I bought the Akai Professional SynthStation25 out of pure curiosity. I saw that the SynthStation25 was a very inexpensive iOS synthesizer, and I was not sure what to expect as I arrived home and had a chance to dive into its features. The packaging of the product rightfully implies how small the SynthStation25 actually is, so I was admittedly skeptical regarding the potential capabilities that it may possess. However, after plugging my iPhone into the dock, I found that Akai has fit an amazing amount of options and ability into the SynthStation25. I've been using two separate apps from the Apple App Store along with the SynthStation25 and I'm definitely blown away with how much I have created with it in a short amount of time.
One of the most obvious and useful features of the SynthStation25 is its petite stature and inherent portability. At just over a foot long, an inch tall, and 6 1/2 inches deep, the Synthstation25 can easily fit in a laptop case or backpack for the musician on the move. Furthermore, since the SynthStation25 is battery powered, and operates completely through an iOS device, it is super easy to pull out the SynthStation and use it anywhere that inspiration may strike. Based on these attributes, along with an 1/8" headphone jack, it is completely feasible to be able to use the Synthstation25 in the car, on a long flight, or really anywhere that you may find yourself with some downtime.
Another great feature of the SynthStation25 are the 25 velocity synth-action mini-keys. I will admit that I did have a bit of a learning curve in terms of getting used to the size of the keys, however it was not long at all before I felt completely comfortable with them. Because the keys are velocity-sensitive, I found it really easy to get a nice, expressive performance when recording. Furthermore, the SynthStation also includes 8 soft-key buttons for quick scrolling through patches, voices, and octaves, and features a pitch wheel and modulation wheel for added capability.
Third, the SynthStation has proven to be an incredibly versatile product for my needs. Of course, with the proper iOS app, the SynthStation can be used as a standalone device to create beats and synthesizer music within the iOS. However, the Synthstation can also be used as a MIDI controller or even a module for your DAW. There is a small USB port on the rear of the device that can connect to your computer or any MIDI device for further capabilities beyond beat production.
Finally, there is a great amount of compatibility within the device that can connect to several different apps in the Apple App Store. So far, I have used three separate apps with no problems at all, two of which are mentioned on the Akai website. As of now, my favorite application to use the SynthStation with is the NanoStudio app, but there are some fantastic sounds and drum sequencing that can be found on other compatible applications as well.
All in all, I am having a great time with my Akai SynthStation25. I have created some great loops and beats that are now saved within my iPhone and easily accessible for playback and editing from wherever I may be. The amazing amount of features included in this tiny, 25-key keyboard proves that great things really can come from small packages.