I'm starting to learn to use samplers and synthetisers and I'm looking for a suggestion for a midi controller. An AKAI MPK25 would be a nice option to work with Alchemy? If not, could you suggest something in the same price range? Thank you all for the input.
We use the M-Audio Oxygen 25, and have at least a dozen of them, they are very reliable and easy to set up. The newest version has pads on it as well as the usual rotary knobs, fader, keys, wheels etc. Our keyboards have been used (abused) to prop open windows, angle laptops and goodness knows what else but they just keep working.
for piano keys i use larger piano controllers like the CME UF80 but for pads, knobs and faders i'm a big fan of Livid's designs....
I have a MPK25 and i think its great for the uses you mentioned. obviously you would want a bigger keyboard if you were playing piano, but for synths having all the rotary knobs is great.
one thing i will mention that there is a known problem with the pads having problems with sensitivity for velocity. its just that they are a bit squishy on the edges and if you dont hit them in the right spot your subtle tap may not be recognised. there is an easy DIY fix for this, but if your not into opening your new keyboard then you might have to think how important the pads are to you. if you dont really care about velocity on the pads then the full velocity button also fixes this issue.
the way i wrote that paragraph makes them sound way worse than what they are, sorry. but i did the pad upgrade on mine and they are definitely tighter and more responsive.
The MPK's are great although the 61 key one is a bit too stiff for me. Speaking of AKAI, I own the little AKAI LPK25 and it is amazing when you just need an idea to mess around with when your travelling... which has since been "upgraded" to the MPK Mini mentioned above so I imagine the keys are exactly the same.
Novation's Impulse range is also great value for money. I own the 61 key one and it blows the MPK61 (same size) out of the water. That's not to say the MPK's are bad, in fact I would buy an MPK Mini or an 88 key version (much better keys than the 61) if I had the money and needed them but my LPK and Impulse is perfect for me.
The problem here is that there are so many one the market that are all quite good. I use the m-audio axiom 61. the only reason i chose this over the others is the fact that I got it off ebay quite cheap. So my advice would be to look around and try get a bargin.
P.S. I am a fan of the novation pulse controllers but at the time I wanted to get one, there were no ebay special bargins so it was the axiom for me.