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Full-size hammer-action Akai controller hits the road

Akai MPK Road 88 is designed for use with hardware and software instruments

Akai's new MPK Road 88 controller keyboard, designed for on-stage use.Akai's new MPK Road 88 controller keyboard, designed for on-stage use.

The MPK Road 88 is a new full-size hammer-action keyboard controller from Akai aimed at stage use. Designed to integrate with existing sound modules or virtual-instrument sound sources, the 88-note keyboard has both five-pin MIDI in and out ports, plus an integrated class-compliant four-output USB audio interface with two aux and two main outputs on quarter-inch jacks. The latter allows users to trigger laptop-based plug-in instruments from the keyboard over MIDI live and route the resulting audio back from the computer to the front-of‑house mixer and monitoring. A fair amount of thought has obviously gone into what keyboard players need most during live performance: dedicated top-panel volume, transpose, keyboard split and preset selection controls are provided for instant access mid-gig, alongside the usual pitch and mod wheels, and there are no fewer than three pedal inputs to add further foot-controlled expression or MIDI control.

The MPK Road 88 weighs 30kg, and ships with a rugged travel case with a handle for extra portability. The whole package retails for $899£799.

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