AKAI MPK Mini Plus Review

AKAI's MPK Mini Plus is a compact and portable MIDI keyboard controller that offers a range of features for both on-the-go music production and studio use. The Mini Plus is an upgrade from the original MPK Mini, featuring 37 mini keys (compared to the Mini's 25) and a wider range of ports and features, including a sustain pedal input, full-size MIDI in and out DIN ports, and CV Clock I/O and CV pitch, mod, and gate output. This allows the Mini Plus to work as a standalone MIDI and CV controller, as well as in conjunction with computer-based software.

Akai MPK Mini Laptop Production Keyboard

Akai MPK Mini Laptop Production Keyboard

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AKAI's MPK Mini Plus is a compact and portable MIDI keyboard controller that offers a range of features for both on-the-go music production and studio use. The Mini Plus is an upgrade from the original MPK Mini, featuring 37 mini keys (compared to the Mini's 25) and a wider range of ports and features, including a sustain pedal input, full-size MIDI in and out DIN ports, and CV Clock I/O and CV pitch, mod, and gate output. This allows the Mini Plus to work as a standalone MIDI and CV controller, as well as in conjunction with computer-based software.

One of the standout features of the Mini Plus is its "2nd gen" dynamic keybed, which offers a level of responsiveness and playability that belies the size of the keyboard. The keys are pleasant to play, reacting well even to more complex playing styles, and the inclusion of three full octaves means that two-handed chord playing is possible. The Mini Plus also includes scale and chord modes that allow you to program chords to single notes and ensure you never play an off-key note.

In addition to its keyboard, the Mini Plus also includes a range of other controls, including an assignable X/Y joystick controller and eight assignable endless rotary knobs, which can be used to control a variety of parameters such as filters, panning, and automation. The Mini Plus also includes Transport controls and eight velocity-sensitive, backlit MPC drum pads that can be used for both drum playing and as program change and other MIDI CC triggers.

One potential downside of the Mini Plus is its joystick controller, which feels a bit flimsy and may be prone to damage during transport. However, this is a minor concern given the overall quality and functionality of the keyboard.

In terms of build quality, the Mini Plus is sturdily constructed and weighs just over 1kg, making it easy to carry around. It is powered and connects to data via USB, with a USB-B to USB-A cable included. While USB-C is becoming more widely adopted, the use of a USB-A cable is not a major issue, and the inclusion of a sustain pedal input and full-size MIDI ports means that the Mini Plus can easily be integrated into a variety of music production setups.

Overall, the AKAI MPK Mini Plus is a well-rounded and highly capable MIDI keyboard controller that offers a range of features for both on-the-go music production and studio use. Its responsive keys, wide range of controls, and compatibility with a variety of software and hardware make it a strong choice for musicians and producers looking for a portable and versatile controller.

Rating: 8/10