Could Akai Pro’s MPC Key 61 synth be the workstation keyboard of the future?

The worst-kept secret in music technology is now out, as Akai Pro just revealed the standalone MPC Key 61 synth keyboard.

Previously leaked all over the place, this takes the MPC concept and gives it a 61-note shot in the arm. You get 25 plugin instruments - these promise to cover everything from acoustic sounds to futuristic synths - making the keyboard suitable for a wide variety of music producers.

Top of the bill is the Fabric XL power synth, which is powered by a sample-based engine. There’s also the OPx4 4-operator FM synth, and Stage Piano, Session Strings, Stage EP and Organ instruments.

The 61-note semi-weighted keyboard responds to both velocity and aftertouch, while a pair of high-end mic preamps with phantom power are included to handle input signals. You get the full MPC sampling experience, with the assignable touch strip controller and Q-Link knobs giving you plenty of ways to sculpt your sounds.

Akai Pro MPC Key 61

(Image credit: Akai Pro)

Of course, this wouldn’t be an MPC without a bank of RGB pads. 16 are included, and deliver aftertouch support. Other features include transport controls, a seven-inch multi-gesture colour display and effects from AIR Music Tech.

You can use MPC Key 61 completely on its own - you get a 128-track MIDI sequencer and eight audio tracks for recording - but there’s also scope to plug in class-compliant audio interfaces MIDI controllers via USB. Eight CV/Gate output jacks should mean easy modular integration, too. The MPC2 desktop software, which runs on PC and Mac, is also supplied.

The MPC Key 61 is available from today priced at $1,899/£1,699. Find out more on the Akai Pro website. 

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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