The Akai MPK Mini MK2 is a wonderful item to consider as a producer DJ or one who needs some extra sampler buttons and MIDI pads to add to your disposal. MIDI controllers are also priceless for the producer who has an amazing idea of a melody in their head but needs the software to make it hit perfectly on-time for each note. This Akai MPK Mini MK2 review will highlight everything you need to know about this controller.
Whatever your reason is for getting a MIDI keyboard, there is no question of the desirability of its features. It’s almost as if you purchase a module holding over 25 buttons and being able to customize what each button does. With a MIDI controller like the Akai MPK Mini MK2, this is exactly what you can do.
As a whole, the Akai MPK Mini MK2 stacks up quite well when you consider the plethora of different uses and styles it can accommodate. For example, it is small and portable and comes with drum pads for the versatile DJ on the road. The same features are also suitable for a home producer who simply wants a high-quality MIDI controller which is capable of both drumming and playing instruments.
This Akai MPK Mini MK2 review will focus on all the popular features of the this MIDI controller before breaking everything down in a simple summary. Since each product has imperfections, we will also make sure that any sort of necessary information is also provided. After all, it can be easy to notice the nice features of this controller. However, finding the bad sides of any sort of product is important before purchasing it.
Table of Contents
The number of keys that you have on a MIDI controller is either extremely relevant or not that important. If you are a mobile DJ, always carrying your gear around, you probably would prefer that you didn’t have an enormous keyboard to drag out each night. However, if you are a resident DJ, you might be more willing to leave behind a large keyboard at the venue so that you can save some effort.
Since the keyboard has enough space for 3 octaves, and can easily go up or down in octaves, it is just as capable as any other MIDI keyboard. However, the big differences which cause this one to sit out are the drum pads and personalized control knobs. Each of these buttons can be customized to your precise settings, allowing for a truly unique experience.
In any case, 25 keys should be more than enough for a DJ who simply wants to accent their live sets or a home producer who needs to perfect their melodies.
Included With 8 Drum Pads
Drum pads are a staple feature on any sort of high-quality MIDI controller. As a result, it would be foolish to prepare an Akai MPK Mini MK2 review if this product didn’t include a set of its own. On the upper-middle portion of the controller are 8 large square drum pads for your creative pleasure. When used with the SONiVOX Wobble software, this controller can turn into an EDM-producing powerhouse.
Drum pads can be used for a wide variety of tasks. They can play and stop sounds quickly, like a “drum” being hit and then immediately silenced. Premium features such as pad chord progressions are available when you use the included product software. Regardless, having drum pads is something that should be necessary when getting a MIDI controller these days.
Has 8 Assignable Knobs
Knobs can be used for a wide variety of tasks. Whether you are DJing or producing from home. For example, somebody mixing from home could assign each track of their mix to a knob and mix the song straight from their MIDI keyboard. Additionally, the knobs can be assigned to boost or reduce certain sound frequencies during a live set.
Of course, these are just a couple examples of what you can do with this controller. Since these are MIDI knobs, they can be used for just about anything that you want them for. In other words, the level of creativity is endless when you consider the different potential uses of this device.
Can Easily Switch Range and Mode
When you only have 25 keys (like on this controller), you will inevitably need to be able to change the octaves outside the three available on the controller. Thankfully, this can be easily done with the press of a button on the controller. Although it’s nice to have a controller which is small like this, being able to play bass and melody at the same time will be impossible.
Instead, you will have to either record the bass and melody separately on recording software and play one at a time. For live performers, this can be a deal-breaker. Since you won’t be able to play all octaves at the same time, you will instead need to use the range buttons. However, similarly-acting buttons which control the three assignable modes work in a much more beneficial manner than the range buttons.
VIP – Endless Levels of Potential
Whether you want to record instrument noises, or simply have them at your disposal while live, the VIP software allows you access to a collection of instruments. However, this program is a production program. This means that DJs might not use it at all. Unless, of course, you also make your own transition tracks. Then, having an extra production software at your disposal will never hurt.
Users can submit their own plugin maps, which allow them to turn this keyboard into anything they want. Best of all, it can even be later on standardized by the company and shared with the community. Since VIP is a rather decent program which gives customers the power of creativity, having this software may come in handy in the coming years. Unless you already have a steady set of programs you stick with.
Lightweight & Slim Design
Having a design which is small and easy to carry around makes it easy for many people who are already interested to conclude their Akai MPK Mini MK2 review. After all, those who go on the road with their equipment knows that it can be a hassle to carry large and heavy items. Speakers and subwoofers are normally heavy enough. When it comes to a keyboard, having a large one as a mobile DJ is not necessary.
Thankfully, this device’s longest dimension is only 12.4 inches. The width is a mere 7.1 inches. It isn’t that thick either, clocking in at only 1.8 inches. With a design that is lightweight, thin, and slim, it will be a great choice for the DJ who is on the go and needs to have a small MIDI controller. However, keep in mind that live performers who go on the road solely for the keyboard will not be able to use this as effectively as a full-length keyboard.
Doesn’t Require Software or Drivers
One of the most frustrating things in this industry is trying to set up new equipment for several hours. This can only be made worse when there is a driver that the box or product listing doesn’t inform you of. We are human after all. It is nice to have clear instructions or a relatively simple means of installing new hardware and controllers. Thankfully, with the Akai MPK Mini MK2, this device is simple to install.
There is no software or driver that you absolutely have to use with this controller. In other words, you can use this controller with just about any decent software which allows the use of MIDI controllers. Best of all, each of the buttons can be used in an infinite number of ways, making this a great control for the DJ or producer constantly trying new things. Just make sure that this controller works with your software of choice before purchasing.
Comes Included With 3 Free Softwares
Although you don’t necessarily need to use any of the included software, it can’t hurt to have some extra software at your disposal. With the Akai MPK Mini MK2, you also get 3 software included along with your purchase of the device. Although none of them may compare with what you already have, they are worth checking out. Here are the names of the programs that you get with the Akai MPK Mini MK2:
- SONiVOX Wobble.
- MPC Essentials.
- Hybrid 3 by AIR Musc Tech.
As briefly mentioned SONiVOX Wobble is a synth software which is great for producers of EDM or dubstep tracks. MPC Essentials is a powerful tool for enthusiasts of MIDI controllers. Although, it is not entirely easy to use as a beginner. Lastly, Hybrid 3 is a great plugin to use which contains various different preset VST synth voices. All-in-all, the Akai MPK Mini MK2 comes jam-packed with an array of features and software to use.
As a DJ or producer, you know how annoying adding an extra cord is. More than likely, you are already drowning in cord mess. Many people tend to get lazy and allow cords to become tangled, ripped, and so on. Although it’s important to maintain your equipment, cords can easily get thrown under the rug by professional musicians. This is why there is definitely a growing market for cordless products and those which cut back on the necessary number of cords.
Although this device may not be entirely cordless, it only requires the use of a USB connection. If you have an extra port in your laptop or need an adapter for this, you can easily find the space to add this into your piles of equipment. USB-powered devices work well as long as the device powering the USB device works well. If your laptop crashes, don’t expect your controller to keep working. However, this is already likely a risk anybody on the market for a USB MIDI controller is already aware of.
Akai MPK Mini MK2 Review: Pros & Cons
In this Akai MPK Mini MK2 review, we have done our best to highlight some of the best features of this device and its software. Additionally, there have been clear distinctions as to where this device could receive some improvement. However, as a whole, this device is rather high-quality. In any case, it’s important to see all of the good bad sides of a product before purchasing it. Here is a list of the pros and cons of this product:
- Small, portable, & lightweight design.
- Included with 8 drum pads.
- Included with 8 assignable knobs.
- 25-key design with other MIDI buttons.
- MPC software is very difficult for beginners to use.
- Keys can be rather small if you have big fingers.
- Software might not be used if you already have some.
- Velocity cannot be adjusted.
As we can see here, there are many wonderful features of this product. However, there are also various things which the common consumer should be aware of. For example, MIDI controllers are wonderful when they can be recorded in certain velocities. However, a program will be required for this. The key can be small to small, and the software may also be useless to some.
Akai MPK Mini MK2 Review: Summary
As we have stated throughout this Akai MPK Mini MK2 review, this product is definitely worth it. Although it isn’t perfect, there is a popular range of features which are popular with anybody who is a DJ or producer. Although this shouldn’t be used by a live pianist, it is a wonderful MIDI controller for those who want to pair it with recording or DJ software. It is small and verstaile enough to be taken on the road while packing a punch for your performances.
Since the buttons are each programmable by MIDI, there is little that cannot be accomplished by this controller. This Akai MPK Mini MK2 review has been very clear on this. Each of the drum pads, keys, knobs, and buttons can be programmed by software to do whatever function you want. Although it lacks in features such as velocity, key size, and top-quality included software, it is a steal if you know the ins and outs of MIDI. Especially those who can figure out the included MPC software. You can buy the Akai MPK mini on Amazon by click here.