Akai Pro MPK88 Review

The Akai Pro MPK88 is an 88-key MIDI keyboard controller that features impressive piano-like hammer action keys.

Akai Pro MPK88

Instead of providing excessive bells and whistles, Akai Pro focused their efforts on creating a responsive and authentic feeling keyboard. Their efforts bore fruit because the MPK88 went on to be popular and well received, thanks to its impressive keys. If you grew up playing acoustic pianos, then you will appreciate the mechanical approximation found on this unit, many even say that the MPK88 can match expensive 88-key digital pianos in terms of response.

This unit comes with 88 fully weighted keys, with each key featuring a hammer-action mechanism that many consider to be the best in its price range. The keys also feature aftertouch, which is very much in demand by professional keyboard players. Aside from the authentic feeling hardware, the keys can capture the slightest changes in your attack and release, which results in more dynamic and expressive performances. The controller also comes with modulation and pitch wheels for even more expressive control over your sound.

The 16 genuine MPC pads feel sturdy and well built, which is important because these pads should expect to get some beating. Matching the expressive capabilities of the keys, Akai designed the pads to be pressure and velocity sensitive, for improved use of sound samples and percussion sounds. Each pad has access to four banks of sound, giving you a total of 64 available samples to choose from as you perform. The MPC pads also feature note repeat, swing and arpeggiator which will help you in creating tracks or when you are performing live. Tap Tempo and time division assist are also available.

Akai Pro MPK88

Being a MIDI Keyboard controller, the MPK88 comes with a host of knobs, sliders and buttons for controlling your favorite DAW. Although it does not specialize in a specific DAW, it does come with assignable hardware for controlling up to 72 software parameters. It also comes with essential transport controls for quick tracking and editing. Assigning parameters to the various controllers are relatively easy, and it has a lot of preset space for saving your configurations with various piano, synth and DAW software.

As expected from an 88-key keyboard, this unit is a bit heavy and bulky. If you are looking for keyboard controller that you can easily take with you on the road then you should look at smaller MIDI keyboards. On the flip side, the external hardware and chassis looks really tough and ready for action.

MPK88 is currently bundled with Ableton Live Lite, a good partner software especially since this MIDI keyboard leans more toward performance than DAW integration. Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com.

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