AKAI’s MPK mini was already something of a sleeper hit – a simple MIDI controller keyboard that was small enough to be irresistible. But the latest revision makes it useful even all by its lonesome.
MPK mini play is what AKAI are calling the latest edition. It’s actually the second major revision of this unassuming little keyboard. The gamepad-style pitch/mod joystick had already packed in a bit more control features, in addition to the handy pads, banks, and a built-in arpeggiator.
But all of that was just for use with a computer, connected via USB. The “play” version will now work standalone. There are 128 built-in instrument sounds and 10 drum kits in the internal sound module, plus a crisp OLED display so you can find the sound you want. AA battery power means this is all at your ready without even power nearby. There’s even a built-in speaker so you can hear what you’re doing.
You can also make Favorites, which compile a Keys patch, a Drums patch, and settings for the knobs.
Heck, it’s even got a sustain pedal input and a headphone jack.
I’ll be totally honest – I tried to look up what sounds are in there, and couldn’t. I know the screenshot already has an 808 kit – sold yet?
It almost doesn’t seem to matter. I can’t think of another keyboard that could work as an iPad or computer accessory on USB power, then also a standalone jamming keyboard. Studio ready, picnic ready, too. Seems a good move in time for summer (Northern Hemisphere, anyway).
I gush only because the MPK mini is one of those things that you buy sort of as a throwaway, then wind up using more than everything else, just because it’s so small and convenient. It also has the advantage of taking up so little space that even when other gear in the studio competes for space, it has a way of staying by your computer keyboard instead of going on the shelf.
(Judge me by my size, do you?)
Midifan in China have a hands-on with more pictures / unboxing (worth looking even before you reach for Google Translate to try to work out what they’re saying, if you don’t speak Chinese).
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