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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2010
Out of the box, I admit that the pads feel pretty damn stiff. However, as I mentioned in a comment on another review of this product, you can work with this. You can turn up the sensitivity, lower the threshold, or change the pad curve. It's also important to note that the pads do loosen up with use. Break them in!
As for the keyboard, it is on the stiff side. How you feel about this will depend a lot on what you're used to. Striking a key takes about 2/3 the force needed for an acoustic piano, but it feels really different because the force is the same throughout the stroke. This of course is a result of using a spring to provide resistance rather than a hammer, which gets momentum as it moves. It still feels quite good on the fingers, though.
It comes with templates for many different software packages already installed. Number one is for Ableton LiveLite, which is included in the box. I had a little bit of trouble getting a template for FL Studio, but I did find one after not too much effort searching the net.
The quality of the knobs and sliders and wheels is several leaps and bounds beyond the M-Audio Axiom series, although I have to say that the Axiom Pro (which I haven't had a chance to actually touch) may be a totally different story. The basic Axiom stuff feels like it belongs in a toy store when put up next to the MPK line.
I do worry that I maybe should have gone with the 61, but I'll just upgrade if that ends up being the case.
For now, this is one hell of a keyboard, and it comes at an excellent price.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2009
First of all, the pads DO suck. MPC's are known for their pads so you'd think Akai would at least be able to put the same type of pad/contact design on their MPK line. Instead they put a bunch of pads with no play that feel like buttons and make the keyboard housing vibrate when you pound them. On top of that they placed the contacts so far away it's damn near impossible to get 127 velocity on the pads without going Full Level. Even my LPD8 feels better than this thing. And even though they look like the MPC1000 pads, the 1000 pads are twice as thick as the ones here. I would have loved for them to have put the 1000 pads on this. At least then I'd be able to play back a chopped loop without feeling like I'm dialing a phone number.

The best part of the controller is the control surface. The transport keys, knobs, and sliders feel great. The LCD screen looks great.

Something unique about the controller is that it has built in MIDI settings that mimic classic MPC functions (16 level, MPC swing, note repeat). Too bad the pads keep you from fully enjoying these features.

The keys are decent but slightly noisy because they vibrate on release. The controller is also one of the few 49 key controllers out there with aftertouch. I prefer the lever-like feel of the Axiom when it comes to using aftertouch but the keys here are not a dealbreaker.

There's also a simple arpeggiator you can use. It's fairly simple in that there are only 5 settings you can use to separate notes in a chord. If you've used a more sophisticated arp (like the one on a Yamaha KX8), you'll be disappointed though.

The MPK is a good controller but Akai could have done way better than this. If you're using this for the keys and control surface it's a decent investment. But if you're thinking of buying this for the pads so you can drum and play back chopped loops, get an MPD instead.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2009
Now when I think of Akai, obviously quality and music productions come to mind. Unfortunately, this does not live up to the name. The biggest failing in this product is the drum pads. YES, THE DRUM PADS! No you might be thinking, 'what could be wrong with legendary Akai drum pads?' First off they are very unresponsive, you have to press down very hard just to trigger medium level midi sounds (yes, i even adjusted the sensitivity of the drum pads and this did not help). I am really perplexed by this, I'll hit down on the pad, and then hit it again with the same pressure and it'll either be louder or softer!!! I traded in my Axiom 25 and honestly, the drum pads on those were much much much better!!! On the plus side, the keyboard action on the piano keys is awesome! It has a slight weighted feel to them so you actually feel like your playing on a professional keyboard. (the Axiom series of keyboards had very light fake feeling piano keys). Needless to say, its alot of fun playing on the piano keys and 49 is good for most songs. The piano keys feel so great and are so responsive to slight pressure and touch that I'm using them instead of the drum pads to make my drum beats. Another great feature is the built-in arpeggiator, which is easy and fun to use when making melodies. There are also 8 knobs and 8 sliders that you can program on the audio program you are using. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to do this. I have Logic Pro and ProTools and I have yet to find out how to program the knobs on the keyboard to correspond. I do think though, that should you learn how to program it to work seamlessly with your recording or music making software it theoretically will give you the feel of a mini mixing board.

All in all 3 stars, I subtracted two because the drum pads were absolutely worthless and its a shame to advertise them as Akai drum pad quality! But what saves this keyboard is the excellent action on the piano keys and the many features it has. Oh yeah, and it also looks great and is very aesthetically pleasing (very cool looking) which is another plus. Don't buy if you are expecting great drum pads. But buy if you are looking for a keyboard with great piano keys and lots of awesome built in features. Lots of time studying and reading the manual will be needed to master all the functions though. High learning curve.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2009
What a freakin great piece of hardware!
First let me say-
I'm coming from a MPC 1000, apparently the MPC1000 and the MPK midi controlers have "terrible, wack, horrible...." pads that are too hard and not as sensitive as the other MPC's.
I think it's a bunch of B.S.
Yeah I've used the MPC 2000XL and MPC 3000, thinking back are their pads slightly softer? Yes. Are the pads magically going to make me program fresher drum lines? NOOOOOOO! Honestly I think underground producers will use any excuse to why their beats are wack. Look at the other great Hip Hop Hardware that don't even have "traditional" pads like the ASR-1O, ASR-X and the SP 1200, Did their hard plastic or non-existing pads stop great beats to be bang out of the units? Nooooo!

Back to the MPK.
I love having a all-in-one unit sitting right in front of me ready for action. I use this controller with Logic 8. You basically map out your drums to the piano keys (in Logic using the esx sample editor), from their you can map out the pads to certain keys(kicks on the right, snares on the left). Since the MPK is not an MPC you will NOT get the heart and soul of the MPC which is the quantization, this is OKAY, I repeat this is OKAY! The MPK is meant to provide the feel of a MPC to use with your DAW. You can find MPC "Grove Templates" with a little searching on the net. These groove templates with provide the necessary swing to make a full transition to software based producing with a hardware "feel".

I haven't programmed the sliders yet so I can't comment on them.

In all this is a great device to transition long time MPC hardware users to step up their game and jump into software. You can have best of both worlds. But don't take my word for it, go down to your local music shop and take it for a test spin, compare the pad sensitivity to the MPC 2500 or 2000xl
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2013
I received this product from Amazon and was extremely excited about playing with it. Right off the bat, I find that it has a nicely constructed housing, and the keys, knobs, faders and buttons all feel great. I have yet to play around with the pads at length, so will edit this review to talk about them later.

To my utter disappointment, this product was faulty when I received it. The Play and Octave Down buttons were not working, and the controller was continuously out-putting midi cc64 at 127, which is the output for a depressed sustain pedal. I did not have a sustain pedal inserted. To add insult to injury, the controller would transpose down with a few minutes of playing, and tapping any of the pads, or indeed and part of the body of controller resulted in a signal that should have been outputted by the Play button. In any case, it was unusable.

I promptly called Amazon, who were great as always, and they sent me a replacement via 1-day shipping free of charge, as well as the usual prepaid UPS shipping label. I look forward to getting it, and hopefully it will not have any problems. I will update this review accordingly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2012
Been using mine for a few years now and it's holding up well. That said, all I use it for anymore is the keyboard itself (which is admittedly very nice.) I found it pretty inconvenient to try to use any of the knobs/faders with a DAW, (to be fair maybe it was that my DAW of choice didn't have a template and I'd rather spend my limited time working than setting one up.) The pads are awful, as others have said, which is shocking coming from an Akai Pro product. I realized that I was having to hit them so hard to get any decent velocity, I was masking the sound of my drums with the sound of my fingers hitting the pads. The upside is that after stubbornly trying to get used to it for a month or two, I'm fairly certain I can now jab my way out of a coffin Kill Bill style should I ever find myself in such a situation.

It is built like a tank though, nice and solid. I love how it looks in the studio as well. Given the chance to do it over again though, I'd have passed and gotten a simple controller with solid keys but without all the faders/pads/knobs etc that get no use.

I can see how someone willing to tinker and set up a perfect control template would love this, just not for me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2012
This is a very well designed, affordable, solid piece of professional gear for the small studio user or stage performer. This device is designed to control external hardware and software sound modules and [ DOES NOT ] have any internal sounds. The semi-weighted keys are well made, as are the pots and sliders, which have 3 banks for a total of 24. The LCD display is large, back lit blue and easy to read on stage in low light. I currently own a cheaper made 49 key synth w/midi in and out and originally thought about upgrading to a 61 key controller, but have no issues about using the octave up and down in exchange for portability and a smaller desktop footprint. The pads are very stiff feeling and difficult to depress, so if your buying this for the pads, buy a controller dedicated for that purpose. ( This is a midi controlled KEYBOARD, NOT an MPC ). In my opinion, AKAI added the pads as an afterthought for this controller as an, extra, low cost feature and are intended to be used more for launching clips and scenes in Ableton Live and NOT added to the device as a drum machine. Also, I would not suggest modifying the pads, as others have mentioned, unless you don't care about voiding your warranty. Drum sounds can still be played and input to an external software sequencer via the keyboard for programing rhythm loops, that can be edited later. The arpeggiator is also about what you would expect to find on a keyboard in this price range, simple but effective for quickly making loops in an external software based sequencer, that can be edited later. The pitch bend and modulation wheels are large, solid and rubber coated having a professional feel to them. The transport and midi editing controls are conveniently located at center.

The device is primarily USB powered, but can also be powered using an additional power supply ( Not Included ). There is, however, no on board ON/OFF switch, which you might expect to find at the rear of the controller. A bit of a drawback if you are using this keyboard to control external hardware devices. The unit must be unplugged or turned of by the power strip, if using a power supply. Also, be aware that most laptops have 3 USB ports and it is NOT possible to use a USB Hub ( even a powered one ), with this and other USB midi controllers like this. So, keep this in mind if you are already using your ports for a mouse, audio interface and any other USB powered midi controlled devices, such as an AKAI APC 20 or 40 or similar device.

My overall evaluation is, ... Could AKAI have put better pads, a more advanced arpeggiator and a power ON/OFF switch on this controller ?, ..... YES, and they also could have made it an All In One, drum machine, synthesizer, copier, scanner, printer, coffee maker, Ice cube dispenser, calculator, etc., ... but not without considerably increasing the cost. In my opinion, with this controller you're getting what you're paying for. A quality made Semi Weighted Midi Controlled Keyboard with a few extras. So, if what your looking for is a quality made piece of pro home studio gear at an affordable price, then this controller is for YOU !

Sincerely, Ace Paradise ( Happy Producing Everybody ! )
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2012
This keyboard is great. Keys knobs and faders have a great feel to them. I thought when i seen the reviews about the pads,that some people were being very picky and maybe they were very professional and thats why they said they sucked,but i was wrong. The pads do suck as they come. Also like i read in alot of reviews,there is a great cheap way to fix them!!! You can buy the kit online on ebay legit from a guy cant remember his name but its the rubber squares(black/precut) with instructions print out for your specific mpk. Costs about 12/13$ and like 3$ shipping. Arrived very fast and was very easy to do. Now they respond great without having to hit them with a hammer(jk) thanks to him i love my mpk49 and can really do some heavy duty sampling and drum patterns!!! Peace!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2013
the only real drawback is that the pads are pretty bad, but if you can afford to buy a 250$ controller i would hope you could afford an mpd18 (60-70$) which has excellent pads

doesnt have a default sustain button but you can just adjust your midi mapping to control the sustain

keys are amazing, better than the keys on the mpk88 in my opinion

this plus an apc20 and an mpd18 is a perfect starter set-up (total of 460$)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2012
This is a review for the Akai MPK49.

Wanna put a review out there cause I know there aren't a lot on the Amazon page for this product and was hoping to help prospective buyers. I've just gotten into music production this past year. I've played around and toyed with it for the past 2, kind of just trying demos and seeing if I liked the prefession/hobby itself. I was hooked instantly. This past year I just actually started to invest in a setup. I bought myself a DAW and have been working with it since January (I work on hip-hop music by the way). I found myself growing impatient and frustrated with the workflow of just clicking around with a mouse, so I set my sights on purchasing a MIDI controller to help improve my efficiency. After 2 years of researching controllers, being swayed by the Axiom (which I would have gotten had it not been for countless reports of the Blue Screen of Death malfunctions) I finally decided to lay my money down on this guy.

One of the best purchases I've ever made. Firstly, the keys are semi-weighted with aftertouch. Feel really good, just enough resistance. Not too light, and not to hard to push down like on a real piano. The body of the controller itself has a very robust, solid feel to it, being constructed of a thick tough plastic resting on top of a solid metal bottom. The controller comes with 30 available slots for presets, 16 of them built-in, including popular DAWs such as Ableton, Cubase, and Reason. One note as I know it is another very popular DAW, the MPK49 does not come with a pre-constructed preset for FL Studio. You will have to create one yourself from the Vyzex editor which comes on a disc with the MPK49. You have the ability to delete any of the built-in presets if you don't need them. The knobs have a solid feel to them, being able to rotate infinitely either way. The faders also feel very nice, with a nice smooth glide to them. All the buttons on this thing work just fine. The arpeggiator is easy to use and the pitch/mod wheels work nicely. The pitch/mod wheels as well as the screen of course light up nicely when the MPK is on. The pads now, cause I know this is what everyone was waiting on. The pads are as everyone says they are. They are pretty tough to push down and even harder to lightly tap to get a precise hit on them. I haven't yet gotten the upgrades from the guy who sells them on Ebay, though I plan to. would rather those than electrical tape, and they're cheap. But the pads do have a solid feel to them. I never had pads before so I was expecting them to be made of plastic or something. I wad pleasantly surpised when I felt them and they were made of solid rubber. There is no slip at all on those things. Very nice feel to them.

Overall I hope this helped out anyone reading or anyone debating on purchasing this item. This is a great base piece to your electronic music setup, and recommend it to anybody over any similar item.
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