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Akai MPK Mini any good?

Anything about hardware musical instruments.

Moderator: Moderators (Main)

Vaylos
KVRist
 
58 posts since 24 Feb, 2006, from Coralville, IA

Postby Vaylos; Mon Dec 17, 2012 2:37 am

Dude, I totally feel your pain. The same EXACT thing happened to my MPK mini a few months ago. Mini-USB port, gone. I got the thing hoping the keys would have a deeper travel, but yeah, the bed is kinda shallow and the feel is a bit mushy. But for mucking around on a laptop or tablet in a coffee shop, it's not half bad.

As a replacement, I just got myself a Korg MicroKey 25 (which also happened to be a little cheaper, though you don't get knobs or pads, just a joystick which also seems to control the (somewhat limited) arpeggiator. The keys are much better feeling, have a bit more travel/depth, and feel more like synth keys rather than something mushy and shallow. Though,as another thread mentioned, the keys could be a tad stiffer. As a bonus, the Korg works with my Asus TF300t via the USB port on the keyboard dock. (I got it working with the latest Caustic update)

Now, don't get me wrong, for what it is, the features, and the price, I think the Akai MPK-mini is great.... sure, it could have used a joystick or something to save room vs. not having anything at all to control pitch/mod (well, other than assigning knobs) but for the control options you get in such a small form factor, it's quite a steal. Well, of course, save the usb port which, the way I see it, is a very unfortunate design flaw.

The USB port on the korg microkey is like a standard USB device port that you would find on larger keyboards or printers. It feels a bit more sturdy as well, though I have not opened it up to see how it is soldered to the board or how it is housed or reinforced.

The way the MPK's port is just kinda stuck on the edge of the board without any real housing or reinforcement to prevent breakage is really a pretty shoddy design.

Anyhoo, the Korg fits in my backpack, even in the smaller middle pocket like the MPK did. Sure it's slightly more bulky, but at least it fits.

As for the good points, I do have a mini-review of the MPK on my website's news block (gotta scroll down to find it...I need to implement a more organized news/blog section to my site....someday.)
"For art to appear, you must disappear" ~ Stephen Nachmanovitch: Free Play
nerdpatrol
KVRer
 
25 posts since 7 Dec, 2012

Postby nerdpatrol; Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:14 am

I know others have brought this up already but the pads on the Mini aren't very good unless you open it up and mod them a little using tape. When I originally bought the MPK I expected they just needed a little breaking in, but the feel just isn't the same, they're a lot stiffer and less responsive even after modding. With all that said it's still a solid piece of gear if you can find one for relatively cheap and I still use mine almost every day and the knobs can be useful for experimenting with or automating parameter changes quickly when you're on the go. I'd recommend going to your local music shop and trying both the MPK and the MicroKey out - get a feel for the keys, pads, knobs, etc and see which one you think you would get more use out of. The MicroKey has much better keys so if you're most concerned with playability of the keys it may be the better choice, but for control over everything the MPK still wins in my book.
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el-bo (formerly ebow)
KVRAF
 
4025 posts since 24 May, 2009, from A galaxy, far far away

Postby el-bo (formerly ebow); Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:26 am

the velocity sucks....has nothing to do with it being mini...my microkontrol allows for a much more dynamic performance and it alo has mini keys

i think with mini keyboards there are enough compromises, and if there's anything to get right it's to be able to enter notes without having to edit later for dynamics

have a look at the korg microkey
bafonso
KVRer
 
14 posts since 19 Nov, 2007

Postby bafonso; Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:25 pm

grymmjack wrote:mind it wont work with an ipad. if you don't care about that, it's decent. the pads kind of suck (wayyy too stiff/insensitive imo), though i'm spoiled by my padkontrol. the keys are ok, lack of a pitchbender/modwheel kind of bites. the arp is basic but ok (you can do the same in software). hardware editor is very well made, but it was made using maxmsp :)

for the price, for a notebook/traveling setup, it's definitely a nice keyboard, if the pads were more sensitive i'd like it a lot more, same with addition of mw/pb. it's worth the money but it's not perfect.


I've been using it with my iPads. Both v1 and now v3. Sometimes you need to plug and unplug several times. You cannot lit up the pads too much :-) The LEDs draw too much power...

It's all pretty velocity-agnostic.. but there's no better out there all in one solution afaik.
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