AKAI MPK Mini Combines LPK25 and LPD8 into Production Keyboard

(ShackMan | Posted 2010-10-09)

AKAI MPK Mini Combines LPK25 and LPD8 into Production Keyboard

By popular request, Akai has put together the MPK Mini, a combination of all of the features of the LPK25 Laptop Performance Keyboard and the LPD8 Laptop Pad Controller. And when I say all of the features, I do mean all of them. Nothing is lost in combining these two, the former of which I reviewed at "5 out of 5 stars". It's just as if they'd welded the two together into one super-portable, super-versatile board.

All the controls of the LPK25 have been moved onto the keys and can be accessed with the program button. This makes room for the 8 pads and variable-assignment Q-Link knobs of the LPD8 on the main dahsboard. It's a lot to cram into a small package, but Akai has a history of making function-minded, ergonomic layouts with a very quick learning curve.

It also will come with it's own software editor, which according to the press release will be brand new to the MPK Mini, and cover all parameters of the unit's operations. Once again, I've had great experience with Akai software in the past, so this should be no different. The "Sustain" button should take on all new uses, particularly for editing, with all of the pads to press and knobs to twist until that perfect sound appears. Pads will also be able to trigger patch changes, arpeggiator settings, samples, or other MIDI signaled effects and devices. Check it out from the top down, and take it all in.
You can see:
25-note, velocity-sensitive mini keyboard
Eight backlit, velocity-sensitive MPC-style pads (2 banks, 16 total)
Pads can send note information, MIDI CCs and program changes
Eight assignable Q-Link knobs to adjust virtually any parameter
Built-in Arpeggiator with adjustable resolution, range and patterns
Tap-Tempo button to quickly adjust pace of the Arpeggiator
Dedicated Octave Up, Octave Down and Sustain buttons
Program Recall button to restore up to 4 separate global settings
Powered through USB
MPK mini software editor
MPK mini sample player software
Programmable Footswitch jack

My favorite parts? It's USB powered, and it's got a jack for a programmable footswitch. Not to mention that if it's anything like the LPK25, the keys still feel solid and easily playable. I can't wait for this one to hit the shelves. With an estimated street price of $99.95, and considering the LPK25 and LPD8 each go for $69.95 right now, this should be a two-for-one no brainer.

James Rushin is a bassist, keyboardist, writer, and composer living and working in the Greater Pittsburgh area. He has performed with Selmer artist Tim Price, Curtis Johnson, guitarists Ken Karsh and Joe Negri. His compositions have been featured at West Virginia University and Valley Forge Christian College. He will be spending the Fall and Winter months working on a full-length album with his latest project, Shutterdown.

Feel free to e-mail James with comments, questions, concerns, at james.rushin@musicgearreview.com

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