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Akai Professional APC Key25 Keyboard Controller Reviews

4.0 stars based on 8 customer reviews
Questions about the Akai Professional APC Key25 Keyboard Controller?

Questions about the Akai Professional APC Key25 Keyboard Controller?

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  • J Reid
    from Virginia USA October 26, 2014Music Background:
    Musician, Recording Engineer

    Perfect Controller for Ableton

    I had been looking for a controller for Ableton that was pad based w/ a few knobs but when I came across this I was intrigued by the keyboard addition and size. It fits perfectly on my desk next to my machines (it's a little smaller than my Electribe SX1) and it works right out of the box. It makes working in Ableton or using Ableton to push midi to machines VERY easy.

    Getting around on the controller (switching between groups of instruments the pads are controlling or switching between what the knobs control) is very easy to use. I do wish the "red" stop color was a bit brighter on the machine, but the standby and green on lights are bright.

    The keys took a few days to get used to as they are tiny, but once I did it hasn't been a problem. I do wish I could figure out a way to turn off the key sensitivity like samplers have, however, fixing this in Ableton is easy enough.

    Only thing I'll note to buyers.. Akai says you have to create an account to get the software bundle that comes with this, and in order to create an account you need a serial number. I could not find any serial number w/ this so I was not able to download any of the extras. There are a few numbers I thought might be the serial but were not. I hope Akai resolves this for people.

  • Mario
    from Dallas, TX September 8, 2014Music Background:

    Great device

    Easy to use, fun

  • BuleriaChk
    from Santa Barbara, CA USA August 5, 2014Music Background:
    Retired Jack of All Trades, and...

    Very powerful portable controller for Ableton Live

    This is WAY better than I thought it would be. Everything works precisely as expected (even better). Great for me as a guitarist controlling backing loops with occasional switch to melody or bass...

  • Demetrius Bradley
    from Long Beach, CA January 3, 2016

    Loving my Keyboard !!!

    I'm a 29 year old disable man that loves his Gadgets ! When I bought the APC Key 25 I was just buying it because it was in my prices range. I thought I try it out and upgrade later when I have some more money but now I then grown attach to it. The keyboard is very easy to figure out and you can read the manual in less then 10 minuets. It SOLID and want break easily ! Its all you need to get started with making music with Ableton live 9 and you can work yourself up from there. It comes with three post cards with serial numbers on them ! The only compliant is that they are trials Software's so if you plan on using them be ready to make music right away.

  • Alex
    from Berkeley, CA May 10, 2016Music Background:
    Hobbyist and occasional performer

    Exactly what I needed

    This is a really nice compact launchpad and keyboard, which was exactly what I was looking for when I got it. The size makes it super convenient to have on hand (I keep it on the roll-out computer keyboard shelf that came with my desk) and it does just about everything you need for songwriting and live performances. It's amazingly effortless to use with Ableton Live - the first time I plugged it in it was immediately ready to launch my clips and it has really made music production way more hands-on and intuitive since everything is now at my fingertips rather than in the nebulous territory of the virtual controls on my computer monitor. The synths it comes with (Hybrid and TWIST) are AMAZING and honestly well worth the price on their own, with tons of great-sounding presets to get started right away as well as a lot of opportunity to tweak and customize the sounds you get (although there is a bit of a learning curve to the customization so it does take some time to figure out the interface).

    The only "negatives" I can think of are more just matters of personal preference, although the one glaring issue I have is the lack of pitch and mod wheels. The keys definitely take some getting used to; they are extremely "springy" and it takes a lot of practice to get to the point where you know how much pressure to apply to get the particular sounds you want. However, once you get to that point it is definitely possible to get expressive with your playing, especially if you tweak the velocity envelopes in your synths and samplers. The setup of the knobs is also not ideal; personally I only use them for sends and direct MIDI mapping (which unfortunately is not as intuitive as it should be). Using the knobs for volume, pan and device just hasn't been particularly useful for me since it is a bit of a hassle to switch between them while playing live and it's way easier to just click on stuff if I'm working on recordings or just experimenting. Hardware-wise though the knobs are great, with a nice substantial feel to them. Similarly to the issue with switching between assignments for the knobs it is kind of annoying to have to switch between settings for the circular buttons along the bottom. I really only use "Clip stop" and "Rec arm" so for me personally I would prefer to just have two sets of buttons at the bottom and not have to toggle all the time and make sure I am not pressing the wrong thing. However, that is really just based on what I personally use so it is not at all a failure of the design.

    In general this is a really well-designed piece of equipment. It is nice and sturdy but also very light and small so it's perfect for live performances (particularly with the highly visible LEDs in all the pads that make it really nice and easy to see what you're doing) and it interfaces really well with Ableton Live. I plan to use it live for clip launching and playing leads and I am confident that if I embarrass myself it will be my fault and not the Key 25's.

  • cbm
    from pgh October 6, 2015Music Background:
    hobbyist musician

    simpleton live

    I grabbed this about when it came out, so I've had for just over a year now and I use it constantly at home and move it to a friends place to play music 1-2 time a week since.

    When I first bought it I was disappointed that there was no type of editor program that would allow me to change various midi signals coming out of the device, but I got over it.

    I use the clip launch buttons in the normal way, but switching the function of the knobs between volume, pan, send and device quickly proved to be too much to handle for me to keep a good pace when jamming, so I just ended up midi-mapping the eight knobs to various fixed parameters instead. I also keep things similarly simple regarding the bottom most row of circular buttons by always leaving them as "clip stop" buttons. Were this the only instrument I played in the application I use it in I'd have no problem using the knobs and bottom row of buttons to their fullest potentials, but I'm playing guitar as well so it's just easier for me to keep certain things as constants.

    The key bed isn't great; it feels much better than the first gen mpk mini's, but I'm not sure how it compares to the second gen mpk mini's that are supposed to have an improvement there. I don't mind it because I didn't get this for nuanced, velocity sensitive play, I got to hammer out riffs and basic chord progressions on soft-synths and it is fine for that. To be honest, I do get a very musical feeling range of sensitivity from it when I use piano and ep-style sounds, but just don't expect the keys to feel like extensions of your body in this regard.

    It's a great value for the bedroom producer and the hobbyist musician that moves their rig weekly, and I haven't had a single problem with it in over a year constant use.

  • Charles Keyser
    from Santa Barbara, CA September 16, 2014

    A Caveat - Downgraded Rating

    This unit, like the APC Mini, does not allow you to switch banks, only shifts the position of the matrix by the shift-arrow keys. Since there is no way to switch banks on the computer, this is a serious design flaw.

    Shift should allow switching banks like Push or the Launchpad. There may be a clever reason for switching the whole matrix by scene/track but I have yet to discover it. This makes the use of the Session Matrix only useful if you remain in the same bank. Navigating banks is frustrating, and tend to lead to mistakes, since the position of the clips change their relative positions in the matrix.

  • Fliplteezy
    from SF June 23, 2015

    Great Idea but...

    I really like the whole concept however I wish it the keys had the same action as the Akai MPK mini. There's no velocity control and the keys are even more spongier and really hard to push if you want to draw out chords. Doing one-liners one note at a time is good however I find myself reaching for another keyboard and I did. Now i run the Akai MPK mini + Akai APC mini. Akai should make one with better keys or make a full size key version.

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