Akai APC Key 25 key MIDI Controller
The APC Key 25 is a hybrid of an Ableton Performance Controller and keyboard designed for performing musicians and composers alike.
It features a multi-color clip-launching grid used to trigger sound clips or samples. The tri-color lighting shows three clip statuses—loaded, playing, and recording that provides visual feedback so you can perform efficiently without looking at your computer.
The controls are pre-mapped with Ableton Live for easy set-up while the knobs assignable for custom mapping options.
- Keys: 25 note velocity-sensitive keys
- Buttons & Knobs: 1 Sustain button, 1 Play/Pause button, 1 Stop All Clips button, 1 Shift button, 4 Directional arrow buttons, Scene Launch buttons: Clip Stop, Solo, Rec Arm, Mute, or Select, 40 backlit clip-launch buttons in 5x8 matrix, 8 270º knobs with 4 modes
- Octaves: 10 octave range with octave up/down buttons
- Bundled Software: Ableton Live Lite, Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Tech, SONiVOX Twist, and Toolroom artist launch packs
- Power: USB powered
- Connectivity: USB
- Compatibility: Mac OS X 10.5 or later + Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 & 10;
- Dimensions: 12.25" x 7.6" x 1.6"
- Weight: 1.7 lbs.
This MIDI controller integrates so well with Ableton that it lets users manage controls smoothly without them relying too much on a computer keyboard or mouse. Many users found this great for triggering MIDI and launching loops, which makes it ideal for live performance. The build of this controller overall is very durable and compact. For a lot of controls and features, it's relatively affordable and easy to set-up.
The downside for this controller is its lack of velocity control. Some users compensate by adjusting velocity within their DAW. Since the keyboard comes in a smaller size, it's not as playable for those who prefer full-sized keys. In his MusicRadar review, Mark Delaney said the keyboard has a "kinda squishy feeling, but definitely good enough to get an idea down, or to use onstage for simple melodies or bass parts."
This is a good choice for electronic musicians and beginners alike.
NB: There are more highly rated options available which you will find in our guide to The Best 25-Key MIDI Controller Keyboards.