Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII 25-Key Ultra-Portable USBMIDI Drum Pad and Keyboard Controller with Joystick Review
Product: Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII
Cheapest Place to Buy: www.amazon.com
Guarantee: 2-year-protection for 11.63$ via Amazon
Add-Ons: Virtual Instruments (Hybrid 3, Wobble), Standalone DAW MPC Essentials
My Rating: 8.2 Out Of 10
The Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII is a MIDI controller designed to record, compose and perform music wherever you want. It has both Keys and Drum Pads.
Due to its size (12.36 x 1.8 x 1.8 inches, with smaller Keys than normal ones) it is easy to carry or to put on an already stuffed table – that means you can easily build a home recording studio with it. It is designed for any beginner in creating Beats (which doesn´t mean it´s not also for professional use). So, if you want to start out it delivers the possibility to record both melody and rhythm.
The 25 Keys are velocity-sensitive and there is also a 4-Way-Knob for Dynamic Pitch and Modulation Manipulation. If you wonder what this is: you can easily alter the pitch of single notes, or of full patterns of notes (modulation).
The Pitch Manipulation lets you also bend a guitar if you have this kind of Plugin installed (most of DAWs have).
There are 8 velocity-sensitive backlit MPC-Style Drum Pads with which you are going to create Drumbeats (an MPC is a “Music PC”, the so-called beatmachines from the brand AKAI). The 2 integrated banks scale the number of 8 Drum Pads up to 16. With this function you can use up to 16 different Drum Sounds.
Next to the Drum Pads, there are 8 assignable “Q-Link Knobs”, which is a product name for an assignable MCC or MIDI Controller Command. It means you can assign different commands to the MIDI Controller (to one of the knobs) which then are sent out to the software you use. Basically, it is like using several filters (equalizer functions) on the sound the MIDI Controller is sending out.
More features of this piece of Hardware are:
- An USB 2.0 connection (the cable doesn´t fall off easily) with no need to install any special Drivers (Plug&Play). There is also no need for an Extra Input because the Controller powers itself off of the USB input.
- A Sustain Pedal Input (if you have a sustain pedal you can use it with the Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII, making your music sound more expressive)
- An Arpeggiator which makes it easy to compose complex melodies.
- As an extra feature of genuine Akai Technology, there are also the Functions “Note Repeat” and “Full Level”, which means when activated everytime you hit a Drum Pad, it responds with the full level of strength, not reacting on how hard you hit.
- 4 Memory Banks which enable the User to save their own Presets and easily set up the MPK Mini and the Computer.
- MIDI Editor (Preset Management Software): this piece of software allows you to manage your hardware and software Setup on the PC or MAC. You can create your own Presets for Virtual Instruments and Plugins and then store it on the MPK Mini MKII. This way, you will save a lot of time setting up your Gear.
- Three pieces of additional Software: the VSTI (virtual instrument) “Hybrid 3”, by AIR Music Tech, and the VSTI “Wobble” from SONiVOX. The first one is a synthesizer which can create lots of different sounds from the Past and the Present. The second one is good for creating fat Basslines. The third one, MPC Essentials, is a beat production software which can be run as a Standalone or be incorporated into your DAW of choice. It can add up to the power of the Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII, having up to 8 Pad Banks (memory) with 4 Samples and Insert Effects per Pad.