Akai Mpk249 Review

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Akai Mpk 249 Review

Welcome to the complete Akai Mpk 249 review. All creators of music know that the tools you use can shape the sounds you produce.

You could be the most talented producer in the world, but your pieces still might seem like the work of a beginner if you aren’t using the proper equipment.

At the same time, even a beginner is more likely to produce quality music when using quality production gear.

AKAI Professional MPK249 - USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with 49 Semi Weighted Keys, Assignable MPC Controls, 16 Pads and Q-Links, Plug and Play

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  • Wide availability of bright colors on the drum pads
  • Bright backlit LCD screen
  • Slim design for optimal portability or storage
  • Software bundle for added DAW and VST options
  • Durable and lightweight build


  • Budget-friendly but still on the expensive side, costing several hundred dollars
  • Very similar to older versions in the MPK series of keyboard controllers
  • May not be ideal for beginners who are looking for a simpler entry option

Everybody knows the mantra, “You are only as strong as your weakest link”; well, in music production, you are only as strong as the quality of your tools.

Luckily for those of us with a penchant for quality creation, there are plenty of different tools on the market that can help further your production caliber.

The Akai MPK 249, in particular, is a state of the art performance pad and keyboard controller that could be the perfect option for musicians on a budget who are looking to improve their production quality.

In our books, this keyboard controller gets a perfect score of five out of five stars.

Keep reading to find out more about this quality piece of music production equipment.

Akai Mpk 249 Buyers Guide

As with any product, there will be both advantages and disadvantages when it comes to purchasing.

Unfortunately, even a product that rates at five out of five stars may have a couple of cons involved.

It is the customer’s job to weigh these factors against each other, keeping each of them in mind while deciding whether or not to purchase the product.

Here are some of the pros and cons of buying and using the Akai MPK 249 keyboard controller.

AKAI Professional MPK249 - USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with 49 Semi Weighted Keys, Assignable MPC Controls, 16 Pads and Q-Links, Plug and Play

Key Features

When it comes down to it, all that really matters about a keyboard controller are its features and what it can deliver to the musician who uses it.

These features are what determine whether or not the piece of equipment will be worth purchasing and using to produce music.

The Akai MK249 has many great features that could benefit any musician who may decide to use it.

Here are some of the essential features this keyboard controller includes.

  • Full-size, semi-weighted set of 49 keys
  • Keys have aftertouch for dynamic play
  • RGB LED backlit drum pads
  • Software package bundle including Ableton Live LiteAIR Hybrid 3SONiVOX Twist 2.0
  • Ableton Live Lite
  • AIR Hybrid 3
  • SONiVOX Twist 2.0
  • uick, responsive LCD screen
  • Includes eight faders, eight control knobs, and eight backlit switches that are all assignable
  • USB-MIDI keyboard with 5-pin MIDI ins and outs
  • Additional controlsMPC Note RepeatMPC SwingMPC Full Level16 LevelsTap
  • Includes eight faders, eight control knobs, and eight backlit switches that are all assignable
  • USB-MIDI keyboard with 5-pin MIDI ins and outs
  • MPC Note Repeat
  • MPC Swing
  • MPC Full Level
  • 16 Levels
  • Tap Tempo
  • Time Division
  • Arpeggio

The Akai MPK 249 is an upgrade from the company’s previous keyboard controller, the MPK49.

The MPK 249 is slimmer and more aesthetically appealing than ever with its backlit and customizable RGB LED drum pads.

Akai describes this keyboard controller as more comfortable and easier to play compared other models on the market. Brand new with this model is also its crisp LCD screen made for optimum resolution and usability.

Another great feature that might appeal to those looking for a little extra is the inclusion of a software package.

This software package includes Ableton Live Lite, AIR Hybrid 3, and SONiVOX Twist 2.0.

These are all quality programs any budding music producer might love to add to their utility belt.

For those who are interested in expanding their software collection, the Akai MPK 249’s price tag might be a reasonable one.

The MPK 249’s inclusion of pedal connections could also be a great feature for those who are looking to add more control to their sound.

Users who are more familiar with playing a traditional piano or keyboard may feel more comfortable when using a suspension pedal.

Because of this, the feature could be great for beginners who are still adjusting to the switch to a MIDI keyboard controller.

Workflow and Creativity

The Akai MPK 249 is designed to be incredibly easy to use.

In fact, although it does include several features that could be confusing to someone just starting out, even a beginner could be able to figure out this keyboard controller with moderate ease.

This piece of state of the art equipment is designed as a standard MIDI keyboard controller with 49 keys. The keys are semi-weighted and full-size to make up a premium key bed in the style of a standard piano.

This setup allows optimal comfortability when playing for users of all experience levels.

On top of that, the model comes equipped with easy-to-use Octave controls to allow the musician to easily play a large range of notes, harmonies, bass lines, and solo leads, all with the press of a few buttons.

Best 49 Key Midi Controllers

Simple Configuration

The MPK 249 is incredibly easy to set up on your computer, as it is designed to be a plug and play keyboard controller.

No drivers are necessary to install this model.

With that said, musicians who are MAC users should take care to pay attention to the warning given at setup regarding the exiting of the Keyboard Setup Assistant; this pop-up warning is seen the first time the MPK 249 is connected to the computer.

Other than that, however, the keyboard controller is simple to configure regardless of what type of computer you will be using it with; you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure this one out.

AKAI Professional MPK249 - USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with 49 Semi Weighted Keys, Assignable MPC Controls, 16 Pads and Q-Links, Plug and Play

Akai Mpk ISO Compatibility

For those users wishing to utilize a MIDI keyboard controller while mobile without the use of a laptop, the Akai MPK 249 could be a great option. This model can be hooked up in low-power mode to your iPad.

For this to work, however, you will need to have Apple’s Camera Connection Kit to have access to the proper USB port. When using the MPK 249 with an iPad, the pads will not be lit up and the LCD display will be dimmer.

However, this low-power usage will allow the keyboard controller to be operated while powered by your iPad.This feature could be ideal for musicians who frequently produce while on-the-go.

If doing live performances, this feature would also allow a player to leave his or her bulky laptop at home in exchange for their slim and portable iPad.

Akai MPK 249 Review Guide

Before you begin your search for the perfect MIDI keyboard controller or performance pad, you should first understand the basics of what the product is and how it works.

After all, you can’t accurately decide if you’re not well-informed, and, with the prices of most of the models on the market, it would be well worth your time to educate yourself before beginning to look.

Keep reading for a crash course on MIDI keyboards. The first thing to understand about MIDI keyboards is that they are not simply “digital pianos” or “digital keyboards.”

A MIDI keyboard controller is unable to make sounds on its own as a piano or standard keyboard does; they do not store any sounds internally.

These pieces of equipment are designed to be used with software programs called Digital Audio Workstations, otherwise known as DAWs. Some examples of DAWs are Ableton, Logic, and Pro Tools.

Ableton is an attractive option that is also included in the software bundle that comes with the Akai MPK 249.

The Best Midi Controllers For Ableton​

When looking into different models of MIDI controllers, it is important to remember that there are a wide variety of features out there, and there’s a chance you might not need all of them.

More expensive, higher-end models often come with all the bells and whistles.

These models may be ideal for professionals with a good amount of experience who are familiar with how to work a MIDI controller.

On the other hand, one of these models may very well be a waste of money for someone who is only just starting out. It is important to be honest with yourself regarding your experience and the features you do or do not need.

AKAI Professional MPK249 - USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with 49 Semi Weighted Keys, Assignable MPC Controls, 16 Pads and Q-Links, Plug and Play

Akai MPK 249 Alternative

Akai is a company rich with history. They’ve been providing quality music production equipment since 1984 when they entered the market with the intention of providing musicians with quality material.

They debuted the Akai MPC series in 1988 with the help of Roger Linn, a leading developer who joined the team in 1986.

Ever since then, for over 20 years now, Akai has been producing musical equipment that has successfully changed the lives of many artists.

As it has stood the test of time better than many other companies can attest, Akai has proven themselves as a leading option for all musicians, regardless of their skill or experience level.

Today, that worthiness does not stop at the MPK 249.

If the Akai MPK 249 keyboard controller doesn’t pique your interest, however, there are many other options you could consider.

The market is full of different types of MIDI keyboard controllers, all ranging in price and the inclusion of features.

Although the Akai MPK 249 may be a good fit for a musician with a little bit of experience looking to enter the world of professional musical equipment at a reasonable price, other artists may feel that a different model may be best.

For those artists, we have included a couple of other options that may be suitable.

If budget is the primary concern, the Alesis VI49 has a lot of the same features as the Akai MPK 249, but its price tag is virtually cut in half.

For those looking for a more in-depth keyboard controller, the 61-key version of the Novation Impulse could be a good option to consider.

On the other hand, if you’re a beginner who is looking for a simple keyboard controller to get you started, the Korg microKEY is an affordable, straightforward option that could be worth looking into.

In the end, you are the only person who can decide which keyboard controller model is the best option for you.

There are several different brands and models available that offer a variety of features.

Depending on your skill level and the music you would like to produce, some features may not be necessary for you to have.

Make sure to take the time to compare several different models to ensure that you make the most well-informed decision possible in the end.

When you do begin your search, though, the Akai MPK 249 could be a great place to start.

  • Complete control
  • Plug and play with major DAW’s
  • MPC style pads APC style faders

AKAI Professional MPK249 - USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with 49 Semi Weighted Keys, Assignable MPC Controls, 16 Pads and Q-Links, Plug and Play
  • Pro Keyboard Performance - 49 semi-weighted, velocity-sensitive full-size keys and a premium piano-style keybed for unprecedented response and natural feel
  • Beat Making Essentials - 16 RGB-illuminated MPC-style pads each with 4 banks for 64 pads - the perfect solution for triggering samples, loops, one-shots, melodics and more
  • Assignable Control - 24 assignable Q-Link controllers comprising 8 control knobs, faders and switches engineered for hassle-free DAW / virtual instrument mapping
  • Your Studio Centerpiece - Take command of your peripheral MIDI equipment courtesy of an onboard USB-MIDI interface with 5-pin MIDI input & output
  • Core MPC Tools - MPC mainstay controls included - MPC Note Repeat, arpeggiator, MPC Full Level, Tap Tempo and Time Division
  • Comprehensive Production Software Package for Mac and PC included - Ableton Live Lite, Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Tech & SONiVOX Twist 2.0 (downloads)

About the author

Daniel Douglas

Daniel Douglas

After becoming obsessed with the beats that were the soundtrack to his youth, Daniel became a student of hip hop, digging for vinyl records, looking for the perfect break. Before he got his hands on an MPC sampler, he would mash these records, beats, and breaks into mixtapes and live DJ sets.