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Review: AKAI LPK 25

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lpk25_web_medI love my keyboard. It is actually a synthesizer, an Alesis micron but I use it as a midi controller. The only problem is I have it in the rehearsal room(s) all the time. So what if I have to work on some music at home? I have to carry that big bunch of plastic from the rehearsal room to the flat and back three times a week. Why not buy a midi keyboard just for home use? No money, no space, no lust. Well the LPK 25 from AKAI might just have solved my problem.

The small package contains the warranty, USB cable, editing software CD and the LPK 25. The software comes on a mini CD because a normal sized one wouldn’t even fit in the box. I expected a manual for the editing software or for the device in the box but these can be downloaded from the Akai website. So you don’t need to try to put the mini CD into your laptop. The editing software comes for mac and PC as well.

This thing is small; it measures less than 13 inches. The keys are wide enough to be comfortable and sensitivity feels just right. I don’t have a big hand so I can play on the LPK 25 without pressing notes I don’t want to press. However I imagine that people with large hands or fat fingers would have a hard time pressing an A without pressing three other keys nearby. The whole device is made of plastic but the feel of it is not cheap at all. The six buttons on the left are for shifting octaves, arpeggiator, sustaining notes, tapping the tempo and calling programmed functions. Sustain works as it should. You can sustain notes or the arpeggiator.

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The arpeggiator is a great thing to have is such a small device. You can set the clock to internal and set the tempo by tapping the Tap Tempo button. Or you can set it to external so you get the tempo of the DAW you are using. The ARP ON/OFF button is multifunctional. When the arp is turned on, you can hold the button down and set the mode (UP, DOWN, EXCL, INCL, RAND), the arp time division (from 1/4 to 1/32T) and the octaves 1 to 4 that you want to include in your arp. You can all play with these options while the arp is sustained. It seems that AKAI put some work in this function and it’s surprisingly usable and good to have.

Most importantly this thing is so small that I can put it across the macs keyboard allowing me to use most of the necessary shortcuts in Logic. The little rubber things on the bottom are just in place that the device is lifted above the keyboard of the mac.

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The editor software is simple and fast. You can create presets of arp settings and save them to four preset slots.

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Overall I think the LPK 25 is good for home music production and eventually it can be used live. You just plug it in and it works. Beware there is no midi out. You can only control your computer with it. This can be a drawback for those who would want to control instruments with the LPK25. For me it’s just perfect considering what I use it for and how much it costs ($73 in Europe).

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