Akai Professional MPK Mini MK2 25-Key MIDI Keyboard

Editor rating

4/5 on Sep 27, 2015

User's rating

266 reviews

PROS

  • Plug and play
  • Compact
  • USB powered
  • Comes with pro software
  • Joystick feature

CONS

  • Weak pads
  • Only 25 keys
  • Synth keys

VERDICT

Let's say you're a musician or producer on the go or who has little workspace available. You want plug-and-play functionality and pro software that comes bundled with your controller. If you also enjoy being creative within a 25-key limit, then you will likely enjoy using the Akai Professional MPK Mini MK2 25-Key MIDI Keyboard.

Features:

  • 25 synth-action mini keys
  • Pitch/mod Joystick
  • 8 velocity-sensitive MPC-style pads x 2 banks
  • Note Repeat & Full Level buttons
  • 8 Q-Link knobs/pots
  • Octave Up and Octave Down buttons
  • 4 programs
  • 1 x sustain pedal input
  • USB bus power
  • Pro software included: Akai Pro MPC Essentials, Hybrid 3 by AIR Music, and SONiVOX's Wobble

Plug and play

Enjoy USB connectivity to your PC or Mac. It's totally portable, and you can easily enter hardware and software pre-sets too. If you're a beginner, then the plug-and-play capability is very attractive.

It is a solid addition to your arsenal of audio gear. It comes with a lot of controllers that you can adjust easily to your preferences. Examples are the dedicated Octave Up and Octave Down buttons, Note Repeat, Tap Tempo, Full Level, and cool joystick feature (see the joystick section below for more details).

Right out of the box you also get eight Q-Link knobs for tweaking plug-ins, mixing, and more. Then there are the eight MPC-style pads that are velocity sensitive, unlike some competitor models, as well as backlit for neat visuals. The MK2 has an input too for a full-size sustain pedal.

Compact

When you want compact gear, the MPK Mini MK2 25-key MIDI Controller delivers on this feature. It is only 12.36" wide, with a 7.08" depth, and is lightweight at only 1.63lbs. If you have limited space for it, want to house it close by on your desktop, or if you want a portable controller, you will love the compact styling of this one.

USB powered

The gear is USB bus powered, so there is no power adapter necessary. You can easily get the power you need and do not have to worry about external batteries dying halfway through your jam session. Hook it up to your Mac or PC.

Comes with pro software

The MPK Mini is bundled with tons of software, which makes it a high-value keyboard controller and one you can start to experiment creatively with right away. An example is the high-definition synthesizer called Hybrid 3, by AIR Music Tech, so you can create anything from an modern edgy sound to a more retro lead.

You also get SONiVOX's Wobble, an electronic music grime synthesizer that has two channels for morphing synthesis, individual filtering, and more. With Akai Pro MPC Essentials software, you can integrate an MPC workflow into your DAW of choice, as well as add up to four samples and eight pad banks.

Joystick feature

Talk about a cool feature. The four-way thumbstick provides an ergonomic way to control both pitch and modulation. If you're on the keyboard a lot, then your wrists and fingers will thank you for this well-designed joystick. You will last longer as you make your musical creations without hand or wrist strain holding you back as it might with other models that lack this feature.

There are a few limitations to this MIDI keyboard controller too:

Weak pads

Some online consumer reviewers discuss the limitations of the pads, explaining that they have poor hit detection. So, the pads leave a lot to be desired. Perhaps the velocity sensitivity feature will offset this disadvantage for you, though.

Only 25 keys

If you want a lot of octaves, you might not be satisfied with only getting 25 keys. There are only two octaves with this number of keys. On the other hand, if you're happy that it doesn't take up a lot of space, and you're okay with just doing limited drums and effects, then you might be okay with the 25-key model.

Also, the keys are mini rather than full piano sized. For some musicians, mini keys are just too fiddly.

Synth Keys

The MPK Mini MK2 has synth keys rather than weighted keys. If you like being able to play piano-like sounds along with other instruments on one device, then you will be happy. However, if you prefer the acoustic piano type of feel, then you may want to search for a model that has weighted keys instead.