After a few rumours and leaks, Akai today officially announced the release of their new MPCKEY61 - the first sampling keyboard for quite some time from AKAI. Essentially this is an MPC LIVE but with a 61 Key velocity and Aftertouch enabled keybed as well as a set of pads.
Also new is the upping of the internal RAM from 2GB to 4GB making the loading of full keyboard sample based sounds more fluid.
Note: Internal on board storage is: 32GB storage with 16 gb of sample library. This can be expanded with your own SSD
Its running the same 2.11 MPC OS that was released earlier this month, which adds a lot of sound browsing features for the included 6400 patches - all this was great for the MPC format machines but now kind of makes more sense when you are using this as a keyboard. The same for easy storing of favourites - for quick recall in a performance scenario,
Splits and layers are also straightforward making this a viable option for a stage keyboard - class compliant USB can add more MIDI and audio interfacing too.
On board SSD and room for expansion if you need more space - it's all as you would expect with all the features of the MPC LIVE and more.
We also have 8 discrete CV/Gate outs on minijack for modular hookup, four audio outputs, 2 inputs for sampling and processing, MDI in/out/thru/
We had a visit from Andy Mac from Akai Pro to give us a look at the new machine.
It's going to be shipping right now, priced at £1699, $1899, €1999
Music Stats for nerds
And you can buy it now
Gaz Williams asks the quesions
Multi channel control, pads, keys, knobs and CV