Akai Pro MPC Key 61 – The First Keyboard Music Production Center

Akai Professional has officially introduced the MPC Key 61, a new standalone Music Production Center synthesizer keyboard.

The MPC Key 61 builds on recent standalone MPCs, but adds a 61-key semi-weighted keybed with aftertouch. Features include 25 built-in virtual instruments, a semi-weighted keyboard with aftertouch, 2 audio inputs, wireless connectivity, 4 outputs, 128 tracks of MIDI sequencing, CV/Gate connectivity and more.


  • 25 Instrument Plugins
  • 61-key semi-weighted keybed with aftertouch
  • 4GB Ram / Quad Core ARM Processor – no need for a computer
  • 16 RGB Velocity-Sensitive MPC Drum Pads with Note Repeat
  • Assignable Touch Strip Controller
  • 2 Mic/Line Inputs with high-end preamps
  • 7” Color Touch Screen with Multi Touch & Gestures
  • Audio Interface with high-quality AD/DA converters
  • Accepts Class Compliant Audio Interfaces and MIDI devices
  • Sounds Button for Fast Browsing
  • 128 Track Midi Sequencer
  • Onboard Wi-Fi/Bluetooth
  • 4 Assignable Q Link Controller knobs
  • Pitch Bend/Modulation Wheels
  • Dedicated Transport Section
  • 4 Discrete Line Outputs
  • 8 Audio Tracks
  • 8 CV/Gate Output Jacks for modular integration

With 128 tracks of internal and external MIDI, Keygroup Instruments, Clip Launching and 8 plugin instruments and audio tracks, MPC standalone has the power to capture any musical production. The color touch display stands up to any task like editing notes on the drum grid, triggering Step Sequencer events, writing/editing automation, and more. And Akai says that the MPC sequencing workflow is “the most advanced and integrated standalone system available for today’s modern music creators.”

MPC Key 61 is a true “sampling production synthesizer” with sampling features from the leading MPC Line, including built-in microphone preamps with high-end converters, combined with Vintage MPC60 and MPC3000 emulation.

The 16-velocity sensitive RGB pads on MPC Key 61 are the same award-winning pads as the MPC One. In addition to the iconic MPC pads are the renowned Time Correct, Swing, and Quantize features of MPC that continue to endure as mainstays of modern music production.

Connect up-to 32 MIDI devices via USB with MIDI Multi, expand your Audio I/O to 32 inputs and outputs using Class Compliant interfaces, or connect your vintage synths using MIDI In/Out/Thru.

For Live Daw-less production, MPC Key 61 also includes 8 CV/Gate jacks allowing you to connect to a wide variety of synthesizers, sound modules, analog modular gear and more. Onboard WI-FI/Bluetooth allows for wireless synchronization with Ableton Link and updating to the latest MPC OS. Two USB-A ports also come in handy for storage and MIDI controllers while an additional SATA storage bay allows for volumes of expandable sounds and tracks.

The MPC Key 61 has an onboard 24-bit Audio Interface, with high-end preamps and AD/DA converters. Individual gain knobs control the input of the combo XLR/TRS ¼” inputs with phantom power for driving condenser microphones. 2 main outputs, 2 sub outputs and an additional headphone output further allow for expansive connections. Capture vocal tracks and then process them with the onboard AIR Vocal Suite, or record guitars, bass, or even other keyboards.

DAW Integration with MPC2 Software

The bundled MPC2 Desktop DAW for Mac and PC supercharges the MPC experience, with expanded track counts and support for 3rd party AU/VST plugins. Run it as a DAW or as a VST/AU plugin in 3rd party DAWs like FL Studio, Logic, Ableton, Pro Tools, Studio One and more.

Getting Started With The MPC Key 61

Here are Akai’s official intro videos for the new MPC Key 61:

Here are a series of audio demos, showcasing the MPC Key 61 in action:

Official MPC Key 61 Audio Demos:

Pricing and Availability

The MPC Key 61 has a street price of about $1,900. See the Akai Pro site for details.

66 thoughts on “Akai Pro MPC Key 61 – The First Keyboard Music Production Center

  1. So this is a new product and for all of us looking to replace our ageing Mpc2500 etc we find a great new keyboard sampler then when we check on the back panel to find it has four audio outs when our s950’s had 8 back 25 years ago. Such a shame that outputs are overlooked.

    1. You can attach any class-compliant audio interface and expand your outputs. It doesn’t make sense for Akai to include a ton of extra I/O; that would lead to a much heftier price tag.

  2. Well. This could be a monster MPC keyboard workstation. I’m somewhat torn about the inclusion of a keyboard; the MPC Live series works quite well with midi keyboards, is it worth the added cost to have everything in one box?

    1. Does it actually have a traditional sampler per se for user sampling or is it just a multi track recorder/playback device looks as if it might be an effective controller for integrating combinations of daws, external instruments other types of hardware(gear) & modular rack stuff seems likely to be taskily useful how does it fare up against it’s similar counterparts from the usual suspects (korg, Roland & Yamaha) price wise & sonically is there any thing better or different about this comparably folks.

      1. In case you were not aware, the latest MPC(One,LIVE,X) line sports full-featured multisampling as you might have experienced in the old rack mounted S series. Four layers, velocity mapping, key group fading, full synthesis processing (Amp/Filter envelopes, LFOs, etc.).plus patch-level effect processing before instrument channel/main out processing. Granted it’s not as powerful as UVI Falcon or even Kontakt. But it’s good enough if you wanted something like a sampler from the 90’s.

      2. None of what you said really applies, Think of this as a Keyboard controller, Pad controller and Daw controller attached to an MPC but with extra sauce, like the CV integration for external Synths, also MPC has its own DAW that’s included…. If you like or are used to an MPC workflow for making beats this is an All-in-One controller/workstation

    2. Having decent memory, 2 aux ins, sampling, pads, that is a pretty good hardware setup for a 61 key keyboard. Might seem overkill from a plain MPC standpoint but it is good to have everything in 1 box for an all-around keyboard gig / rig in 1 device. I was hoping it would be a bit more affordable tho, since it is already similar to the Roland and Yamaha workstations with those features now. I guess it will be in competition with them at a slightly-lower cost.

  3. Sooooo… according to the specs list, it’s everything AND the kitchen sink. But what about the sampling capabilities, and sample layering/ mapping/ looping/ ADSR/ filtering, etc? That description is lacking.

    My question is: will this read/import S-series samples and be the hardware sampler-keyboard ***for keyboard players*** that we’ve been missing for about 20 years? Or is that keybed just an interface intended for use with all of those accessory synth engines that are built-in, making it a portable internal-VST-playing hardware device that just happens to have an MPC built in; in other words, the sampling is merely a phrase-sample-playback-element only?

    1. Robert, I suggest you watch a few videos on the MPC workflow of 2.10 and 2.11, it answers everyone of your questions. The MPC is way more than a phrase sampler or a loop sampler. However it’s a very Powerful Loop sampler as one of his features.

  4. this is pretty good… if they can make a 3 octave version with close to the same features, it might be a new icon

  5. Fantastic job Akai. I adore my Force having sold my MPC Live for it. This thing rekindled my long dormant GAS.

    1. Yes. Replace that natty QuickDisk drive with a USB drive and put some kind of sparkle sticker on it. Did that to my S700 and the sparkles really look great. Oh yes, and not using QD’s anymore is also lovely.

  6. Other sites mention it having some specific synth engines like an FM synth and a stage piano, etc. Otherwise it’s an mpc live 2 with a keyboard. I’m looking beyond the marketing and looking at the features and specs. Few more ports, beefed up CPU aaaaaand some keys. Even said it’s running the 2.11 firmware to be released on June 23rd, the first mpc firmware with a release date so I assume we’ll see and official release of this on that day too.

  7. No Polyphonic Aftertouch!!!! A year behind and about $1000 too expensive, I’m afraid! Only an idiot would purchase this for this price.

    1. I just calculated the bill of parts, development, latest shipping prices, dealer margins and all other cost involved and concluded the new MPC keyboard should cost 899$
      And they forgot to put the most basic keyboard feature since the first Hydra synth.

    2. Who are you? Everyones an idiot if they don’t buy what you think the product should be. I’m sure thats not who you really are and thats “internet-you”, but still…..

  8. I had an MPC live 2 retro edition and to be honest i really didnt like it. Might just be me, but i found it incredibly confusing and difficult to use. Nothing was obvious, straight forward or fun. It was an absolute chore to use and i sold it atfter a few months. They look so cool and i see people do amazing things with them but for me, i cant imagine a worse work flow. I wonder if its improved at all since i last gave it a go. Wish there was something else in hardware with the same features, but which was intuitive. This keyboard/sampler/workstation looks awesome but i know i would probably play with it 3 or 4 times then hate it lol.

    1. understood, but you’re definitely in the minority, the mpc workflow is the longest running, tried, testing, and lasting workflow on the planet…. consider this , native instruments used the mpc-2500 as their template for the Maschine, they failed at that but that’s just to say that basically, this workflow that you found challenging is literally the most well known workflow, not to mention the workflow that others are built upon… but that doesn’t mean that it’s for everybody which is why my first word was, understood.

  9. One feature I would love to see added is the ability to plug in a larger, higher-res video monitor fore easier editing of the MIDI tracks. With something this close to being a full-on music-making computer, it is just screening for a bigger screen.

    1. I agree with you on this.
      I have the MPC One and I love it. Great workflow and really easy to sample and to use as a sequencer for other gear. It’s that 7inch screen though. It’s a bit small at times.
      The MPC X has a 10inch screen, that tilts. I hoped this would too as I was keen for this. As it stands I think I’d be better with a MPC X and a big midi keyboard.

  10. It looks nice, but why? I’d definitely prefer a separate mpc /keyboard combo and it is not a difficult connection to make, plus you win in portability

  11. Seriously? The makers of the mpk series (mpk 49/25 etc) with 8 sliders/8 knobs/3 banks of each, can’t be assed to put more than 4 knobs on it, yet they include 16 drum pads?

    1 word… Synthstation = 1 more word… Fail.

  12. So, it seems that this is like the Lionstracs Mediastation / Groove and the Open Labs Neko / Miko workstations. They were incredible keyboards that used 3rd party software: well at least the Lionstracs keyboards did. Lionstracs used Linux and Open Labs used Windows. So I wonder if this one uses Linux or is it just Akai´s own software? It will be interesting though! That was the idea of an all-in-one keyboard and that idea first started with the Fairlight CMIs and NED Synclaviers.

    1. A Force keyboard, that is self-defeating of a grid style standalone production center. While it is possible, what AKAI really need is the MPC Key 88, with full weighted keys. A premium keybed like the Fatar waterfall. This will bring into the ecosystem players of digital stage pianos, electric Rhoads sounding Wurlitzer style players.

  13. I am a long time Akai user. Very good keyboards. Unfortunately the software solutions never could convince me. Tried MPC, VIP etc.

    1. use the mpc autosampler for your vsts, so that you can still use them when you’re out and about and then if you need to edit them more than what you’re capable of without the app, you can still do that when you get back to your studio…. easily the best sketchpad available.

  14. AKAI,

    You were listening, people wanted more than 2 GB of System RAM. The 61 key MPC, it’s going to be a game changer because it allows them to compete directly with Prophet XL, ZENCORE Roland, Yamaha Montage, Korg Kronos, In the workstation market.

    At the same time all of the MPC heads will immediately know how to use this thing. The MPC is now a total DAW. This move will not hurt them in anyway -What so ever-.

    The fact that you have all of the integrated plug-ins from AIR, finally! in a keybed, has been a long time in the making for AKAI.

    Undeniably, their ecosystem is now just as big as any other rivals in the industry. It’s up to them to hire new programmers, fix all the damn bugs. Be able to move the effects plug-ins on the inserts around instead of deleting one and then having to add it in a different position. Too many steps. Little things like that. Better file management.

    Version 2.10 of the operating system is already so super simple to track either midi or digital audio…. Unless you just love the Push 2 controller, you don’t need Ableton anymore. No one else has the hardware and software properties that this company is sitting on right now. It is theirs is to EFFE up and lose at this point.

    However they are going to run into the wall really quick and I’ll tell you why: in another post.

  15. AKAI, you are headed for a crash course on rewriting the operating system for the MPC almost immediately. The GUI needs an update. The Achilles’ heel in this whole situation has been the bugs in the operating system from 2.10 and previous.

    Please hire a few new programmers. Seriously that’s all you are away from global market prominence. The ecosystem is created is so vast. It is time! Do it now. You’ll thank us later.

    1. Send them an email, let them know “Understanding Gear” from synthtopia knows what will make them “global market prominence”, maybe they will make you a shareholder.

  16. I can understand a few of the complaints about its imagined lacks, even when it has some welcome niceties like the touch strip and aftertouch. I’m also pretty sure it has a premium build for near $2k.

    The issue is simply the drive to do it all minus a computer. If you’re playing live and really hate the laptop route, okay, your call. I’m just a little hazy on where the gains are. If you’re going to wrestle with this, why not go all-in with a Fantom? How is this one unit so much better than four or five different instruments on a table, especially the multitimbral ones? Just give me your money and I’ll buy you the right gear, according to Me. Sure I will.

  17. Well, now that Synthtopia has posted this, Akai will have to probably make some kind of official announcement at some point. Being that there’s been none yet, how did Synthtopia find the blurb and the specs? I’ve seen the pics before but the other information has been hit and miss; I heard it might have 8GB of ram at one point.

    In any case, I’m excited for this to drop.

    1. I think it’s not too late for AKAI to read comments out in the wild. Take note that the specs listed so far seem to be incomplete for something modern, this looks like a step forward but kind of like, at the end of the pack already when it comes to workstations and features.

      You have to start at the very basics of the operating system, you need a better file management for sure. Everyone needs to be able to move files and folders from medium to medium/internal to USB to SD.

      Copy Cut paste delete etc. Drag and drop groups of highlighted selected items.
      8 giga RAM is probably the minimum and MPE it’s definitely a must.

      If the 61 Key is geared to be a synthesizer/MPC , MPC Key 88 should have a real tactile drawbars. Maybe they could make it MPC Key 73. Use real waterfall style keys you have to be on the level with FATAR or Equivalent. M-Audio feeling Keybeds are not really going to cut it.

      None of this is a gripe or a rant it’s observation and suggestions.

      At this point we already have a Force, A LIVE and a ONE, connected to a really nice waited 88 key controller. The workload of the live is split with the one to combat memory issues.

      There’s no use for me to upgrade unless there is the 8 gig ram.. MPE, drawbars.

      •• Can anybody think of any core fundamental operating system features that needed to be added in besides file management? And a slightly more aligned GUI?

  18. Each to their own on this one. I remember someone recently saying ‘The keypads should be on the right’ when talking about the Arturia Keylab’s. I thought yup. Of course if you are left handed that isn’t an issue. Also I respect you can’t please everyone and some users might like those pads on the left. Personally I think they should be on the right ( assuming the majority are right handed). That is just me maybe! It looks nice though.

  19. What? “The 16-velocity sensitive RGB pads on MPC Key 61 are the same award-winning pads as the MPC One. ” ??!! Small pads ?!

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