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Akai controllers vs Novation Controllers
Old 4th December 2009
  #1
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🎧 10 years
Akai controllers vs Novation Controllers

Which one do u prefer. I'm interested in the Akai MPK/MPD/APC-40 , or the Novation Mk2 stuff and Launchpad.

My concerns are keyboard feel, ease of programming and most of all reliability of drivers and stability on Mac and PC.

I heard some bad stuff about the Akai's.

Please suggest.
Thanks
Old 4th December 2009
  #2
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golden beers's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
speaking as a notcurn user i can tell you that the build and component quality is shit.
and the tech support is shit. but it is very cheap!

the best reason for using the novation is automap. which is a little buggy but still incredibly useful. the gui functions however, can be annoying.
Old 4th December 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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XHipHop's Avatar
 
🎧 20 years
I just got an MPK49 and I love the keyboard and it's not too hard to map anything.

The pads are awful, though. I REALLY wanted to like them, but once you try to hit two with the same hand, you'll realize that they are far too firm and you have to mash the crap out of them. :(

Everything else is A+ though.
Old 4th December 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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The MPCist's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
As a Novation SL owner of two of their MKI and MKII, I can tell you it's SHIT. Akai is just as bad.

Nowadays you can't get quality it seems. Go down to your music store and pound on the demo units and see for yourself which ones you can live with. That's the best advice I can give.
Old 4th December 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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🎧 10 years
I don't really need drum pads. Just need the knobs and faders to map easily and the keyboard should feel ok.

Wow, both r shit ????
What now ?
Old 4th December 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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Arcadia's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nyne ➑️
I don't really need drum pads. Just need the knobs and faders to map easily and the keyboard should feel ok.

Wow, both r shit ????
What now ?
Buy an APC40 and Ableton Live. Plug-in integration is superb... everything maps automatically. Then just get an Edirol PCR-series for keys. That's my solution.
Old 4th December 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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The MPCist's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nyne ➑️
I don't really need drum pads. Just need the knobs and faders to map easily and the keyboard should feel ok.

Wow, both r shit ????
What now ?
Well, keep in mind that Novation is pretty expensive for what it is. That's why I consider it shit..... especially when the keys are just about as bad as a cheap M-Audio keyboard but for more money.

Anyways, try some keyboards out and see which has the most bang/buck ratio.
Old 5th December 2009
  #8
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ctrlshft's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I had an MPK25 for a few months, probably the best keybed on a compact midi controller i have ever used. kicks the crap out of novation, better than e-mu, and of course immolates m-audio (what doesn't?).
Old 5th December 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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rids's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hmm... I shall try the MPK25 then (even though I at least need 37 keys) because my Novation SL37 keys feel really good. M Audio sucks and from what I remember, the Akai wasn't that good. Edirol stuff wasn't much of an improvement either. Novation was the best feeling to me.

This is a very subjective topic and what feels good to one person might not to the next, so you should try for yourself.
Old 5th December 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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🎧 10 years
Agreed that feel subjective.

What about just the reliability or the drivers. ease of mapping controllers, saving ur settings. Which brand wins in this department ?
Old 5th December 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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XHipHop's Avatar
 
🎧 20 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nyne ➑️
Agreed that feel subjective.

What about just the reliability or the drivers. ease of mapping controllers, saving ur settings. Which brand wins in this department ?
well, what programs are you going to need mapping for?

details plz.

the mpk comes with presets for like 16 programs and synths...live and reason are the most extensive.

i use it with logic so you can set up the controller parameters as presets within logic and that works well.
Old 5th December 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
If you already have and like the keys on the Novation, consider keeping that for keys and adding an MPD32. People complain about the pads...granted they're not the best, they surely aren't the worst. Initially, the MPD32 pad response felt odd. After adjusting the sensitivity and velocity curves, it's now very usable. Also, there's a guy on YouTube who shows an easy mod if the response still isn't right for you. There are also pad mods sold on eBay. Worst case scenario, you can always just order and install a set of the original MPC pads. This may be the route I take just for the heck of it.

I'm a long-time MPC user who still owns a 2000XL. I've recently added the MPD32, MPD18, LPK25, and MPK61 to my gear. The MPK61 is an awsome controller hands down. I'm glad that I purchased it. I think that the new line of Akai controllers (mid to late '09) are very nice pieces of gear.

Take what anyone here says with a grain of salt. Use the info to gather a list of potentials, and from that go out and try some gear. Take advantage of 30 day return policies.

Good luck!
Old 5th December 2009 | Show parent
  #13
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ohmicide's Avatar
if you're on a laptop then take into consideration that automap will automatically open every single time you launch a music app even if the controller is unplugged

i uninstalled it and now my novation sl 61 just sits there and gets used as a midi interface for my hardware synths

i bought it right before the new one came out so it's not even worth selling
Old 12th November 2010
  #14
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
get apc40 and novation sl mkii keyboard

I have both and I use the sl mkii to play keys and control plugins and I use the apc to launch clips and control abletons effect racks. Both companies have their strengths why not get both
Old 12th November 2010 | Show parent
  #15
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🎧 10 years
I really think the best bet is to get a good digital synth for keys and a separate controller (APC40 if you use Live, Remote Zero if you don't etc.) for MIDI.

I spent three months shopping for a current model MIDI controller keyboard and couldnt find a single one that several people didn't have major complaints about except maybe the Cakewalk (Roland). However, other than a great key action (which I can personally attest to), I couldn't really find any information on those one way or another so I gave up.

I ended up getting a used Yamaha CS6x (Merely OK as a synth but very good as a MIDI controller!) and a new Akai APC40 to control VST's in Live. I will probably add an MPD or Korg padKontrol and an additonal hardware programmer for synths (Remote Zero or PWS editor) later but it's a good start.

It might take a bit more work to figure it out but a good digital keyboard synth (Roland XP or Fantom, Korg Triton or Z1, Yamaha EX, CS6x, MOTIF, Kurzweil K-series, Kawai K5000 etc.) is a definitely a good option to look into.
Old 12th November 2010 | Show parent
  #16
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Cheap controllers are cheap...

If you want quality you can try Doepfer, or Fatar (the studio pro logic series). Heavy metal stuff.

As for knobs/faders maybe you can try Faderfox. Haven't used them, but they have good reputation in the dj scene.
Old 12th November 2010 | Show parent
  #17
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tehlord's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I've had three Novation controller products in the last 18 months and they really were bad, poorly built and buggy.
Old 12th November 2010 | Show parent
  #18
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WOLF424's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I chose Akai over Novation sometime ago and got the MPK49. Everything else rocks but the pads. Probably worst pieces of sh!t ever sold as drum pads, why they couldnΒ΄t just use mpd pads is a mystery.
Old 12th November 2010
  #19
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nyne ➑️
Which one do u prefer. I'm interested in the Akai MPK/MPD/APC-40 , or the Novation Mk2 stuff and Launchpad.

My concerns are keyboard feel, ease of programming and most of all reliability of drivers and stability on Mac and PC.

I heard some bad stuff about the Akai's.

Please suggest.
Thanks
I have an Akai APC40 and it's absolutely great. It is built well and all the knobs, sliders, and rubber pads feel really stable and good. I haven't had any issues with it yet but who knows. It is fully programmable too. I use it in "standard" mode, but also use it with Max for Live and remap all the parameters. It is definitely built better and feels nicer than the Novation Launchpad but it's also more expensive. It all really depends on what you are going to use it for...
Old 12th November 2010 | Show parent
  #20
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The Hamburglar's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I've had no technical problems at all with my remote sl classic 49 and the keybed is as good as you would expect at the price point.
Old 12th November 2010 | Show parent
  #21
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🎧 10 years
I have not used Akai controllers, but I do like my Novation Zero Mk2. The "drum" pads are aweful though. I use them exclusively for navigating my DAW.
Old 14th July 2011 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I've got an MPK 61 coming in the mail and a Novation SL 61 MK2 to arrive soon as well. Going to decide on one of these and maybe a studiologic sl990 for more piano type action.

I have experience with automap as I had a remote zero last year so I'm aware of the strengths/weaknesses of that.

I have a couple questions for MPK users:

(1) Do the keys soften up a little after breaking in? If so, how long? I tried a demo unit and for my taste, the keys were a little too springy. I do like the open layout of the board and the feel of the knobs/faders compared to the novation though. Feels much sturdier. The novation keys OTOH are a little too soft for me.

(2) When switching between DAW control and VSTi control on the MPK, am I manually switching via the 'presets' button, assuming I've made a good map for my plugs? If this is true, then does that mean that whether or not a VSTi track is highlighted in my DAW (Cubase 5/6), I can tweak it by going to that preset?

A couple questions for Novation SL users:

(1) How do you deal with the joystick mod wheel using VSTi's that rely on the modwheel position to change the sound of some patches (like omnisphere or other piano libraries which add sustain pedal noise depending on the mod wheel position)? Is there any kind of modulation latch option?

(2) Can the touchpad be used to control the Orb in omnisphere?

Last note: I tried an MPK 88 and within a minute I thought that these keys would actually discourage me from wanting to play. I'm not a serious keyboard player but man they were bad, YMMV. Noisy, buzzy, heavy, uneven keys weighing 70 pounds with the same low-end MPC pads as the smaller units. Why not put better MPC pads and make them translucent with LEDs? Why not encode the rotaries with LEDs on your flagship controller? Why not include a power switch so you're not burning out your screen when not in use? Anyhow...
Old 14th July 2011 | Show parent
  #23
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cdog's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
combo Im using:

Ableton 8
APC40
Korg Kontrolpad
Novation Zero mkII
Oxygen 49
Old 16th July 2011 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Someone must have some relevant info on my questions? I'd prefer to recycle this thread instead of opening a new one.
Old 17th July 2011
  #25
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years


Works fine for me.
I gotta say the apc40 is tops for general navigation and control, But for clip launches, the Launchpad is the way to go, even though the drivers blow.
And my little AKAI LPK25 more or less does the needed job for on the fly leads.
Old 17th July 2011 | Show parent
  #26
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
I've had some build quality issues with my X-Station 49 that makes me tend to avoid Novation stuff (noisy pots etc.). It seems I have to take it apart and clean the pots every couple of weeks to keep it going (just revived the Filter Overdrive knob by pushing it downwards and towards me while twisting it vigorously). It's possible build quality has improved since then, though.
You can disengage the spring mechanism for up-down movement of the joystick, so it behaves like a normal mod wheel.

I'm using an Akai MPK61 as my main controller. Looks and feels great, but I've only had it for ~4 months so I can't really say anything about the durability. Keys are a little springy (which I like), they haven't loosened up so far. Drivers are not as good as Novation. It's just the generic class-compliant driver and some programming software, no automap or anything. The biggest drawback with most Akai gear is the drum pads. They're quite mushy and unresponsive, which is ironic considering what Akai is most known for.
Old 17th July 2011 | Show parent
  #27
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmiG ➑️
I've had some build quality issues with my X-Station 49 that makes me tend to avoid Novation stuff (noisy pots etc.). It seems I have to take it apart and clean the pots every couple of weeks to keep it going (just revived the Filter Overdrive knob by pushing it downwards and towards me while twisting it vigorously). It's possible build quality has improved since then, though.
You can disengage the spring mechanism for up-down movement of the joystick, so it behaves like a normal mod wheel.

I'm using an Akai MPK61 as my main controller. Looks and feels great, but I've only had it for ~4 months so I can't really say anything about the durability. Keys are a little springy (which I like), they haven't loosened up so far. Drivers are not as good as Novation. It's just the generic class-compliant driver and some programming software, no automap or anything. The biggest drawback with most Akai gear is the drum pads. They're quite mushy and unresponsive, which is ironic considering what Akai is most known for.

Thanks for the info on the joystick disengage. I'm kind of split on automap. I didn't like it always being there, yet I apparently got spoiled by it in the few months I used the Zero MKII. Honestly, if the AI knob worked as I thought it would in Windows, I'd have an SL already.

As for the Akai drum pads, it was almost funny how bad they were. I have maschine and a nanopad so I'm planning on using the Akai pads for program changes and the like. Tomorrow, I'm checking out a KX-8 to use for piano and string stuff. For now, I'm holding off on the Novation and hopefully the KX8 and the MPK will be my setup for a good while.
Old 17th July 2011 | Show parent
  #28
Registered User
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
The MPK keyboards seem to have the drum pads that the now discontinued MPD16 & MPD24 had, which were worse than the MPD32's. Akai claims the MPD32 has the same pads as their MPC's but there's no way they're MPC2k/5k pads, more like MPC500/1k. Still they work better than the 16/24/MPK ones and are now found on the MPD18/26 (which replaced the 16/24) so hopefully they'll release an updated MPK line eventually too (unless I missed a refresh there too and they've already done so).
Old 18th July 2011 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by golden beers ➑️
speaking as a notcurn user i can tell you that the build and component quality is shit.
and the tech support is shit. but it is very cheap!

the best reason for using the novation is automap. which is a little buggy but still incredibly useful. the gui functions however, can be annoying.

i think the worst thing on novation is automap.. has caused really very strange problems on my computer.. the kind of weardo stuff that makes you stay away from it for years to come.. It even interfeared with my audio drivers... and thats a bit odd for a remote control device..

But i am on apple maybe thats on pcΒ΄s another story

Build quality of akai is defently better..But the lunchpad is pretty ok for novation standards, no cheap knobs necessary... But this thing is huge. you can operate it with your feet.
Old 18th July 2011 | Show parent
  #30
JES
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JES's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Count me as another person that bought a Remote SL controller (25Mk2), installed automap, got sick of it and uninstalled it.

I do have a launchpad that I love, but interestingly it's for Numerology, a step sequencer. I have never even tried to use it as intended for Live.

For clip launching, I really like my iPad (1st gen is fine--save money and but used) and either TouchOSC or touchAble. I'm still not quite used to it for effects tweaking, but it's basically like automap except it works more and doesn't crash your system.
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