I find the action and quality of the keyboard itself on the Novation better than the Akai. Don’t get me wrong… they both have decent BUILD quality… but Novation’s actual keys are superior… and several people I know who played both agreed with me at the time I switched. Akai’s overall physical build might actually be a little better, with a heavy metal base on the bottom… but overall, you’re buying to PLAY on the keys, and that’s where I found the Novation to be superior.
I actually initially bought one of the Akai units since I liked the simplicity and basic features better, but immediately got rid of it since I was unimpressed with the action and due to a driver issue I had – I had some minor driver issues with an initial dropped note, long story, not worth getting into. So my interest in the Akai just plummeted. Your mileage may vary, and the driver issue could have been something else with my system. But since installing the Novation, I’ve been much happier. I’m not a fan of Automap and its overhead, so I just ignore Automap for the most part… and the rest of it seems to be working great with C6 so far. At some point in the future I might experiment with Automap and see how well it works with some of my plugins, but for now, as a basic controller, it’s been excellent, and the well-balanced synth action of the keyboard suits my taste better than anything else on the market right now. Good luck!