This article will provide you with all the necessary information about the Akai Professional MPK Mini MK2. If you are interested in buying the Akai Professional MPK Mini or you just want to know more about the keyboard, you should keep on reading. If you like this article and found the provided information useful, you might want to check out our other reviews at AalbergAudio.com
The ultra-portable MKP Mini Play is based on the world’s most popular midi controller – Akai Professional’s MPK Mini – but now it comes packed with 128 sounds and its own built-in speaker. With 8 backlit MPC drum pads and a 4-way joystick for simple control, players have all they need to play their music anywhere. Four knobs (two banks capable of controlling eight different parameters) can be used to tweak sounds and edit multiple parameters in real-time, giving musicians even more performance possibilities. The Akai Professional MPK Mini MK2 owered by 3 “AA” batteries, the MPK Mini Play is built for hours of wireless fun.
The Akai Professional MPK Mini MK2 is a well-made and affordable keyboard. The prices can vary depending on the website you are buying it from, but mainly it stays between 80 and 100 euros.
- Works a standalone keyboard for practices
- Comes with a built-in speaker
- Ultra sensitive and responsive pads
- Portability, including low weight and small dimensions. The controller fits easily in a laptop bag
- Improved keyboard from the older MK1 interaction
- Pad quality is best-in-class in this price range
- Bundled software, especially VIP 3.0 and MPC Essentials
- Best-in-class build quality and 4-way joystick
- Unbeatable value for money
- Not the best-designed keyboards around
- The Akai Professional MPK Mini MK2 might need a little more time to get used to mastering all its functions
- Keys lack aftertouch and have limited velocity sensitivity
- Pads aren’t as responsive as Akai’s dedicated pad controllers
- Only 8 pads limit usability. Forget building complex drum kits
- Knobs feel lightweight and don’t have a satisfying click
- No pattern editor in arpeggiator; not useful in performance
Is Akai Professional MPK Mini MK2 Worth it?
If you are looking for an affordable, entry-level MIDI controller, that you can use anywhere, then this is the controller for you. You can use the controller for entering simple melodies and chords, so you won’t be able to perform difficult and complex sounds. Forget about complicated drum kits, the controller has a simple drum pad that won’t be able to deliver complicated drum beats.
There is nothing about this keyboard that will blow your mind as far as performance goes. But there is also nothing that will disappoint you. The keyboard, which was a peak point, has improved drastically. And the pads are as good as traditional Akai.
The joystick controller is a welcome change to the MK2, and the plug-and-play integration makes it easy to use for most people. There is a bunch of bundled software, but apart from MPC Essentials, you’re unlikely to get much use out of them.
On the whole, a perfectly good controller that does everything well enough to satisfy most users.
In-Depth Review of the above articles
Good design, good performance and all the features you’d need. The Akai Professional MPK Mini MK2 is a perfect keyboard for travelling. It does all the things a performer wants but at an affordable price.
8 pressure and velocity-sensitive
MPS-style Light-up Pads x 2 Banks
4 assignable controller pots
1 x 360 Encoder for Display Navigation
1 Volume control
- Computer Interface
USB-Midi communications to Mac/PC
10 with Octaves Up and Down
- Additional Controls
Note Repeat Button
Full Level Button
Tap Tempo Button
- Additional Input
1 ¼” (6.35 mm) TS input for sustain pedal
1 ⅛” (3.5 mm) headphone output
3 x AA batteries
Width 12.5” (31.8 cm)
Depth 7.13” (18.1 cm)
Height 1.75” (4.4 cm)
Weight 1.6 lbs (0.75 kg)
Overall design: The Akai MPK Mini, as the name suggests, is compact and portable. The Akai Professional MPK Mini MK2 is completed by two rows of pads, eight knobs, and a joystick controller. The design is focused on functionality over flamboyance. It looks good without focusing only on looking good.
Portability: The Akai MPK Mini is 12.5” long and just 7.3” wide. To place this in context, a standard 15.6” laptop is around 15” long and 10” wide. In other words, the MPK Mini is smaller than most laptops and can easily fit into any standard backpack. It also weighs just 1.65lbs – about the same as an iPad Pro.
Build quality: As noted earlier in this Akai MPK Mini MK2 review, this keyboard’s build quality is a marked improvement from the MK1. The keys feel more robust and well put together. You can push the thing around without worrying about the controller falling apart. The pads, while not as good as Akai’s drum pads, work well enough. The knobs don’t have a satisfying click but feel good to touch.
Aesthetics: The MK2 feels positively chunky and has a definite “retro” feel. The soft rounded edges and thick ‘Akai’ font makes it look like something from the ‘80s. The standard black looks nice, but you can also get it in white and a stunning limited edition red.
Conclusion: To round up the build-quality section of this Akai MPK Mini MK2 review, I would say that it’s a decent looking controller with a focus on portability. It is smaller than most laptops and will fit into your backpack easily. Although it looks “chunky”, the controller is lightweight at just 1.65lbs.
The quality is good. It’s not as robust as a Roland but for its price, this is one of the better-built MIDI controllers you can buy.
- Standalone mini keyboard with built-in speaker and USB MIDI controller
- Built-in sound module with over 128 instrument sounds + 10 drum kits
- 25 synth-action mini keys
- OLED display for easy sound browsing
- 8 red backlit drum pads (2 banks, 16 total)
- 4 knobs edit sounds or send midi (2 banks, 8 total)
- Built-in arpeggiator
- ⅛” headphone jack
- Battery-powered using (3) AA batteries
All Products: inMusic Brands, Inc. (“inMusic”) warrants to the original purchaser that Akai Professional (“Akai Pro”) products and all other accessories are free from defects in material and workmanship under normal use and service for the period commencing upon the date of purchase from an authorized Akai Pro dealer and continuing for the following period after that date for one (1) year.
Who Is Akai Professional MPK Mini MK2 Best For?
As an entry-level instrument, the Akai MPK Mini MK2 is best used in studio settings, or to make music on the move. Don’t think of dragging the Akai Professional MPK Mini MK2 to a live performance – neither the keyboard nor the pads are designed for the pressures of performance (both the keys and pads are too few for live shows anyway).
What Do People Say About Akai Professional MPK Mini MK2?
You can find some feedback and keyboard reviews on Amazon, eBay and Thomann. A lot of people prefer buying their keyboards online due to the better prices rather than in stores. Overall the Akai MPK Mini MK2 has been rated on average 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon Review.
Amazon Review #1 – “4/5. I have been having a lot of fun and diving into my software more than ever now that I have this awesome controller. But in this review, I will start by focusing on the negatives.
The disappointment I have with this keyboard is its playing action. The works fine as a tool, but the keys are strange to someone who is used to a traditional electric keyboard. When I play my Yamaha keyboard, there is a “hump” in the spring mechanism, where the note is triggered and the key loses resistance. This gives you a tactile feel and allows you to press keys repeatedly without thinking about if you lifted the key high enough.
On the Akai, I was surprised to find that notes are triggered about halfway down the stroke, but it is just one kind of resistance. This feels a little squishy, and it may result in missed notes if you are not used to it, and it replaces some of the tactile feels with one that requires more thought. This type of key makes it feel more like a tool than an instrument.
The other aspect that disappointed me (until I fixed it) is the low sensitivity of the pads. The threshold for triggering them is quite high, so you can’t play by lightly tapping them, or it will miss many hits. This means it’s not worth it to vary the power of your hits because you risk not triggering notes. Fixing this is possible by putting 3 layers of electrical tape under the pads. Youtube videos show how to do this on the original Akai Mini. The Mark II is more difficult to take apart, but it is entirely possible to do this mod with just a screwdriver and tape.
When I tore the keyboard apart (4 separate times) I learned that it is very well made and simple in construction. All of the screws are the same size, none of the holes they go into is easily stripped, and it goes together tightly and solidly. There is internal support under the drum pads. So that is impressive.
SOFTWARE: I see many comments in these reviews talking about the painful registration process. If you have any recent MIDI sequencing software, you will not need to do any registration, and you don’t need to register to use the Akai Editor application for programming the buttons. Apparently, by registering, you get some software to generate sounds, but I think it would be far easier just to download a trial version of FL Studio.
Overall, this device has helped me dive into these programs. I would recommend it, with the caveat that you should do the drum pad mod to get the best playability from it.”
Amazon Review #2 – “This is a fantastic little midi-controller. I use it with my Mac Mini (OS X 10.8.5) running Logic X (it will also work with GarageBand and most other DAW’s) and it works very well. It also works well with my M-Audio sustain pedal, it has a port for a sustain pedal in the back (in case you were wondering.)
The packaging was fantastic. Included is the Keyboard, USB-Midi cable, instructions, and information on where and how to download your included software.
The keyboard itself looks great. The piano is very streamlined is very streamline and has a great color scheme. A unique feature is a 4-way joystick for modulation and pitch control. I have to say I like it better than a typical wheel style control you see on other midi-controllers. It helps keep the size of the keyboard down since you don’t have to include that bulkier pitch and modulation wheels. It helps make this a portable keyboard. Though someone who is used to the wheel style control might not like this feature. It takes a minute to get acclimated to.
Right now my only complaint is that the keys are a little smaller than I was expecting. As you can see in my pictures, each key is about the size of a penny. The keys are completely usable but a little hard to get used to if you are used to a full-size keyboard. This may or may not matter to you. If you have big fingers, I may recommend looking for something else. Of course, this is not the manufacturer’s fault, they list “mini keys” in the first description of the product so I am not going to knock any stars for that.
I just thought they wouldn’t be quite so mini. But the upside is that it makes the overall footprint very small, smaller than my computer keyboard. Also, unless you have nothing else, this isn’t the type of keyboard you (or at least I) would use to put down a lot of notes. I think it’s more for editing and mixing than for creating and composing, but if you needed to you easily could.
I think would be neat if they made this same controller with normal-sized keys. They make one similar (Akai Professional MPK25 25-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with MPC Pads) but it has a lot more going on and is $80 more. Maybe I will invest in that someday. If you have larger fingers or don’t like the mini-keys go check that one out.
Anyway, in summary, fantastic little midi keyboard. Good price, great packaging, and great usability. I think this is a good keyboard to start with as a beginner and even a good keyboard to have floating around if you are a pro. Pick up the piano, I don’t think you will be disappointed.”
Thomann Review #1 – “I bought this just to play around with at home. The piano is really fun and it’s great that it can be used standalone. I’ve run it through my loop pedal with my guitar and you can make some great backing tracks with it. Being able to run it on batteries is another great feature however the built-in speaker is a bit lacking but that doesn’t bother me as I’m either using it with headphones or through an amp. I would recommend it.”
Youtube Review #1 – This video will provide you with a quick tutorial on how to use your Akai Professional MPK Mini MK2. It also focuses on the actual hardware aspects of the keyboard like using the arpeggiator, pads and how to use those keys.
Youtube Review #2 – In this video, you can see how to use the controlling fl studio. It also provides you with a quick presentation of making a cool beat with no effort.
Youtube Review #3 – A quick presentation of what the Akia MPK Mini MK2 is capable of by creating an Electro House beat.
The Verdict: Is it Worth It?
The ideal keyboard for beginners who are starting out. Also works great as a secondary portable keyboard for serious performers. If you like this article and found the provided information useful, you might want to check out our other reviews at AalbergAudio.com