AKAI MAX49 Controller Keyboard
This post was written by our guest reviewer – Steve – who tried the AKAI MAX49 Controller Keyboard at Musikmesse 2012.
During the chaos that was Musikmesse there was one product that really caught my eye and I had been anticipating ever since it was announced at the last NAMM. I had done a lot of research on the Akai MAX49 and it certainly looked the part but I knew I had to wait until I got my hands on it before I passed judgement. Despite my high expectations, when the time came to have a play with it I was very pleased with what I experienced.
The main reason that attracted me to the MAX49, was that it would become Akai’s latest flagship controller keyboard and the standard for future models to reach. As a massive fan of Akai for over 2 decades it was great to see the retro theme returning with the Max49 bearing an obvious resemblance to some of the earlier MPK models but with an attractive new makeover. Its good looks are evident just by looking at the images but it can’t be truly appreciated until personal inspection, the subtle metallic shine seems to disappear in pictures but is very much there.
Likewise, Akai’s famous build quality is something that can’t be truly explained in writing. The keyboard itself feels very luxurious and the semi-weighted action with aftertouch was to a far greater standard than I was expecting. Yet as you’d expect the controller is very robust and solid in all the right places, and put simply it just oozes quality.
Enough of the appearance now, lets looks at some of the onboard features starting with probably the coolest and arguably most helpful. The new LED fader strips to the right of the controller act as traditional sliders but with the added benefit of giving visual feedback. They are perfectly sized and positioned to be visible and clear but without being overly distracting. Being touchscreen rather than a physical equivalent also comes with its advantages, the most obvious being there is nothing to get bashed or broken. It also allows you to instantly and accurately jump just by touching the relevant point of the strip, without the inconvenience of having to slide.
The MPC pads for the Max49 have actually come under a bit of criticism from the Akai faithful, as there are only 12 pads rather than the typical 16. However you technically have 4 banks of 12 totalling up to 48 interchangeable pads. The pads themselves maintain the classic MPC swing and quality that we all know and love.
The last, and probably the most exciting feature of the Akai MAX49 the Control Voltage connections, that allow straightforward connections to analogue synthesizers and drum machines. Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to do this for myself but just the thought of connecting the MAX49 to a computer with all you’re old school analogue synthesizers integrated into the setup is a very appealing prospect.
Personally I love the Akai MAX49 as it just ticks all the boxes you would want from a controller keyboard. It’s a fully respectable keyboard on its own but could also be integrated into a mouth-watering CV setup. As positive as my review is I would still recommend you try the Max49 for yourself as its so much more impressive in the flesh. Watch the official video for an overview of the features.
Brought to you courtesy of Soundwrx Music