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Novation Launchkey or Arturia Keylab or AKAI MPK..49 keys
Old 17th April 2013
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Novation Launchkey or Arturia Keylab or AKAI MPK..49 keys

Guys i am looking to buy a new midi keyboard and i am having problems choosing which to buy out of these 3 ? i will mostly be controlling Reason & LOGIC daws and my ipad synths from these controllers...

1) Novation Launchkey 49 Controller Keyboard

2) Arturia Keylab 49 Controller Keyboard

3) Akai MPK49 Performance Controller



I know launchkey and Arturia keylab are still not available in many stores but is it worth waiting for them or going for the an old AKAI MPK ?

Thanks
AK
Old 17th April 2013
  #2
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
guys can the akai mpk49 work with an ipad ? is it usb complaint fully to support this ?
Old 4th May 2013
  #3
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joeflyer59's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Akai/Novation/Arturia

Yes the Akai is class compliant and can work with the iPad - but not without additional power. (i.e. a powered hub or an optional AC adapter)

I've gone through a few of the controllers from both Akai and Novation and here are my thoughts.

(Overall, I'd say get the Arturia minilab or hold out for the Keylab Series, which is what I'm doing) Here's my thoughts on that:

AKAI:

I've had an Akai MPK49, and (2) MPK25's, the MPKMini, and the LPK25.

Withe the larger MPK's I was initially excited about the MPC-styled pads on them as well as their versatility. They are almost perfect - the only problem, as cool as they seem, is build quality. The first MPK25 I had died with a firmware update (FROM the akai support site, mind you) but they don't support that stuff directly as it was not developed by them.

The replacement I got came out of the box with a bad (did not respond) top-left drum pad and the middle G key had a faulty sensor. (i.e. the action felt normal, but the midi it spit out was intermittent. I'd have to hit the key hard to get it to fire out a midi note)

Akai support was less than helpful so I got frustrated and just unloaded it with "as-is" on the issues.

The MPKmini seemed like a perfect companion for my iPad as it slips into my backpack fine, had drum pads and proper (but small) keys (unlike the "button" styled keys of the korg controllers) - but two shortcomings.
1. The mini Is not iPad compliant with regards to power. Sometimes it will powerup and connect, but then disconnect because it draws too much. You have to use a powered hub or one of those tricky little hubs on ebay.
2. No proper mod wheel or even an easily accessible button alternative. Makes tweaking sounds a bit of a bummer.

Other than that - it's pretty awesome. But for an iPad musician, those are big deals.

NOVATION:

Novation Launchkey is supposed to be awesome. I've no idea what the deal is with the new "In Control" protocol. One thing I do know, with their previous line of controllers, if you want to use it with a DAW you have to utilize their AUTOMAP software - which is powerful, but not practical. You have to have it scan your plugins and create a separate "wrapped" automap version of the plugin. Effectively doubling your plugin widows and making navigation a pain. Plus it sucks to have to have another app floating/running in the backround while working in your DAW. It's a super hassle, instead of just plugging it in and getting going - and having your DAW handling all the knob assignments, which most of all of them do with a "learn" feature.

Overall the Automap is invasive to your system and workflow and counterproductive. Just my two cents, mind you.

ARTURIA:

While the Analog factory controllers were built VERY well some complained about the springy/spongy-ness of the keys. This is to personal taste, obviously. Also it seemed the accompanying Lab synth plugin/software was a bit unstable, not to mention limited. I'm a bit of a preset jockey - so I don't mind that at all (the limitations, that is)

Now with the Keylab it's obvious that they are not abandoning the development and improvement of the software - and the controller and the same metal/wood build but a bit sleeker and lower profile as well as drum pads. I've not put my hands on the new one, but I'm not gonna lie, it looks sexy as hell and I want one. Again, my 2 cents - and take all of that with a grain of salt.

Just chiming in, since you asked! Good luck!

joey b
Old 5th May 2013 | Show parent
  #4
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Dysanfel's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeflyer59 ➑️
You have to have it scan your plugins and create a separate "wrapped" automap version of the plugin. Effectively doubling your plugin widows and making navigation a pain.
Yes, plus if you share your session with another person who uses the same plug it wont work for them if you used the wrapped version in your session. They will have to remove the wrapped version and hope they have the patch with the same settings that would normally be saved with the plug. However, Automap did work very well when set up.
Old 1st September 2013
  #5
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
I've owned an Akai MPK49 for several years and I'm giving up. It hurts but I'm finally admitting to myself that I need to replace it because I am sick of its horses#!t. Constant dinking around with "Vyzex" (did I misspell it? Don't care!) to make it talk with my rig, and diving into MIDI settings to try and stop it from sending random signals to my DAW every time I update to a new software version.

It's a really nice hunk of physical gear, designed well and reassuringly hefty/durable, but it *functions* so rarely that I'd rather use it as a club than as a controller. Simply put, it's a $400 work-stoppage crisis.

So... *Angry*... can't... think... straight... HATE... CONTROLLER...
Old 30th July 2014
  #6
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
About AUTOMAP software, (I've been working with for 2 years) it is true that the duplication of plugins due to the way it works can become a real problem.
On another hand, you can use it as a basic controller together with the learn function of your DAW, even though you still need to have its program running in the background.

An other default I've notice about it is that it comes with some DAW pre-configured for (as press use to say) "Popular DAWs" that means that if you use any not so popular DAW you'll have to configure it all yourself, and their web site is not of much help in this matter. I had to search a lot to find a way to configure it for Samplitude. And even so, their page system seems to be limited, so at the end I was only able to control 16 tracks.
I suggest that you search carefully into the specs of any controller you are interested in to be sure that it will do what you want as you expect.

I am very interested in the Arturia Keylab, but I'm still looking for real complete review, not only about the relationship between the keyboard and its own Synth program but with DAWs and third party plugins.
Old 19th August 2014
  #7
I own a key lab 25 and it is a fine piece of gear, the build quality is much better than the novation launch key / akai's build quality is quite solid as well. my vote goes to arturia followed by akai.
The analog lab software is quite nice!
Old 19th August 2014
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Akai keys are better (or harder in pressing) than Novation or Arturia keys but has issue (on newer line of MAX keys) that different keys may have different velocity curve by design. It's bug, but if you play on softsynth you can go with FULL VELOCITY settings. MPK pads are very sturdy but 2buck upgrades are on ebay.
Old 20th August 2014
  #9
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by abhiken ➑️
Guys i am looking to buy a new midi keyboard and i am having problems choosing which to buy out of these 3 ? i will mostly be controlling Reason & LOGIC daws and my ipad synths from these controllers...

1) Novation Launchkey 49 Controller Keyboard

2) Arturia Keylab 49 Controller Keyboard

3) Akai MPK49 Performance Controller



I know launchkey and Arturia keylab are still not available in many stores but is it worth waiting for them or going for the an old AKAI MPK ?

Thanks
AK
You should also consider a 4th option:

4) Nektar Impact LX49 which comes with dedicated support for both Reason and Logic Pro X. 49 & 61 note USB MIDI controller | keyboard | Bitwig Studio | Cubase | Digital Performer | GarageBand | Logic | Reaper | Reason | Sonar | Studio One
Old 20th August 2014
  #10
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Launchkey doesn't use automap. Incontrol is its own thing and built into the unit.

I have the launchkey and I'm not terribly crazy about it. Would not reccomend.
Old 20th August 2014 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProCheat ➑️
You should also consider a 4th option:

4) Nektar Impact LX49 which comes with dedicated support for both Reason and Logic Pro X. 49 & 61 note USB MIDI controller | keyboard | Bitwig Studio | Cubase | Digital Performer | GarageBand | Logic | Reaper | Reason | Sonar | Studio One
How are the keys in Nektars?
My 49k midi controller just broke down and i'm on market for a new one. I like the looks of Nektar Impacts and the 129€ price is ok. I use Live, but knobs probably work as normal midi controllers anyway.
Old 20th August 2014
  #12
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
It's always subjective, but the dynamics of the keybed on the Impact is good. The keybed is synth-action, with no weights so depends what you are used to or looking for.
Old 20th August 2014 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProCheat ➑️
It's always subjective, but the dynamics of the keybed on the Impact is good. The keybed is synth-action, with no weights so depends what you are used to or looking for.
I'm into synth-action that is not too "springy" like in cheap controllers.

M-Audio Oxygen 49 Mk4 is also 129€ with pretty much same feature set.
Old 20th August 2014
  #14
Gear Addict
 
John Reid's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I own an MPK 49, I think I got it when it had just come out (black body, not red).

Never got it to work seamlessly with Logic 9, so I gave up on using it for anything other than the keys... I'm not a huge knob tweaker, anyway.

Buuuut... A few of the black keys are not responsive any more (I have to really jam them down to get a note to register); really kills any soloing I do, for damn sure. I don't abuse my gear, and don't use the controller constantly, maybe a few hours a day if that... I think it's just not very well made. Heavy doesn't always mean quality, I guess.

I also found the pads odd to use (for my playing style) and not very responsive even with velocity settings tweaked, so I still do my live drum programming using my e-kit or using the keybed.

I've been eyeballing Nektars, would be interested to see what opinions surface in this thread.
Old 20th August 2014
  #15
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Travst's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
I have an LX49 and provided my thoughts in another thread. I use it with Reaper and a tablet for practicing/recording and it works very well. I have a P6 on order for my my home studio, so I can't comment on the keys as yet. The LX is well built and full of features that integrate tightly with Reaper. The keys are like piano keys with synth action if that makes sense. I was a bit put off by them at first, but quickly adapted and grew accustomed to the action. This was because my synths at home don't have quite as much travel in the keys. Overall, it's a good deal for what you get-a solid controller with integration into your DAW.

I've also used the Arturia controllers and like them. They are well-built in my opinion and the keys feel good to me. However, they don't integrate with your DAW right out of the box. That's the only disadvantage that I see here, although the 49 key version would be more than a Nektar LX49 as I recall. I tried the Roland A-800 and didn't care for it although it seems to be very well built.
Old 20th August 2014
  #16
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login's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
The new novations line doesnt have as good keys as previous models, arturia seems well built but their customer support sucks and their quality control isnt very good and IMHO akai keys suck big time.

Roland A-800 has betetr keys, better support and good build quality but I don't know if it is class compliant.
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