The new AKAI MPK Mini Plus doesn’t just have a larger keyboard than the regular MPK Mini. It also gives the Arturia KeyStep a run for its money with a built-in polyphonic step sequencer, CV/Gate, and analog sync jacks. Is the AKAI MPK Mini Plus the ultimate keyboard controller for your Eurorack?
AKAI MPK Mini Plus
When it comes to keyboard controllers for modular synths, Arturia’s KeyStep series reigns supreme – something that even the Behringer Swing couldn’t change. Given AKAI Professional’s strong track record of making excellent controllers, it’s no surprise that the brand now sets out to capture a slice of this pie. Meet the AKAI MPK Mini Plus – a larger MPK Mini with a bunch of exciting extras.
Let’s begin with the similarities. Like the MPK Mini MK3, the MPK Mini Plus features AKAI’s 2nd-generation slim keys, albeit 37 of them instead of 25. It also inherited the eight rotary knobs and eight RGB-backlit MPC pads with Note Repeat and Full Level from its smaller cousin, as well as the bright red X/Y joystick. But that’s about where the similarities end.
One look at the keyboard’s panel reveals that there’s a lot more going on here. In addition to the joystick, the MPK Mini Plus offers real wheels for pitch bend and modulation. Also new are two buttons for activating the new Chord and Scale Modes that let you play complicated things with a single key. Furthermore, the OLED screen is now accompanied by a push encoder, which can only be a good thing for navigating the menus.
Built-in step sequencer and CV/Gate
However, the most exciting new feature is of course the built-in step sequencer. It offers two polyphonic tracks with step and real-time recording modes. You get eight voices of polyphony for keyboard tracks and 16 notes per drum step. In addition to this, there’s a built-in arpeggiator for even more movement.
Take a look at the connectors on the back and you’ll see where this is going. In addition to the USB and sustain pedal connectors also found on the regular MPK Mini, the MPK Mini Plus offers 5-pin MIDI in/out. Moreover, it’s got CV/Gate outputs (Pitch, Gate, and Mod) and analog clock I/O, so it connects directly to your modular or analog synths.
All in all, it looks like AKAI has come up with a controller that’s got what it takes to give the KeyStep a run for its money. Its most direct competitor will be the KeyStep 37, and in comparison, it’s got more physical controls, an extra sequencer track, a pair of wheels, and the added bonus of eight MPC pads. It also doesn’t cost much more. The race is on!
Price and availability
The AKAI MPK Mini Plus is available now at Thomann* for €199.
AKAI Professional MPK mini Plus
More information about the AKAI MPK Mini Plus
* This post contains affiliate links and/or widgets. When you buy a product via our affiliate partner, we receive a small commission that helps support what we do. Don’t worry, you pay the same price. Thanks for your support!
- MPK Mini Plus: AKAI Professional
- The MPK Mini Plus has a built-in polyphonic step sequencer: AKAI Professional
- CV/Gate and Clock I/O: AKAI Professional
- AKAI MPK Mini Plus: AKAI Professional