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Rating and Reviews: Akai MPK mini Keyboard

Produce on-the-go with this 25-note USB MIDI keyboard from AKAI. It features a built-in arpeggiator, eight assignable knobs, and velocity-sensitive pads.

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"How to Make Explosions Happen in People's Faces Via a Midi Controller" submitted June 30, 2011

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: Semi-Pro
Music Style: House
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Sound: It's a midi controller, so obviously it doesn't have sound. Feature: For something so small, there is a lot of crap you can do with it. Being able to change the control surface via the editor is pretty sweet. A really cool function is that each individual pad and knob can be assigned via the included control surface programming tool. The pads can be assigned to CC's, so you can have the pads turn FX on and off if you're DJing or automating something. Ease of Use: The bundled editing software is difficult to understand and the instructions are very brief and indirect. The actual keyboard is plug and play, so easy to use I guess. Quality: It's Akai. They have seldom f'd up in this area. Period. For the price, this is probably the best compact midi controller you can get. Value: For the price I paid, I'm super happy with the bang for the buck in this purchase. I would buy it again if it was stolen or broken. Manufacturer Support: Haven't dealt with Akai before because their stuff works and isn't impossible to figure out. The Wow Factor: Akai's products are usually very smooth and professional looking. There's something about black and red that just works. :D Overall: The only thing I would add to it would be the standard pitch and mod wheels, or maybe a Korg or Roland-like joystick to save space, but that could take up a lot of real estate, so I understand the omission.
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"Great for beginners with MIDI and for on-the-go recording." submitted March 14, 2011

By a customer from sbcglobal. net
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Musical Background: Electronic Musician/DJ
Music Style: IDM, trance, acid
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Sound: N/A Feature: For what it is, (a light weight portable midi controller), there are enough features here to get the job done on the go. The 8 velocity sensitive pads work great, the parameter knobs do the job, and they even thrown in an arpeggiator feature. If you're looking for a midi controller for your studio set-up however, you might want to consider spending a little more on something with a pitch bend, modulation, and some sliders, none of which this device has. Again though, portability is the key here. Ease of Use: This is where my main complaint comes in. The keys are a little "sticky" for my taste. When you press a key on the keyboard it sort of feels like to have to push it down with more force than you should. This is not a good thing, particularly because the device is velocity sensitive. Quality: So far, the product is reliable. No lose knobs are faulty parts. I am very careful with my gear so I can't tell you what happens if you drop the thing though. ;) Value: Honestly, this product is priced right for what it is. There are a few little quarks so I wouldn't pay any more than what the thing costs. If you're knew to midi, and want to be able to make music with your music software and some vst plug-ins. This keyboard is a great place to start! Manufacturer Support: The product contains a manual that goes over everything you need to know if your new to the whole midi thing. I haven't had to contact the company for support so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. The Wow Factor: I suppose there are probably "sexier" midi controllers out there, but for it's purpose, wouldn't you rather spend your money on something that's functional rather than spend your money on something with extra bells and whistles and a sleek, sexy design? It is a midi controller after all... Overall: Overall, I recommend this product for anybody looking for a midi controller they can easily bring with them on trips, a weekend over your parents house, etc. For the price, you can't really go wrong.
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"Akai quality in a portable, economy USB MIDI micro-controller" submitted April 14, 2013

By Kevin G in Tampa, FL
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Musical Background: Home Studio
Music Style: Breaks, Dub-Step, Electro, Hip-Hop, Trap
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Sound: It's a USB MIDI controller, no sound. Responsive, velocity-sensitive, but very small and narrow keys with a nice weight/resistance. Stiff but responsive pads. Small but tactile knobs. Nice feel to other control buttons. Feature: I initially was looking to buy both the Korg NanoKEY2 and NanoKONTROL2 controllers. I needed something small for my desktop as the AKAI MPK49 I own was just too big for my studio and I wasn't using it to it's full potential for that very reason. However, upon seeing the small size of the Akai MPK Mini keyboard versus the Korg Nanos (and the price, I got mine as a $50 open-box special, though I would happily pay full retail for it), I opted for the Akai MPK Mini. While I lose the faders of the Korg NanoKONTROL2, I gain 8 MPC-style pads. Now, a word about these pads: they are very stiff...every bit as stiff as the MPK49's pads. These are not the soft, tactile pads of the MPC series (What do you expect for the price?). However, having said that, as stiff as they are, they are very responsive. It does not take a lot of pressure to reach full velocity on these pads, which I cannot say for the MPK49's pads. This, of course, comes at the absence of full-level control, but I found these pads much more responsive and easy to use versus the pads on the MPK49 keyboard. Another feature lacking on this keyboard is pitch-bend and modulation wheels. This is not a big deal for me, as I usually draw in automation for these features, but it may be an issue for some. The knobs are understandably small, but feel good, and I have no complaints. Other features include Akai's great arpeggiator and program controls, plus Octave +/- controls. There are no pitch or modulation wheels, but there is a sustain button. Ease of Use: The keyboard comes with a preset editing program, however, I found no use for it as my DAWs (FL Studio 10 & Reason 6.5) were plug & play as far as the keyboard goes. Assignment of the knobs was also done in each respective DAW without the need for the Akai editing program. No drivers were needed. All I had to do was plug in the USB cable and select the keyboard from each respective DAW's MIDI menus. I really don''t understand the purpose/usefulness of the Akai editing program, though I may find more use if I dig into it deeper; but it seems relatively simple and not needed with the DAWs I use. Quality: It's has a plastic shell, which is standard for USB MIDI controllers these days. It's very portable, and seems like it can stand the abuse of travel. One thing to note, is that the keys are very small and extremely narrow. They feel good and have a nice weight, but it's very easy to fat-finger them. The pads are stiff but responsive, and I have no complaints about the knobs. Value: For the money, this is, in my opinion having had hands-on experience with the competition, the best micro-controller on the market. I already own the Akai MPK49. However, now that I have this little guy, I am going to sell it. Reason being, I am not a keyboard player, and do most of my composition on the DAW's piano roll. I work in a very constricted studio space, and the only room for my MPK49 was directly to my right. That presents a problem as I am right-handed, and auditioning sounds was a pain in my a**. I had to either manipulate the mouse with my right hand while reaching across my body with my left to play the keyboard, or finagle the mouse with my left hand while auditioning sounds with my right. Neither of which was ideal. While it's true I could use my PC keyboard to audition sounds, there is something to be said for being able to play a chord or scale while auditioning sounds with a small keyboard on my physical desktop. Same can be said for the pads and tweak-ability of the knobs right on your desktop versus having to turn a full 90-degrees to your right. I know it really doesn't sound like a big deal, but when speed is an important factor in your creativity and workflow, having controls right at your fingertips in invaluable. Additionally, being able to grab my laptop and this little guy and take my studio anywhere...with Akai professional quality....for under $100? You can't beat it. Period. Manufacturer Support: Never dealt directly with Akai support, but their website is super-informative and has downloads for editors, manuals, presets, etc. The Wow Factor: Very sexy little controller. It's very small, which is hard to decipher from the pics, as there is no scale to compare it. This little gem is a full 3 inches shorter than the length of my laptop and about 2 inches shorter in width. It is very, very small...I cannot stress this enough....the pics do not do it justice. The narrow keys are made more for a pecking style of play than a full-on two-handed traditional piano/keyboard player-style. as it is very easy to push down multiple keys. If you are a pianist or keyboard player, look elsewhere for something with full-size keys. If you are looking for something portable, mainly use piano rolls like me, or are a beginner looking for an entry level keyboard controller, you won't find a better mini-keyboard on the market (I did really like the Arturia Analog Experience, however, it was considerably larger, and compact-size was my main concern...the Arturia Mini-Lab just didn't feel as good as the Akai MPK Mini). I couldn't be more happier with my purchase. Overall: Great portable/desktop controller. Akai quality at an entry level price.
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"Akai Mini MPK well worth its price." submitted March 27, 2011

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: Life-long Music Hobbyist
Music Style: No easy label
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Sound: Obviously this is just an array of MIDI triggers with no inherent sound of its own. I was able to make it work with VSTs in Reaper by using its presets (because I don't know a thing about MIDI programming). (As a tip, different VSTs need the octave range of the keyboard adjusted up or down to get the VST to respond.) Feature: The MPK Mini has all the controls you could ask such a small thing to have. In the olden days when i used Akai samplers (S01, S1000) they were built like tanks: all metal housings, etc. The Mini MPK is plastic and light and very small. It is smaller than the keyboard on my laptop. But it works well and does what it was designed to do: be a very portable MIDI trigger with a range of functions easily accessible by buttons on the top. Ease of Use: The presets worked for me, and I haven't yet used anything but the straight plugin triggering. There are other capabilities I haven't used yet, like arpeggiation. As is generally true with Akai, it is a reliable performance tool. Quality: I wish Akai still made the shells of their instruments of metal, but apart from that, if it must be plastic, at least it's well made and designed for portability. Value: This is the main reason I bought the Mini MPK (and the Akai EWI USB). Of course, it is also the reason Akai is using plastic for the instrument housings. Manufacturer Support: I have never had to contact Akai for service. I suspect that, like all huge corporations, it would be like trying to reach Kafka's Castle. Fortunately, I have never needed them. There are various forums on the Internet where general questions can get answers from musicians and users around the world, and that has always been all I ever needed. The Wow Factor: The high efficiency and small size give it a kind of technical sex appeal, but really it is only meant to be a tool. Overall: It's all I need and I'll use it as long as it lasts. It does have one small keyboard that works for me, but players need to know the keys are quite small. The small size of the unit is striking. When you see a picture of it, if there is nothing else in the picture to give it scale, you might be expecting something bigger, like the Midiman Oxygen 8. The Mini MPK is substantially smaller than that. It is extremely easy to transport and carry around. That's what it's for.
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"Good, solid value" submitted April 17, 2011

By a customer from live.com
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Musical Background: hobbyist
Music Style: rock
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Sound: It's a midi. Sounds like a midi. Feature: none. Ease of Use: mapping software is included. Quality: solid product Value: can't imagine there are other products in this price range that are of the same quality Manufacturer Support: no problems so far. The Wow Factor: i wouldn't be embarrassed bringing this with me in public. Overall: i might replace it if i needed more functionality than what this product has to offer
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