When my Access Virus KC died a few years ago, I needed to find a replacement to act as a master keyboard for all the modules and rack gear in the studio. After having researched most of the options on the market I selected the Akai MPK 61 because it had plenty of keys, faders and the much hyped MPC style pads for real time drumming action with velocity and continuous after-touch (an extra modulation source when pressure is applied to the pad after having triggered it).
BUT, when I fired it up for a play and some testing, I immediately found that those “MPC” pads didn’t seem quite as responsive like on the classic MPC2000, even after adjusting their sensitivity and velocity settings in the options menu. Something had to be done… because I couldn’t be bothered taking it back to the store and I love to tinker with music gear!
It didn’t take long before the problem and solution were found, and it’s an easy fix even if you have two left hands and nothing but thumbs. All you need is a Phillips head screw driver, scissors and some electrical tape.
The poor sensitivity is due to a small air gap between the under side of those rubber pads and their contacts on the circuit board. This causes a micro timing lag and a kind of buffer because of the extra travel between hitting a pad and the point of triggering. The fix takes about 37 minutes and involves opening up your MPK and layering small squares of electrical tape under each rubber pad to fill out that air gap. You need to apply 2 or 3 layers of electrical tape under each pad to get the desired sensitivity but once it’s all done and re-assembled, the results are very impressive compared to stock form! The pads become tight, sensitive and ultra-responsive to fingering.