AKAI Professional MPC Key 61

5

Standalone MPC Synthesizer Keyboard

  • 61 Semi-weighted keys
  • Velocity sensitive keys with aftertouch
  • More than 6000 preset sounds and 25 plug-in instruments
  • 100 Multi-effect algorithms
  • 16 Velocity-sensitive RGB pads (8 pad banks)
  • Assignable Touch Strip controller
  • 7" Colour multi-touch display with gesture control
  • 4 Q-Link encoders and push encoders
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32GB Internal memory, expandable via SATA connector for optional hard drive
  • MPC DAW with MIDI and audio recording
  • WLAN- and Bluetooth-enabled
  • 4 Line outputs: 6.3 mm jack
  • Stereo headphone output: 6.3 mm jack
  • 2 Mic/line inputs: XLR/TRS combo jack, 48 V phantom power
  • 8 CV/gate outputs: 3.5 mm jack
  • MIDI In / Out / Thru
  • 3 Inputs for pedals and footswitches: 6.3 mm jack
  • 2 USB-A 3.0 ports for USB mass storage or MIDI controller
  • USB host port
  • Ethernet link port
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 986 x 313 x 96.7 mm
  • Weight: 8.1 kg
  • Incl. USB cable, power cable, Quickstart Guide and MPC2 Desktop DAW for Mac and PC (download)
available since June 2022
Item number 541332
sales unit 1 piece(s)
Number Of Keys 61
Touch-Sensitive Yes
Aftertouch Yes
Split Zones Yes
Modulation Wheel Yes
Number of simultaneous Voices 64
Sound Engine Digital
USB-port Yes
Effects Multieffect processor
Arpeggiator Yes
Number of Analog Outputs 4
Digital Output No
Display Yes
Amount Of Keys 61
Touch Sensitive 1
Number of Voices 64
Storage Medium SSD, USB to Device
Sampler 1
Number of analog outputs 4
Pedal Connections 3
Pedal Connectors 3
Optional Expansion Boards n/a
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$1,699
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MPC goes keyboard

Thanks to their groove-oriented and sample-based operating principle, Akai's MPC devices have built up a whole community of committed followers. The use of the now-legendary pads in their 4x4 layout for triggering drums and samples has created its own philosophy and aesthetics, which enjoy particular popularity in the Hip-Hop scene. Akai's new MPC workstation now expands on this concept by combining a keyboard with the installed plug-in instruments so that musicians who want to combine typical MPC grooves with their own melodies, harmonies, and diverse sounds as well as record vocals and instruments in the workstation will also be interested. Like all of the other MPC units, this keyboard version can also be used to control external devices and manage complex setups as the central component of a DAW-less studio.

Sampling workstation with plug-ins

The MPC Key 61 features a keyboard with 61 velocity-sensitive keys together with 16 dynamic sample pads, and the device also features aftertouch sensitivity (monophonic for the keyboard and polyphonic for the pads). With 4GB of RAM, a Quad ARM processor, WLAN/Bluetooth connectivity, and an SATA slot, it offers an even higher performance capability than the existing MPC devices. 25 plug-in engines have been integrated that place a wide range of acoustic instruments, electric pianos, synthesizers, and drums at the user's fingertips. The instruments and sample sets can be mixed internally on the device and edited using a selection of over 100 effects. The workstation is equipped with an audio interface that has two high-quality microphone preamps which can be used to record samples as well as complete vocal and instrumental parts. For (pre-)production purposes, these can be arranged in eight audio tracks alongside the 128 MIDI tracks provided by the sequencer. What is more, additional synthesizers and interfaces can be connected via the USB, MIDI, and CV/gate connections.

DAW-less music production

Whether you prefer to work on a computer or using hardware is simply a matter of personal preference, not a question of which is "better". Sampling grooveboxes like the MPC have carved a particularly prominent niche for themselves in Hip-Hop music. Thanks to its keyboard and instrument plug-ins, however, the MPC Key 61 is significantly more flexible for harmoniously structured musical styles that contain more melodious elements and makes "DAW-less" production more accessible for R&B, progressive Pop, vocal-oriented House, and powerful Drum & Bass music. With more “traditional” MPC devices, users rely on what they touch, hear, and feel. The same characteristics are found here, with the addition of a large touch screen at the centre of the user interface that provides direct access to all of the tools and options needed in modern musical production.

About Akai Professional

Akai Professional has its origins in the long-established Japanese company Akai, founded in 1929, which initially manufactured electric motors, soon to be followed by high-quality tape recorders and hi-fi products. Since 1988, Akai has also become a household name like no other on the Hip-Hop scene. With the development of its first MIDI Production Centre (MPC for short), created in collaboration with Roger Linn, Akai wrote history by decisively influencing the sound of Hip-Hop and electronic music, which it continues to do to this very day. Famous exponents of the MPC series include DJ Shadow, Eminem, and Kanye West. Today, Akai is also well known for its robust and versatile USB MIDI controllers, not least of which is the bulletproof APC range of Ableton controllers.

New studio control centre

Despite the fact that the MPC Key 61 is equipped with a sampler, sequencer, and plug-ins, external equipment can also be added to your studio control centre. Up to 32 MIDI devices can be controlled via USB and, accordingly, a class-compliant audio interface can be used to increase the number of available audio inputs. Additionally, analogue synthesizers and modular systems can be controlled using the eight configurable CV/gate connections, via which sounds and sequences can be recorded and further edited in the sampler. For more extensive projects, the MPC Key 61 can be connected to the MPC2 Desktop DAW included in the scope of delivery, which allows even more tracks as well as additional VST/AU plug-ins to be used and the keyboard to be integrated into the software. Alternatively, MPC2 can be used as a plug-in in other DAWs.

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Next Step
d4duke 12.07.2022
Vielleicht nicht das Gerät für jedermann, aber jedenfalls genau das, auf das ich seit Jahren gewartet habe.

Pros:
+Sampling at it´s best
+Sequenzer
+"Produktions-Studio" onbord
+Bearbeitungsmöglichkeiten (Sounds, Potis, Synth, Pianoroll, Samples und und und) schier unbegrenzt
+diverse Synth Engines aus denen man unglaubliche Sounds herauskitzeln kann (neben den über 6000 Top Presets, die auch nach Belieben editiert werden können)
+Anschlussmöglichkeit für 8 (!) externe Synths bzw. Modulare Synths
+trotz Kunststoff-Gehäuse sehr hochwertig und stabil verarbeitet.
+Keyboard-Tastatur muss natürlich getestet werden, aber ich war aufgrund meiner relativ schlechten Erfahrung mit der Haptik der Akai Keys positiv überrascht wie gut sich das Keyboard anfühlt und spielen lässt.

Cons:
-kein Phono-Eingang
-kein SD Card Reader
-bedingt Live tauglich für "Standardkeyboarder" (bei den High-End Samples etwas zu lange Ladezeiten und man muss ein wenig darauf achten, welche Sounds man fürs Layering verwendet (Stichwort: Speicher) - - man kann das, je nach Setup der einzelnen Sequenzen, im Großen und Ganzen aber gut umgehen, bzw. an die Bedürfnisse anpassen.

Meiner Meinung nach top für Studio und Live Einsatz geeignet
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FS
Fantastische Workstation! Aber.....
Frank Schröter 13.07.2022
Nachdem Akai vor 2 Jahren, einfach nur eine Grafik davon ins Netz stellte und ein großes Geheimnis darum machte ob es dieses Gerät überhaupt geben wird, ich seit dem heiß auf die Kiste war und die Händler nun doch klammheimlich damit beliefert wurden, habe ich das Instrument natürlich sofort gekauft.
Verarbeitung 1 A, Vollgestopft mit Features an denen sich wesendlich teurere Workstations was abgucken können und neue fantastische Instrumente!
Die Tastatur ist für mich etwas gewöhnungsbedürftig, aber das liegt sicher daran, daß ich Fatar verwöhnt bin.
Allerdings mußte ich auch zwei enorm gravierende Mankos feststellen.
1. Das Laden der Instrumente (gerade Pianos und Streicher) dauert eindeutig zu lange! Teilweise bis zu 8 Sekunden!
2. Wenn man schon eine Workstation für 2.000.-€ auf den Markt bringt, welches solche Ressourcen fressenden Instrumente wie die besagten Pianos, Streicher usw. beinhaltet, sollte man auf keinen Fall am Speicher sparen!
Hier wurde jedoch leider amtlich gespart!
Ein Track mit 2 Pianos und 2 Streichern und das Gerät meldet Memory Full! So etwas geht für den Preis gar nicht!
Ich überlege ernsthaft, ob ich den Key 61 wieder zurück schicke oder darauf hoffe, daß Akai ganz schnell ein Update heraus bringt, welches diese 2 drastischen Mankos ausbügelt?!
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It's a world first and it shows.
JoOngle 13.07.2022
The Akai MPC key 61 is a worlds first true All-in-one Daw or as close as you can get to it. It was a dream coming true for me and I knew once I saw it in use I had to have it.

All my life I've loved working "off-daw" meaning me and Daw systems never got to be too good friends since there was always some kind of limitations even with a 16 core super pc, either Asio drivers wouldn't work properly or the setup depending on a pc would be too cumbersome for me. I like old school instruments that just are there for me when I switch it on - instantly.

I've had it for 14 days now and it's everything I expected and more. To understand my excitement you have to first understand that I was new to the entire MPC universe and I had no idea the MPC series were so versatile, and now it even comes integrated with a keyboard.

Many people who don't own it yet says it's just an MPC one/live/X with a keyboard attached to it - and I can so far from watching 100's of youtube videos + using it myself tell you it's not.

Why? The major difference is the addition of the keyboard, the extra TouchFX ribbon bar that is one of the most versatile Ribbon bars I've ever tried. I have the Yamaha Montage with a ribbon bar and that works entirely differently as it cannot handle several fingers on the ribbon at the same time, the Akai MPC key 61 can - and it gives you the versatility to make special "jumps" and effects placing double fingers various places on the ribbon and with Leds to indicate where your finger points.

Another difference from the entire MPC lineup is that the Direct-buttons for the various functions are quite differently placed and have different shortcuts from for example the MPC Live etc. It was made and tailored specifically for the workflow of a workstation like this.

It also comes pre-loaded with a bunch of plug-ins (25 to be exact) with various instruments available to us, this usually costs like 500$ if you upgrade your regular MPC models if you purchase the Plug-in Bundle, AKAI says it's 1K bundle value. I'm a bit split on the value of that.

But the workflow is nothing short of amazing and finally there's a true sampling / VST / Integrated DAW keyboard for those who had the same dream as me, and it works. I can churn out new musical pieces by the minutes instead of fiddling with setups, midi, multi-track recorders and mixers, and it's a world class sampler/looper just like the rest of the MPC series as a bonus.

The Con's and Pro's:

The Con's:
Remember it's a worlds first, so it's bound to come with some release errors, software flaws and first-edition limitations which I fully expect AKAI to adress in the future. One of the initial bugs that I discovered was that ONE key on the keybed was too loud, like if you had a "stuck" velocity sensor on an older keyboard - fortunately hammering on it fixed that issue and I didn't ever have that issue since.

Secondly, something this fresh from the factory made my entire house stink of chemicals for a week, oh well - I guess that proves it really came directly from the factory after this early release.

The keyboard is a bit "stiff" in comparison to my Yamaha Montage - but WAY better than cheaper keybeds like on wavestate and MODX and similar cheaper lineup of keybeds.

It accepts digital external units such as USB Mixers and USB microphones, but with a caveat - you cannot separate the input/output drivers for these yet, so if you use an USB Microphone as a sampling device it will think that your entire USB Microphone is a sound-card as well, and you'll have to switch back to AKAI MPC's internal keyboard to hear the recording, you can solve this by simply use it as intended - with a regular Line IN 6.3" jack microphone, or an XLR Microphone with Phantom power.

It also lacks some of the functionality of a real DAW like a "Select ALL" function when working with the GRID (Note Sheet), but you do have an individual note edit function and a Rectangular Select function.

For an instrument with supposedly 6000 sound presets, there's still a lack of certain instruments such as FLUTE, upon using the search function there was no such instrument available. But you have an unmatched chop-and-sample function so you can "steal" sounds from other keyboards or use it as a Master-Midi Sequencer for all your synths, and if you hook it up to a Digital mixer or use the XLR/Line in inputs from your analog mixer, you can Bounce (re-sample) the sounds from your external keyboards to use them internally on your AKAI. It has a time-stretch function too, and you can layer up to 4 sounds which can be spread across the entire keybed or drumpads.

Pro's:

It's truly Dawless workflow.

It's super simple to use, you require very little learning to get up and running, you simply press Sounds to select any sound -+ track on the screen below and press either Record or Dub on the dedicated buttons and it instantly starts recording your track. Recording the next track is as simple as repeating the above - NO MENU DIVING at all.

You have near unlimited bars (up to 999)
There's 128 midi tracks which also can be used with samples internally.
You can use 8 VST's at the same time.
The screen is Multi-touch and is super fast and responsive.
You can add an Internal SSD drive.
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Tomm.y 09.07.2022
Wer eine MPC kauft, weiss was er bekommt.
Für die die es dennoch nicht wissen:

Man bekommt prinzipiell eine kleine DAW in the box.
Was kann sie?

Sie kann 8 sehr lange Audio Samples gestrecht abspielen und mit 4 Effekten versehen.

Sie kann zusätzlich hunderte kurze Samples wie Drums, Vocals etc gleichzeitig abspielen, und jedes davon mit 4 Effekten versehen.

Sie kann mehrere polyphon spielbare Multisamples laden und abspielen, auch diese sind mit 4 Effekten versehbar.

Sie kann 8 digitale Klangerzeuger gleichzeitig laden und abspielen, wie zb verschiedene Syntheziser, Pianos, Streicher, Drummachines etc, und auch diese mit jeweils 4 Effekten versehen (teilweise haben diese Klangerzeuger zusätzlich einige sinnvollgewählte Effekte mit an Board).

Immer, wenn es um Samples geht, stehen einem pro Sample natürlich die obligatorischen Bearbeitungsparameter zu verfügung, wie Hüllkurven, Filter, Pitch etc.

Samples geschnitten werden in einer grafisch anspruchsvollen Wellenformdarstellung, mit der Möglichkeit, bis in hundertstel Sekunden hineinzuzoomen.

Es giebt einen umfangreichen Midi Bereich, in dem mehrere externe Synths melodisch sequenct werden können, sämtliche Parameter der externen Synths können ferngesteuert werden.

Rythmen und Melodien von allen oben genannten Instanzen werden entweder in Stepsequenzern, oder der bekannten Piano Roll eingegeben.
Die Länge der Sequencen ist dabei quasi unendlich.

Umfangreiche Effekte wie Mastering Equalizer, Hall, Verzerrer, Parametrische Equalizer usw sind in vielfacher Ausführung an Board.

Nutzt man die mitgelieferte MPC Softwarwe auf dem Pc, wird die MPC Keys zu einem perfekt zugeschnittenen Controller, mit dem man weiterhin mit dem Touch Display, die MPC Daw auf dem Rechner steuern kann- sämtliche Limitierungen, wie 8 Lange Samples, und 8 gleichzeitig nutzbare Klangerzeuger, sind dann aufgehoben.

Alle erstellten Projekte sind mit allen Versionen der MPCs kompatibel.

Die Start-Stop Sektion wäre links besser aufgehoben gewesen, in der Nutzung mit dem PC zusammen ergeben sich verschiedene Nachteile durch die rechte Anordnung, da man die Maus in der Regel mit der rechten Hand bedient.
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