Will Akai’s MPC Key 61 revolutionise modern music production as we know it?

Akai Professional has unveiled the MPC Key 61, which the manufacturer states is “here to revolutionise modern music production as we know it”.

Boasting 25 plugin instrument engines combined with over 6,000 presets and an array of production tools, the MPC Key 61 has been optimised to deliver a modern-day sound palette in a standalone production synthesiser keyboard.

MPC Key 61 adds an array of advanced next-generation virtual instruments and effects to MPC, adding to its arsenal of music production tools with the addition of a 61-key semi-weighted keybed with aftertouch.

Powered by 25 plugin instrument engines and with over 6,000 presets, each plugin instrument features advanced synthesis, deep parameter editing and modern effects – all designed with a fast-touch interface for an intuitive and compelling workflow.

The MPC Key 61’s semi-weighted keybed with aftertouch is designed to facilitate responsive control for players and producers, while over 100 state-of-the-art effects are ready to load for mixing and mastering. 

Users can insert reverb and delay effects to tracks, add bounce and punch to drums and mix using modern or vintage style compressors and limiters.

According to the manufacturer, MPC Key 61 is the world's first production synthesiser incorporating modern day vocal FX plugins, which can also be used for creative sound design. 

Users can fully record and mix vocals directly inside MPC Key 61’s standalone environment with two onboard high-end preamps. From modern-day vocal tuning effects, to doubling, to adding four-part harmonies to vocals – the AIR Vocal Suite has this covered.

The onboard assignable Touch Strip Controller inspires new ways to control, create and interact with signature sounds. Akai states users can bend, warp and manipulate sounds in real-time “in ways no other synthesiser can”, while touch capacitive assignable real-time Q-Link control is another feature sure to inspire creative production sessions.

Meanwhile, dedicated Pitch Bend and Modulation Wheels bring an added touch of expression to compositions. Using Fabric XL, creatives can bend the notes of synth and lead sounds, add gentle vibrato to stringed instruments in Session Strings, or dial in the speed of the Organ’s rotary Leslie cabinet to hear parts swell with a wide chorused tremolo. The Mod and Pitch wheels, meanwhile, are designed to bring depth and dimension to any MPC Key 61 keyboard part.

MPC Key 61 will connect an entire creative studio and workflow together. Users can connect up-to 32 MIDI devices via USB with MIDI Multi, expand their audio I/O to 32 inputs and outputs using Class Compliant audio interfaces, or connect vintage synths using MIDI In/Out/Thru.

Eight CV/Gate jacks facilitate connections to a wide variety of modular gear, while onboard WI-FI/Bluetooth allows for wireless synchronisation with Ableton Link and MPC OS Updates and 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.

Two main outputs, two sub outputs and an additional headphone output further allow for expansive connections, while creatives can capture pristine vocal tracks and process them with the onboard AIR Vocal Suite, or record guitars, bass, or any instrument for recording and sampling.

The bundled MPC2 Desktop DAW for Mac and PC features expanded track counts and support for third party AU/VST plugins. Users can run it as a DAW or as a VST/AU plugin in third party DAWs including FL Studio, Logic, Ableton, Pro Tools, Studio One and more.

Powered by 4GB of Ram, an MPC 2.11 operating system, an 32 GB internal SD, a 16GB onboard Factory Library, comprehensive I/O Connectivity, and a dedicated SATA bay for SSD Expansion, the MPC Key 61 comes packed with everything needed for modern music production.