Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 vs Akai MPC Studio: 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 MPC Studio.

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 Essential 49





Akai MPC Studio



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Key Differences Between The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 And The Akai MPC Studio

Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 vs Akai MPC Studio

The main differences between Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 and Akai MPC Studio are their unique features, strengths and the software packages that come with each.

Arturia KeyLab Essential 49, a universal MIDI controller, stands out with its support for a 4×4 pad grid and longer faders for the keyboard.

It also offers DAW control, custom maps, and comes with an impressive software package that includes Analog Lab V (with over 2000 synth sounds), Ableton Live Lite, UVI Grand Piano model D among others. Hence, it is said to focus more on classic synths, organs and pianos. A key point to note is the build quality of Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 which has been highly appreciated by users.

In contrast,
Akai MPC Studio shines when it comes to its tap tempo control feature and availability of an input connector for the sustain pedal as well as an arpeggiator function. Its software bundle includes different types of sounds through MPC Essentials and Ableton Live Lite among others so that it can cater to different musical tastes.

  • Some users have found Akai's keys harder in pressing than those of Arturia.
  • Potential inconsistency across various keys in terms of feel on newer models has been reported.

In conclusion,
The choice between these two high-quality music production equipment mainly depends on personal preference regarding features like key feel or included software packages etc., budget considerations, and specific needs like live performance use or studio use etc.

The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 is deeper than most MIDI keyboards which could offer more playability while Akai MPC Studio‘s unique functions such as tap tempo control make it a strong competitor.

SpecificationsArturia KeyLab Essential 49Akai MPC Studio
TypeMIDI ControllerMusic Production Controller
Number of Keys490
Velocity SensitiveYesYes
ConnectivityUSB, MIDI OutUSB
PowerUSB Bus PoweredUSB Bus Powered
Software IncludedAnalog Lab, Ableton Live Lite, UVI Grand Piano Model DMPC Software 2.0
Dimensions31.2 x 10.5 x 2.6 inches11.2 x 10.1 x 1.9 inches
Weight7.1 lbs2.0 lbs

What You Need To Know About Arturia KeyLab Essential 49

The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 is a fantastic tool for music lovers! This keyboard is packed with cool features but still super easy to use.

With 49 keys that respond to how hard you play, it feels like a mix between a synth and a piano. What's really neat is the software that comes with it – Analog Lab V which boasts over 2000 synth sounds, Ableton Live Lite for creating music, and UVI Grand Piano model D for realistic piano sounds.

You'll get all kinds of controls on this keyboard: 1 clickable encoder, 9 encoders, 9 faders that are 30mm long, along with switches and wheels for different effects like modulation and pitch bending.

Plus, there are pressure-sensitive pads that react to your touch – very cool!

One standout feature is the perfect integration with Analog Lab. You can pick sounds easily, switch parts instantly and even browse presets without fuss. And remember the software? It can work by itself or be plugged into other programs (VST, VST3, AU or AAX).

The KeyLab Essential gives you more than 7000 preset sounds powered by TAE technology from Arturia’s award-winning V Collection.

The whole idea behind the KeyLab Essential is making music fun and easy. It's about removing distractions so you can focus on your creativity. The keyboard responds quickly to your touch while you're composing or editing on your digital audio workstation (DAW), plus browsing through presets is a breeze.

So if this piques your interest head over here to learn more about the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49!

My 1 Month Review Of The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49

Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 vs Akai MPC Studio

Initial Impressions

Wow, the moment I opened the package of my new Arturia KeyLab Essential 49, I was completely taken aback by its sleek, professional aesthetic. With 49 keys and a number of knobs, faders and pads, it immediately felt like a serious piece of kit.

The Setup

Setting it up was a breeze. It literally took me less than five minutes to connect this MIDI Controller to my PC using the provided USB cable. And let's not forget how seamless its integration with DAWs like Ableton Live and Logic Pro is!

It's almost as if the KeyLab Essential was made specifically for these programs.

The Feel

Now let's talk about something crucial: the feel of those keys under your fingers when you're in full creative flow. As someone who's played piano for years, I was pleasantly surprised by how expressive and responsive this semi-weighted keyboard is.

The drum pads also have an excellent response – they're nicely tactile without being too heavy or stiff.

Bullet Points:
– Professional looking design
– Easy setup process
– Seamless DAW integration
– Expressive and responsive semi-weighted keyboard
– Excellent drum pad response

The Sound

And then there’s the sound! The virtual instruments samples that come with Arturia’s Analog Lab software are top-notch! A month into playing around with them and I’m still discovering new sounds that inspire me to create even more.


Of course, no product is perfect, right? The drum pads could be a bit bigger for finger drumming but honestly, that’s just nitpicking on my part because they work perfectly fine for triggering samples or chord progressions.

Another thing is – this isn't exactly lightweight. It has some heftiness to it which can be hard to lug around if you're constantly on-the-go. But hey – good things don't always come in light packages!

Bullet Points:
– Slightly small drum pads
– Not very lightweight

To sum it all up: After a month with the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49, I've found it to be an impressive MIDI controller that not only looks professional but feels great to play too. Sure there are a couple of minor drawbacks but they really don’t affect its overall performance and value.

It seems like each time I sit down at this keyboard I discover something new about it – whether that be another helpful feature or amazing sound from their vast library of VSTs.

If you’re looking for a reliable MIDI controller with plenty features – trust me – you can't go wrong with Arturia KeyLab Essential 49.

What You Need To Know About Akai MPC Studio

The Akai MPC Studio is a special workstation packed with all the sounds you need, such as basses, leads, effects and keyboards. This tool is made by a reliable brand called Akai Professional. It's perfect for creating beats and producing electronic music. What makes it unique? Well, it's a mix of old-school hardware and modern software.

This means you get the fun hands-on beat making from classic MPC gear AND the high-tech power of today's computers. So cool, right? And guess what? You also get a DAW-style software environment offering a 128-track sequencer for supreme versatility.

Need to know more about this awesome product? Check out more details on the official Akai Professional page to help you make an informed decision!

My 1 Month Review Of The Akai MPC Studio

My 1 Month Review Of The Akai MPC Studio


Well, folks, it's been a month of me getting to grips with the Akai MPC Studio.
Let's just say it was a bit of a rollercoaster ride.

Initial Impressions

From the get-go, I was blown away by just how sleek this thing looked. It had an appealing modern aesthetic that made me feel like a music magician even before I had played my first beat!
Honestly, the Akai MPC Studio is one solid piece of gear. I mean, it ticks all the boxes when it comes to design – compact, portable and well-constructed.

User Experience

• The sheer power packed into this little beast was unreal! It's like having an entire music studio at your fingertips.
• Set up was not as seamless as I'd hoped though. I had some considerable trouble installing drivers on my Mac and getting the software started up.
• Once set up though, oh boy – magic happened! The beat-making process felt intuitive and responsive. The pads are so sensitive that they lend a whole dynamic level to your playing.
• The ample amount of onboard sounds and synths were impressive too. However, diving in between menus could be tiresome; there’s quite a bit of a learning curve here.

The Sound Quality

Okay let’s talk about what matters most: sound quality! The sound is pristine!.
Each sample came out clear and true whilst using Akai MPC Studio – all sparkling highs and deep lows. For serious musicians who value audio fidelity above all else – this will not disappoint.


If there's one thing that grinds my gears about the Akai MPC Studio; it would be its dependence on computers for full functionality.
I wish it were truly standalone because sometimes you just want to jam without being tethered to your laptop.


Look, after spending a month with Akai MPC Studio… I'm in love.
Sure, there were some bumps along the road (I'm looking at you setup process) but once we got past those teething issues – things went pretty smoothly.
If you're willing to put in time learning its quirks and have access to computer – this might just be one helluva addition to your home studio.

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

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

The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 is perfect for musicians and music enthusiasts who value versatile functionality, inclusive software packages, and a high-quality build. It offers an excellent balance between performance and price.
It can be an ideal choice over the Akai MPC Studio because:

• Arturia KeyLab's 4×4 pad grid and longer faders provide a better playing experience.
• The Arturia features an impressive software bundle including Analog Lab V with over 2000 synth sounds, Ableton Live Lite, and UVI Grand Piano model D.
• It has been praised for its solid build quality that integrates easily into various studio setups.

However, it should be noted that those who need a tap tempo control feature or want harder keys might prefer the Akai. Also, Akai's software bundle focuses more on MPC Essentials which could cater to different musical tastes.

Budget considerations, specific personal preferences in terms of key feel or included software packages will play a significant role in selecting either of these two controllers. Regardless of your choice, you can expect both units to offer high-quality music production capabilities.

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

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

Who is the Akai MPC Studio For?
The Akai MPC Studio is ideal for both aspiring and professional music producers who desire to have control over their rhythm and beat production. It's perfect for those who want a physically interactive experience with their music tools, thanks to its tap tempo control feature and the hard-pressing keys.

Why Choose Akai MPC Studio over Arturia KeyLab Essential 49?
There are several reasons why one might choose the Akai MPC Studio over the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49, including:

  • The Akai MPC Studio’s exceptional features such as the input connector for sustain pedal and arpeggiator function make it a strong competitor. This provides enhanced musical expression for more seasoned players.
  • The Akai's software bundle includes the popular Ableton Live Lite and caters to a wide variety of musical genres, offering flexibility in producing different types of music.
  • The keys on the Akai MPC Studio have been reported by users as harder or better to press than Arturia's, which can be appealing to those aiming for a tactile response from their equipment.
  • The compact nature of the Akai MPC studio makes it ideal for producers that require mobility, able to fit neatly into most production setups or carry-on bags.

It's important to note that while both products are high-quality options in music production equipment, the right choice heavily depends on personal preference, individual needs, and unique musical style. With its dedicated features and diverse software bundle, the Akai MPC Studio stands as an extraordinary tool for rhythm-based musicians and producers.

If you didn't find the comparison between the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 and Akai MPC Studio quite to your taste, not to worry—I've got more great content for you. You might be interested in checking out my other posts comparing similar products.

Take a look at Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 vs Arturia KeyLab 61 Mk2, or delve into the differences between Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 vs Novation 61SL Mk3.

If those don't tickle your fancy, perhaps you'd prefer exploring Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 vs Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 or even Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 vs Arturia KeyStep Pro.

There's plenty to discover and compare to find that perfect piece of gear!


What are some unique features of the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 that make it stand out in comparison to other MIDI controllers?

The Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 is not only a universal MIDI controller, but it also has several distinct features that set it apart. It supports a 4×4 pad grid and has relatively longer faders for the keyboard, providing more control and playability. Furthermore, its integrated software package – including u003cbu003eAnalog Lab Vu003c/bu003e with over 2000 synth sounds, Ableton Live Lite, and UVI Grand Piano model D – forms an impressive bundle that caters specifically to musicians who love classic synths, organs and pianos.

What aspects of the Akai MPC Studio might appeal more to certain users compared to the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49?

The Akai MPC Studio could be particularly appealing for those who value rhythmic precision due to its u003cbu003etap tempo control featureu003c/bu003e. Additionally, this model includes an input connector for sustain pedals offering extra versatility in musical expression. Users may also appreciate its harder keys which can provide a different tactile experience during playing compared with softer keys like those on the Arturia. The Akai's software bundle includes MPC Essentials which is known for creating drums tracks or loops quickly making it suitable for beat-making artists.

In terms of build quality and integration into studio setups, how does the Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 compare to other music production equipment?

According to user feedbacks,the solid build quality of u003cbu003ethe Arturia KeyLab Essential 49u003c/bu003e stands out among other music production equipments.It is described as a ‘state-of-art' MIDI controller not only because of its robustness but also due to how seamlessly it integrates into various studio setups. This makes it highly versatile irrespective of your recording environment – be it home studios or professional recording spaces.

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

1. Determine your specific needs and how it fits your production workflow

When venturing out to purchase a MIDI keyboard online, the first thing you should do is assess your specific needs. Are you shopping for music production or live performance gear? Maybe even both?

Knowing what you need not only saves time but also guides your purchasing decision. You might want to consider brands like Arturia KeyLab Essential 49, which offers innovative features suited for both music production and performances.

Your particular style of beat making, studio setup, and overall production workflow will also influence the ideal MIDI controller for you.

2. Check out product reviews thoroughly

The Internet is awash with lots of information about MIDI keyboards with different functionalities, so ensure to check out reviews before purchasing one! Brands like Arturia KeyLab and Akai MPC Studio consistently get high marks in sectors of software integration, synthesizer control, and drum machine controller capabilities among other aspects.

Reading honest user experiences can help pinpoint certain qualities that may not be advertised on the seller's page.

3. Understand what DAW Integration means for you

For seamless connectivity between your MIDI keyboard and digital audio workstation (DAW), buying a device with excellent DAW integration is essential in modern music technology.

Many models today offer this feature so make sure that the one you choose integrates well with your preferred DAW – an art at which the Akai MPC Studio excels.

4. Consider size based on available space

Before buying a keyboard controller online, carefully take note of its dimensions – especially if space is at a premium in your studio setup or travel bag! Generally speaking, more keys mean larger equipment while pad controllers tend to be more compact.

5. Think about portability

Are you regularly gigging or moving around? Portability then becomes an important factor! Generally speaking, smaller MIDI keyboards are versatile for travelling musicians whilst larger options are better-suited within studio setups or static locations where they can remain set up over longer periods of time.

6.Pad Controller vs Keyboard Controller: Which suits my style?

If beat-making forms a significant part of your creative output then perhaps leaning towards a MIDI controller like Akai's MPC Studio,a renowned brand known particularly for its exquisite pad controller design might be fitting.You'll have access to accomplished performance pads suitable for launching clips,sampling,synthesizer control & designing unique beats effortlessly without requiring additional equipment.

Similarly,music producers preferring traditional piano layouts would find products by Arturia such as“KeyLab Essential 49”– an impressive all-round workhorse,best-suited as it offers full-sized keys,a host of assignable controls alongside advanced software integration ensuring total compatibility within their preferred DAW.

7.Check Compatibility With Your Software

Your new equipment must work seamlessly alongside existing audio softwares.Hence,researching whether potential additions align with current softwares & their functionality becomes imperative before any purchase decisions.

For instance,MIDI keyboards from Arturia excel specifically due to their deep-rooted software integration – high-quality presets,faders,knobs,pads – everything must feel intuitive & operate smoothly without causing unnecessary headaches down the line.

Once decided,taking these factors into account can assist immensely when buying a new midi keyboard.Ensure valuable insights,equipment specifics,necessary compatibility checks & chosen style blend together perfectly before adding any new addition within the desired/budgeted price range.So,navigate wisely as correct choices could indeed transform musical endeavours beyond imagination while amplifying overall creative experience massively!!

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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