Akai is know for quality, so this has 49 keys, on left side comes with pitch bend and modulation wheel which are very smooth and comfortable to use. You have 12 pads and modifiers for the pads which is usually used for sampling drums and sound loops, pads are very solid and if you have used any other Akai pads you know their well made. In the middle of the board you have the LCD screen which is clear to see, below you have buttons and knobs to adjust the Octaves tap tempo and setup the sound. On the right side you have 8 faders and 8 knobs to control different effects/parts of your DAW which can be all set up to your needs. This is a USB controller which makes it very easy to plug and play, it can be used for MAC and PC it includes Avid Pro Tools Express which i don't use
The basic part of it is the plug in and play keyboard with your DAW, it gets more confusing trying to connect the pads with sounds you need especially if you never used a MPC or MPD pad before, filters and knobs are easy and conformable to use, the selection is understandable and quick to process, this board is my secondary board currently because i found the pads to be uncomfortable over the top of keys, i bought a MPD32 to use for pads and i use a basic midi keyboard all my sounds are form the DAW plugins. The manual is Clear and easy to follow, the keys are good amount of soft i enjoyed them. Overall for a newb the setup might be confusing at first which you have to learn all the parts of it but after some hours you will understand all of it.
The price is great considering how much this board has to bring, i think personally its too much on a keyboard i like to have things separate like my pads controllers other keyboards but i did really like the Faders and the feel of the keyboard, i downgraded to a basic M audio 25 key and i bought the MPD 32 separately this feels better for me but i still keep the MPK49 for live use, I can had all my patches and settings set in one keyboard that makes it great, so the quality is very high I'm a big fan of Akai products but at the same time i like to keep it simple.
Characteristics that motivated my choice were the 49-key, that are semi-weighted ,also the semi-weighted keyboard with aftertouch and full-sized keys.
The connection type is MIDI.
The general configuration of the soft is quite fast and easy.
The manual provided by it is okay, however I would search for some more info on the net for more knowledge regarding the keyboard and its features.
Let me start by saying what I don't really like about it, I don't feel comfortable with the position of the LCD display, and where the pads are positions, however I do like their feeling and I gotta give some credit for its control and quality.
However what I really like are MMC/MIDI Start Stop transport buttons, and I really love the pads, those 12 pads and the way they feel, they also have velocity and pressure sensitivity which are really great for building nice 16th drum patters and weird velocity changes.
Also a fancy feature is MPC note repeat and all-new arpeggiator and 8 full-sized, 360 degree rotation pots, each with 3 banks for 24 pots total, which make a huge difference as well.
I gotta admit that the price is pretty high, it costs around 350$, having said that if you want a more complex type of midi controller and you have the money, you should give it a try.
It's compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Mac OS X.
If you would like a similar midi controller ( maybe better) you should check M-audio Axiom 49 2nd Gen, there is a slight difference in price, however both of them have pretty decent sound quality and control.
Knowing what I know, I don't think I would buy this controller just because I could buy something cheaper and still have the same controls, the arrpegiator is a unique feature provided by Akai, so think about it.
Akai made headway by including pads onto their midi keyboard controllers. This unit comes with 49 keys,basic manual (a little too basic), usb cable for hooking up. This controller can also use standard midi cables as well as a power cord. The unit powers through usb and to me that's a better way to power the unit, less chance of running into a group loop that way.
I purchased this unit because I need a new midi controller with some mapping options. What sold me was the feel of unit as well as the 12 pads that are built right into the board it self.
What I love about this midi controller is everything is plug n play. It's as simple as plugging it up via the usb cable and letting your OS install the needed drivers. The manual was clear i wish they would have dove a little more into advanced customizing but hey it's not to hard to figure out but you'd figure they'd be nice enough to include that after charging you $400 for the keyboard.
The mpk49 comes with a select number of templates for the more popular daws and music production applications. If your application isn't listed you will have to build your own template. I like to start from the "Generic" setting personally.
I honestly thing this controller could have been $100.00 cheaper but it's still a good price at $400.00. My only disenchanting moment with this controller is the pads... they are not sensitive enough and will require you to get a pad upgrade. There are a lot of DIY kits out there ranging from $14-$25.00, well worth the money in my opinion.
Aside from the pads it's a great controller, with a quality build and I love the way the keys feel when I'm producing music.
I didn't try any other units out while I was in guitar center because this was the only controller at the time that had what I needed. I mean I could tell that just from looking and not touching..
I think this is a perfect midi controller for professionals and novice a like. 49 keys give you enough room to play full scales and chords vs a smaller 25 key midi controller where you're always fighting with the octave button.
I've had my eye on the Akai MPK 49 keyboard for some time now (years actually) but when it came to buying this, it often felt like I was spending money on a luxury. I'll admit, what people said about it is true, that it had issues from the moment I plugged it in it wasn't detected by windows and had massive issues with getting recognized.
When I plugged it in (windows 7), the little screen wouldn't light up, and windows gave me an error saying "unknown usb device". Someone mentioned a shortcut to resetting the firmware which was to hold down [<< + STOP + REC] while plugging it in, which lit up the device, when it asked me if I wanted to proceed in resetting it I hit [Cancel] intead. Bingo, the device was lit now. So it was powered, and once I selected it as a Midi Controller in Live (it comes up in the dropdown list of Midi controllers as "MPK49") it worked perfectly through USB and I don't have to do any tricks to get it to turn on anymore, just plug and play. I blame Microsoft for this problem though, not Akai. Windows will never be predictable when it comes to developing USB devices for it. Especially since Vista. Despite the few hours it took me to get it working, it's a beautiful device, and works wonderfully. All the controls automate easily, the keys feel good for playing (semi-weighted is a good balance for playing synth and piano) I had a fully weighted keyboard (the Triton LE) and it was awkward for playing synths or anything non-piano.
My favorite thing though is the little mixer console, it doubled my mixing time, ability, and productivity. My workflow is totally changed now. It's really nice to have the pads too, however it's not sensitive enough and you really have to hit them hard to get the desired response. Still, nice to have. I really have no complaints and I'm going to be using this controller for a long time. I'd recommend it to anyone.