Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 vs Akai Fire: A Comprehensive Comparison and Review

You're ready to make a big purchase, but you're having trouble deciding between these two powerhouses, the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 and the Akai Fire.

Trust me, I know how difficult that decision is… especially if you have no plans on whipping out that dreaded return postage label!

I've got you covered.

I've broken down the good, the bad and the ugly of these babies, so providing you have a clear idea of exactly what you plan on doing with it, you will have a clear idea on which one is best for you, by the end of this article.

Let get into it…

At A Glance:

Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2


Akai Fire

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Key Differences Between The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 And The Akai Fire

Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 vs Akai Fire

The main differences between Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 and Akai Fire are that they are tailored for varying user needs, performance settings, and their integration with music software.

Akai Fire, unlike the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2, is specifically designed for FL Studio. This dedicated integration makes it a more streamlined tool for those who primarily use this Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) in their music production process.

On the other hand, Arturia KeyLab 61 MK2 offers a high level of versatility with considerable emphasis on its connectivity options. This feature makes it a powerful controller that can be effectively applied in either studio settings or live rig setups.

In addition to its connectivity benefits, the Arturia Keylab MKii brings impressive software bundles to the table. These include Analog Lab software with 6500 synth sounds, Ableton Live Lite, and Piano V.

Next on the difference list is their hardware design. The Arturia Keylab MKii has been praised for having superior keys and pads compared to other controllers. It features

  • 16 pads and full-sized keys available in both 49-key and 61-key versions.
  • Lastly, while both devices have been recognized as robust MIDI keyboards delivering high-quality sounds across different music creation contexts; their price points vary considerably. The Akai Fire is perceived as being more affordable than many MIDI controllers out there including the Arturia Keylab MkII.

    In conclusion: If your main DAW is FL Studio or you are shopping on a budget without compromising functionality then Akai Fire would be your best go-to option. Conversely, if you require utmost flexibility especially in terms of connectivity options alongside top-tier keys and pads then investing in an Arturia KeyLab MKII would be worthwhile.


    SpecificationsArturia KeyLab 61 Mk2Akai Fire
    TypeMIDI ControllerFL Studio Hardware Controller
    Number of Keys61None
    Rotary Encoders94
    ConnectivityUSB, MIDI In/OutUSB
    PowerUSB or DC 9VUSB
    Software IncludedAnalog Lab, Ableton Live Lite, Piano V2FL Studio Fruity Fire Edition
    Dimensions34.57 x 11.73 x 2.28 inches12.44 x 6.55 x 1.85 inches
    Weight14.33 lbs1.68 lbs


    Please note that the specifications are subject to change and may not be 100% accurate as they are based on the standard specifications provided by the manufacturers. Always check the product details on the official website or with the retailer.

    What You Need To Know About Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2

    The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 is an impressive digital music instrument, perfect for music enthusiasts. It has a top-notch keybed borrowed from Arturia's MatrixBrute synthesizer. Its keys are sensitive to touch and can capture every intricate detail of your musical play, giving you the most expressive performance.

    It's not just a keyboard; it comes with additional features like a modulation and pitch bend wheel for that extra control when you're performing live. You also get 16 RGB backlit performance pads which are perfect for finger drumming and triggering samples.

    One of its unique features is the magnetic overlays that can be used to mark out the 16 transport controls, giving you maximum control at your fingertips. This means you can handle all your DAW transport functions easily.

    And here's something exclusive! The Keylab MKII comes with the full V Collection 8 Software Bundle from Arturia worth Rs. 50,000 in India only. This bundle gives you access to an impressive range of instruments including vintage keyboards and synths with over 8,000 sounds!

    The keyboard integrates well with several digital audio workstations such as Ableton, Reason, FL Studio, Logic among others. It also gives you quick access to piano patches at the touch of a button that makes things easier while performing.

    As for design and connectivity features? Its sleek aluminium body with real wood side panels gives it an elegant look one cannot ignore. The backside has inputs for sustain and expression along with three AUX inputs useful for both studio and live performances.

    What sets this model apart? It offers modular connectivity providing CV pitch, gate connections along with two modulation controls helpful while using external synths or Eurorack modules.

    For more details on this model check out this page: KeyLab61mkii

    My 1 Month Review Of The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2

    Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 6

    My First Impression

    Walk into my studio today, and you'll see something new—it's the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2. This musical beast has been my constant companion for the past month. Let me share my personal experience with this wonderful instrument.

    The Unboxing Experience

    I still remember the day it arrived—so neatly packaged; it was like unboxing a treasure. The first thing I noticed was the high-quality construction of the KeyLab 61 Mk2. Its sturdy metal casing and wooden sides gave off an air of durability and finesse.

    The Keys to Success

    The semi-weighted keys are a dream come true for any musician.
    They're velocity-sensitive with aftertouch, giving you full control over your performance. Whether I'm playing a soft ballad or an upbeat techno track, these keys adapt to my style flawlessly.

    User-Friendly Features

    It comes loaded with hands-on controls—a total of 16 encoders, 9 faders, and buttons galore! And then there's those super convenient transport controls that make DAW navigation a breeze.
    The one-click “MIDI Learn” function is another favorite; I've mapped numerous parameters on my virtual instruments directly from KeyLab's interface without any hassle.

    Integrations and Software Bundles

    Speaking of integration, this MIDI controller works so well with different software—Ableton Live Lite, Analog Lab software—you name it! It comes bundled with thousand-plus sounds which have already found their place in many of my compositions.

    A Bit on the Downside

    Nothing is perfect though, right? The same holds true for our beloved Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2.
    At times, I found it slightly overwhelming to use—especially when navigating through all those presets in Analog Lab software. It does demand some technical understanding which might be intimidating for beginners but trust me—the learning curve isn't steep at all.

    To summarize:

    – The build quality is top-notch.
    – Those velocity-sensitive keys add real depth to performances.
    – Loaded with user-friendly features and efficient integrations.
    – Might feel overwhelming at first but becomes comfortable over time.

    All in all? Totally worth every cent!

    Having used this MIDI controller keyboard extensively over a month now—I can confidently say that Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 has upped my music production game by several notches. If you're considering investing in one—go ahead! You won't regret it!

    What You Need To Know About Akai Fire

    The Akai Fire is a cool gadget designed just for the FL Studio DAW platform. It uses USB MIDI tech and hooks up easily with plug-and-play setup. This tool boasts 64 RGB Pads that react to how hard you tap them, perfect for making beats in the step sequencer or playing notes on a pad-based MIDI keyboard in performance mode.

    For beat makers out there, you'll love its 16-pad layout that's like an MPC. There are also four banks of touch-friendly knobs that you can set to control your mixer, channel and other things you want.

    Navigating the channel rack, browser, toolbar and playlist windows is a breeze with the Akai Fire's dedicated controls. Finding audio and project files is simple with clear info from its OLED display.

    This controller also includes a download of FL Studio Fruity Fire Edition – which is like a personal music studio right on your computer! You get endless tracks, built-in effects and virtual instruments, full automation functionality and more.

    Though it's made in China, this device offers big features for music production no matter where you are. Get more info or grab one for yourself here.

    My 1 Month Review Of The Akai Fire

    Akai Fire 6

    Initial Impressions

    Just over a month ago, I got my hands on the Akai Fire. Right out of the box, this thing had me intrigued. It's sleek and appealing with its multi-color pad matrix that simply doesn't fail to grab your attention.


    The setup was seamless and intuitive. Thanks to the plug-and-play design, I didn't have to wrangle with any complicated procedures or software installations. I simply plugged it into my laptop, opened up FL Studio, and it synced almost immediately. No hassle at all.


    Oh boy! Where do I start? The Akai Fire has transformed the way I work with beats and melodies. With its 4×16 velocity-sensitive RGB pad matrix, you can actually see your beats come alive, which is just plain awesome.

    – For starters, programming drums has never been so easy or fun!
    – The step sequencer mode makes laying down patterns a breeze.
    – The performance mode allows real-time recording and manipulation of patterns.

    Creating drum patterns on those brilliant pads has a tactile feel that's tough to match – it's like being in a sci-fi movie scoring the soundtrack!

    The Finer Details

    One thing that stands out with the Akai Fire is how well thought-out everything seems to be.

    – There's an OLED screen to keep track of info without having to constantly look at your computer screen.
    – Four touch-capacitive knobs for tweaking effects and browsing sounds make things so much easier.
    – And did I mention it comes with an integrated swing function for those groovy off-beat rhythms?

    Sure, there are some minor areas where improvement could be made (like button resistance), but overall these features enhance usability remarkably.


    The Akai Fire is not just another music production gadget; it’s a game-changer. Its seamless integration with FL Studio makes it an indispensable tool in my setup now. It's intuitive enough for beginners while still offering immense value for pros – it really weeds out any complexities of beat making process making it more straightforward and enjoyable.

    As far as durability goes: So far so good! After using this pretty intensively over a month (my enthusiasm hasn't waned one bit), there are no signs of wear or glitches.

    In conclusion – if you're into music production (especially if you're an FL Studio user), then this could very well be the best investment you make all year.
    You won’t regret lighting up your workstation with Akai Fire.

    Who The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Akai Fire

    Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 2 6

    Who is the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 for?
    The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 is ideal for musicians and producers who are after versatility and superiority in their MIDI controller. It's particularly suited for users who use different DAWs and want a seamless connection to their wide range of music hardware. The KeyLab 61 Mk2 is also appreciated by professionals who value top-grade keys and pads, as well as those eager to explore a rich variety of sounds through its bundled software package.

    Why choose Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 over Akai Fire?
    While the Akai Fire offers dedicated integration with FL Studio, the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 stands out in numerous aspects:

    Connectivity: Emphasized by many users, the impressive connectivity options make it highly adaptable to various studio or live rig setups.
    Versatility: Unlike Akai Fire's exclusive focus on FL Studio, KeyLab 61 Mk2 can be used with different DAWs without compromising efficiency.
    Quality Keys and Pads: Boasting high-quality keys available in both 49-key and 61-key versions plus 16 pads, this controller provides a superior playing experience.
    Software Bundle: Included are Analog Lab software with over 6500 synth sounds, Ableton Live Lite, and Piano V. This wealth of sound options enables greater creativity compared to what’s available with Akai Fire.

    In sum, for musicians seeking flexibility across various DAWs, premium control features, and abundant sound opportunities—all from one device—the Arturia KeyLab MKii could be a more fitting choice compared to Akai Fire.

    Who The Akai Fire Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2

    Akai Fire 2 6

    Akai Fire: Designed for FL Studio Users
    The Akai Fire is a MIDI controller designed specifically for FL Studio users. It takes a tailored approach to music production with this DAW, offering features and controls that align closely with the software's unique workflows.

    Reasons someone might consider the Akai Fire over the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 could include:
    Specific application: The Akai Fire is built expressly for FL Studio users, making it a compelling choice if you primarily use this DAW.
    Cost-effective choice: The Akai Fire comes at an affordable price, making it an attractive option if you are budget-conscious or just starting out in music production.

    The Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2: Versatility and Connectivity
    On the other hand, the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 is recognized for its impressive connectivity options and versatility. It's suitable for professional studio or live rig setups due to its robust build quality and features.

    Reasons someone might choose Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 over Akai Fire could include:
    Versatility: If you prefer variety in your work, then the broad array of connectivity options and software bundles with well-built keys and pads that come with Arturia Keylab MKii might appeal to you.
    Advanced software bundle: The included Analog Lab software complete with 6500 synth sounds, Ableton Live Lite, and Piano V make this controller more than just a keyboard but rather a full-fledged creative tool.

    In summary, while both MIDI controllers receive high praise from users for their reliability and sound quality; your choice depends on your specific needs as a producer or musician.

    If the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 and Akai Fire aren't quite what you're looking for, I invite you to browse through my other comparison posts.

    Consider checking out my review on the Novation 61SL Mk3 vs Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61.

    If that's not up your alley, perhaps you'll find value in the Novation 61SL Mk3 vs Arturia KeyStep Pro comparison.

    For more options, also explore my thoughts on Novation 61SL Mk3 vs Nektar Impact LX88+.

    Lastly, if you're interested in an alternative to Akai Fire, have a look at the Novation 61SL Mk3 vs Akai Fire rundown.

    I've thoroughly researched and tested these products to help you find the best fit for your musical endeavors.


    Can the Akai Fire be used with DAWs other than FL Studio?

    u003cbu003eThe Akai Fireu003c/bu003e is specifically designed for seamless integration with FL Studio. While it may work to some degree with other Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs), its functionality and efficiency could be compromised, as its design and features are optimized for use with FL Studio. Thus, if you're using a different DAW, you might want to consider MIDI controllers that are more universally compatible.

    Does the Arturia KeyLab MKII 61 come in versions other than 49-key and 61-key?

    No, the u003cbu003eArturia KeyLab MKIIu003c/bu003e is specifically available in two versions: the 49-key and the 61-key models. These options offer flexibility depending on your playing style or workspace availability, but currently there aren't any smaller or larger versions available from Arturia for this particular model.

    In terms of software bundles included, how does Akai Fire compare to Arturia Keylab MKii?

    The u003cbu003eAkai Fireu003c/bu003e, being designed exclusively for use with FL Studio doesn't offer additional software bundles because all required functionality is already built into FL Studio. Conversely, u003cbu003eArturia KeyLab MKIIu003c/bu003e comes loaded with impressive software packages such as Analog Lab software that offers over 6500 synth sounds; Ableton Live Lite – a popular music production platform; and Piano V – delivering supreme quality piano sounds.

    If I am looking for a MIDI controller that provides robust connectivity options which one should I choose between these two?

    If your primary requirement is strong connectivity options then u003cbu003eThe Arturia KeyLab MKII 61u003c/bu003e, renowned for its unsurpassed connectivity would likely be an optimal choice. It integrates well into both studio environments and live rig setups providing versatile usability.

    Buyer's Guide: Important Things To Consider & Look Out For When Buying A Midi Keyboard

    1. Understand What a MIDI Controller Is

    At its core, a MIDI controller such as the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 or Akai Fire is an essential tool for music production in the digital age. These devices allow you to handle virtual instruments, control your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), and shape your music in real time – not unlike playing a traditional instrument. In fact, they make electronic music production seamless and exciting.

    2. Choose Your Connectivity Options Wisely

    A primary factor to consider when purchasing online is choosing a MIDI keyboard with suitable connectivity options for your needs. Most MIDI controllers come with USB connections which can be directly hooked up to your computer for easy use and integration with software like Ableton Live or FL Studio.

    3. Take Note of The Number of Keys

    Deciding on how many keys you need on your MIDI keyboard controller often boils down to personal preference and the type of music you're hoping to produce. While the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 comes with 61 keys, as suggested by its name, there are other options available ranging from mini 25-key models right up to full-size 88 key pianos.

    4. Assess The Quality And Type Of Keys

    Not all keys are made equal – action type varies between controllers and can drastically change the feel and responsiveness of your instrument. For instance, weighted keys mimic traditional piano touch whereas semi-weighted or synth-action keys offer lighter responses that are ideal for quick synth lines or energetic drum pad control.

    5. Check The Integration With Your DAW

    Ensure that the MIDI keyboard you're interested in works well seamlessly integrated with your preferred digital audio workstation (DAW). Some models offer specific features tailored towards particular programs such as Ableton Live integration or FL Studio integration which can greatly streamline workflow.

    6.Carefully Evaluate Extra Features

    Additional features like performance controls (faders, knobs, pads etc) provide more flexibility but may also add complexity to the interface – this could either enhance or hinder your creative process depending on how comfortable you are navigating these elements.

    For instance,the Akai Fire offers stunning visual feedback via an OLED display making it especially suited for live performances; while also boasting large RGB pads that provide excellent hands-on drum pad control enhancing tactile interaction during studio sessions.

    Similarly,the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2 stands out by offering high-quality build alongwith a wealth of performance controls alongwith extensive software package keeping both beginners & advance producers in mind.

    Should all these advanced capabilities seem daunting initially,it's great starting out simple.You can always seek expansion via modular setups as expertise grows.

    7.Read Reviews From Other Buyers: :

    Another major advantage of buying online is having access to peer reviews.This provides an invaluable insight into experiences faced by other users when using keyboards under practical circumstances.From build quality,to tech-support,to dealing with manufacturer defects,you might uncover concerns unmentioned within product descriptions.

    In conclusion,purchasing online allows browsing numerous alternatives at once,making it easier finding an option perfectly fitting individual necessities.Ensure understanding what differentiating various midi-controllers so maximum benefits reaped from chosen device.

    About Author

    Arielle P

    Arielle P

    Songwriter | Music Producer | Engineer.

    With a background in music production and a strong passion for education, Arielle is dedicated to helping emerging artists navigate the music industry. She has worked with a diverse range of artists, from indie rock bands to well-known hip-hop and grime artists. Arielle's unique approach to teaching focuses on empowering artists to take control of their brand, ensuring they retain creative ownership throughout their journey. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting with new sounds in her home studio and sharing her insights through music production tutorials and workshops.

    📧 Email Arielle