Akai Professional MAX49 Reviews4.3/5.0 based on 3 customer reviews
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from Berkeley, CA
October 17, 2012Music Background:
Sound Designer/ Engineer/ Musician
Best Midi Keyboard available, but so much moreI just received this beautiful piece of gear about a week ago and I have to say I am definitely impressed. I have not had a chance to test the CV Out/Gate features of this unit yet, but I have been through every other aspect of the Akai Max 49. The drum pads are the first thing I must talk about because they are simply the best drum pads I have ever used on any midi keyboard. I would even go as far as say these pads are better than the pads on my N.I. MASCHINE. They are ultra-sensitive and feel great, plus the light up feature just adds to the beauty of this piece of gear. The keys on this board will feel stiff at first, but that is just something that I have never had before because I owned a 7 year old M-Audio 49 key basic keyboard with a loose action. The aftertouch functions on the keys are phenomenal. The arpeggiator and step sequence are great additions. The arp has multiple settings and is really easy to use. The step sequencer is something that you won't see on any other midi keyboards on the market. It is quite fun to use and helps expand creative ideas when composing music. The Max 49 has 8 touch sensitive faders instead of the classic knobs on the Akai MPK series. I have heard many people say nothing beats turning knobs, and being a big analog enthusiast I would have to agree, but the second I started swiping these faders I was instantly impressed with how well they work and how accurate they are. Programming the Akai Max 49 is a breeze. It comes with multiple presets for many DAWS on the market, but you can customize your own very easily and save multiple settings within the Vyzex Max 49 editor software which comes with the keyboard. The last thing I want to add is that I love how solid this piece of gear feels. It is made out of strong materials and reminds me of a classic analog synthesizer. I can not wait to test the Max 49 out with some analog synthesizers in the future. Overall I have to give this piece of gear five stars because I have never seen anything even comparable on the market. Akai is going in a great direction and I am looking forward to their future innovations. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND GETTING THE AKAI MAX 49!
September 25, 2012Music Background:
Akai max 49 midi keyboardThe max 49 is an amazing controller very versatile and easy to set up. Very responsive and really nice semi weighted keys. I would recommend to any electronic music producer.
from Richmond, VA USA
September 19, 2012Music Background:
Nice piece of kit, but...In general, this is a quality product, but all these new features aren't nearly as useful to me as the features they've taken away. I drooled over this for months and really wanted to love it. However, I ultimately ended up returning it.
Good stuff: First off, it looks absolutely amazing. I wanted to lick the metallic red finish as soon as I took it out of the box. The key bed has a really nice, tight feel. Very good quality. Also, the drum pads were my favorite thing about this controller. They're extremely responsive and are WAY better than the MPK line. The rubberized mod and pitch wheels also felt great. Much better than the crappy joystick on my Novation controller. Step sequencer was pretty nice as well, but I really prefer to manage this sort of thing within my software -- not with the hardware. The Vyzex editor was also quite nice to use. My only issue here was that I couldn't figure out how to select multiple controls (i.e. All the drum pads) to simultaneously change their midi channels all at once. Maybe it's possible, but it definitely wasn't self-explanatory. I can't really speak about the CV output feature. In theory, it seems cool for folks who have expensive analog gear -- but I don't, so it's pretty worthless to me.
Not-so-good stuff: The led touch faders are kind of cool in that they'll respond to changes made within your DAW / plugins. Honestly though, they're just no substitute for an actual hardware fader that I can grab between my fingers and flip up and down. My biggest gripe is that, aside from the mod wheel, there's not a single mappable *knob* on this thing. It's touch faders or nothing. For a $500 controller, this is absolutely unacceptable in my opinion. Granted, I could use a separate controller for my knobs. But why should I have to when I can buy the Novation SL MKII (just as well-built) which has 16 led knobs, 8 hardware faders, 8 drum pads, an amazing key bed, and that now costs $100 less than the Max49 at many stores?
So that's exactly what I ended up doing, and I don't regret it one bit. I saved $100 and got a better controller for my needs. The only thing I'm really missing from the Max49 is it's superior drum pads… but I've been wanting to pick up a standalone MPC controller anyway. That way I'll have the flexibility to take just my drum pads with me if I don't want to lug around a big 49-key keyboard controller.
All-in-all, the Max 49 is a nice piece of kit, but it's just not practical for me. If I ignore their drum pads and quirky Automap software, Novation still reigns supreme in my opinion.