Akai MPK49 vs Novation Sl MkII49 (with Live)

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
GabryRox33
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Akai MPK49 vs Novation Sl MkII49 (with Live)

Post by GabryRox33 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:04 am

Hello, I’m getting ready to pull the trigger on a Midi-Controller Keyboard and have essentially narrowed it down to the following 2 choices:

Akai MPK-49 (~$335)

Novation Sl MkII-49 (~$420)

I’m using Live Suite 8 on a Win7 Ultimate-64 system. I’m a newbie but will be primarily be using Live & the Controller for producing and remixing dance/trance oriented music. At this time I have no plans to play live or DJ. Nor do I expect to make major use of the pads on either unit.

I’ve read good things about both of these units, not real sure that there are major functionality differences between the two, aside from the ~$90 price difference. One difference I believe is that the Akai already comes loaded with presets that will automatically map to Live. I know the Novation can map but seems this can only be done via 3rd party software? It seems on the surface then that the Novation could be more difficult to configure, which is a concern for me being a newbie.

Bottom line, for those of you that have used either or both of these, especially in conjunction with Live, I’d be very interested in hearing your opinions.
Hardware: Intel 2600k, 8GB RAM, 15TB+ HDDs, Roland Fantom X6, AKAI MPK249, Roland MC-307, KRK V6's, Novation 2x4 Audio Hub
Software: Ableton Intro 9.5

esky
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Re: Akai MPK49 vs Novation Sl MkII49 (with Live)

Post by esky » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:27 am

Hi, i'd say forget about automapping and presets, they never fit what y o u need. I bought a MPK 49 in November and sold it last week, it was a pain. Knobs and Faders are ok, the Keyboard is awful. Every operation you do has to be confirmed by pressing an "enter knob" which is so unelegant...i hated it. Ongoing klack klack klack...dreadful!
I don't know anything about Novation though, so i strongly recommend you go to a shop and check functions and operations very careful before you spend your money...

ksonic
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Re: Akai MPK49 vs Novation Sl MkII49 (with Live)

Post by ksonic » Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:44 am

Of the two, get the Novation. I, too, had an MPK and I hated it. I liked the keys, but ended up never using any of the mappable buttons or knobs. Not to mention my computer didn't like running live while having the MPK plugged in.

While I haven't used the 49Sl Mkii, I have had a lot of success with Novation products. They are really solid and just, well, work.

Given all that, if you're just starting out like you say, unless you know exactly what you want all that extra crap for and know for sure that you're going to use it, I'd suggest getting a basic 49 key keyboard. All the extra knobs and faders might look cool and you might think you're going to use them, but more than likely you won't. Trust me, I made the same mistake!

It's up to you, but if you just want cheap functionality, go basic.
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” -Stephen R. Covey

Evengy
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Re: Akai MPK49 vs Novation Sl MkII49 (with Live)

Post by Evengy » Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:59 pm

i have a mpk 49 and it is really shit. i prefer my roland a-800 pro over all keyboards in the price range until 500 €.
the feeling of the keys is awesome, try it :)

Cowlash
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Re: Akai MPK49 vs Novation Sl MkII49 (with Live)

Post by Cowlash » Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:06 pm

Another vote for the Novation.

I also had the MPK49 first and returned it within the first week. The faders dont follow what is happening on the screen, you have to select the bank buttons (ABC). If you go passed 24 tracks, you will run in to issues.

Now I have the Remote 37SL and although I don't use automap (its rubbish) and have had no support when contacting customer service, I would still get another one. In fact I'm looking at adding a Zero to the set up at the minute.

su
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Re: Akai MPK49 vs Novation Sl MkII49 (with Live)

Post by su » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:44 pm

I'll throw in on the sl mkii too.

I find the Ableton template gets me about 90% of the way there without having to configure anything. Slider and buttons work as a nice control surface without any additional fiddling.

To get the other 10%, I simply map macro buttons which then are automagically mapped to the sl mkii's lighted knobs.

I don't use automap, but don't find it necessary

Absolutely love the feel of the keyboard.

JuanSOLO
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Re: Akai MPK49 vs Novation Sl MkII49 (with Live)

Post by JuanSOLO » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:49 pm

I prefer Novation keys too.
I dont use Automap either.

matthews
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Re: Akai MPK49 vs Novation Sl MkII49 (with Live)

Post by matthews » Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:02 pm

Been on the mkii for about a year now. No real regrets. The keys are quality, and you can tweak the remote script to your liking if you really need something customized (I switched the "blue hand" controls to the regular knobs instead of the endless encoders).

My only issue is that you cannot adjust the encoder speed on the standard template, in order to go from 1 to 128, it takes like 2 full turns, which is a pain in the ass. Using the knobs, problem solved.

condra
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Re: Akai MPK49 vs Novation Sl MkII49 (with Live)

Post by condra » Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:48 am

I’ve owned both and I don’t think it’s a clean cut decision.

The keys on the Novation are more playable IMO, but there are not many more advantages if you don’t use Automap.
Automap is not for everyone. It’s certainly not for me. The knobs and faders are much better on the AKAI.

The MPK49 is a great bit of kit. The 12 pads are great for drumming (once you upgrade them with tape).
The keys are not as playable as the Novation stuff, but only because they are built heavy and tough.
The 8 knobs map to your rack macros with blue hand thingy, and the faders map to your mixer.

I would say get the Novation if you play a lot of synths, but get the MPK if you want great features and build quality.

I use an MPK49 and I love it. I wouldn’t swap it for a Novation SL, though I would be tempted by the Impulse.

JuanSOLO
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Re: Akai MPK49 vs Novation Sl MkII49 (with Live)

Post by JuanSOLO » Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:18 am

You can use the User Config in the Remote Scripts folder that comes with Ableton to get the 'blue hand' action on the Novation.

One Reason
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Re: Akai MPK49 vs Novation Sl MkII49 (with Live)

Post by One Reason » Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:17 am

I use an MPK49 and I freaking love it, very playable, AKAI is VERY familiar with Live (being a partner and all). easy as hell to use and solid as a brick.

Less expensive too. :mrgreen:

I use in conjunction with an APC 40. Couldn't ask for better equipment.

thomassmith
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Re: Akai MPK49 vs Novation Sl MkII49 (with Live)

Post by thomassmith » Wed May 16, 2012 6:46 pm

I have also the same problem.
Cannot decide between them.
Any othe suggestions?
Or should I check them in the shop?

UltimateOutsider
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Re: Akai MPK49 vs Novation Sl MkII49 (with Live)

Post by UltimateOutsider » Wed May 16, 2012 10:55 pm

thomassmith wrote:I have also the same problem.
Cannot decide between them.
Any othe suggestions?
Or should I check them in the shop?
You really ought to check them out in the store, if you can. Both will work with Live just fine, but keyboard feel is totally subjective. I love the Akai's keys, and I tested both (and many other controllers) in the store first. Some people can't stand how they feel, though. :|

Just note that you definitely need to upgrade the Akai pads for them to be usable. There are plenty of kits and do-it-yourself posts around to explain how.

thomassmith
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Re: Akai MPK49 vs Novation Sl MkII49 (with Live)

Post by thomassmith » Thu May 17, 2012 5:05 pm

THank you UltimateOutsider!
You never had any issues wiht the akai mpk49?
How did you feel about the Novation?
Can you recommend any shops because I don't think trying any of the keyboards is allowed.
I am near Manchester and Liverpool.
Have been to Dawson's already.

cpyatak
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Re: Akai MPK49 vs Novation Sl MkII49 (with Live)

Post by cpyatak » Thu May 17, 2012 6:34 pm

I have a first generation ReMOTE 61 SL and love it. I do use automap with Live and that works fine for me -- there are unassigned knobs and buttons in the template that can quickly be assigned to whatever I need them for. I also like that I can see an entire bank of information (not just 1 control at a time) in the display at the top of the keyboard. As a keyboard player it's my favorite semiwieghted keyboard I've ever played, although I haven't played all of them by any stretch.

Always check them out at the shop if you can!

I would definitely go with Novation, whether or not you use automap. I don't think AM is considered 3rd party software, comes with the Novation and there are always updates which is good too.

When I get myself an APC40 I'll probably stop using automap and just map the novation controls as I see fit.

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