Akai Professional MPK249 review

This article will provide you with all the necessary information about the Akai Professional MPK249. If you are interested in buying the Akai Professional MPK 249 or want to know more about the keyboard, you should keep on reading. If you like this article and found the provided information useful, you might want to check out our other reviews at AalbergAudio.com.

Product Description:

Experience expanded control of your VST instrument and effect collection with MPK249 and Akai Pro VIP3.0 (Free Download Included a $99.99 Value). VIP3.0 provides you with unparalleled access to your virtual instrument and effect collection, seamlessly integrating the hardware/software experience and grants the unrestricted freedom to create in a user-friendly, intuitive format. The combination of VIP and MPK249 maximizes workflow and ensures a playing experience that feels natural and enhances creativity – the natural, tactile feel of hardware fused with the unrivaled processing capability of virtual Instruments.

Quickly find sounds based on instrument type, timbre, style, or articulation from your entire VST library; sculpt immersive, expressive sounds and textures layering up to 8 separate instruments and patches per VIP instance; load up to 4 different VST effects per instrument channel to sculpt the perfect sound; put power into your performance with Pad

Chord Progressions and user-friendly Key Control processors; and much more. From live performance to studio production, VIP’s user-friendly functionality coupled with a diverse feature set guarantees simple, seamless integration into your existing setup and provides the ultimate platform for unrestricted creative expression.

Price: 

The Akai Professional MPK249 is a well-made and affordable keyboard. The prices can vary depending on the website you are buying it from, but mainly it stays between 250 and 330 euros. You can check the latest prices here!

Pros: 

  • Keyboard quality – semi-weighted, touch-sensitive keys with Aftertouch that offer piano-like performance and responsiveness
  • MPC pads are responsive, decently large, and look good with RGB lighting. You can also expand them to 64 sounds with the 4 separate sound banks
  • The knobs and sliders have a meaty resistance and are well-mapped for most DAWs
  • DAW controls and bright LCD screen remove the need to use your computer keyboard and mouse. You can make music entirely from the controller without even looking at your DAW
  • Integration is rock solid with most DAWS. Customization is easy with bundled software. You can also upgrade to MPC 2.0 software for improved workflows
  • Decently compact size and build quality

Cons: 

  •  Aesthetically dull; lacks the retro-finish of Akai’s other pro-quality keyboards such as Max49
  • At nearly 6kg, it’s slightly on the heavier side. You’ll need a dedicated stand to hold it
  • Semi-weighted keys can be difficult to play if you don’t have finger strength; not recommended for beginners
  • Pricey; there are similar 49-key controllers with equivalent features (though none have the semi-weighted keys of the Akai)
  • Pads are slightly small for intuitive finger drumming. A few mm larger would have made a difference (2)

Is Akai Professional MPK249 Worth it?

The MPK249 is well-built, has a fantastic keyboard, and boasts all the features you’d need to create the epicenter of your home production system. It is often the default choice of serious music producers, including some of your favorite pro artists.

It’s not cheap, however, and neither is it for everyone. You will not get much value from it if you’re only going to use it for the keyboard. To make full use of its potential, you’ll want to use it as a music production center or taking it live.

Benefits of Akai Professional MPK249:

The MPK249 works well in a live setting or in the studio. It gives you the freedom to skip the computer keyboard + mouse combo, making for a more intuitive production experience. The keys are fantastic and the pads responsive – exactly what you would want in a pro-quality MIDI controller.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions 
    • Width: 737 mm 
    • Height: 311 mm
    • Depth: 89 mm
  • Weight: 5.71 kg
  • 49 Semi-weighted keys
  • 16 MPC pads with RGB lighting
  •  8 Assignable knobs, faders, and buttons (each)
  • Inputs for expression and sustain pedal
  •  Arpeggiator
  • MPC Note Repeat
  • MPC full level
  • Tap Tempo and Time Division
  •  Backlit LCD display
  •  DAW integration through comprehensive transport and parameter control
  • Assignable keyboard shortcut keys
  • 1 x jack input for expression pedal
  • 1 x jack input for sustain pedal
  • USB-MIDI and 5-pin MIDI in/out
  • iOS compatible with Apple Camera Connection Kit (not included)
  • Software included (downloads): Ableton Live Lite, Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Tech, SONiVOX Twist 2.0 and Akai Pro MPC Essentials

Quality of Akai Professional MPK249:

The pads are sensitive which is what most users want, it easily integrates with major DAWs and the MPC features are amazing. The performance quality is outstanding, and many owners of the Akai Midi controller agree.

The keys are velocity-sensitive and smooth to the touch, it’s easy to set up, easy to use making it one of the best midi keyboards on the market.

The design is sleek, with the knobs and buttons are smooth to the touch. The color is black/grey and would fit well in any room aesthetic. It is relatively easy to take care of and the colors wrapping around the pads are a nice little touch.

In the end, the AKAI Professional MPK249 is on the pricey side for a reason, first the brand is highly rated and well respected, second, the features and software were a great bonus, and third, the keyboard is built well with the sound quality being one of the best.

Additional Features:

  •  Full-size keys with aftertouch
  • 16 RGB-illuminated MPC pads derived from the MPC Renaissance (each with 4 banks)
  •  24 assignable Q-Link controllers include knobs, faders, and switches (8 of each)
  • New control layout with backlit LCD screen
  • USB-MIDI with 5-pin MIDI input and output
  •  Comprehensive transport and parameter controls for hands-on DAW integration
  • MPC Note Repeat, MPC Swing, and arpeggiator for advanced rhythmic and melodic manipulation
  •  MPC Full Level, 16 Levels, Tap Tempo, and Time Division assist with dynamics and tempo
  • Pitch bend, modulation, and octave controls for expressive recording and performing
  •  One sustain/footswitch jack, one expression pedal jack
  • USB bus power for plug-and-play connectivity
  •  iOS compatibility via Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit (sold separately)
  •  Production software package included: Ableton Live Lite and Pro MPC Essentials
  • Virtual synths included: Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Tech and SONiVOX Twist 2.0
  • Includes Akai Professional VIP3 virtual instrument workstation software/plug-in

Warranty:

Thomannmusic.com offers a warranty for the Akai Professional MPK249 for the duration of three years.

Who Is Akai Professional MPK249 Best For?

As a serious (and seriously priced) instrument, the Akai MPK249 isn’t for everyone. It is “too much keyboard” for beginners. Even intermediate players who are used to a keyboard + mouse workflow won’t be able to make full use of its features. People without any piano playing experience might also find the MPK249’s keyboard to be a bit hard to use.

Overall, the Akai MPK249 is best if you:

  • Want a pro-grade MIDI controller that will last for years
  • Want a more intuitive workflow that does not depend on computer keyboard and
  • mouse
  • Are at an intermediate or higher level to take advantage of all the features
  • Plan to perform in a live setting.

I DO NOT recommend this for beginners. This should not be your first MIDI controller. You’ll find far better beginner-friendly choices in our roundup of the best 49-key, 61-key, and 88key MIDI controllers.

What Do People Say About Akai Professional MPK249?

You can find some feedback and keyboard reviews on Amazon and Thomann. A lot of people prefer buying their keyboards online due to the better prices rather than in stores. Overall the Akai Professional MPK249 has been rated on average 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon Review. 

Amazon Review #1“I’ll keep this short. By far my favourite USB / MIDI keyboard I’ve used. I had tried the cheaper 25 key Akai, but it was just too small and the synth key action I didn’t like.

By contrast, this thing is a full sized keyboard. For most electronic music production, you might try a riff or something on the keyboard, test out chords etc., but you’re unlikely to be playing Mozart. Point being, I’d rather a very useful 25 key to a less useful full size 88. 25 is also about as big as fits decently on a desk, especially with a mixer and more.

The drum pads are super responsive and sensitive, and 4×8 banks gives you 32 options, though I doubt many use them much – I’d get an MPC or something if I wanted just the pads. They are there and work very well though. Note repeat is like an arm for the pads as well.

Regular arp mode is nice too and well implemented, you can get some cool sounds going by playing with latch and letting the arp bounce around notes. You will almost always edit them in a DAW, but it’s a starting point for some cool stuff.

The keys feel great, play great, etc., far from the synth action of the cheaper models.

Tons of onboard DAW pre-sets plus Ableton Live Lite included is good, too. No support for mixcraft which I use, but no surprise there.. anything common is covered though, and you can make your own presets as well. I do wish there was more variability in the presets – swappable banks like the pads would be nice, since for example if you’re using a VST like serum, there’s a lot of places you can map the knobs – plus if you mod one, changing the mod % is a different knob. Of course, there’s really not much room, and if I care that much there are MIDI controllers with more options, I even have a 49-key that at least has sliders and 12 knobs, but I still rarely use it, this is so much more preferable.

(And yes I keep note stickers on some keys, never officially learned to play so those are helpful at times).

By far my favourite MIDI equipment, would buy again for sure. Also just confirms my love for Akai, I think more Akai products are in my future.”

Amazon Review #2 – “When I was looking to purchase a midi controller (keep in mind this is my first midi keyboard) a few months back I was stuck between the Akai mpk249, Akai advance, the novation impulse and the m audio control 49. I eventually opted for the Akai mpk49 I’m very glad I did although there are mixed reviews on this controller for my purposes its very good.

Key points:

semi weighted keys feel nice, good resistance enjoyable to play (i previously used a Casio wk7600 which had touch sensitive keys, a dramatic step up) very responsive drum pads: they have levels of adjustability, but the factory pre-set feels great if anything its slightly too sensitive. can play drum rolls easily, pads can be played with two fingers at a time for fast beats. great software compatibility: I use Ableton live 9 and it just worked straight away with the auto key mapping feature.

Very easy to remap as well. Has nice live looping features built in so you can record jams live, layering and building in real time, so you do not loose flow and traction from stopping and starting editing patterns. I use this in conjunction with a focus rite Scarlett sound card, Ableton live nine.

Works a charm. between the mpk49 and the advance I would say if you need a bank of sound fx and samples then maybe opt for the advance, but with downloads these days that part of the package seemed pointless. Also, the pads are in a bad layout on the advance as they are spread in a line it will be less intuitive to play drums. the square pad layout on the mpk49 is far better Akai have mapped the toms together, the symbols and fx in a way that it is almost like playing an instrument, very well designed.

Highly recommend this controller in the entry to mid-range categories”

Thomann Review #1“Excellent quality Keyboard for Home and Pro studios.

I use it with Logic X and have no issues with that.

Keys are weighted and solid, very good feel for playing. Drum pads are excellent sensitivity, coloured, just perfect to make beats. Knobs and faders are not cheap made, feels perfect and enough to control synths, plugins etc.

As for me it has everything to control your DAW.

You do not need to spend much money for buying extra controllers. MPK249 does everything. Just study your DAW and make good stuff.

Excellent price, worth of single cent.”

To get a better idea of how the controller sounds and looks like, we have provided you with a couple of Youtube videos, where you can get a quick controller and sound review.

Youtube Review #1 – Review and demonstration of the Akai MPK249 Midi Controller Keyboard. The video provides information about the keys, pad sensitivity, build quality, features and whether it was worth it.

Youtube Review #2 – This video provides a demo of how to use the Akai MPK249, and covers why it is a good choice to use with a variety of digital audio workstations. After that, we cover how to create and edit presets on the Akai MPK249, so you can set it up to work with different plugins, or digital audio workstations.

The Verdict: Is the Akai Professional MPK249 Worth It?

The Akai MPK249 is a well-built, well-designed keyboard that is surprisingly portable for its size. It has good heft and sturdiness. All controls feel robust and richly crafted, especially the MPC-borrowed pads, semi-weighted keyboard, and sliders. The improved LCD screen is brighter, and the pitch/mod wheels have a satisfying rubbery feel to them.

Overall, the MPK249 is a well-rounded instrument as far as design and build-quality goes. It won’t blow you away with its looks, but it won’t give you much room to complain either. The slightly smaller size also makes it a better choice for lugging around to live gigs. If you like this article and found the provided information useful, you might want to check out our other reviews at AalbergAudio.com.