Alesis’ thing is inexpensive stuff that does the job. The manufacturer is currently refreshing its V Series MIDI keyboards, with welcome changes like synth-action keys, velocity-sensitive backlit pads, and a solid music production software bundle. The prices remain sane, as always.
Alesis V Series MIDI keyboards
The Alesis V25, V49, and V61 MIDI keyboards are USB-powered and offer the same features between different sizes – that’s velocity-sensitive backlit pads, level and note repeat controls, MIDI-mappable knobs, pitch bend and modulation wheels (to hell with touch strips, hehe!), octave buttons, and 1/4-inch sustain pedal input. An arpeggiator with 6 different modes, tap tempo, time division, gate, and swing controls is also present. Meanwhile, the software package includes the MPC Beats software with 7 expansion packs. The keyboards work under Windows, macOS, and iOS / iPadOS (using the Apple Lighting to USB Camera Adapter). Good stuff all around, especially for the price!
The MPC Beats software comes with 2 gigabytes of samples and loops, as well as built-in virtual instruments and templates for styles like trap, dance and pop. There’s a sample editor for chopping and editing samples and a piano roll for editing MIDI notes. You can record external audio on two dedicated stereo tracks. MPC Beats also includes a mixer and, according to AKAI Pro, no less than 80 audio effects plug-ins. The classic MPC-style pads for triggering samples and loops are of course also included. And MPC Beats is compatible with MIDI controllers, so you can map the pads and other controls to a hardware controller for a more hands-on beat making experience.
If you need more sounds, MPC Beats is expandable with sound packs for genres like Techno, Deep House and Soul. Other MPC Beats expansions focus on instruments like synth bass or drums, and there’s an artist series featuring Arrab Muzik, Motif Alumni and others.
Price and availability
All keyboards are available now, with the following prices:
- V25 MKII – GBP 80
- V49 MKII – GBP 100
- V61 – GBP 130
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- Alesis V25: Alesis
- Alesis V49: Alesis
- Alesis V61: Alesis
- MPC Beats: AKAI