Model: MPK Mini MKII
Type: MIDI Controller
Product URL: Website
Bottom Line: If you make music with programmed drum and want them to sound more realistic, this is right the keyboard for you. If you want the best MIDI controller with killer features that will make life easier for you, this is it. If you are looking for a compact device that will take little space on your desk, don’t look further. I like that it does what it is designed to do well. I also like that it comes with lots of pads, knobs, and it is not lacking in modulation toggle. Overall, if you are a seasoned pro, this is for you. And if you are a college studio or you just like making music with basic features, then this is for you.
- Decent price
- Pads are better and more sensitive
- Comes with multiple banks and lots of control knobs
- Appegiator and pads has variety of settings
- Pads are velocity-sensitive
- Responsive Customer service
- Works out of the box
- DAW compatibility issues
- Not beginner-friendly
You don’t have to have a large desk or buy a new one before using this keyboard in your studio. The keyboard is so compact you can slot it into your backpack in a snap. It can also go on your studio desk without taking up all the desk space for other important items.
Another great thing about this item is that it is very light and can easily go anywhere with you. Imagine the frustration of arriving at the serene environment and wanting to make some music while your creativity is flowing only to discover you’ve left your MIDI keyboard at home because it is too heavy.
This will never happen to you because this fits into your backpack snugly and can even share the space with your laptop if you like to them out together. Finally, and most importantly, it does not require any software or a power adapter. It is plug-in-and-play kind of keyboard, so you can start creating music right away without worrying about shoving cord here and there.
During my research, I discovered that most people are happy not only with their purchase, but also of the pricing of the product. I also discovered that most of the users are college students who like to make music on the side. If you are a professional music maker or performer, buying this should be a breeze for you.
If you are looking for a MIDI controller with advance features, you may be disappointed. This mini keyboard is designed for those who want to buy something that is cheap and also has all the basic features they need to make music. If you need a controller with more features than this one, you may want to look at the M-Audio Oxygen 49 MKIV, which is available on Amazon.
Beginner or Pro-friendly?
Before buying your next MIDI controller, you need to first ask yourself whether you are a professional or a beginner. What is good for the beginner may be bad for a professional. This is an entry level MIDI controller. If you are a pro, don’t expect to get much from this controller aside from the pads, knobs, and pitch toggle. However, if you can get around all the settings, this may be the best MIDI controller.
If you are looking for a well rounded MIDI controller with lots of features that allows you to do variety of things, then the Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII is a good contender. It is pre-loaded with drivers so that you can get started right away. Everything you need is included and those that need downloading are just a few clicks away.
Dimensions and Weight
The Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII is lightweight. At only 1.6 pounds, you won’t suffer back pains if you were to carry it in your backpack for a long walk. This means that you can still use it away from your favorite location.
At only a few inches thicker than a business laptop, it can instantly turn into a travel partner. Unlike the M-Audio 25-key Oxygen, it will save you desktop space and if you are a visual person, you will like the feel and look of the Akai MPK Mini MKII.
Accessories and Box Content
The Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII comes with a Preset editor which you can use to change the default preset to something that suits your fancy. It also comes with AIR Hybrid 3, SONiVOX Wobble 2, and the Akai Pro MPC Essentials. With the AIR Hybrid 3, you have access to a virtual library of high-definition sounds from a wide variety of genres. You will also be able to choose from over 1200 presets from more than 20 categories.
The SONiVOX Wobble 2 on the other hand allows you to generate new patterns and it is very easy to setup with your MIDI controller. However, it lacks a little in terms of standard tone-shaping options and preset parameters. If you have been making music for some time, then you can easily have your way around it.
Moreover, this extra is just like an extra bonus for buying the Akai Professional MPK Mini; you may as well not use it at all if it does not add much value to your creations. In the box, you will find the MPK mini itself, a USB cable, handbook, safety and warranty manual, a software download car, and the MPK mini Editor. This is pretty much everything you would need to get started.
The keys on the Akai Professional MPK mini are quite soft and humidity- and velocity-sensitive. You don’t have to hit too hard before you can get max velocity. It won’t hurt your hands so you can easily work long periods with your MIDI controller.
Number of Keys
Akai Professional MPK Mini comes with 25 keys and all of them are synth action mini keys. It also features eight backlit, pressure- and velocity-sensitive drum pads. Unlike the previous version of the Akai Professional keyboard, the pads don’t have hit detection – which usually waste time.
The pads on this model are sensitive, so even with a little push, you can get the max velocity. In addition, it also comes with a full level button that – no matter how hard you push the pads – will play the pads at max velocity. It also comes with two banks that enable you to expand the number of MPC-style pads. With 8 assignable 270 degree knobs, and four-way thumbsticks, you can manipulate modulation and achieve dynamic pitch with more ease.
The Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII is compatible with most of the popular music creation software, except Reason. Although you can use it with software like FL Studio, Garage band, Logic Pro X, you may have to do some hack before you can get it to work with Reason.
It does works out of the box though. Since it is compatible with most of the popular music creation software out there, you don’t have to mess around or waste valuable time with any setting to get things going. Moreover, mapping the knob on any of the popular DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is easy and straightforward.
However, if you are a complete beginner, don’t expect everything to work out of the box. During my research, I discovered that many people had problem with the Appegiator as it does not load the tempo directly to the computer.
The beauty of this product is that it can be used on both Mac and Windows systems. It supports Windows 8 and Mac OS X 10.9. It is also compatible with Windows 7 and lower versions. The same thing applies to Mac users, if you are on a version lower than Yosemite, you can still rock it on your system.
Although the preset Editor is buggy, it’s still very handy. The MPK Mini MKII comes with a default preset, although, you can change and edit it to your preference using the preset editor.
With the extras of this product, you won’t waste time researching advanced hacks to get the most from your MIDI controller. With the USB-Port, you can start making music out of the box. Just plug it to your computer with a USB cable and you are good to go.
It comes with lots of hardware that enables you to record, perform, and compose with virtual instruments. The Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII also includes an Appegiator, which enables you to change mode, range, and resolution any time the need arises.
You can also increase you range with the Octave Up and Down button while enjoy the optimal velocity. If you have an old M-Audio sustain pedal, you can easily start using this machine, thanks to its TS input for sustain pedal.
Pricing and Where to Buy
This is an inexpensive MIDI controller. If you are a poor college student or just starting out with music creation, this unit will not disappoint you. It is available from different stores like EBay and the official website. Although it is available from the official website, you will get a better deal with Amazon.com. You can be sure you will get the product at a discounted rate if you buy from Amazon.
The Akai Professional MPK Mini comes with lots of features that make editing music ideas so easy. You don’t need external power or software drivers before you can get started. Not only is it affordable, it also offers you a nice way for bedtime music creation. It’s also incredibly good for travel. The only downside is that it does not work with Reason out of the box and you do need to have/buy a DAW before you can use it. It does not work as a standalone product.