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Akai Professional MPK49 49-key MIDI Controller Reviews

3.5 stars based on 27 customer reviews

Sweetwater Advice

  • Carson McClain

    The MPK49 is a perfect combo for your computer workstation, laptop, or sound module. This keyboard in combination with Native Instruments Battery, Ableton Live, Logic's Ultrabeat or Digidesign Strike, or Maschine will give you a workstation far more powerful than any standalone hardware. The pads are 100% AKAI, the reason producers buy MPCs. The built in arpeggiator is a feature other controllers in this category do not possess.

  • Jonel Rodriguez
    from Raleigh NC November 16, 2011Music Background:

    Best controller

    This gets the axioms butt anyway the sensitivity of the keys and the because they are semi weighted helps out while just playing piano I have no regrets with my purchase

  • Encelia
    from Texas, USA May 31, 2011Music Background:

    A fix for the pads

    This has been a great controller for me; I bought mine in January 2010. My unit, like some other owners, had pads that you had to pound on to get any response, even with making all the appropriate fixes in the hardware and DAW settings. I think some MPK-49 units just have problems. However, there are easy fixes; just look for youtube videos showing people putting foam or tape pads under each pad in the pad unit. I bought some foam underlay squares for $10 and it took me 5 minutes to install. My pads are now extremely sensitive with no crosstalk (adjust threshold setting to ensure this). The sounds I can get out of the pads are wonderfully better than using the keys. Don't let a bad machine here and there keep you from buying an MPK-49. If you're unlucky, just fix the pads, it's easy.

  • Rocksworth
    from USA February 21, 2010Music Background:
    Hip-Hop, RnB, Pop

    All-In-One Akai!

    I was looking to streamline my production tools. When i first started making beats i seen so many people with MPC's, but i couldn't afford one at the time, so went the route of a Evolution 61-key controller, Akai MPD-16 controller, Behringer mixer, and FL Studio 6 back in 2005/06. As soon as i seen the MPK49 i was blown away. It's the all-in-one solution if you use DAW's (FL Studio, Reason, Ableton, etc) to produce your music, i just got mine and just the look of it is inspiring.

    *** AKAI MPK49 IS A MUST HAVE! ***

  • Chris Rucker
    from Dayton, Oh April 23, 2009Music Background:

    The Real Deal

    I just cant believe how great this product is. When I first saw this on youtube i said this has got to be the ultimate package. Its has note repeat, arpegiator, presets for programs such as reason, live, cubase, spectrasonic , gmedia or gforce, and you can even custom create presets for fl studio 8. I feel for those who need a good clean small working environment, the mpk49 adds both keys and pads for any genre of music. I can honestly say that this is the best midi controller right now hands down. By the way for those of you who see reviews telling you that the pads are not good pads, there cheap, there hard. there is a setting in the keyboard to give you as much sensitivity as possible for the pads and you can set the threshold for it also.

  • tddtdd
    from February 27, 2009

    The future of the MPC

    This keyboard is truly an answer to our question. Alot of producers who are using software wanted a controller that had the MPC feel.

    This thing has changed the way I thought about making music with software forever. The way you work with it will give your music a very different feel.

    For REASON users, this thing has to be the best tool ever.

    Firstly you must understand how the MPC functions. If you have an audio editor and recycle and reason, then you dont really need an MPC, as those tools are way more powerful and advanced than ANY MPC. Along with an audio interface, you can record samples from records, and synths or romplers, than you will get similar results to an MPC.

    This machine truly has changed the way I thought of software, and I am more excited than ever before.

    I cant even believe that some people think that this machine is crap or an imitation of the mpc for kids-its not. Does the MPC have arpeggiator? NO. Does it got keys? NO. Does it have more sliders? NO. So it cant be an imitation of the MP.

    MPK-This is the new MPC60...to all my hip hop producers strugging to get out there, dont give up, I got your back. One love.

    from RICHMOND,VA September 13, 2008Music Background:






  • Brant
    from San Francisco, CA February 15, 2008Music Background:
    Multimedia Composer/Producer

    GREAT controller

    I'm very picky and always have high expectations for equipment and product design. I've owned many keyboards and controllers over the years and I must say that this is the best feeling, most well laid out keyboard yet. I've used Akai samplers in the past and I've always found their products to be solid - this being no exception. The sturdy metal frame, the firm substantial keys, and the smooth knobs and sliders make this worth the price. We have various M-Audio controllers at work and this blows them away. It's worth the price.

  • William Mcknight/Fat Boy
    from Nashville, TN USA February 11, 2008Music Background:
    Live sound engineer turned Recording Engineer/Hip Hop Producer, owner of ODP (Off Da Pourch Records)

    Do It

    I dont know what the other reviewers are talking about, setting this board up in reasons was a cinch for me. There is a template for reasons @ akaipro.com along with instructions for loading it up into reasons.

    Ok, now for the review. This thing is crazy tight if you plan on doing hip hop, which 9 times out of 10 if you use akai products you probably do.
    This controller has saved me so much money its ridiculous. I am a PTLE user mostly for rewire with reasons, with reasons completely expanded and I do mean completely expanded (I have so many sounds and samples its crazy) there is no limit to the music you can create with this thing. One example is using the arpeggiator function on the MPK49 combined with the Reason Arpeggiator using a synth sound gives you really creative patterns (which can make your beats real unique).

    But if you're like me you still dig the sounds of a Motif or a Fantom but you dont want to spend the money on them. Well, do like my friend did buy the rack versions hook this bad boy up to them and bam you got an instant fantom
    (minus the skip back function and a few other functions) but if you use a DAW you want miss the skip back function if you use loop record.

    Now for the actual controller, The keys feel great, this thing is as sturdy as a rock, and then you have the faders, the knobs, the signature Akai pads, note repeat, arpeggiator, pad banking, modulation, so many functions for a controller its crazy.

    Now I have been through some controllers let me tell you from novation to Korg to M-audio (who I beleived to be the standard in controllers) but since I picked up the Akai MPK49 I have sold all of my controllers including my M-audio Keystation pro.

    The MPK49 is killing all other controllers out right now, so if you are one of the lucky ones to have picked this baby up I say congrats. If you are on the waiting list yo stay on it because you will not be disappointed, and thats a fact.

  • Ryan Jetti'
    from Chicagoland, USA January 29, 2008Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Producer, Artist

    Money well spent.

    Now I know there are features that other manufacturers offer, but none can compare th the legendary Akai feel that comes along with this piece. Anyone who has spent years as I have using the MPC as the foundation of there music production will appreciate Akai's move towards PC production. I admit that this piece could be less difficult to fiqure out in some areas, but the amount of software presets (available on the CD) is incredible. For those of you using Reason, you can put your mouse down for almost all functions. With this contoller combined with the right software sampler you can do everything the new MPC 5000 does guaranteed. This piece is the flagship of Akai's controllers. Faders and knobs are solid, keys are semi weighted and still have a synthy feel. The killer's are the arpeggiator, famous note repeat, drum pads with 12 levels. When Akai makes a template for logic.....watch out.......until then demonstrate your knowledge of midi and you'll be fine.

  • Nathan
    from Tx September 20, 2013Music Background:
    Producer of 5 years

    The best budget keyboard ever created

    I've had this baby for over a year and it's the real deal, it should be 2 times as much as the asking price, nothing comes close to a midi, especially for price range, the knobs and faders can be linked to anything in FL Studio/ableton/reason/cubase which leads to literally endless possibilities and fun, I even link them to third party vsts like massive when I'm making dubstep, it has a nice solid feel and weight to it along with the keys as well, my only problem is the pads, you can hit full level and you only have to touch it slightly but it takes away from the feel, other then that buy it.

  • Kevyn W.
    from Fort Wayne, IN. USA November 3, 2010Music Background:
    Artist, Producer, Student.

    Akai is the best hands down!

    I previously had both the M-Audio Axiom25 & Axiom49 midi controllers and was blown away by their build quality, functionality, and playability but programing some of the features on the fly just never really caught on with me so when Akai came out with the MPK49 I took one look at it and knew it was the midi controller for me.

    This thing is built like a tank! It's super easy (and quick) to change parameters on the fly, all the controls from the pads to the keys, knobs sliders, and buttons feel great. Using this with Reason/Record, ProTools, Live, FL Studio, Battery, etc is phenomenal to say the least. I never could get it to work with Sonar as a control surface but its use as a controller is unquestionable!

    My only real complaint about this controller is also the main reason behind my decision to buy it and that is the pads as they are not as responsive as I would like for them to be under most cases but the sensitivity, threshold and curve settings make it easy to get somewhat of a balance for ones particular playing style (I actually think the pads on the Axioms have better response) which is why I only gave it 4.5 stars.

    Overall, this is by far the best midi controller on the market hands down! It has all the features you would need or want and many you can't and won't find on any other midi controller. I've had mines for almost 2yrs now and I like this midi controller so much I am planning to upgrade to the MPK61 or MPK88 for the extra keys and pads and the split key function alone.

  • Leif
    from OR June 20, 2010Music Background:

    Very nice.

    fantastic controller! pads are ok, but the keys are NICE! they have great action (i prefer the feel of them to my Korg Triton). pretty simple use, overall its a winner!

  • Ryan
    from Everett, WA July 7, 2008Music Background:
    Recording/Mixing/Mastering Engineer, Producer, Musician

    One thing that MUST be noted:

    Everything that has been said is true of this controller but there is one thing that hasn't been mentioned yet -- you have to go out and buy an AC Adapter for it if you plan on using MIDI instead of USB to power it because it DOES NOT come with one. Other than that, this is a fantastic controller and has virtually everything you'd need and/or want in a controller.

  • Jeremy
    from Denver, CO November 5, 2008Music Background:

    Great keys, bad pads.

    I'm happy with this controller. It's solid, the keys have a nice fairly stiff feel. Everything is well thought out and it's software makes editing programs easy. The drum pads are fairly useless. The pads on my MPC 2000xl are great, very sensitive and expressive. Even with the sensitivity turned up all the way, I have to pound these pads to get a response. I really can't use them, but I recommend the MPK for keys.

  • Terrence Fleming
    from Michigan January 12, 2008Music Background:
    Professional Hip Hop & R&B Producer

    Akai MPK49

    What Up Doe, to my Hip Hop Producer Heads out there!!! My 2 cents on the Akai MPK49 is this, I feel like I just purchased my old scholl mpc3000. I sold my MPC3000 on Ebay for $1250.00, then the buyer wanked me and kept my drum machine and got a return on his purchase. But anyway, I went all the way digital, with Cubase, Reason and more. I also encouraged my students to not so much worry about the very very expensive inconvenient and bulky hardware. But with this Akai MKP49, you have your Keyboard, Drum Machine, arpegiator and note repeat, all of the most important elements for Hip Hop Production. And if you add this to a laptop with Reason 3, 4, Cubase or Protools, you have absolutely all you need to get your production thing moving. I think the boys over at Akai came full circle and they listened to the streets, and fulfilled a dire needed controller, my only letup is that it was very hard and complicated to sync and link it up to Reason, it should have been much more user friendly and not a highly education thing.

  • Big Shawn
    from OrangeMound TN | Supreme Street Music January 8, 2008Music Background:
    Recording Engineer

    This is what we have all been waiting for...

    Alright... Its not easy to configure for Reason, but if you ever figure it out... man... its just like having a custom made MPC for Reason... Its got it all Note Repeat... Transport buttons... Full Level pads...
    Oh and don't forget about the Editor... Akai has a really good editor in the Vyzex Editor... With it you can create preset for every module in Reason and it's very easy to access presets on the MPK...
    Its defiantly worth the 400 dollars
    My only issue is the pads are small but u can turn up the sensitivity so it "feels" better and there is no "undo" button so i have to reach for my keyboard or mouse if I screw up... but other than that- enjoy!!!

  • Trenton Abbott
    from United States December 11, 2012Music Background:
    Freelance Professional, Audio Student

    Suits some purposes very well.

    Any classically-trained pianist will agree that there's only so many applications for semi-weighted keyboards. This goes for most MIDI keys, and they're very good for synth-playing because of that. During synth-heavy sessions, this thing rocks!
    In addition, the pads are a little stiff, which again rocks for live-playing but not for production. In addition I've had some technical troubles such as keys going dead momentarily, sticky buttons, etc. These aren't huge problems but I probably won't buy an Akai again.

  • Dj Madskillz
    from AZ, Cali, LasVegas July 3, 2012Music Background:
    DJ, Producer

    3 Star Product

    I have always been a fan and user of Akai products you name it I have used it or still do. But this one was a all in one package sure to be in my studio. I purchased this and have been using in my studio with Ableton Live 8. Great product for sure but!! the drum pads are garbage come on really akai how can you put out drum pads that suck. You have to beat them and even then they still suck lol. There are alot of people on fleabay selling extra padding to add to correct akai's mistake and yes it does help.
    So akai you get 3 stars.

  • Timothy Crook
    from Brooklyn, NY USA November 17, 2011Music Background:
    Broadway Keyboard programmer

    Good overall keyboard controller

    The action and the functionality, not to mention the portability of this controller make it nice. It is a shame that the $400 controller does not come with the AC adapter. Without the adapter (just using USB) one has to echo a midi channel to use the midi outs as they normally should work, being a person with a lot of outboard MIDI gear that would be nice. There are also not presets for logic or mainstage, which is a pretty widely used platform. if you want a USB based controller that works out of the box with VSTs ect via USB this will be great for you. As for the functionality of the knobs, faders ect, they look cool, but I have not had time to make a preset and learn all the functions yet, I will let you know.

  • Alex
    from Lexington Park, MD March 25, 2013Music Background:

    average controller

    I bought this controller as an upgrade from an Axiom 25 that I have used for many years. I think these pads are better than the axiom. The overall quality is good and it feels really sturdy.My biggest problem is the quality of the keys, they're too springy, the velocity curve is horrible and cannot be adjusted. It makes playing any velocity sensitive instrument in my DAW sound very artificial (mostly the multi sampled acoustic instruments). If you play mostly synth sounds, it might be alright for you. Overall, its decent because I have other keyboards that I use as controllers depending on what project i'm working on. I recommend not relying strictly on the MPK. Use it mostly with Ableton and Reason.

  • Customer
    from January 3, 2011

    The Pads Suck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    How could Akai do this to us?? These pads suck so bad that you lose any real feel for the beats because you have to wack them so hard.

  • Ed Tech
    from Boston,MA December 13, 2009Music Background:
    R&B, Hip-Hop, Rap, Dance

    Not a Great Controller In the End

    The downside to this unit is the nightmare users will have upgrading to the latest firmware right out of the box, its a widely known issue across the country, not to mention that this upgrade wont work with Mac OS Leopard.

    Seems to be tailor-made for Ableton Live users, but very unstable with the accompany buggy software call Vyzex Editor, but dont take my word for it, just Google the issue and find out for yourself, Buyer Beware.

  • Phil Brown
    from New Mexico October 9, 2008Music Background:
    Long time pro musician, full time audio engineer

    Some gotcha's

    I bought this to replace a Korg MicroKontrol, which is similar in functionality to the MPK, but about half the size. I have this right behind my Mac keyboard and right in front of a large monitor so just wanted to do a simple swap, plug MIDI in, and go. NOTE: The following will not affect you if you plan to use this strictly with USB to a computer: THE AC ADAPTER IS NOT INCLUDED. I had no intention of using this as a USB device as I already have a MIDI interface and have my studio wired as I like - also I don't have any spare USB ports and don't want to to use yet another hub. With no power adapter I was dead in the water. At the time of this writing, Sweetwater does not mention this, nor do they make it available (they don't even stock it, I'm told). So I used the front USB port of my Mac just to get some power until an adapter could be found. Guess what? The MIDI doesn't work in the normal way with USB plugged in. I just wanted to plug the MIDI Out right where my MicroKontrol was, but the MPK pipes all MIDI info to the USB cable and nothing to the MIDI Out, except what's coming from the computer NOT from the keyboard itself and the Mac recognized the MPK as an interface, and not as a MIDI device. So the next day I hit Radio Shack and finally found an adapter. Akai spec's a 6V, pin positive 1000ma adapter. That's a lot of current, and I don't think that's even correct, as the USB supposedly only pulls 100ma. Anyway I bought an 800ma adapter 273-17666 and the 'K' style plug (5.0mm O.D. x 2.1mm I.D.) 273-1714. I had to take the keyboard to the store to find the right plug since Akai doesn't give specs on the plug size. Cost was just shy of $25. As soon as I plugged in the AC adapter instead of USB all was normal and the MIDI out worked like expected - FINALLY.

    Keyboard - nice feel for the money.
    Features - very good, decent arpeggiator, plenty of controllers, etc.
    Cpntrollers - both the encoders and sliders feel very very good. The switches have lights - nice extra touch.
    Wheels - not great but good. My pitch wheel is stiff when going down in pitch but easier going up.
    Display - excellent
    UI - Ok, I would have done things a little differently, but pretty good overall.
    Drum Pads - COMPLETELY UNUSABLE for me anyway. They are about 1/4th as sensitive as I would want. I'm having to really whack them hard and then velocities are quite unpredictable, trying all curves and sensitivity settings. Not musical at all. Too bad because I really wanted better pads than the MicroKontrol, but I believe these are actually a bit worse, I'm sorry to say.
    Manual - very skimpy - too skimpy IMO. Did not explain the USB - MIDI Out issue whatsoever. Left me with several other questions as well. It could have been about double what it was.

    My 2.5 star rating reflects Akai's not including a power adapter, Sweetwater's not clearly stating such on their web site, AND Sweetwater's not even making it available. My salesman made it clear that he thought all that was perfectly normal "most people now dont want to use power adapters. USB bus power has become so popular that most controllers do not ship with a power adapter because it would increase cost of the unit itself." (a direct quote). That may be (although I feel that's probably an exaggeration), but I strongly disagree with a policy of no power adapter and not at the very least, informing the buyer up front. Not everyone carries a computer around to make music.

    from LONDON September 14, 2008Music Background:
    Aspiring Pro Producer, Hip-Hop

    MPK Pads are cheap & response is poor

    Let me stress that for the most part, this unit is very good. Build, features, keys... everything is of a high standard... except for the pads that is.

    In my opinion, they are cheap and have a poor response (sensitivity). When they state they are genuine MPC pads, check the small print cus they are lifted from the 500 ie the cheapest pads in their entire line. You have to hit them real hard to get them to respond well even with the sensitivity settings adjusted. The main problem is when you hit the pads quickly, you’l find that the quicker you play, the less notes are picked up by the pads. Oh, and I’m not talking super speed here, jus your usual double kik and snare rolls.

    Anyway, apart from the pads and issues getting the Note repeat feature to work with FL Studio, the controllers pretty good (thus far). Pity about the pads tho’ because they let down an otherwise solid entry into the Akai line.

    If the pads where of better quality and more responsive I truly believe I would have given this unit a perfect score of 5 out of 5. But since 50% of the units unique selling points are related to the pads; 12 of them, note repeat & 12 levels, then my score reflects this as it was one of the main reason I purchased it. My score of 2 out of 5 hopefully will resonate and be heard by a few other potential buyers as a pre-warning.

  • Kevin
    from Seattle, Washington, USA May 29, 2008Music Background:
    Song/Music Composer

    If you use CUBASE you might not want it.

    I got this seven weeks ago and I have used it a lot. I use CUBASE. I love the quality feel of the AKAI and the key response is better than most keyboards I have used. However, I could not get the Transport Control Buttons to work. I tried everything I could think of. According to AKAI Tech. Support, CUBASE does not support them. Steinberd Tech. Support said they did not have the AKAI MPK49 available to test, but that AKAI Tech. Support was probably correct.

  • Ryan Stratton
    from paradise, CA December 4, 2014Music Background:

    Very disappointing keyboard

    I hate to hate on something so much but every time I play this thing I think I need to warn others about what a piece of crap this keyboard is. I'm talking strictly as a keyboard. I don't use the pads much and the knobs and sliders a little and those are fine, even the pads seem OK though nothing like Abelton Push controller (those are nice pads)

    To begin with all it takes is barely a touch to the key and it registers a MIDI value of around 60, so that cuts your touch sensitivity in half. There is no way to adjust this. I went through this with Akai, I even paid to ship it back to them and they sent it right back and said nothing is wrong. These guys are crazy how can they make keys that you lose the bottom half of touch sensitivity with? I looked around online and many others have complained about the same thing. I can't even believe they can bring something like this to market that cuts half the velocity range out.

    Next up is the keys themselves. Some have smooth push others feel like there is some sticky stuff between the keys and are harder to push down like there is some resistance on certain keys. If you push one of these keys down and let it up slow you feel a dragging vibration feel through the key. It's on random keys spread across the keyboard so I don't think it's a damage thing.

    If you are just hammering away and using mostly the controls and don't care a lot about the feel of the keys themselves this might be just fine for you. I didn't realize how much something like this would bug me until I used it daily for a while. I have many other keyboards and none are as junky and cheap feeling as this. The Arturia keyboard controller while also cheap feeling is way better and responds properly to velocity and none of the keys feel sticky.

    Sorry to write such a scathing review but that is what these are for let possibly purchasers know of any downsides to what products they are considering.

  • Nigel
    from June 11, 2013Music Background:

    Good Keyboard - Poor Software

    This keyboard and controller is badly left down by poor software - also trying to find drivers supported by AKAI for anything past Windows XP / Vista seems a mission too far.
    This is all such a shame as the hardware itself is very well made.

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