Akai Pro MPK Mini Plus is a new portable, affordable MIDI CV/gate keyboard with a built-in 2-track sequencer, 8 MPC pads, and more.
Thanks to the Eurorack standard, modular synthesizers are more popular and affordable than ever. To control them you need MIDI peripherals that can also handle CV and gate signals. The best seller of affordable controllers here is the Arturia Keystep. After that nothing comes for a long time.
Today, however, Akai Pro steps into the ring and tries to compete with the Keystep with its MPK Mini Plus.
Akai Pro MPK Mini Plus
The new MPK Mini Plus is a new MIDI CV/Gate controller keyboard inspired by the Keystep. The design looks very nice and clear. But that alone is not the most important thing, but the feature set and this look very solid.
It features a 3-full octave keyboard with 37 mini keys. According to the Akai, it uses the Gen 2 dynamic keybed for expanded melodic and harmonic creation. It gives you velocity and no aftertouch control.
A highlight is the built-in polyphonic 2-track step/live sequencers that capture new melodic and drum patterns on the fly. It has 8 notes of polyphony per step and 16 notes per drum step. There is also an onboard arpeggiator for endless creative possibilities. Additionally, you get handy chord capture functionality and built-in scale mode with 15 different scale settings.
Then, you find on the left side real pitch and modulation wheels. Here the point has Akai Pro versus the Keystep which only has touch wheels.
MPC Pads And Joystick
The MPC pads should not be missing on an Akai Pro product. In this case, you get 8 velocity-sensitive RGB-backlit MPC drum pads great for programming drums. They can also be assigned to program changes and to trigger additional CC parameters. Also nice are the 8 MIDI-assignable 360-rotary knobs with which you get hands-on control over software controls.
Not to forget, Akai Pro also added an assignable joystick controller in red in the MPK Mini Plus. You can assign up to 4 parameters to the joystick’s X/Y axis and morph between effects. Owners can also benefit from classic DAW transport controls (play, stop, record, loop, and locator).
On the backside, you get a USB port, 5-pin MIDI input/output sockets, CV/gate connectivity (pitch, gate, mod), a sustain pedal input, and a clock in and out. So it can be used for hybrid setups. For DAWs but also for modular synthesizers that require CV/gate signals.
At first glance a very solid MIDI CV/Gate keyboard. Akai competes with Keystep here, and that’s a good thing. It’s a pity that the keybed doesn’t have aftertouch support. Instead, you get MPC pads and encoders which is also a neat addon.
Akai Pro MPK Mini Plus is available soon for 199€.
More information here: Akai Pro
Available for pre-order at my partner