Akai LPK25 - My Thoughts

Started by SerFox, April 23, 2010, 04:17:30 PM

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Those of you who follow my twits will know I went out and bought one of these today

My original intentions were to go out and get a Korg nanokey. I did not know of the existence of the Akai LPK, which stands for Laptop Performance Cakeboard. Er...

So I asked if I could have a go of a nanokey at my local music shoppe, and they got one out, and he began telling me about it's faults. This one was brand new out the box, and it became instantly clear to me that it wasn't for me at all. Not only did it feel like a laptop keyboard, it felt like a bad laptop keyboard. My actual Macbook keys have more travel and response to them than the Korg nanokey does.

I also got to try one which had been played on a bit, an old demo one, and my god. One of the keys kept sticking, another clicked horribly whenever I hit it, and I've been told the keys have a tendency to pop out.

By now I had gone off the idea of the nanokey, not willing to part with my cash for it, but they then showed me a little lonely keyboard called the Akai LPK25. Why was it lonely? It was the last one on the shelf, since they sell so well. And no wonder! This thing is fantastic!

A quick overview of the features then. Its ever so slightly bigger than the nanokey, it has some extra controls on the left so there's extrafor that, but only about a centimeter in width and half a centimeter in height. Width wise, it's about double that of the nanokey, but with good reason: the key's are proper good.

Full two octaves including upper C, no weird B to A action like on some of M-Audio's gear. The keys not only have a decent amount of travel, but theyre velocity sensitive too! The sensitivity cannot be altered as far as I can see, but it's not weird, it feels natural, I can play loud widdly leads on here, or soft piano arpeggios using the Octave switcher with my pinky. Theres enough resistance in the keys so that you can feel confident in your softer notes, though the keys dont have a drop point, they kinda just keep pressing into the spring with no bottom, but I can live with that.

Polyphony isn't a problem wither. If you wanted to press more keys you'd need more fingers!

Now one of the neat little things is that it has a built in arpeggiator! What a bonus! It's fully programmable on the keys itself with just a few selections, i.e. hit C# for a 1/4 time, and F# for an up/down pattern. Tempo is handled by either the tap tempo button, which is great for live performances, or through the included software which looks a little cheap, but it works, so I'm not complaining about that either. You can also sync the arp to your DAW too.

Brief note on the buttons, they're great too. Bright fantom g orange. They look like mini fantom pad buttons, and feel like them too. Don't try and play drums on them though :o (Although I'm sure you could reprogram the thing with Max MSP to do just that if you *really* wanted!)

Lastly, the price, and this is here because I know some of you might be put off if it were too expensive, and a mini MIDI controller at this build quality and features? I'd've solt it at £80. What do they sell it for? I got mine for £45, which is a £10 less than the nanokey. Cor!

So there you have it. Perfect for train journeys, small desks, or even if you want to compose in the middle of the forest, you can't go wrong with this, it's bloody excellent! :D


Ah yes, nice little thing it seems. I'm looking into a mobile controller myself and I'm all over the place going from a Akai LPK25 to a Novation X-station 25......  

It all depends on what DAW I'll get; desktop of laptop. And if my FireOne will work with it. So far no Windows 7 support....  :?

I've checked the Korg Nanokey out this week but it's utter crap. One key all ready stuck after it was taken out of the box 5 minutes before...  :lol: