Review: Akai Professional MPK249

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The Akai MPK249 is a rock solid USB/iOS MIDI Controller Keyboard with 49-note semi-weighted keys with aftertouch, 16 performance pads, eight assignable faders, buttons and encoders. It’s an ideal tool for songwriters and producers who are looking for a keyboard with advanced workflow and built-in music creation features, but don’t overlook it for performance situations.

Studio features like this MIDI controller’s MPC functionality separate it from the competition. The MPC Swing feature helps producers create natural grooves and with MPC Note Repeat and 16 Levels it’s quick and easy to build beats and create melodic sequences. The MPK249’s 16 cleverly RGB-illuminated MPC-style pads and assignable aftertouch can be useful for adding new dimensions to your recordings or performances. Plus, an onboard arpeggiator allows players to quickly explore complex melodic and rhythmic ideas using adjustable resolution, range, and patterns.

If you are looking for realtime control, the plentiful assignable faders, buttons, and rotary encoders of the MPK249 are well organized and feel good. There are also rear panel footswitch and expression pedal jacks, as well as large pitch and mod wheels. Like the rest of the keyboard, the wheels feel solid and move smoothly with an even tension that adds to their playability.

The MPK249 can be used with USB power and is plug-and-play with Mac (1.25 GHz G4/G5 or faster [Intel recommended] with 2GB RAM and OSX 10.5) or Windows PCs (1.5 GHz Pentium 4 or Celeron compatible with 2GB RAM, Windows [8 or 7], Vista, or XP, Windows-compatible sound card). It also has iOS compatibility when you use Apple’s optional iPad Camera Connection Kit. comes with free software, including Ableton Live Lite, Pro MPC Essentials, Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Tech, and SONiVOX Twist 2.0.

At about 12 and a half pounds, this solid controller is much more powerful music tool than other ‘light weight’ 49-key controllers. While the MPK249’s action is not piano-like, the key feel is a good compromise between an organ/synth touch and something more substantial. With a solid build quality and feel, lots of well-organized layout for control, lighted pads and a bright display, the MPK249 is a great choice for studio production or live performance.

MSRP $499.00
Street Price $ 399.99

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