AKAI Pro MPC Key 61 In-Depth Review

Akai Professional has officially introduced the MPC Key 61, the first standalone Music Production Center (MPC) synthesizer keyboard.

In the latest loopop video, host Ziv Eliraz takes an in-depth look at the new MPC Key 61, with detailed overview of the workstation’s capabilities, a discussion of the MPC Key’s workflow, a look at the built-in instruments, and some of the instrument’s pros and cons.

Check it out and share your thoughts on the new MPC Key 61 in the comments!

Topics covered:

0:00 Intro
1:15 Key 61 vs MPC
1:40 The keys
2:30 Touch strip
3:55 Buttons
4:45 Connectivity
6:20 Storage
7:15 Content
8:05 Similarities
8:45 Basic workflow
9:35 Sounds
11:05 Fabric vs XL
11:40 Fabric vs Stage
12:40 Performances
13:30 Layers/splits
15:20 Arm vs merge
18:00 Favorites
18:30 Setlists
19:35 MPC tutorial
20:10 Fixed “cons”
21:50 Empty project
22:35 Fabric XL
24:35 OPx4
25:20 Stage EP
25:46 Organ
26:15 Strings
27:15 Kybd ctrl
28:05 Long press
28:35 Swipe menu
29:05 Pros, cons
36:15 Ambient noodle

15 thoughts on “AKAI Pro MPC Key 61 In-Depth Review

  1. Does it have actual user sampling (at least 10-20 seconds or so in stereo) or is just a multi-recorder-controller device? folks

    1. Its an Akai MPC so im not sure if your trolling or asking a serious question. It samples, auto-samples, slices/dices, and does everything the mpc line does, + the midi keyboard + more ports+ some new plugins and buttons. I suggest doing some research if your considering it. Not sure of the max length of a sample but im sure ive recorded more than 20 seconds.

    2. Yes, it samples. Keep in mind that any questions you have about how this functions will be answered on any documents or videos related to MPC Live, MPC One, MPC X, MPC Live 2, etc. etc.

    3. Any of the current MPC line provides the same kind of sampling that the old S series provided(with synthesis tools & velocity switching/layering and keygroup fades and cross-fading loop points with different loop travel options), in addition to the commonly expected MPC drum sample one-shots. There is also audio clip playback, which allows samples to be placed directly on the sequencer’s playback timeline, or they can be used like looping clips to be turned on and off.

      Sure… it’s not going to beat UVI’s Falcon or Native Instruments’ Kontakt with crazy amounts of sampler features. But it’s generally more powerful than any of the old S series rack samplers, and has the same sample bank structure and is multi-timbral.

      You also get a flexible sequencer with a touch screen & several practical synth engines.

      Typical sample memory available is around 600 megs. That’s a lot more than 10 seconds, even at 44.1 or 48 kHz and 32, 24 or 16 bit sample rates.

      If you have other hardware gear, you can auto sample it, using MPC’s sampling features.

      Frankly, if you do any kind of electronic dance music, in my opinion, at a minimum, the MPC One is a most have.

    4. Yes it has user sampling. It’s a full MPC with expanded keyboard functionality. Sampling and sequencing are its strong suits.

  2. 1) Is it possible to delete samples you know you are not going to use too free up storage and sample space, space-hogging things such as pianos and electric guitars?
    2) Is it possible to a) hook up an external monitor to it or, b) use an iPad with it as an alternative touch display?


    1. 1. You could delete sample content expansion packs files, but it’s not a good idea on any Akai platform as it can affect the OS, so I’d highly advise against.

      2. No, but technically the SoC used has hdmi output on the board. They have decided this could seriously affect the performance, especially as more features and functions are implemented.

    1. You can plug a komplete kontrol in with one usb and get perfect integration (four screens, 16 encoders etc.). I don’t really see the need for it to by physically attached. Mine is side by side and being able to play this way but then grab just the maschine when you need it is much more useful (imo). Better still, I’m running off a portable battery pack.

  3. so you get 4 less outputs, 2 less inputs one less headphone jack,1 less midi in and 3 less midi outputs but a bunch of the overpriced optional plugin synths which you’ll need Bec use it still doesn’t have enough ram or disk streaming to load multiple keymap presets. yeah ill stick with my MPC X.

  4. NI should of done this already. I hope they get their sh1t together. Maschine + with keyboard that can run VST’s.

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