Update: Since this post went online, AKAI have been in touch to tell us that the retail price will be $119, not $99 as previously stated.
AKAI Professional has updated its popular MPK mini keyboard controller. The AKAI MPK mini MK3 features a new keybed, endless rotary knobs and an OLED display. It also comes with a comprehensive software package.
AKAI MPK mini MK3
The AKAI MPK mini is one of the most popular backpack-sized USB keyboard controllers. With 25 keys, eight MPC-style pads and assignable knobs, it offers everything you need to control DAWs and software instruments on the go. Today, AKAI Professional has announced the third generation of the MPK mini. While the new MPK mini MK3 retains the same format and same basic layout, it does come with several improvements and new features.
The controller keyboard is available in three colors. In addition to the standard red and black MPK mini and the white version with inverted keys, you can now get the keyboard in an all blacked-out color scheme, which is a real eye-catcher.
For the first time in the MPK mini series, AKAI has added an OLED display to the keyboard controller. The manufacturer says that the display provides visual feedback about things like velocity, CC assignments and DAW mode selection.
Pads, knobs and DAW control aside, the MPK mini is still a keyboard. And according to AKAI, the keybed has been completely redesigned. The manufacturer also says the new Gen 2 keyboard delivers a natural and responsive performance for any playing style and virtual instrument.
Like the predecessor, the MPK mini MK3 features eight assignable rotary knobs. But they’re now endless encoders, which means that you won’t get any unwanted value jumps when switching between assignments. AKAI’s signature MPC-style pads are still there, of course, as is the MPK mini’s characteristic four-way joystick.
The AKAI MPK mini MK3 comes with a comprehensive software package, so you can start producing right away. Not unexpectedly, they’ve included AKAI’s new free DAW MPC Beats, which lets you edit samples and make beats with an MPC-style workflow and can run as a VST/AU plug-in in other DAWs. They’ve also thrown in selected content from the MPC Beats expansion packs, as well as the software instruments AIR Hybrid, Mini Grand and Velvet.
The new MPK mini MK3 seems like a nice upgrade to a controller that already got many things right in the previous generations. I’m especially curious about the new keyboard, as 25-key mini keyboards with decent playability are still hard to find.
Price and availability
The AKAI MPK mini MK3 is available immediately. The keyboard controller retails for USD 119 in the US and GBP 88 in Europe via retailers like Thomann..