AKAI Professional MPC Key 61 Review: Great New Standalone Sampler and Sequencer from AKAI!

AKAI Professional MPC Key 61

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
  • 61 Semi-weighted keys
  • Velocity-sensitive keys with aftertouch
  • More than 6000 preset sounds and 25 plug-in instruments

AKAI Professional MPC Key 61 Review

Constructing in the history of highly effective sequencing and revolutionary sampling, the Akai MPC Key 61 provides probably the most superior next-generation digital instruments and effects to MPC, including its arsenal of industry-leading music manufacturing tools.

Akai Professional has mixed their legendary MPC platform with a keyboard workstation for the primary time! The brand new MPC Key 61 is, without doubt, one of the most feature-packed standalone production instruments ever produced.

Akai‘s MPC changed music eternally within the late ’80s once pop and hip-hop luminaries got their fingers on it, and this MPC Key 61 options refined variations of MPC tools with further pressure-sensitive velocity pads, pad memory, 63 perform buttons, and way more.

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AKAI Professional MPC Key 61 Plugins, Sounds, and Samples

The MPC Key comes with 25 pre-installed plug-in instruments, though we feel there’s a probability that we’ll see extra in future firmware updates. Pressing the Sounds button opens up a browser that allows you to select from the accessible instruments and presets and assign them to the present track.

Important new additions to the record of instruments are FabricXL, a sample-based software program synth that delivers all kinds of sounds, and the OPx4 FM engine with 4 operators for traditional FM timbres.

Along with these, the MPC Key consists of the engines that have been already accessible on the other models, together with the DrumSynth, the Hype, and Tubesynth synthesizers by AIR Music Technology, and emulations of the Solina String Ensemble, Mellotron, and ARP Odyssey. Different instruments embrace Stage Piano, Stage EP, and Organ for traditional keyboard sounds, and tons of extras.

With such a big number of sounds, the MPC Key actually seems like a DAW with a well-stocked library of plug-ins. What’s nice about that is that it’s simple to remain within the flow while creating new ideas.

Got a concept for some Rhodes chords to the drum beat you’ve simply created? Simply change to a brand new track, load up the Stage EP and begin jamming on the keyboard. A lot of the sounds are actually good and on par with present software program synths and commercial sample libraries.

AKAI Professional MPC Key 61 Review

AKAI Professional MPC Key 61 Sampling Process

Akai’s MPC range is famed for its highly effective sampling capabilities and this synthesizer is not any exception. 16 of the MPC range’s signature RGB drum pads and traditional beat sequencing performance make the MPC Key nearly like an MPC One fused with a contemporary arranger keyboard.

Every of the MPC Key’s pads comes with aftertouch and Note Repeat performance for expressive and dynamic pattern triggering, constructing on the legacy of the MPC range. Sequencing or layering customized samples with the synthesis features imply it’s extremely quick and simple to put in writing and produce total tracks with simply this one keyboard.

Pair the sampling performance with onboard transport controls and the traditional swing, groove, and quantization, and you’ve got a traditional hardware sampling workflow as a part of your synth. Regardless of if you’re making tightly sequenced pop or the amazing chill beats of east-coast hip-hop that the MPC range has become most well-known for – the MPC Key can do that for you!

AKAI Professional MPC Key 61 Audio Interface

The MPC Key hardware features a two-channel audio interface. It is a function that’s started to crop up on a number of the extra premium workstation synths available on the market. However, because the MPC Key comes in at an extra inviting value level, this makes for a reasonably compelling function.

The interface’s combo inputs are perfect for line, instrument, or mic inputs, that additionally provide phantom power for condenser microphones. The one limitation is your creativeness.

Record a guitar, piano, or vocals straight into the synth, then use the effects and sample chopping to control what you’ve recorded. Pair the MPC Key with a drum machine and use the sample pads for extra textures. Connect different hardware synths in your studio to layer along with your MPC Key sounds, all of those choices and extra are possible!

Whether or not you don’t have any studio gear yet, or a plethora of instruments already, the MPC Key 61 is designed to connect with something you may need in your area. Slot it in comfortably along with your present assortment of instruments, or use it as one thing to develop your setup into.

AKAI Professional MPC Key 61 Connectivity

Ever since it was developed, the MPC was meant to function as the principal hub of your studio, and this model isn’t any exception. Along with 4 audio outputs and a headphone jack (for which they certainly might have discovered a spot on the front side as a replacement for setting it on the back amidst everything else), there are two inputs on 1/4”-XLR combo jacks with mic preamps. Whereas the TRS inputs take an instrument or line-level signals, the XLR inputs provide phantom energy for microphones if wanted. Every input has its personal gain management.

Together with MIDI In/Out/Through, the MPC Key options eight assignable CV/Gate jacks, so it could run your modular system, too. As a keyboard workstation, it additionally affords three-pedal jacks for sustain, an assignable foot switch, and expression.

In addition to a USB-B connector for connecting to your computer, the MPC Key presents two USB-A ports, to which you’ll be able to connect things like exterior controllers, storage devices, and USBMIDI-equipped synths, or an extra MIDI interface. It’s even possible to hook up a class-compliant USB audio interface so as to add extra audio inputs and outputs. And eventually, there’s an Ethernet connector and wireless WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity for things like synchronization through Ableton Link.

AKAI Professional MPC Key 61 Features:

  • 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
  • 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
  • 4GB RAM

Why You Need the AKAI Professional MPC Key 61

Are you a keyboard player, hip-hop producer, beatmaker, and enthusiast for new gear? Then the MPC Key 61 is the unit for you. The addition of keys, internal plugins, and samples makes this unit a most wanted new piece of gear for many of us.

Being produced in 2022 ensures that the latest technologies by Akai were used in it, probably for the sole reason to make it the ultimate unit they will present this year and many years to come. The price for such a unit is great, even tho is out of the standard budget for many people, but if you consider and compare it with other units and the performances it gives, then you will understand why this is the best option to go for.

9.1Expert Score
AKAI Professional MPC Key 61 Review

Akai Professional has mixed their legendary MPC platform with a keyboard workstation for the primary time! The brand new MPC Key 61 is, without doubt, one of the most feature-packed standalone production instruments ever produced.

  • Most Complete Unit from AKAI
  • Improved Storage and RAM
  • Many Internal Sounds and Plugins
  • Amazing Color Display
  • Semi-Weighted Keys


MPC with keys – unique right? The brand new AKAI MPC Key 61 answers this query with a powerful “yes”. The brand new Sounds mode with a whole choice of plug-in instruments turns the standard pad sampler right into a full-blown hardware production workstation.

And due to the built-in keyboard, you possibly can immediately play all these sounds without reaching for an exterior MIDI keyboard. That stated, the well-known sampling workflow, the sequencer, and the spectacular connectivity are all nonetheless there, so it truly is a proper MPC. And since the MPC Key has twice the memory of the MPC X, it might probably deal with bigger tasks with ease.

In case you are having any questions in terms of this unit, please let us know in the comment section below or reach out to the respected developer customer care for any additional and in-depth answers.


Nikoloski is the founder and main content writer and editor of Mixing Tips. With his experience in audio engineering, mixing, and mastering for over 15 years, will provide hands-on experience and expertise in all the matters covered on this website.

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