Akai Professional MPK261 Keyboard Controller

USB/iOS MIDI Controller Keyboard with 61-note Semi-weighted Keybed with Aftertouch, 16 Performance Pads, 8 Assignable Faders/Buttons/Encoders, Arpeggiator, and Transport Controls
Akai Professional MPK261 Keyboard Controller image 1
Akai Professional MPK261 Keyboard Controller image 1
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Akai Professional MPK261 Keyboard Controller
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The Controller Keyboard, Evolved

Akai Professional's MPK controller keyboards have become standard equipment in many professional MIDI rigs. The latest MPK261 rocks improvements in every major area, from its new RGB-illuminated MPC-style pads to the superb action of its aftertouch-enabled 61-note keybed. The MPK261 gives you boatloads of workflow-enhancing features such as MPC Note Repeat, MPC Swing, and an arpeggiator for complex rhythmic and melodic manipulation. With its assignable faders, buttons, and encoders (eight each), 16 performance pads, transport controls, LCD screen, and USB/iOS modes, the MPK261 gives you absolute control over your software.

Akai Professional MPK261 USB MIDI Controller Keyboard at a Glance:
  • Juice your productions with authentic MPC functionality
  • Addictive keyboard feel and plentiful performance controllers
  • Enhanced hardware control over your software = greater productivity
Juice your productions with authentic MPC functionality

With the Akai Professional MPK261, you can juice your productions with authentic MPC workflows, using the familiar tools producers have relied upon for years. MPC Swing delivers that tight, organic groove that made MPC units instant classics. MPC Note Repeat and 16 Levels make it easy to build beats and construct short melodic sequences using the MPK261's 16 RGB-illuminated MPC-style pads. Also onboard is an arpeggiator that lets you easily explore more complex melodic ideas with its adjustable resolution, range, and patterns.

Addictive keyboard feel and plentiful performance controllers

At Sweetwater, keyboard feel is a big deal. (We're a picky bunch.) The MPK261's semi-weighted action is an ideal middle ground, working well for piano parts as well as fast synth leads. Akai Professional has also equipped it with assignable aftertouch - perfect for adding tasty vibrato and other modulation without having to disengage your hands from the keyboard. In addition to its assignable faders, buttons, and rotary encoders, the MPK261 is also fitted with sustain/footswitch and expression pedal jacks, as well as the de rigueur pitch and mod wheels.

Enhanced hardware control over your software = greater productivity

Seamlessly bridging the gap between hardware control and software performance, Akai Professional's latest generation of MPK controllers gives you the enhanced response of a refined new keybed, new RGB-illuminated MPC-style pads, the ability to send QWERTY-style commands via soft-controls, and a low-power iOS mode. It all adds up to enhanced hardware control over your software - which translates to greater productivity for you. The MPK261 is plug-and-play with your Mac or Windows computer, and it also sports iOS compatibility via Apple's optional iPad Camera Connection Kit. It even comes with free software, including Ableton Live Lite, Pro MPC Essentials, Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Tech, SONiVOX Twist 2.0 and Eighty Eight Ensemble, a re-creation of the 9' Steinway CD 327 grand, layered with orchestral and synthetic instruments for rich, cinematic textures.

Akai Professional MPK261 USB MIDI Controller Keyboard Features:
  • 61 semi-weighted, full-size keys with aftertouch
  • 16 RGB-illuminated MPC pads derived from the MPC Renaissance (each with 4 banks)
  • 24 assignable Q-Link controllers include knobs, faders, and switches (8 of each)
  • New control layout with backlit LCD screen
  • USB-MIDI with 5-pin MIDI input and output
  • Comprehensive transport and parameter controls for hands-on DAW integration
  • MPC Note Repeat, MPC Swing, and arpeggiator for advanced rhythmic and melodic manipulation
  • MPC Full Level, 16 Levels, Tap Tempo, and Time Division assist with dynamics and tempo
  • Pitch bend, modulation, and octave controls for expressive recording and performing
  • One sustain/footswitch jack, one expression pedal jack
  • USB bus power for plug-and-play connectivity
  • iOS compatibility via Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit (sold separately)
  • Production software package included: Ableton Live Lite and Pro MPC Essentials
  • Virtual synths included: Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Tech and SONiVOX Twist 2.0
  • Includes SONiVOX Eighty Eight Ensemble
Get enhanced control over your software with the Akai Professional MPK261!

Additional Media

MPK261 61-key MIDI Controller Quick Start Guide
MPK261 61-key MIDI Controller User Manual
5 Pieces of Gear you Need to Run MultiTracks
Akai Professional MPK2 Series Keyboard Controller Overview - Sweetwater at Winter NAMM 2014

Tech Specs

Number of Keys 61
Type of Keys Semi-weighted
Aftertouch Yes
Pads 16
Other Controllers 8 x Assignable Buttons, Mod, Pitch Wheels
Encoders/Pots 8
Faders 8
Dedicated Transport Control Yes
Pedal Inputs 1 x Sustain, 1 x Expression
USB 1 x Type B
Hardware Requirements - Mac 1.25 GHz G4/G5 or Faster (Intel Recommended), 2GB RAM
Hardware Requirements - PC 1.5 GHz Pentium 4 or Celeron CPU, 2GB RAM, Windows-compatible Sound Card
OS Requirements - Mac OS X 10.5 or Later
OS Requirements - PC Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8
Power Supply Bus Powered
Height 3.38"
Width 35.63"
Depth 12.25"
Weight 15.1 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number MPK261

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
Write your review

A Great Controller

My review is probably not what you might expect from someone who writes and records music professionally 24/7. Basically all I wanted to do was replace my Ensoniq SQ II "sequencer" as it was a bit of a kluge in my home studio. That being said, I like the weight of the keys as I have big strong hands and cannot play something that feels like putty in my hands (great for some but not me). The Ensoniq had 76 keys which I loved but the MPK has the ability to compensate for that with scale up / down adjustment buttons which work great even on the fly. Mod wheel and pitch bend is a lot smoother than my old SQ II. Basically when I took this out of the box I wanted to get setup in a heart beat.So I plugged it in adjusted the DAW selector option button to MIDI position 24 which is a generic option (my DAW is Samplitude ProX2 quite suitable for the engineer type like me but doesn't seem to be compatible with this controller for some reason. I'll figure that out if and when I need to lol.) and wham that was it. All the other fancy buttons, pads, and knobs I have yet to use. So, for being a good or bad "controller" without considering the other features of which I have yet to use, I give this puppy a solid 5 right off the bat. Using it for about 2 years now. Looks great in my studio too! ;)
Music background: Professional Songwriter / Musician

Well-built controller!!

I purchased this controller as an upgrade from the Novation Launchkey 61 to use with Ableton Live 9 and MainStage 3. I was looking for something of a high build quality, good key action and versatile functionality that would last for years. The Akai MPK261 delivers on all levels. The knobs, faders, buttons, pads and wheels all feel heavy duty, especially compared to many of the cheaper controllers on the market today. The pads allow you to pick both an "on" and "off" color for each pad in all 4 banks (and there are 16 available colors)! The key tension feels great to me, especially compared to other controllers I've used. Overall, the keys are just a bit shorter in length than a typical keyboard, but it was easy for me to get used to. Just a heads up: I've had trouble getting the FC7 expression pedal to send a midi signal of "0" at heel down position, and read that it may not be compatible with the MPK261. Overall, this is a truly awesome controller and is well worth looking at if you're in the market for a 61 key for performance or production (I used mine 50/50 for both). The price point was a bit steep for me at first, but I'm glad I decided to get it! You won't be disappointed!!
Music background: Worship Musician

Awsome midi. controler.

Wow, i just recived my MPK61 and it's truly epic. I love it and use it with Live 9 Suite.
Music background: Producer, and lead singer
See also: Controller Keyboards, Akai Professional, Akai Professional MIDI Controllers