The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Gear for sale     Latest  Trending
Akai Professional introduces MPK Road 88 Hammer-Action MIDI Keyboard
Old 22nd January 2019
  #1
News Desk Editor
 
The Press Desk's Avatar
 

Akai Professional introduces MPK Road 88 Hammer-Action MIDI Keyboard


Akai Professional introduces MPK Road 88 Hammer-Action MIDI Keyboard Controller

With exclusive Model-A 88-key velocity-sensitive keybed, 4-output USB soundcard, MIDI in/out connectors and 3 pedal inputs with road-ready case, Road 88 is ideal for touring professionals.

Akai Professional, a leading manufacturer of music equipment for performers and producers, today announced the introduction of their new MPK Road 88, a keyboard controller with their exclusive Model-A premium 88-key velocity-sensitive keybed with aftertouch, 4-output USB soundcard, MIDI in/out connectors and three variable pedal inputs, all neatly integrated into a tough road-ready travel case with carrying handle. This is the ideal keyboard controller for the touring professional, combining both the great feel of hammer action keys and the creative versatility of a built-in soundcard so players can incorporate their virtual instrument libraries seamlessly into their performance.
Model-A Keybed, an Akai Professional Exclusive, for Amazing Feel
For the serious professional keyboardist, feel is everything. That’s what separates truly great instruments from ordinary ones. Akai Professional—a recognized industry leader in keyboard technology and innovation—has spent over two years of intense engineering research and development creating the Model-A keybed. This hammer-action, velocity-sensitive keybed delivers an incredibly natural and responsive feel, absolutely unmatched by any instrument anywhere near its price.

Getting the Most Out of Virtual Instruments
Virtual Instruments play a pivotal role in both studio music production and live performances, offering players countless sounds and effects to shade and color their music. With Road 88’s integrated class-compliant 4-output soundcard and superior player-centric response, users can route their virtual instruments to mixers and monitoring sources simultaneously for a truly hassle-free setup. This keyboard enables players to manage and employ their VI collection to maximum effect, with a keybed designed for optimum expressive capability.

Easy Connectivity Combined with Creative Expression
Thanks to dual expression pedal inputs, a sustain pedal input, 5-pin MIDI-In and MIDI-Out ports and class compliant USB connectivity, Road 88 connects to any outboard gear and is ready for any situation. Everything the professional Keyboard player is thoughtfully included. Pitch and Mod Wheels combine with a dedicated volume control, transpose functionality and split modes for complete versatility and adaptability in any performance environment where core-workstation control is required.

Road Ready
With Road 88, everything the professional needs is all available in one portable package. Fusing a vintage-inspired travel case with carry handle, this premium-response keyboard is ready to withstand the rigors of the road. Forget complicated rigs—with Road 88, players will focus on what’s important: delivering their best performance!

Features/Details:
• 88-key velocity-sensitive, graded hammer-action keyboard with aftertouch
• On-board 4 output USB Soundcard built-in with 2 TRS Aux and 2 TRS main outputs
• MIDI-In and MIDI-Out connectors for connection to sound modules, sequencers and
more
• 3 variable pedal inputs (standard footswitch and variable pedal compatible
• Transpose, Split and Preset selection Controls
• Dedicated volume control for precise adjustment of Main, Aux and Headphone outputs
• Integrated road-ready travel case with carry handle

"The MPK Road 88 keyboard controller is exactly what the demanding touring professional has been asking for,” said Dan Gill, Product Manager for Akai Professional. “Here’s a unit that combines everything professionals want—an 88-key, velocity-sensitive hammer-action keybed, built-in soundcard for seamless integration of their virtual instrument library and all the connectivity to handle any situation with ease. Add in the rugged road case, and the pro finally has everything they want, all in one package.”

The Akai Professional MPK Road 88 will be available in Q1 2019. U.S. retail will be $899.00

For more information, visit AKAI Professional.
Attached Thumbnails
Akai Professional introduces MPK Road 88 Hammer-Action MIDI Keyboard-mpkroad88_case_ortho_flat.jpg   Akai Professional introduces MPK Road 88 Hammer-Action MIDI Keyboard-mpkroad88_ortho_flat.jpg  
Old 22nd January 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Jim Rosebrook's Avatar
 

Where the heck are the pedal, USB and audio i/o located?

Pics at Akai website do not yield the answer to this mystery.
Old 22nd January 2019
  #3
Lives for gear
 
SonicBern's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Rosebrook View Post
Where the heck are the pedal, USB and audio i/o located?

Pics at Akai website do not yield the answer to this mystery.


Old 23rd January 2019
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Jim Rosebrook's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SonicBern View Post


Thank you...

So these ins & outs are not safely harbored within the road-case.

Still looks pretty handy and a smart product.
Old 23rd January 2019
  #5
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Rosebrook View Post
So these ins & outs are not safely harbored within the road-case.
This is crazy
Old 23rd January 2019
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Quint's Avatar
Definitely interested in this if the action is right.
Old 23rd January 2019
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Rosebrook View Post
Thank you...

So these ins & outs are not safely harbored within the road-case.

Still looks pretty handy and a smart product.
I’m pretty sure it just LOOKS like a protective road case. It’s not like the internals look padded against a drop or anything.

I’d love to see Akai do a drop test, just to confirm my suspicion that this is a bunch of poser hipster “look the part” crap.

Please prove me wrong Akai. I’ll actually buy one.
Old 23rd January 2019
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Jim Rosebrook's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DomiBabi View Post
I’m pretty sure it just LOOKS like a protective road case. It’s not like the internals look padded against a drop or anything.
Yeah.. but still maybe enough of a case to suit the purposes of someone who carries their own gear and want to have convenience in "light-duty" gigging.

Hope that handle can really handle the weight... another "key" bit of info.
Old 23rd January 2019
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

I like this a lot but I desperately hope they come out with a fully weighted 61-key version. Van space is at a premium and not all of us need the full 88!!!
Old 23rd January 2019
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SonicBern View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Rosebrook View Post
Where the heck are the pedal, USB and audio i/o located?

Pics at Akai website do not yield the answer to this mystery.


Glad they gave us this demo video so we could hear the tone of this midi controller.
Old 23rd January 2019
  #11
Lives for gear
 
jiffybox's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattjhuber View Post
Glad they gave us this demo video so we could hear the tone of this midi controller.
Hahaha.That, sir, deserves an Orson Welles clapping gif.
Old 24th January 2019
  #12
Noa
Gear Addict
 
Noa's Avatar
67 lbs? Doesn't this defeat the whole purpose?

When will someone make a weighted 61 key controller or 73? As small and as light as you can get it. Like a 61-key doepfer.
Old 24th January 2019
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa View Post
67 lbs? Doesn't this defeat the whole purpose?

When will someone make a weighted 61 key controller or 73? As small and as light as you can get it. Like a 61-key doepfer.
I think studio logic or fatar did at some point, but forgot to give it octave transpose, pitch or mod wheels... forget what they were called...
Old 10th February 2019
  #14
Here for the gear
 

I bought an MPK88 for my office/studio and I really like it. I've taken it out on a few gigs and it is a pleasure to play although for gigging I could do without the knobs, pads and dials (great for the studio but not needed for live). As a pianist, the action is easy to get used to. Friends of mine who are not pianists don't like it for the weighted action and key dip (almost12mm). Sure, it's not a REAL road case but having the keyboard and controls covered would certainly do for me for doing local gigs. If the keybed is anything like the MPK88, I'll buy one.
Old 26th March 2019
  #15
Here for the gear
Just got mine...

Just received my MPK Road 88 last night. It's a nice looking instrument. Smaller and easier to manage than I expected. (I used to carry a Yamaha S90ES - always very cumbersome).

The key bed is interesting. At first, before I hooked up to anything, I was worried a bit; the "hammer" part of the hammer action seems a little excessive, almost "clicky". I was afraid that it would limit the expressiveness while playing (would it transition well between soft playing and hard playing?).

It hooked up to my Macbook Pro easily - single USB cable and everything came right up. Cubase recognized it immediately without needing any software uploads / etc. Set the audio output to the MPK 88 output and the Midi input on an instrument track and instant sound. (same with Mainstage - just needed to change the audio output to MPK 88)

My worries were assuaged immediately; this is a very expressive action. I like the weight, can easily modulate from soft/gentle to hard/aggressive. Very natural. I liken it to more of a well-tuned original Rhodes 88, but not as mushy.

No discernible latency / delay; it plays with the soft synths very well including modeled piano, sampled piano, Sampled Rhodes.

My "main" keyboard is a Nord Stage EX, which I like the action a lot, but always wished it was a bit more "beefy" - closer to that of a real piano. The MPK 88 should get me closer. Lots closer.

I only had a little time, so the next few days I'll get more into it, but so far, pleased with my purchase. I think Akai has made some good choices in this product.

/phil
Old 26th March 2019
  #16
Class compilant USB audio is a drawback when used with Windows - or are dedicated ASIO drivers going to be available?
Old 14th April 2019
  #17
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by pbernosky View Post
Just received my MPK Road 88 last night. It's a nice looking instrument. Smaller and easier to manage than I expected. (I used to carry a Yamaha S90ES - always very cumbersome).

The key bed is interesting. At first, before I hooked up to anything, I was worried a bit; the "hammer" part of the hammer action seems a little excessive, almost "clicky". I was afraid that it would limit the expressiveness while playing (would it transition well between soft playing and hard playing?).

It hooked up to my Macbook Pro easily - single USB cable and everything came right up. Cubase recognized it immediately without needing any software uploads / etc. Set the audio output to the MPK 88 output and the Midi input on an instrument track and instant sound. (same with Mainstage - just needed to change the audio output to MPK 88)

My worries were assuaged immediately; this is a very expressive action. I like the weight, can easily modulate from soft/gentle to hard/aggressive. Very natural. I liken it to more of a well-tuned original Rhodes 88, but not as mushy.

No discernible latency / delay; it plays with the soft synths very well including modeled piano, sampled piano, Sampled Rhodes.

My "main" keyboard is a Nord Stage EX, which I like the action a lot, but always wished it was a bit more "beefy" - closer to that of a real piano. The MPK 88 should get me closer. Lots closer.

I only had a little time, so the next few days I'll get more into it, but so far, pleased with my purchase. I think Akai has made some good choices in this product.

/phil
Hey Phil, thanks for your impressions. Your impressions are the only thing giving me hope after I read a Sweetwater review saying the velocity curve is borked.

I'm looking into this Road 88 over other MIDI controllers because of the possibility it can also act as a practice tool substituting for a grand piano.

So may I ask just how close to an acoustic piano this gets? If you are able to feel differences between the Road 88 and an acoustic piano, can you describe those differences?
Old 14th April 2019
  #18
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raymondbl View Post
Hey Phil, thanks for your impressions. Your impressions are the only thing giving me hope after I read a Sweetwater review saying the velocity curve is borked.

I'm looking into this Road 88 over other MIDI controllers because of the possibility it can also act as a practice tool substituting for a grand piano.

So may I ask just how close to an acoustic piano this gets? If you are able to feel differences between the Road 88 and an acoustic piano, can you describe those differences?
First, the MPK is NOT a grand piano action - but all is not lost. I have a grand piano and practicing on the MPK works the fingers in a way that a grand will do; that is, I am working the same muscles, and I build dexterity and endurance unlike that of a "synth" or organ-style keyboard. My gigging keyboard, a Nord Stage EX, does not provide the workout that helps with the piano action - it's just too light.

However, it is a different feel. It's not getting the velocity information from a hammer - so it requires a full keypress to get the note-on information. While it has a noticable "clunk" in the keypress, its not from throwing a hammer to the strings, it's more of a "simulation" that is actually stronger than that of a grand. As well, there is a bit of "squishyness" to the action, that requires your fingers to work past, before it suddenly gets "unsquishy" (scientific term :-). It takes a small bit of time to get use to it, but I feel it actually gives you more control in the end. I find it a very expressive keybed.

On the velocity curve issues - I use Pianoteq and Arturia modeled pianos / rhodes and they both allow you to tune your velocity curve. To get the piano-like expressiveness, I always put in an exponential type curve, otherwise lower velocities are harder to get expressive. (Pianoteq actually has a tool that helps you tune in the curve - it works great)

As you've probably read in this forum, if you want a much more exact piano action, go with the kawai VPC-1 - its a real action, though >2X the price of the akai.

hope this helps.
Old 14th April 2019
  #19
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by pbernosky View Post
First, the MPK is NOT a grand piano action - but all is not lost. I have a grand piano and practicing on the MPK works the fingers in a way that a grand will do; that is, I am working the same muscles, and I build dexterity and endurance unlike that of a "synth" or organ-style keyboard. My gigging keyboard, a Nord Stage EX, does not provide the workout that helps with the piano action - it's just too light.

However, it is a different feel. It's not getting the velocity information from a hammer - so it requires a full keypress to get the note-on information. While it has a noticable "clunk" in the keypress, its not from throwing a hammer to the strings, it's more of a "simulation" that is actually stronger than that of a grand. As well, there is a bit of "squishyness" to the action, that requires your fingers to work past, before it suddenly gets "unsquishy" (scientific term :-). It takes a small bit of time to get use to it, but I feel it actually gives you more control in the end. I find it a very expressive keybed.

On the velocity curve issues - I use Pianoteq and Arturia modeled pianos / rhodes and they both allow you to tune your velocity curve. To get the piano-like expressiveness, I always put in an exponential type curve, otherwise lower velocities are harder to get expressive. (Pianoteq actually has a tool that helps you tune in the curve - it works great)

As you've probably read in this forum, if you want a much more exact piano action, go with the kawai VPC-1 - its a real action, though >2X the price of the akai.

hope this helps.
Thanks, Phil! That's very helpful. I can almost feel the action just from your description.

Some of the characteristics you described I remember feeling from other keyboards, like the Roland RD-2000 requiring a full keypress for note-on information. It's great to know that despite the keybed not being completely grand-like, it is still very expressive.

However, I was hoping with Akai advertising its "hammer-action keys" that the escapement would feel less simulated and note-on would not require a full keypress. These are downsides for me because some of the classical pieces I play involve a lot of "3/4 pressing" instead of full pressing.

Now that I think about it, the fact that the MPK has aftertouch probably means it doesn't have dual or triple velocity sensors in the middle of the keys. Instead, it probably has a single pressure sensor at the bottom of the key.

I think I will pass on this keyboard. Although I would love to use it in the studio, I was hoping it would suit classical playing as well, which it sounds like it wasn't designed for.

Thanks again for the input!
Old 21st April 2019
  #20
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DomiBabi View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Rosebrook View Post
Thank you...

So these ins & outs are not safely harbored within the road-case.

Still looks pretty handy and a smart product.
I’m pretty sure it just LOOKS like a protective road case. It’s not like the internals look padded against a drop or anything.

I’d love to see Akai do a drop test, just to confirm my suspicion that this is a bunch of poser hipster “look the part” crap.

Please prove me wrong Akai. I’ll actually buy one.
Looks pretty similar to what high-end Doepfer’s been offering for years... it’s not a new concept, but it IS at this price point. If the action is good (unlike the MPK88), I’ll be interested.
Old 21st April 2019
  #21
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pbernosky View Post
First, the MPK is NOT a grand piano action - but all is not lost. I have a grand piano and practicing on the MPK works the fingers in a way that a grand will do; that is, I am working the same muscles, and I build dexterity and endurance unlike that of a "synth" or organ-style keyboard. My gigging keyboard, a Nord Stage EX, does not provide the workout that helps with the piano action - it's just too light.

However, it is a different feel. It's not getting the velocity information from a hammer - so it requires a full keypress to get the note-on information. While it has a noticable "clunk" in the keypress, its not from throwing a hammer to the strings, it's more of a "simulation" that is actually stronger than that of a grand. As well, there is a bit of "squishyness" to the action, that requires your fingers to work past, before it suddenly gets "unsquishy" (scientific term :-). It takes a small bit of time to get use to it, but I feel it actually gives you more control in the end. I find it a very expressive keybed.

On the velocity curve issues - I use Pianoteq and Arturia modeled pianos / rhodes and they both allow you to tune your velocity curve. To get the piano-like expressiveness, I always put in an exponential type curve, otherwise lower velocities are harder to get expressive. (Pianoteq actually has a tool that helps you tune in the curve - it works great)

As you've probably read in this forum, if you want a much more exact piano action, go with the kawai VPC-1 - its a real action, though >2X the price of the akai.

hope this helps.
Same issue I had with the MPK. That initial resistance you have to get through. Garbage.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump