This review in particular is one of my favorites for so many reasons. If you’ve ever used the Akai MPK Mini MK2 you most likely already know why. This review is exclusively for all my beat producers out there looking for the next addition to their studio or workstation. Now there are a few different variations of the Akai MPK series, but this one is specifically the Mini MK2.
Youll soon see all the available features from this piece of equipment for less than $100 on Amazon.com which is an excellent price for what you get.
Now for those who are looking to purchase your first MIDI production keyboard or controller, or you’ve just recently been introduced to beat production, I’d do some extra research on this to see if it’s a good fit for you. Just to give my opinion, this product is good for the following:
- PC, Mac, & mobile devices
- Ableton, FL Studio, and many other popular programs
- Making beats on the go
- If you’re limited to USB capability
- If you don’t have a software at all since it comes with one
- If you don’t have much money to work with
I hope by the end of this review you’ll have learned something new about this product. Now let’s jump right into it.
So I’ll start off with the most evident part of the MPK Mini which is the keyboard. It has 25 keys, of course you’ll need more than that as a standard grand piano has 88 keys. For that reason, there are two octave buttons which allow you change octaves as you create your different melodies and chords.
Above and below the octave buttons you’ll find the arpeggiator and full level buttons. The arpeggiator on/off buttons control the tempo of your project, and the full level button controls how hard each key or drum pad button is pressed since the MPK’s volume goes by how hard or soft you press them. The full level keeps you at a consistent volume no matter how hard or soft a button is pressed while creating.
On the other side of the MPK, there are eight knobs which can map out your decibel levels. These are great since they don’t do a full 360 rotation while turning them near the minimum and maximum sides.
Underneath the knobs, you’ll find the pad controls which you can choose which set of buttons are being controlled within the pad. As you can clearly see there are only 8 buttons on the drum pad, but with the pad control you can switch between drums that you’ve set on each button which is pretty cool as well.
Another thing that I love is that it is USB powered! So that means no AC adapters or any other complicated wiring is needed. It also helps that the USB cable is included in the package so no need to go out and buy one.
Last but not least, you have your joystick on the top left-hand corner which functions as your mouse. Oh yea… it also has a quarter inch sustain input for a sustain pedal on the top of the MPK (not included).
Perfect For Synths & Drums
You won’t believe the possibilities you’ll have while using this great machine. I’ve seen so many producers use it strictly for the Hip hop genre which uses a number of different drum kits and sounds. Not only that, the keyboard will help create the perfect melodies and synths for your records.
I love the fact that it comes with its very own software which is included! I don’t know about you but it annoys me having to buy one product, thinking that’s all that’s required to create music, and then needing a plethora of different pieces to the puzzle just to begin.
The flexibility is great, allowing you to have 4 VST effects per instrument from your entire library. So go ahead and load up your effects and sounds from your current DAW onto the Akai MPK Mini MK2 or use the software that’s included which is Akai Pro MPC Essentials, AIR Hybrid 3, and SONiVOX Wobble.
Now in comparison with some other Akai MPK equipment, the Mini MK2 is extremely affordable and comes at the best value in my humble opinion. To get all this for under $100 is insane! Of course, I can always save my funds to buy other great machines like the MPK225, the MPK249, or the MPK261 which are all amazing pieces of equipment but probably not the best bang for your buck.
Those others that I mentioned come with the Akai Pro MPC Essentials software as well as Ableton Live Lite, which is its own mini DAW, as opposed to the others that are included with the Mini MK2.
If you decide to go with the other two that I’ve mentioned, be ready to pay anywhere from $250 to $500 unless you find a deal of some sort. Great equipment, but high prices if you’re on a budget.
Of course, I have to give the honest truth since this is a review so let’s talk about the downside of using the MPK Mini MK2. It’s a very obvious downside, but the size of the MPK can get in the way of creativity. Having such a small space for my fingers to go to work on different chords can get a little frustrating.
Many others are saying how user-friendly it is NOT. Just keep that in mind if you decide to purchase since everyone has their own experience, and I’m kind of nerd myself so user-friendly is never a problem since I’m tech friendly and love to learn how technology like this functions.
I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews when it comes to the keyboard durability. Some say it’s very sturdy while playing the keys and some say it broke after the second use of it. The safest way is to try it out for yourself and whatever happens be sure to let me know how your experience was.
Time To Make Some Fire Beats!
I’m excited for each and every one of your experiences and hope it’s a great adventure using this product. There are plenty of options as far as MPC’s (MIDI Production Controller) and MPK’s (MIDI Production Keyboard) but as long as you experiment, you’ll find the perfect one for you.
I hope this review has served its purpose in helping you and hopefully I’ve answered all or at least some of your questions. As always, be sure to leave any feedback, questions, or comments you have below and I’ll be sure to respond. Now go and make some fire beats!