AKAI unleashes first MPC Key 61 all-in-one production rig with multi-touch display


After introducing its new MPK Mini Play MK3 back in March, AKAI has now unleashed its exciting new MPC Key 61. While that might, to some, sound like another version of its iconic drum pad and sequencer machines, MPC Key 61 is described as the brand’s first stand-alone all-in-one production synthesizer keyboard. While there doesn’t appear to be analog synthesis at play here, the new AIO machine essentially combines the brand’s drum sequencing with a host of virtual instruments and samplers as well as some audio inputs to deliver a complete stand-alone music production rig with no computer needed. Head below for a closer look at the new AKAI MPC Key 61. 

New AKAI MPC Key 61

AKAI’s new MPC Key 61 delivers a 61-key semi-weighted keybed alongside 16 classic MPC-style velocity-sensitive drum pads, transport controls for the onboard DAW setup, and even a pair of combo microphone, line-in, and instrument jacks for recording vocals and instruments directly on to the machine (phantom power included). Not only can you make use of the host of built-in effects and 25 virtual instruments/samplers to program tracks on the 128-track MIDI sequencer, but you can also record up to eight tracks of audio as well. 

Inside AKAI MPC Key 61, experience a new dimension of sound like never before. Powered by 25 plugin instrument engines at your fingertips, and with over 6000 cutting-edge presets, MPC Key 61 delivers the most modern-day sound pallet ever programmed in a production synthesizer. Each plugin instrument features advanced synthesis, deep parameter editing, and modern effects developed for a truly inspiring musical experience – all designed with a fast and vibrant touch interface for an intuitive and compelling workflow. Immerse yourself in a world of sound.

The top panel of the AIO AKAI MPC Key 61 also features a 7-inch multi-touch color display as the heart of the operation alongside the quad-core processor and 4GB of RAM. Flanking the left side of the control panel, you’ll also find a host of assignable Q-LINK knobs, the expected pitch bender and modulation wheels, and a touch strip controller pad so you can “bend, warp, and manipulate sounds in real-time in ways no other synthesizer can.” 

The new machine also features plenty of I/O on the back panel, ranging from the aforementioned audio inputs to an Ethernet network port, classic DIN MIDI jacks, and even a series of CV/gate outputs for running your modular gear. 

The AKAI MPC Key 61 is available now for $1,899

9to5Toys’ Take:

With a feature set like that from a brand like AKAI, the particularly steep price tag is to be expected. It’s hard to say whether or not the AKAI MPC Key 61’s audio input quality will please the kind of folks that are willing to spend this kind of cash on an all-in-one system (especially when it comes to vocals), but if it is anything like the drum sequencing and, frankly, underrated sampler instruments the company has been responsible for over the years, the audio recording quality should be good enough for all but the most professional radio-ready producers out there. Those CV jacks are a particularly surprising and welcomed addition as well if you ask me, allowing the so-called AIO machine to play nice with all of your Eurorack modular gear, like the recently-released Moog Mavis, as well. 

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