Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII 2017 Review: Still Bang For You Buck!

Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII 2017 Review: Still Bang For You Buck!

MIDI Controllers come in all shapes and sizes and make a great addition to any producer’s toolkit, but it can be a drawback for many that are starting out. Allow me to shine a spotlight on the remedy you’ve been waiting for, one that’s not only perfect for the beginner but for the veteran producer in need of a portable and compact addition to their arsenal. They’ve put nearly five years of user feedback into creating a device that looks at home on the desktop of any beat studio and still fits easily in the backpack of any laptop-toting musician.

It integrates with many of the most popular DAWs around, including Logic Pro, Reason, Pro Tools, Cubase, Fl Studio and Ableton Live, so if you’re on a budget or looking for an inexpensive way to keep the tunes bangin’ while you’re on the road then you’ve come to the right place. Here’s our review of the Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII.


Akai Professional MPK Mini MKIIAkai MPK Mini MKII 2017 review - How To Make Hip-Hop.com

Price: $99.00

Cheapest Place to Buy:  Amazon.com

Operating System: Windows and Mac OS

Rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars (Based on 1006 ratings)


What Can It Do?

The MPK Mini is pure Plug-In-and-Go! No additional software drivers to download and absolutely no external power necessary. Once you’ve plugged in that USB into your Mac or PC, you have everything at your fingertips.

The first thing that stands out is obviously the 25 black and white mini keys at your disposal. Emphasis on the word mini too. These bad boys are your ticket to creative freedom with every octave available through the Up and Down buttons in the top left, so you can access the keyboard’s full melodic range. They sit neatly below the unique 4-way thumbstick, the perfect tool for dynamic pitchAkai MPK Mini MKII 2017 review - How To Make Hip-Hop.com and modulation control, and the built-in arpeggiator. Use this to create complex melodic lines with the adjustable resolution, range and modes.

The Pad Life

The MPC-style pads are great…for the price you’re paying that is. I mean, they’re not top of the line but the fact that they have any is astounding. I know some full-size MIDI controllers that don’t even have any so it’s great to have these that are both pressure- and velocity-sensitive. The added MPC Essentials software is what takes it to the next level by adding up to 8 pad banks and 4 samples and insert effects per pad. Be prepared to download only once you’ve registered your controller

The Full Level Button is there to keep every pad at the same volume, no matter how hard you hit them. You’ve also got eight assignable Q-Link knobs that can be mapped to your DAW. They can be used on your plugin parameters and for making your tweaks once you’re in the mixing phase. You can also run it on its own without a DAW so Bonus! (but I can’t say I’ve tried or seen it in action).

 

What Can’t It Do?

There are a few things that work against it, however. It’s not exactly built like a tank, so try not to throw it around too much and keep it out from under anything heavy, especially if you’re taking it on the road. It’s by no means a flimsy piece of gear but a little extra caution will keep it in good shape and let you use it for years to come.

Emphasis on Mini

I have to stress the ‘mini’ factor for a bit. This thing has a shorter width than your MacBook Pro. As you may know, it basically means that your keys are going to be slightly smaller than your average keyboard. They already take some getting used to and it may only frustrate you if you’re used to using a full sized set. I’d say they’re about slightly larger than a penny, but still very useable.

Akai MPK Mini MKII 2017 review - How To Make Hip-Hop.com

What Comes Extra?

The extra sauce on top comes courtesy of the software that’s available to download once your product is registered on the Akai website. I’ve touched on the MPC Essentials but along with it comes Hybrid 3, created by AIR Music Technologies. The same group of Einsteins that created the Xpand!2, a plugin I use on almost every track I create. This virtual synthesiser can create classic leads and retro sounds with a full range of digital manipulation capabilities. To accompany it is Wobble, the Dubstep grime generator by SONiVOX. It is designed to create the craziest and most unique pulsating sounds so you can bring the grimiest bass lines to life. Both of these cost over $200 when sold separately so it’s practically a steal.

 

Why You Should Get It

What still amazes me is the amount of sheer value that you get from this controller. That’s what makes it such a great starting point for anybody new to the art of electronic music production (or Makin’ Beatz as I’d say). Whether you started making tracks last month or last night, extend your kit with this no problem. ‘Mini’ won’t even be a factor eventually once you let your fingers do a bit of walking over these keys.

Click Here To Get Your Akai Professional MPK Mini MkII Today!

If you’re looking for something more suited to Ableton users then look no further than the Novation LaunchKey Mini MKII, probably the Akai’s closest competitor in this price bracket. If you’ve got a little less room in your budget then allow me to turn your attention to the Akai LPD8. It’s a small controller with just the pads that is another great starting point when building out your beat studio.

Akai MPK Mini MKII 2017 review - How To Make Hip-Hop.com

Have you had any experience with this controller? Want to know more before you go? feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.

Peace.

Ryan C. Voller, Recording Artist – Producer – Lead Contributor for HowToMakeHip-Hop.com

 

The Short Version

  • Incorporates 5 years of user feedback for an all-new, enhanced design
  • 25 synth-action mini keys
  • 4-way thumbstick for dynamic pitch and modulation control
  • 8 backlit velocity-sensitive MPC-style pads with Note Repeat & Full Level
  • 8 assignable Q-Link knobs for mixing, tweaking plug-ins, and more
  • Built-in arpeggiator with adjustable resolution, range, and modes
  • Dedicated Octave Up and Octave Down buttons
  • Ultra-compact design lets you create 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)


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8 thoughts on “Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII 2017 Review: Still Bang For You Buck!

  1. Bruce

    I like the bit about it development through customer feedback and the practical advice on taking care of it on the road.

    What particularly excited me was learning about the software that cones with it so I can plug it in and start controlling a powerful synth vst from the word go

    The short version also works really well as a summary. People are often looking for a quick review and this perfectly outlines the key elements of this controller. I recommend reading this before buying.

    Respect

    Bruce

    1. Ryan

      Nice to see you again, Bruce.

      I’m glad you found this informative and I am here to answer any other questions you may have.

      Thanks again for leaving your comment

  2. Derek

    I liked the format of your review. You covered the salient points without unnecessary fluff and provided a neat summary at the end.
    The only thing that is missing (for me) is how you arrive at the rating (3.8). As a potential buyer, I would be interesting to know where the points were lost.

    1. Ryan

      Hi Derek.

      The rating comes directly Amazon based on 867 customer reviews. People had a lot to say about it. 😀

      Hope this helps and thanks for leaving your comment.

  3. svenonroad

    Hey ryan, thx for this very interesting review. I like the way built it out and explained the ins and outs of this controller, it made it a lot easier to understand. Your short version in the end was great, it gives me a neat summary to return to. Is there a warranty on the Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII?

    1. Ryan

      Whadup Sven.

      Thanks for asking. All controllers come with a 30-day Warranty if bought directly from their site and a 30-day return policy if brought from Amazon.com

      Hope this helps and thanks for leaving your comment.

  4. Brad

    So how does this compare to like the top of the line systems the best artists out there are using. Does this use the same basic features as those do? I guess my real question is is this something for beginners? If I was just beginning and new very little is this a product that would be able to get my feet wet without it being overwhelming or is this something to buy years down the road. Thank you for your advice!

    1. Ryan

      Nice to see you again, Brad.

      This controller absolutely has all the basic functions and provides great value for money. You don’t want to spend a lot when starting out but you don’t want to be limited by getting something inferior.

      I’d definitely recommend it.

      Thanks again for leaving your comment.

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