Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 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 Essential 49 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…

Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 vs Akai Fire: A Comprehensive Comparison and Review

At A Glance:

Arturia KeyLab Essential 49


Akai Fire

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Key Differences Between The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 And The Akai Fire

Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 vs Akai Fire

The main differences between Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 and Akai Fire are primarily based on their design features, software compatibility, and user preferences.

The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49, offers a 49-key velocity-sensitive keyboard with a hybrid synth that allows for seamless integration with Analog Lab. It also supports third-party instruments and software such as Ableton Live Lite and UVI Grand Piano Model D.

Additional distinguishing features of the KeyLab includes weighted keys which give it a more realistic piano feel. It also has more faders (9 vs 8) and pads (16 vs 12), giving it an advantage over the Akai Professional MPK 49.

On the other hand, the Akai Fire is specifically designed for use with FL Studio. This makes it an optimal choice if FL Studio is your preferred Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Its design centers around pad control options, making it potentially ideal for beat-making or finger drumming MIDI.

If you prefer keys that require harder pressing, then Akai's keys might be ideally suited to your preference over Arturia or Novation's keys. However, reports suggest potential issues with inconsistent pressure across different keys in newer models of Akai keyboards.

  • The KeyLab Essential 49 provides excellent key-related features.
  • The Akai Fire offers specialized integration with FL Studio.

Both of these MIDI controllers rank among the top choices in today's market. Your final selection will likely depend on personal preference such as the sounds you wish to create, your preferred software compatibility requirements, and your playing style.

In summary, both devices offer distinct features catering to different preferences: The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 positions itself as a versatile MIDI controller excelling in key-related aspects while the Akai Fire stands out through its specialized integration with FL Studio software.

SpecificationsArturia KeyLab Essential 49Akai Fire
TypeMIDI ControllerPerformance Controller for FL Studio
Number of Keys49None (16 x 4 pad matrix)
Velocity SensitiveYesYes
Rotary Encoders94
Transport ControlsYesYes
Software IncludedAnalog Lab, Ableton Live Lite, UVI Grand Piano Model DFL Studio Fruity Fire Edition
USB Bus PoweredYesYes
Dimensions31.2 x 10.5 x 2.1 inches12.44 x 6.55 x 1.85 inches
Weight7.1 lbs1.68 lbs

What You Need To Know About Arturia KeyLab Essential 49

The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 is a music-making machine that will take your creativity to the next level. This keyboard comes with 49 velocity-sensitive keys, giving you a real piano-like feel.

Plus, it's packed with controls for creating your perfect sound— 1 clickable encoder, 9 encoders, 9 faders (30mm each), and six transport switches. It even has four command switches and eight touch-sensitive pads for added versatility.

What sets this keyboard apart is its software integration. The KeyLab Essential comes with three software programs: Analog Lab V, Ableton Live Lite, and UVI Grand Piano model D. With Analog Lab V, you have access to an astounding 2000 synth sounds—giving you endless sonic possibilities.

The best part? It's super easy to use the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49! The controls are smartly assigned for maximum ease of use and you can choose between operating it standalone or as a plug-in (supports VST, VST3, AU, AAX).

With the built-in features that streamline your music production process and quick preset browsing that removes all distractions from your creative flow—you'll be making beautiful music in no time! And let's not forget about the over 7000 TAE powered preset sounds from Arturia’s award-winning V Collection.

In short, KeyLab Essential is all about accessibility—it aims to make the process of making music as quick and intuitive as possible! For more information head over to their [official page]( Enjoy creating!

My 1 Month Review Of The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49

My 1 Month Review Of The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49

Initial Impressions

I'll admit, when I first laid eyes on the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49, I was mildly impressed. It looked sleek and professional with its tidy layout and it felt… well, ‘essential', just as the name suggested. There was an enticing promise of simplicity blended with sophistication in this keyboard.

A month into the journey

Now that it's been a month since we got acquainted, I can confidently say that I haven't been led astray by false promises.
First off, you have to admire the build. This thing is sturdy – it's held up beautifully even after long hours of use and some accidental rough handling. And at the same time, it's surprisingly lightweight.
The keys are semi-weighted and velocity sensitive, which gives me excellent responsiveness while playing – making my work even more enjoyable.

Navigating through controls

One thing that really stood out for me were the pitch bend and modulation wheels. Both of them have this pleasing rubberized feel and they're incredibly smooth to operate.

As for the rest of the controls – there's a certain intuitive simplicity about them.
The nine encoders and faders, all properly assigned out of the box score high on functionality.
There’s also a handy set of transport controls along with DAW command buttons that make recording a breeze.

Making Music

The real magic happens when you actually start creating music on this beauty. The features are packed to support creativity without overwhelming you.
The KeyLab Essential 49 comes loaded with Analog Lab software with over 5000 sounds from Arturia’s V-Collection.
Every time I sit down to play, I discover something new – whether it's a fresh sound or a way to tweak an old favorite.

The Verdict

To sum up my experience after one month:

– The build is solid yet lightweight
– The keys give excellent responsiveness
– Controls are intuitive and user-friendly
– Comes bundled with powerful software

Overall, if you're looking for an affordable MIDI controller that doesn't skimp on features or functionality, then give Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 serious consideration! It has genuinely enhanced my music-making process.

What You Need To Know About Akai Fire

The Akai Fire is a must-have tool for any creative music maker. It has been made specifically for FL Studio DAW platform and connects easily with plug-and-play USB MIDI. This makes setting it up easy as pie – no complicated procedures!

You'll love its 64 cool, colorful, and touch-sensitive pads. These are great for creating patterns in the step sequencer and recording notes or synth parts. Imagine having a full MIDI keyboard right at your fingertips!

In addition, in drum mode, the layout is just like an MPC Style 16-pad – a feature you'll appreciate if you love making beats.

It also comes with four groups of assignable touch-capacitive knobs/encoders. These can control mixer, channel, or even user-assignable mappings.

No more hassle when navigating your channel rack, browser, toolbar or playlist windows either! The Akai Fire has dedicated controls that make all this simple. It even lets you browse audio and project files easily with feedback from its clear OLED display.

And guess what? It includes the FL Studio Fruity Fire Edition (Download). This offers unlimited tracks, excellent onboard effects and virtual instruments too – not to mention full automation functionality – that's music language for complete control over your sound!

This product was crafted in China.

Do check out the [official Akai page]( to learn more about this awesome gadget!

My 1 Month Review Of The Akai Fire

My 1 Month Review Of The Akai Fire


After a month of use, I've gotten to know my Akai Fire profoundly well. It's difficult to not become attached to a tool that has positively transformed my music recording and production process.

The Setup

Setting up the Akai Fire was a breeze. It's amazing how this little piece of hardware connects effortlessly to my computer via USB. The inclusive FL Studio Fruity Fire Edition software was easily installed and I was up and running in no time.

User Interface & Display

The very moment I laid eyes on it, I realized it had an extremely intuitive layout, with its 4 x 16 matrix grid making the whole beat-making process so much more efficient for me.
The RGB pad lighting is not only visually appealing but also extremely practical for my sessions – mildly glowing pads gently illuminate my workspace and help me perfectly time late-night inspiration!

All About Performance

It's been a game-changer for me. The physical control over parameters makes tweaking on-the-fly seamless and enjoyable.
I love the fact that each pad can be assigned to multiple functions – drum triggering, note input or even mixing.
The step sequencer mode has been particularly useful during my creative jams.
With instant note repeat capabilities, I found myself creating fantastic complex patterns easily.

A Few Drawbacks…

However, everything isn't all rosy with the Akai Fire;
I wish it had more knobs for physical controls rather than relying heavily on mouse clicks in FL Studio.
The absence of velocity-sensitive pads is certainly a shortcoming that needs addressing.

In Conclusion…

So there you have it – after using the Akai Fire for a month-“am I happy?” A definite yes.
This little powerhouse has streamlined my workflow like no other before it – couple that with its comprehensive functionality, visual appeal (thank you RGB lighting) and intuitive layout- It’s hard not wanting more from it! Despite its few drawbacks,I believe anyone who uses FL Studio will benefit from having this controller as part of their setup.

Here are some key points about Akai Fire:

* Super easy setup
* Intuitive layout
* Comprehensive functionality
* The joy of physical control over parameters
* Visually appealing RGB lighting
* A few let downs include- lack of knobs control and non-velocity sensitive pads

It may not have hit every mark perfectly yet in terms of features but what it does do well is enough to make an impressive impact. Here's hoping that future iterations build upon this strong foundation!

Who The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Akai Fire

Who The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Akai Fire

Who is Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 for?
The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 is designed for musicians and music producers who value a realistic piano feel and ultimate control. This is due to the controller's weighted keys, which provide an authentic touch, making it ideal for those who play piano and want to replicate that experience digitally.

Why choose Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 over Akai Fire?
• The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 has nine faders compared to eight on the Akai Professional MPK 49, granting you more control over your tunes.
• It also has a superior number of pads, with sixteen pads compared to the Akai's twelve. This presents more opportunities for customization and creativity.
• With its unique compatibility, this MIDI controller integrates seamlessly with Analog Lab as well as other third-party instruments and software such as Ableton Live Lite and UVI Grand Piano model D. If you frequently use these platforms, this could be a significant advantage.

Potential Benefits of Choosing Akai Fire:
It’s important to note that if you're an avid user of FL Studio or prefer harder pressing keys, the Akai Fire may be better suited to your needs. However, recent reports have highlighted potential inconsistencies in pressure across different keys in newer models.

In summary: consider your preferences in terms of key features such as key weight and pad quantity when choosing between these two MIDI controllers.

Additionally, think about which software platforms you typically use – are they compatible with either device? Ultimately, choose the controller that best accommodates your specific requirements and workflow processes.

Who The Akai Fire Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49

Who The Akai Fire Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49

Who is Akai Fire for?
Akai Fire is uniquely designed for music producers and musicians who predominantly use FL Studio as their Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). The pad-centric design makes it the ideal instrument for those who engage in beat-making or finger drumming MIDI.

Why choose Akai Fire over Arturia KeyLab Essential 49?
While both devices are top-rated MIDI controllers, the choice ultimately boils down to personal preferences and specific work requirements.

• If you have a preference for harder pressing keys, you may find Akai’s keys more suitable than those of Arturia or Novation.
• The Akai Fire offers specialized integration with FL Studio which stands out compared to other controllers.
• If your music production or performance heavily involves beat-making or finger drumming MIDI, the design of Akai Fire caters to these needs with its focus on pad option control.

However, bear in mind that there have been reports of potential inconsistencies in pressure across different keys in more recent models of Akai keyboards.

Both Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 and Akai Fire offer unique features that cater to different musical styles and preferences.

While the KeyLab shines with its key-related features and universal compatibility, the Akai Fire excels with its specialized integration with FL Studio. Choose based on your individual needs as a music producer or musician.

If you're not quite feeling the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 or the Akai Fire, don't worry. I've got a few other posts where I compare similar products that might be a better fit for your needs.

You could take a look at my comparison between the M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro and the Akai MPC Studio. If you're more interested in Arturia, check out how the M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro stacks up against the Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2.

We also have an interesting head-to-head between the M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro and Novation 61SL Mk3. And if you want to explore something outside these brands, there's also a detailed comparison of M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro versus Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61.

Lots of great alternatives to help you make an informed decision!


What are some of the unique features of the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 that make it a strong competitor in the MIDI controller market?

The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 is a robust MIDI controller with several unique features that make it stand out. It has a 49-key velocity-sensitive keyboard with a hybrid synth, which enables seamless integration with Analog Lab software for creating diverse soundscapes. Moreover, its compatibility extends to other third-party instruments and software like Ableton Live Lite and UVI Grand Piano model D. The KeyLab also offers weighted keys for an authentic piano feel, more faders (9 vs 8), and more pads (16 vs 12) when compared to counterparts like the Akai Professional MPK 49.

In what circumstances might someone prefer the Akai Fire over other MIDI controllers?

The Akai Fire stands out as a MIDI controller designed specifically for use with FL Studio, one of the most popular digital audio workstations used by music producers today. Its design prioritizes pad option control, making it ideal for beat making or finger drumming MIDI – skills often favored by electronic musicians and hip-hop producers. For those who prefer harder pressing keys, many sources suggest that Akai keys could be better suited than those on controllers from Arturia or Novation.

Are there any known issues or concerns regarding the performance of these keyboards?

While both keyboards generally receive high praise, there have been reports of potential issues involving inconsistencies in pressure across different keys in newer models of Akai keyboards. This issue could potentially affect playability or user experience depending on one's playing style.

If I am new to music production, which among these two should I go for?

Both controllers are top choices in today's market but your personal requirements would determine which is suitable. If you have specific preferences like harder pressing keys or specialized integration with FL Studio then Akai Fire would be optimal. On another hand if you're seeking universal application alongside key-related strengths then look towards The Arturia Keylab Essential 49.

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

1. Define Your Specific Needs

Before making any purchase, it's crucial to assess your individual needs and preferences. Are you seeking a MIDI controller for live performance control, a tool for bedroom music production, or perhaps a device specifically designed for software integration?

When browsing various models like the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49, you need to pinpoint whether you prioritize having full-size piano keys, an integrated drum pad controller, or particular DAW compatibility.

2. Opt For Wide-Ranging Software Integration Capabilities

A key factor that should influence the final decision-making process is the potential extent of software integration. Some MIDI keyboards such as the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 provide seamless compatibility with popular music production software suites.

This is crucial in enabling direct control over your mix directly from your keyboard without needing another piece of capable hardware.

3. Consider Size and Key Count

Size does matter when it comes to buying MIDI keyboards online! Note that the number of keys varies significantly between models. Depending on your needs – composing complex chords or playing simple melodies – determine whether a model offering fewer piano keys will suffice or if something like the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 with its ample 49-key range is essential.

4. Explore DAW Compatibility

The beauty of MIDI controllers lies in their flexibility; however, it's essential this flexibility extends to DAW compatibility as well.. As much as different models offer versatile features such as USB connectivity which promotes ease-of-use across multiple setups, they may not be compatible with all Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs).

It's essential therefore before purchase to ensure that your chosen controller syncs seamlessly with your preferred DAW.

5. Prioritize Performance Control Features

When buying a MIDI keyboard online ensure it offers comprehensive performance control features but within reason and according to usefulness towards achieving musical objectives effectively.. Will you benefit from performance pads similar to an Akai Fire? Do other features like velocity-sensitive keys align better with your style?

A comprehensive analysis will guide you in fine-tuning performance controls prioritizing those that make most sense musically without unnecessarily over complicating processes.

6. Evaluate Build Quality and Design Aesthetics

Sound quality notwithstanding physicality matters too when choosing a MIDI keyboard! Trade-offs may have been made during production in terms of overall build quality including sturdiness and robustness or design aesthetics including sleekness and modern appeal which can impact upon user experience significantly either negatively or positively depending on specifics..

Give due regard therefore to these factors before settling on any one model.

7: Check Connectivity Options


Last but certainly not least consider connectivity options crucial towards ensuring maximum versatility within any given setup irrespective of size…

Models offering both traditional MIDI connectors alongside modern USB connectivity provide flexibility across both vintage equipment inclusive classic synths right through contemporary computer-based studios enhancing overall functionality tremendously thereby facilitating greater creative possibilities fundamentally while engendering far less complications technically..

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.

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