Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII MIDI Drum Pad & Keyboard Review
If you enjoy creating and producing music, then the odds are you love a good MIDI keyboard. The compact feel of the keys, the sleek design and the way it easily fits into small and large studio setups can make any musician or producer feel more organized. The MPK mini MKII MIDI drum pad and keyboard by Akai Professional is a component that once you use, you won’t be able to live without. This is a well-built compact model that’s affordable, easy to use and essential for your studio setup.
Mini MIDI by Akai Professional Overview
This model weighs in at just under two pounds and features a four way thumbstick, twenty-five synth action keys, eight Q link knobs, which are assignable for plug-in mixing and tweaking, octave up and down, backlit eight velocity sensitive MPC pads, included software package, sustain pedal input and it’s compatible with both PCs and Macs.
Using this keyboard can take a little getting used to and it can be difficult to use two hands at times. But aside from that, the four way thumbstick is perfect if you want to customize a more natural sounding, swing pitch and modulation. The eight pads are more than adequate for a mini model, while full sized MIDIs often have twelve or sixteen. The eight Q link knobs are considered very reliable in terms of mapping programs.
Overall, most musicians can agree that this model is equipped with all the necessary functions you could ever want in a MIDI.
The manufacturer has been producing music gear for more than thirty years, so they know how important it is to make a piece of equipment both durable and reliable. In terms of overall build, this model is very solid and stable. Built well, especially because of portability, it’s not even close to the bulky size of other models in this price range and travels well.
When it comes to pad quality, it’s relatively standard, which most users felt was a good thing. When you checkout MIDI reviews you’ll probably notice a ton of nitpicky comments regarding pad controllers, especially because of the number of controllers that are surfacing on the market. While this model can’t offer the same options as a thousand dollar sample machine, for a mini compact keyboard it’s pretty perfect.
It will take you some getting used to if you’re not familiar with using a mini model, but once you’ve become accustomed to it you’ll find it makes the creative process a breeze. Most consumers stated it took about three or four hours to get the hang of the compact size, but after that it was a smooth process.
This Akai model is perfect to use with a wide variety of DAWs, which is important considering that the trend these days is moving more and more towards a solid PC setup. Top selling programs will work just fine with this model, especially Logic Pro, Pro Tools, Ableton Live and Cubase.
You will probably need to do some configuring with your software, so if you haven’t done so before, it can take a little time to get used to the entire process. However, once you learn it will become very easy to implement mapping with this mini, into your workflow.
Most producers really don’t mind the extra programs or VSTs at their disposal, especially if it comes with an expensive product. These are digital based and offer easy functionally. These programs are usually just as convenient to use as a CD.
The software package is packed with a ton of pricey software programs such as Hybrid three and Wobble, both of which are pretty top notch. Some consumers would have liked to see Ableton Live added to the package as the manufacturer has done in the past with other keyboards, but the included MPC essentials is a decent program when it comes to standalone DAW but most producers wouldn’t use it as a long term solution.
MPK Mini MKII Pros and Cons
Pros: This new model features a sleeker design and great new look and works very well in the studio. All in all, this is a great looking keyboard, featuring a vivid color scheme and streamlined design. The included four way joystick is a unique feature that works with pitch modulation and control. The joystick also helps to keep the size of the keyboard compact since you don’t have to deal with bulky modulation wheels, making it perfect for travel.
Cons: Some consumers had complaints regarding the lack of major design improvements compared to past models from this manufacturer. The key and pad quality is nothing to brag about but functions well. This smaller setup will take a little getting used to. The main complaint for most users is that the keys are a little smaller than expected, with each key roughly the size of a penny. While completely usable, it’s kind of difficult to work on if you’re used to a full size keyboard or if you have large hands, in which case you may need to keep looking for a more suitable model. Many consumers described the included software as awful. The MPK editor is not a good choice for beginners. Consumers who contacted the Akai customer service team over user issues complained that it took weeks before they received a response.
Akai MIDI Conclusion and Rating
This is a compact solid mini MIDI that’s reasonably priced. It’s one of Akai’s top sellers but it could be improved with a few small tweaks here and there. But overall, if you’re shopping around for a compact MIDI controller, this model is definitely recommended by the pros and amateurs alike. If you’re looking for a bigger model, you should check out the M-audio Oxygen.
Consumers who purchased Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII MIDI Drum Pad & Keyboard gave it a rating of four and a half stars out of five stars for sleek design, innovative setup, included software package and pricing.