AKAI updates ‘the world’s most popular controller keyboard’ with new MPK Mini Plus

AKAI MPK Mini Plus MIDI keyboard controller

AKAI has just unveiled a new MPK Mini Plus. While we did see a new Mini Play model earlier this year, the AKAI MPK Mini Plus MIDI keyboard controller is the next-generation model of the standard Mini MK3 that launched back in 2020. Shedding the onboard speaker and built-in sounds found on the more portable production suite-grade Play model, the new MPK Mini Plus is the latest-generation MIDI controller from the brand designed to offer a little bit of extra finger real-estate for beat makers and musicians alongside a series of modernized controls we are used to with music controllers like this. Now available for purchase, head below for a closer look at the details. 

New AKAI MPK Mini Plus

AKAI MPK Mini Plus is a 37-key controller that delivers an extra octave over its smaller counterpart alongside some additional hardware controls. In terms of musical inputs, you’re looking at AKAI’s Gen 2 velocity-sensitive keybed and eight “real” MPC pads inspired by the brand’s legendary drum machine samplers with the RGB-backlit treatment.

While the drum pads can also be used for assigning program changes and triggering CC MIDI parameter changes on software instruments and the like, AKAI has also outfitted the new MPK Mini Plus with a host of assignable controls:

Dial in effects with the 8 assignable 360-rotary knobs for every function including filters, automation, pan controls, and more. Add depth and dimension to your tracks by writing precise automation.

From there, you’ll find the usual pitch and modulation wheels as well as the X/Y joystick controller that can be assigned to four different parameters on FX and instruments within your DAW. Moving across the top control panel, there is a dedicated transport section for hardware functionality over the play, stop, record, and locator features in your software as well as buttons for engaging the internal scale/chord modes (locks the keybed to select scales and for automatically triggering chords with a single key) as well as the MPK Mini Plus’ built arpeggiator and sequencer, all showcased on the contextual OLED display. 

And a built-in sequencer…

The sequencer would have to be one of the highlights here – it is a two-track sequencer that supports 16 notes per drum step as well as eight notes of polyphony on the key steps (eight notes of harmony or melody per step).

For those creative moments or DAW-less jams sessions, the onboard polyphonic 2-track step/live Sequencer captures new melodic and drum patterns on the fly. 8 notes of polyphony per step, 16 notes per Drum Step and an onboard Arpeggiator offer endless creative possibilities.

And here’s a quick rundown of the I/O you’ll find on the back of the machine:

  • Three 1/8″ (3.5mm) CV Outputs
  • Two 1/8″ (3.5mm) CV Clock In/Out
  • Two MIDI DIN In/Out Ports
  • Sustain Pedal input
  • Power via USB Type-B (Bus-powered or connected to wall adapter)

The new AKAI MPK Mini Plus is now available for purchase at $169 shipped

9to5Toys’ Take

There is certainly nothing overly remarkable about the new AKAI MPK Mini Plus in terms of technology, it’s just another workhorse 37-key MIDI controller. And all things considered, one thing AKAI has always done well is create well-made workhorse keyboards, especially those for folks that don’t need overly realistic weighted keys. I have used one of its larger MPK261 models for years now – this thing has taken a real beating through hundreds of late night recording sessions, many times with less than sober musicians, and has come out mostly unscathed (there’s some dings and scratches but it works like a charm still). If you’re looking to invest in a high-quality 37-key musical input device, it’s hard to imagine you regretting the MPK Mini Plus

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