The Bottom Line
All in all, I was very pleased with this instrument; and despite some qualms with the keyboard, I found the play to be extremely smooth and inspiring.
Keyboardists who lean towards electronic music or do a lot of editing will definitely get the most out of this model, and will likely be familiar with its array of customizable controls. Classical pianists or anyone longing for the feel of an acoustic piano might be better off sampling other, less-expensive MIDI controllers.
- Excellent LCD display viewable from most angles
- Programmable drum pads are pressure-sensitive
- Optional blinking metronome
- Keys are quite springy - great for staccatissimo!
- Comes with the worthwhile editing software Ableton Live (Lite)
- Weighs nearly 70 lbs. That’s 20 more pounds than average to consider for shipping costs.
- No power switch; turns off only by disconnecting from power source - best for studio work.
- Keys have a slightly light, plastic feel
- Among the pricier keyboard controllers
- Keys: 88
- Touch Sensitivity: 5 velocity settings
- Pre-Programmed Controls: Modulation and pitch-bend wheels; instant octave adjustment.
- Controls: 16 velocity-sensitive drum pads with up to 4 samples each; 24 virtual controls can be assigned 3 parameters each.
- LCD Display: Comfortable, effective contrast of white type on blue background. Easy on the eyes in all lighting.
- Compatible Software: Works with most music production software
- Available Colors: Black
Review - Akai Pro MPK88 - 88-Key MIDI Controller
Price: $515- $800
Keys & “Action”:
The MPK88 features weighted hammer-action keys. The keys have a slight plastic feel, and are a bit on the light side. However, once in play, the weight kicks in and evens this out. The key surface is excellent – not at all slippery – and I found myself a bit more dynamically adventurous because of the keys’ springy nature. As an acoustic pianist, I give the keys a 6.5 out of 10; as a keyboardist, 9.5 stars!
The keyboard is slightly noisy. Pressing the keys produces a hollow sound that could easily be picked up by a microphone at low to moderate volumes. But if you plan to record directly onto a computer, this won’t be an issue.
The keyboard can be split into two sections, allowing you to play two voices at once. But it’s not uncommon to see controllers that can split into four voices. This might not be a concern if you do a lot of software editing and mixing, but for the price it would be nice to have the option of four vocal zones.
Voices & Touch-Sensitivity:
Because it’s a MIDI controller, no built-in voices are included. Available tones depend on the music editing software used with the controller, and many of these programs contain hundreds, sometimes thousands of quality voices. Additional sound library packages may also be purchased at an additional cost.
The touch-sensitivity options on the MPK88 may be tweaked by choosing from 5 preset velocity curves.
Preset Songs & Recording:
The MPK88 has no internal storage; recording capabilities are dependent on audio software, the computer’s sound card, and other related hardware. No Preset songs or demos are included.
Keyboard Speakers & Quality:
External speakers are necessary, and must be connected to the computer running the appropriate software.
The Akai Pro MPK88 package includes:
- Ableton Live Lite editing software
- MIDI to USB cable
MIDI controllers are typically powered through USB, so no power adaptor is necessary.
○ MIDI/USB in/out
○ 2 Footswitch inputs
See More MIDI Controller Reviews:■ Casio Privia PX-130 - 88-Key Digital Piano/Controller Hybrid
■ Korg SP250 - 88-Key Digital Piano/Controller Hybrid