The new MPK88 draws on the design of its siblings in the MPK series. The MPK61, MPK49 and MPK25 each combine a MIDI-over-USB keyboard controller with genuine MPC pads and a sampling of the technologies that have made Akai Professional's MPC series such an iconic music-production tool. The MPK88 brings the utility and creative control of its siblings to more dedicated piano and keyboard players, thanks to its fully weighted, hammer-action keyboard with assignable keyboard split and aftertouch. Akai Professional designed this performance keyboard controller to specifically deliver the feel that serious keyboardists demand in a high-quality instrument.
In addition to the premium keybed, the MPK88 gives the player 16 MPC pads that are velocity and pressure sensitive and can access four banks of sounds each, for access to 64 sounds at any time. The MPC pads are the most recognizable feature of the MPC series, which has been among the most influential devices in the creation and production of music for the last two decades. The MPK88 also puts the player in command of their software with assignable Q-Link faders, knobs and buttons. The user can assign any Q-Link to control nearly any parameter in their software for hands-on, mouse-free performance. The MPK88 also has two assignable footswitch inputs and an expression pedal input.
Two technologies pioneered in the MPC series and built into the MPK88 are MPC Note Repeat and MPC Swing. These note-modifying features can be heard in many of the most popular tracks over the last two decades. MPC Note Repeat is a capability that enables the MPK to automatically play a rhythm pattern, such as 16th notes on a hi-hat, for accuracy and speed of entry. MPC Swing is sometimes referred to as "the heart and soul of hip hop," because it turns perfectly aligned sequences into human feeling time alignments. Users can specify exactly the degree and timing of swing they want to apply for the perfect feel. The MPK88 also has an arpeggiator, which enables performers to build creative riffs instantly.
The MPK88 sends MIDI values over USB and a traditional MIDI jack. The controller works with most MIDI recording, sequencing and performance software as well as sound modules, synthesizers and other MIDI-compliant hardware, for musical performers from keyboard players to producers to DJs and VJs.
The MPK88 comes with Ableton Live Lite Akai Edition software, one of the most popular and powerful performance and production programs in the world. Ableton Live Lite enables musicians to spontaneously compose, record, remix, improvise and edit musical ideas in a seamless audio/MIDI environment.
"Professional keyboard performers now have the control they need on stage and in the studio," said Adam Cohen, Director of Business Development, Akai Professional. "The MPK88 has weighted keyboard action plus the performance flexibility and control of the MPC pads and technology."
Pricing and Availability:
The MPK88 is available from pro audio and musical instrument retailers, with a U.S. Retail Price of $999.00 and an estimated street price of $799.00.