, 2011

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: 20 +
Music Style: Christian / Hip-hop
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Sound: It really doesn't have any sound . It's just a MIDI controller . You need DAW software . Feature: Keys , drum pads , all around the Best I have owned Ease of Use: Just hook it up , and program it thru the software . Value: It's worth it Manufacturer Support: I have before The Wow Factor: 10/10 Overall: I love this , and would buy another one
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"Akai MPK49" submitted February 11, 2012

By Cristian M in Philadelphia, PA
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Musical Background: Starting at home.
Music Style: Wierd but catchy tunes... One day you'll hear my art on the radio.
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Overall: Best investment I made so far. I'm just starting to make music, and this keyboard makes me feel like I'm headed towards success.
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"Akai should care more about average users." submitted May 1, 2010

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Feature: Overall features are good. Ease of Use: There are very few books (if any) on mapping a controller and so you will need to understand how to do this with whatever software that you care to use it with. The built in patches are not mapped well and don't jive as they are supposed to (e.g. the Sonar patch is not set up to use the transport keys, you need to change the MPK49 to send that data as MMC - wouldn't you think AKAI would have done that if they really understood Sonar)? Quality: It's probably the nicest controller out there as far as feel and quality goes. The wheels are especially nice. Value: It's great value if you have the technical knowledge to set it up. It's not plug and play like some controllers tend to be nowadays. Manufacturer Support: AKAI seem to pick up the phone quickly but the documentation that comes with the unit is very poor. Overall: I returned it and got an Axiom Pro.
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"Needs Improvement" submitted July 2, 2008

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Musical Background: producer/ author
Music Style: hip-hop, r&b
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Sound: U can't really rate something for sound if it doesn't actually create sounds can u? Feature: It has great features and works with almost any program, however I've found that the keys and pads translate information too slowly to play fluently. For a person use to using a triton, this was a huge letdown. Ease of Use: I found it very easy to set up the parameters and preset functions. Quality: I h.ad it about two weeks, then one of the function controls bent somehow. The pads were also very soft. They say that they mimic the mpc pads, but they feel like something made by fisher price. I like the pads on Korg's midi controller better Value: I would have been better off buying the m-audio 88 key controller which goes for the same price, but transposes information faster. Manufacturer Support: I didn't have to call anyone except the company I brought it from to exchange it for a better and more reliable product. The Wow Factor: The sexiness of it was probably the final factor in me choosing to try this product versus others Overall: I wouldn't want anyone to steal it, because then i couldn't get my money back, but if they did, i'd take my insurance $ and spend it on the next thing. Akai tried, but they still have some improvements to make. I guess when everyone is making bs equipment for 1/2 ass musicians, u can get away with selling a piece of garbage like this. it was a huge waste of money.
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on most orders $29+

Just $1.99 on
smaller orders

Really heavy stuff might cost you a
little more

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Why fight traffic and pushy salesmen when we'll bring your gear straight to your home, free of charge?

zZounds free shipping is really free!
No hidden charges or hassles on returns.
Fast, reliable delivery
We have warehouses on both coasts, so most shipments arrive in 3 days or less.
We don't collect sales tax. Bonus!
Only NJ residents pay tax during checkout.
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A guarantee so solid, you never have to worry about price when shopping at zZounds

We'll beat any price
Simply click the Seen it for less? link next to the gear you want or call us at 800-zZounds (800-996-8637)
Got a coupon from another site?
Use it with us - we'll beat those prices, too!
Find a better price after buying from us?
No problem. We'll refund you the difference for 45 days, so you'll never regret buying from zZounds.

You'll still get the trustworthy service you've come to expect from zZounds, without paying more for your gear!