Akai’s MPK Mini mk3 is a solid and affordable way to get into MIDI keyboard controllers, but there’s still a chance you want more flexibility for your music-making sessions. Thankfully, the company now has a more powerful option that still keeps costs in check. The just-launched MPK Mini Plus offers more range by expanding from 25 to 37 keys, and introduces more advanced elements like a two-track step/live sequencer, chord and scale modes, DAW-friendly transport controls and wheels for pitch bending and modulation. You’ll also find full five-pin MIDI ports (you previously needed USB) as well as CV/Gate connectors for attaching synths and similar modular equipment.
The main draws of the mk3 remain intact. The MPK Mini Plus still has eight RGB-lit MPC drum pads, an X/Y joystick (now fully assignable) and features like an arpeggiator, sustain pedal input and octave shifting. The hardware is USB-powered, includes a small OLED screen and comes with Akai’s MPCBeats software to help get your productions started.
The MPK Mini Plus is available through Amazon and other shops for $169. That’s significantly more than the $119 for the mk3, but it’s clear where the money went. As it stands, you’ll likely have a hard time finding other MIDI controllers with this feature set below $200. This may be your best bet if you’re on a budget but still want a device that can grow along with your musical talents.
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