Akai Professional MPK88 Reviews4.2/5.0 based on 6 customer reviews
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from Charlotte, NC
October 25, 2011Music Background:
Great!I've played piano/keyboards for over 40 years. I've been using MIDI since the Mac came out, and I purchased one in 1986. Over the years, I've played quite a few 88-key digital pianos and MIDI controllers. This is the best I've ever used. Beyond the quality and feel of the keys, this thing is a one-stop MIDI control center. Nothing better!
from Escondido, CA USA
July 26, 2011Music Background:
Great keyboard but random key makes annoying click soundI was excited to get this controller and began using it right out of the box. It works great and has some really cool features. However, only 2 days after I started using it, the 2nd octave G# key started clicking every time I pressed it. It still does it and I can't hear it with my headphones on but I can feel it and it can get a little annoying. I would have expected a bit higher quality from such an expensive keyboard. Other than that it's great.
March 3, 2013Music Background:
Pro Musician, Producer, Engineer
Best Bang For BuckPros: Great Weighted Feel, AFTERTOUCH which is important for software that supports it, midi knobs for automation
Cons: Buttons are pretty cheap, one of them stopped working, screen editor is awkward. I would rather had an ios editor and snap my ipad/ipod into the unit.
from Dallas, Texas
December 23, 2011Music Background:
Piano lessons as a boy,Vox Continental when the Animals came out, 30 years of all kinds of gigs, and music arranging and recordist since 71. Still going strong at 62
My New MPK88I just got my new MPK88 and I am impressed. This thing has a very solid case and the controls are of good quality. It's a heavy mother but since I'm just using it as a controller in my studio that doesn't matter to me ! My first impression of the feel of the keys was that they were not as piano-like as the Yahama I was replacing but after playing it a while and listening to the way it responded with my Ivory plug-in I loved it. It somehow made the Ivory sound much better to my ear. I was equally pleased that the sliders were already programmed to be drawbars in B-4 which I use a lot. Another feature I like is the wide 4 octave range on the transpose. This lets you move up a couple of octaves when doing bass parts etc.
I haven't gotten into the programming of presets yet so I can't say how easy that is but what I have come across just puttering with it seems intuitive.
On the negative side, they should have included a 1 amp power supply and not sucked juice out of my computer to power this up. I'm not big on that. I figure my computer needs its own power for itself, and 1 amp is a lot. But, I saw this coming back when manufacturers quit putting a nice big power supply inside and instead provided us with a cheap plastic wall-wart to keep up with. And of course no nice big easy to understand manual. But that's just the way it is these days. At least they didn't cut corners on the quality of the construction.
Overall I'm real happy with this. The last time I bought something that said Akai it was a reel-to-reel tape recorder. But that was long ago in a galaxy far away.
Dale W. Carter
from Edgewood, NM
July 14, 2011Music Background:
Theorist, composer, hobbyist
Very nice, but could have been even better!My first hammer-action keyboard. Though not quite the same as an acoustic grand, I love the feel verses an old non-weighted Roland W-30 I've got. If you tap the keys with your fingernails, however, you probably won't appreciate the "plasticky" sound you get back. Also, the keyboard is a bit noisy, so if you're doing any acoustic recording (e.g. voice or other instruments) with this in play, you might pick up some keyboard clatter. Also, be sure to have a VERY sturdy stand for this monster as those hammer action keys don't feel right with even a slightly flexible stand. I would also have liked to see this cased in aluminum instead of plastic, but it already weights 67 pounds, so...
The LCD display is easy to read, but my personal preference would be to have amber (to match the button and bender/modulator knob lighting) backlighting in the display rather than blue as amber is a bit easier on the eyes in low light.
As a MIDI controller, this thing is awesome!! Just about any of the buttons, sliders, knobs (except for the pitch-bender), and pads can be assigned to broadcast any MIDI messages you want, whether it be for selecting instrument or effect programs, controlling mixing or effects in your software, controlling other MIDI compatible devices, or for playing instruments. In my case, I am driving reverb and echo parameters within my ancient Alesis Quadraverb with sliders on the MPK88 and I can honestly say that, after owning my Quadraverb for 18 years, I haven't gotten nearly the value out of it that I have in the last few weeks under MPK88 control. And, any MIDI controls you program can be saved in a multitude of presents, so you're up and running with a twist of a knob and the press of a button. The only two things I'd like to see added are a user-definable keyboard velocity curve added to the resident five (LINEAR, LOG1, LOG2, EXP1 and EXP2) curves and I would like to be able to tune the threshold velocity that causes a MIDI velocity value larger than "1" to be sent when a key is pressed (for us newbies to hammer-action that sometimes don't reach the default threshold velocity for an instrument to make a sound).
One little nit-picky complaint I have is that to get the MPK88 to broadcast internally generated MIDI messages to its own MIDI-Out port, you must also have a 6 Volt, 1Amp external power supply (Akai recommends the Akai MP6-1 which is, unfortunately, not a regularly stocked item at most pro-audio stores) plugged in because, if the MPK88 is running on USB power, it reserves the on-board MIDI-Out port to echo messages coming from your computer. This is not a big deal because you can just have your computer echo the MPK88's USB messages back to the MPK88, but I think the behavior of the MPK88's MIDI-Out port should be user configurable.
In summary, I'm extremely pleased with the Akai MPK88.
* 88 fully weighted, hammer-action keys
* A huge assortment of fully programmable knobs, sliders, and pads
* Would be happier with less "plasticky" keys and aluminum shell
* On-board MIDI-Out port behavior is not user configurable
from Stratford, CT
December 23, 2012Music Background:
Not for Gigging - Otherwise ExcellentThe good: Nice, heavy weighted feel on the keys. Body construction, in Akai fashion, is very heavy duty. Large pads are nice. Controls have very solid and smooth feel and operation. Display is large enough to be very useful. Program-ability is VERY flexible and straightforward (except for 'exit' function- there is a cancel button, but no visual indicator of having exited the current function and returned to a main or previous screen)
The bad: Gigging musicians should probably forget this keyboard altogether. It's an absolute TANK, with a big footprint and weighing nearly 70 lbs! After 8-10 gigs, the keyboard is showing questionable signs of wear, most notably a loud clicking on one or 2 keys, indicating something in the hammer mechanism is worn or coming loose. 88 key boards are susceptible to this kind of wear, but this is the fastest I've ever experienced this, despite making every effort to handle the unit with care.
My recommendation: If this unit will sit in a studio, it's a fantastic value for the money. If you're planning on playing gigs, prepare to suffer!