The Akai MPK Mini MK 2 is without a doubt one of the best USB MIDI controller keyboards for the mobile desktop producer. It is extremely capable, yet compact and lightweight enough for carrying in a standard laptop bag when travelling. This dedicated production controller is slightly thinner than an average laptop and roughly the size of the QWERTY keyboard section (31.4 x 18 x 4.6 cm, or 12.5 x 7.13 x 1.75 inches), the original Akai MPK Mini was a firm favorite among producers and Akai have enhanced it in version 2, by adding the much-requested missing feature from the original model – modulation and pitch controls.
With its array of hardware controls, the MPK mini MK 2 lets you record, compose, and perform with Digital Audio Workstations, virtual instruments, and effect plugins – whenever inspiration strikes. It has been the best selling USB MIDI keyboard controller in its class on Amazon for the past few years.
The MPK Mini inherites many of its features from Akai’s larger range of keyboards, (the MPK249, MPK61 and the MPK49) and from the classic 1980s’ MPC sample workstations, combined in a much more compact package.
It is USB powered, doesn’t require a separate power adapter and no special software drivers to be installed. It works equally as well with Mac OS or Windows, the included software allows it be configured for whatever instruments you wish to use it with.
It features 25 velocity-sensitive mini piano keys,
an ergonomic 4-way thumbstick for dynamic pitch and modulation manipulation,
8 velocity-sensitive backlit MPC-style pads in 2 quickly-switchable banks,
and 8 assignable Q-Link dial controls.
Plus, two banks expand the number of MPC-style pads to 16 for extended creative capabilities.
The Akai MPK Mini Mk2 includes all the essentials for quickly laying down and expanding your musical ideas.
It comes bundled with professional production software and free virtual instruments.
The percussion pads, like the piano keys, are velocity‑sensitive, made from thick, heavy‑duty rubber and are illuminated by backlights everytime a pad is hit.
The keyboard spans three octaves, Octave up and down buttons can also be used to shift the playable range up or down by four octaves in either direction.
Four memory banks store your hardware and software presets for quick and easy set-up. The included MPK Mini MIDI Editor is preset management software, to customize users’ hardware and software setup. Create and tweak presets for favorite virtual instruments, plug-ins, and DAWs, and then store them on the controller.
There are a number of low cost, mini USB keyboard controllers on the market at the moment which are aimed at the budget-conscious user who wants an extremely portable MIDI controller that’s economic in its use of space.
The Akai MPK Mini Mk2 offers more options and flexibility than anything else of the same size and price bracket. Additionally its arpeggiator is an bonus, and not something you’d necessarily expect on a controller at this price.
The drum pads on the MPK Mini are sturdy and playable, and feel as if they could have been borrowed from a much more expensive controller.
If we were to choose a real competitor, it would be the Novation Launchkey Mini Mk2 (also at a similar price).
It definitely comes close in terms of features and is a matter of preference. Different software packages are bundled with each device, which is something to consider. The Launchkey also has 16 pads as opposed to the MPK’s 8, but the Mini Mk 2 makes up for it with the new thumbstick and sustain pedal, as well as a generally better build quality. In the end, you couldn’t go wrong with either the Novation or Akai, but the MPK Mini Mk 2 MIDI keyboard is one of our favorites and a must have if you’re looking for a compact controller that’ll fit really well into any studio.
Korg’s NanoKey and Akai’s LPK25 are even cheaper and smaller, but lack some of the features
such as assignable dials and pads. Alesis’s Q25 is of similar size, it has larger keys, and separate pitch‑bend and modulation wheels. Our reviews for all the alternatives mentioned here are also on this site.
Travel case for the Akai MPK Mini Mk2
For added portability safety, this excellent travel case is available to buy.
Akai Professional MPK Mini Mk II 25-key USB MIDI Controller Keyboard
Features at a Glance:
25 velocity-sensitive mini piano keys
Incorporates 5 years of user feedback for an enhanced new design
Innovative 4-way thumbstick for ergonomic dynamic control of pitch and modulation
8 backlit velocity-sensitive MPC-style pads with Note Repeat & Full Level
8 assignable Q-Link dials – assignable for mixing, tweaking plug-ins, and more
Built-in arpeggiator with adjustable resolution, range, and modes
Note repeat, full level and tap tempo buttons
Dedicated Octave Up and Octave Down buttons
Compact design lets you take it anywhere
USB powered; no power adapter required
Full-size sustain pedal input jack
Comprehensive production software package included: Akai Pro MPC Essentials, SONiVOX Wobble, and Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Tech (downloads)
Compatible with Mac and PC
Pad Banks: 2 banks
Dials: 8 assignable 270º dial controls
Computer interface: USB MIDI communications to Mac/PC
Octaves: 10 with Octave Up and Down • Octaves: 10-octave range with octave up/down buttons
1 x USB port
1 x 6.35mm (1/4 inch) input socket for sustain pedal
Power: USB power via full-size USB jack, no power adapter required
Dimensions: 31.4 x 18 x 4.6 cm / 12.5 x 7.13 x 1.75 inches
Weight of the Controller: 748 g / 1.65 lbs
Macintosh: 1.25 GHz G4/G5 or faster (Intel Mac recommended); 1 GB RAM (2 GB recommended); Mac OS X 10.4.11 (10.5 or later recommended)
PC: 1.5 GHz Pentium 4 or Celeron-compatible CPU or faster (multicore CPU recommended); 1 GB RAM (2 GB recommended); Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, A Windows-compatible sound card (ASIO driver support recommended); QuickTime recommended
1 Available USB port
Editor Software Requirements: Mac OS X 10.7+ or Windows 7+