Alesis V61 Review – a Compact Keyboard with Strange Velocity

Alesis V61Welcome to my Alesis V61 review. This is a 61-key MIDI controller keyboard with square-front, semi-weighted keys. It also has 4 knobs that can be assigned to control any parameters within your digital audio workstation, as well as 4 buttons that can be assigned to any functions.

It has pitch and mod wheels for expressive control and 8 velocity sensitive backlit pads which can be used for playing samples and drum sounds. It also comes in [easyazon_link identifier=”B00IWWEW20″ locale=”US” tag=”google02a0-20″]49-key[/easyazon_link] and [easyazon_link identifier=”B00IWWBSD6″ locale=”US” tag=”google02a0-20″]25-key[/easyazon_link] versions.

Please note: I will receive a commission if you buy through any links on my website, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I use myself or products that I think are good after doing research.




  • Compact design
  • Semi-weighted keys feel nice
  • Velocity sensitivity can be adjusted


  • Velocity sensitivity is weird


Video Review

So there you go, for a 61-key keyboard, it’s very compact. Just looking at the size difference with the other keyboard in that video shows you just how much space they have saved with this. Even with the control knobs, buttons and pads on the left, there is minimum space taken up. The semi-weighted keys are also great, giving a feel that is somewhere between cheap plastic keys and fully weighted piano keys. There is a good feel to the drum pads, it’s great how they light up when you play them. Also, you don’t need to plug this keyboard into a power socket as it gets its power straight from the USB connection from the computer.

Who is the Alesis V61 Designed For?

This keyboard is not intended for pianists wanting to replicate the feel of real fully-weighted piano keys. Instead, the semi-weighted keys are somewhere between cheap plastic keys and fully-weighted ones. Therefore, it’s best suited to music producers who want to use it to program keyboard parts into their DAW. Some people may find the velocity sensitivity weird and inconsistent, but others have said that this is easily fixed by downloading an update and editing the velocity sensitivity curve.


  • 61 square-front, full-size keys.
  • Launch clips or play beats using the 8 velocity-sensitive backlit pads.
  • 4 knobs and 4 buttons that can be assigned to any parameters.
  • Increase the already vast octave range with the octave up and down buttons.
  • Get expressive with the pitch and modulation wheels.
  • Get visual feedback from the illuminated knobs and buttons.


Compact design

With many keyboards, having a larger number of keys also mean the keyboard unit as a whole is quite large. The beauty about this just being a MIDI controller that doesn’t produce its own sounds, is that there is no need to have additional space dedicated to sound generation. That means that, aside from the keys, buttons, knobs and pads, there isn’t much else to this unit. So if you have limited space in your studio setup, this could squeeze in nicely.

Semi-weighted keys feel nice

Of course, if you are looking for fully weighted keys that give that authentic piano feel, you might be disappointed here. However, if you just want a good MIDI keyboard controller, you should find that these keys feels pretty good and are nice to play.

Velocity sensitivity can be adjusted

Although many users have complained that the velocity sensitivity is very strange, this can be adjusted. You can download a firmware update from the manufacturer’s website, then change the velocity sensitivity to #2 rather than #4. This should hopefully solve the problem for you.

Velocity sensitivity is weird

As I mentioned above, many users say that the velocity sensitivity of this keyboard is all over the place. They say that it is not consistent from key to key and that it is also inconsistent each time you press each key. You can be playing and then suddenly you get random spikes in velocity which sound like you just bashed the key as hard as you could when in fact you were just pressing lightly. However, the solution to this seems to be to download a firmware update from the manufacturer’s website and then set the velocity sensitivity to #2 instead of #4.


This keyboard looks really nice, is really compact for a 61-key controller, and has a nice feel to the keys. It’s such a shame, then that so many users report the awful inconsistency with the velocity sensitivity of the keys. Yes, it appears that this can be fixed by downloading an update and then editing the velocity sensitivity. However, the fact that this keyboard is being sold with such a fundamental flaw is a significant issue and is why I said “maybe” against the “Recommended?” section at the top. For people who have the time to fix it themselves, maybe it won’t be a problem. But many people will also just put this straight back in the box and return it, wondering why they were sold a defective product.


I hope you found my Alesis V61 review helpful, but if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comments section below and I will reply as soon as I can.

All the best,


  1. Roopesh

    Hi Marcus
    Thank you very much for this review.

    I especially appreciate your honesty regarding the ‘velocity sensitivity’ of the keyboard.

    Tell me, to download the update for this problem to be sorted, is there any further costs involved?

    I like the fact that this one is compact and does not need direct charging.This makes me picture it already in a spot, I picked out at my place.


    1. Marcus (Post author)

      No, I think the update is free. It’s just a shame that the keyboard is sold with this flaw in the first place, don’t you think?

  2. Travis Smithers

    Just as it’s nice to get the details of how well a keyboard way be with all of its pros and very little cons, it is just as good to hear about the instruments that may not be up to par.

    Being able to know the difference between what to buy with the reviews is a very important step, and it’s good to know you hold no punches to how you rate products.

    Liked the post about the Alesis v61 keyboard and the honest information.

    1. Marcus (Post author)

      Thank you, Travis. I’m glad you liked it. Have a great day.

  3. Farhan

    I would choose semi-weighted keys over cheap plastic keys any day. Not that I’m a classically trained pianist in any way, but the weight really helps when playing more complex musical passages.

    Alesis has been around for quite some time, and I think most synth players and producers trust their quality. It is sad though, that this particular controller has velocity sensitivity issues. It’s a good thing that you have pointed out the solution to this problem as well.

    Great review!

    1. Marcus (Post author)

      Yes, the action of the keys can make a big difference. I suppose it depends what you are used to. Personally, I like synth action keys because they are easy to press. However, the keys on my Akai MPK Mini MKII are a bit too cheap. They have this cheap action to them where they suddenly stop when they reach the end of their travel.


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