Akai MPK mini MKII USB Keyboard Controller, 25-Key
In stock at Zzounds.com
Go mobile without losing control. The Akai MPK mini is an ultra-compact keyboard controller designed for the traveling musician and the desktop producer. With an array of hardware controls, MPK mini lets you record, compose, and perform with virtual instruments, effect plugins, and DAWs whenever inspiration strikes. It features 25 velocity-sensitive synth-action keys, a 4-way thumbstick for dynamic pitch and modulation manipulation, 8 backlit velocity-sensitive MPC-style pads, and 8 assignable Q-Link knobs. Plus, two banks expand the number of MPC-style pads to 16 for extended creative capabilities.
Get CreativeMPK mini includes all the essentials for quickly laying down and expanding upon your musical ideas. Dedicated Octave Up and Down buttons increase the keyboard to the full melodic range, and a sustain pedal input is built in for expressive playing and recording. An onboard arpeggiator with adjustable resolution, range, and modes makes it easy to create intricate melodic lines with little effort. Plus, MPC Note Repeat and Full Level allow users to access genuine technologies from Akai Professional's line of MPC workstations.
Plug-And-Go!For maximum portability, MPK mini requires no software drivers or external power adapter for operation. It supports plug-and-play connectivity, features USB-MIDI, and powers up with a single USB connection to your Mac or PC. Four memory banks enable you to store hardware/software presets for quick and easy setting up of your computer and MPK mini.
Software IncludedMPK mini comes bundled with professional production software and virtual instruments for immediate music creation. Hybrid 3, by AIR Music Tech, is a high-definition synthesizer that can create anything from fat, retro synth sounds to edgy modern leads and everything in between. SONiVOX's Wobble is an electronic music grime synthesizer that features two independent channels of spectral morphing synthesis with harmonic controls, individual filtering, and discrete LFO controls. MPC Essentials, a groove/beat production and sample-triggering software, lets producers and musicians incorporate genuine MPC workflow into their DAW of choice and extends the power of MPK mini by adding up to 8 pad banks and 4 samples and insert effects per pad. MPC Essentials also runs in standalone mode, so you can start making music without a DAW.
MPK mini MIDI EditorUnlock the true potential of your MPK mini with the MPK mini MIDI Editor software. This MIDI editor is a powerful preset management software that lets MPK Mini users customize their hardware and software setup on their Mac or PC. Create and tweak presets for your favorite virtual instruments, plugins, and DAWs, then store them on your MPK mini. You'll spend less time setting up your gear and more time doing what you love--making great music.
Features:- Incorporates 5 years of user feedback for an enhanced design
- 25 synth-action mini keys
- 4-way thumbstick for dynamic pitch and modulation control
- 8 backlit velocity-sensitive MPC-style pads with Note Repeat & Full Level
- 8 assignable Q-Link knobs for mixing, tweaking plug-ins, and more
- Built-in arpeggiator with adjustable resolution, range, and modes
- Dedicated Octave Up and Octave Down buttons
- Ultra-compact design lets you create anywhere
- USB-powered; no power adapter required
- Full-size sustain pedal input jack
- Comprehensive production software package included: Akai Pro MPC Essentials, SONiVOX Wobble, and Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Tech (downloads)
Reviews From Buyers
I did a lot of comparison shopping for 25 key controllers, even after getting this one and using it for a few days. I originally wasn't very happy with it. I considered sending it back and getting something else instead. My perception was that the keys were not responsive. It turns out that it was just my laptop's audio driver latency which was bad. When playing the soft synths in Reason, the latency gave a perceptible lag, which you may not realize is latency at first but something just feels off. I mistakenly blamed the keyboard at first, until I plugged in an external USB audio device with ASIO drivers and played through that. The latency was gone and the keyboard seemed much more responsive. The second thing I didn't really care for was the mini keys. I didn't realize the keys were so small before I purchased it. There are a few other 25 key controllers with full size keys, and I thought about replacing it with one.
In the end, I decided to keep it because I already have a nice big 61 key controller in my studio. I bought the Akai as something to use with the laptop and maybe take along on vacation. And for that purpose, it is perfect. It really is very small and light. It fits in a laptop bag. I can live with the tiny keys since I'm no piano player anyway, and it fits directly in front of the laptop nicely.
The pitch/mod joystick is a pretty nifty feature. Be aware though that it always snaps back to the middle. Mod wheels usually stay put. Plus the zero joystick position sends 50% on the modulation instead of 0. To get to 0 you have to pull the joystick down. I think this is editable in the software though. In the alternate case pulling down on the joystick will send the same data as pushing up. I always like the Roland joysticks that combined pitch and mod that only pushed up and not down. At any rate, the Akai joystick is a fun controller that doesn't take up hardly any space and can be used in lots of creative ways. Plus I think you can map it to different controller numbers.
The eight pads take up a lot of space. I won't comment about the pad responsiveness compared to whatever, since I'm not a big pad user. Obviously all the controllers are moving toward more and more pads, I assume because of Ableton. I don't mind a few pads, but keys work just as well for programming drums. I'd rather have more knobs, myself. The knobs on the Akai work just fine.
The arpeggiator is a nice bonus feature that I haven't seen on any other mini controller. It's a very simple one, but it's really easy to switch it on when you want a quick preview of how a patch would sound arpeggiated. Plus you can latch it.
The knobs and pads have 4 different programs you can switch between. You have to use the editor software to configure it. You can set which note the pads send and which CC number the knobs send. I set program 1 on mine to map to the first 8 pads in the Reason Kong device, and the knobs to map to filter 1 and 2 cutoff and resonance, plus a/d/s/r envelope on most Reason synths. And program 2 pads to the second 8 Kong pads, and the knobs to the combinator knobs.
A note on the editor software. It's got some bugs that you have to be aware of to get it to work properly. When you first try to send or receive data from the Akai, it will pop up a box asking you to select the input and output device. The trick is to ONLY select the output, else it will crash the program. It took some digging to find this on the Akai website. I did put in a trouble ticket at first but NEVER GOT A REPLY! I almost sent it back over the crappy editor software and lack of support as well. But I got it to work eventually.
Overall, I would prefer normal size keys. But I like how small and light this is, while still having a joystick, 8 pads, 8 knobs, and an arpeggiator, plus 4 banks on the controllers. The only extra I wish it had is some transport buttons.
Weight, Dimensions, and Manufacturer Part Numbers
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MPK Mini mkII
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN):