AKAI MPK Mini Play Combines MIDI Control With Built-In Sounds

AKAI has introduced the MPK Mini Play – an update to their MPK Mini MIDI control keyboard that adds on-board sounds, built-in speakers and more.

Features:

  • Standalone mini keyboard with built-in speaker and USB MIDI controller
  • Built-in sound module with over 128 instrument sounds + 10 drum kits
  • 25 synth-action mini keys
  • OLED display for easy sound browsing
  • 8 red backlit drum pads (2 banks, 16 total)
  • 4 knobs edit sounds or send midi (2 banks, 8 total)
  • 4-way joystick for pitch and modulation control
  • Built-in arpeggiator
  • 1/8” headphone jack
  • Battery powered using (3) AA batteries

Pricing and Availability

The AKAI MPK Mini Play is available now for US $129.

27 thoughts on “AKAI MPK Mini Play Combines MIDI Control With Built-In Sounds

  1. No MIDI out, no CV out, no stepsequencer – but hey, you can connect a sustain pedal to play that Bach prelude (if you have doll fingers)…..

      1. Good point Crall – something every buyer should note when weighing up the benefits of buying the Moog ONE versus 80 mini plays.

  2. if i had midi out it would have been a good alternative to a plain mini keyboard. At least i can never say no to another sound module…

  3. It doesn’t say anything about 1/4 out? So you’d have to hook it up to a speaker via the headphone jack or to a computer via USB? Baffling choices.

  4. IF the sounds are excellent, IF the design, build-quality/durability are there, then this could be a nice option for some specific things (like a little 2nd or 3rd tier). You can use it to trigger sounds on your computer, or iOS device. You can use it standalone mode with headphones. That’s fine.

    Lack of a MIDI out is a stupid omission.

    If had other experiences with Akai controllers that weren’t built very well. Makes that Novation keyboard look much better by comparison– of apples to oranges.

    1. I know you are talking about the new SL keyboard but novation’s comparable product launchkey mini is made of plastic and has microUSB. It makes this keyboard look much better in comparison.

  5. Is anyone else struck by the fact that none of these keyboards are plugged into anything? Certainly they aren’t getting the sounds from one room mic capturing all the built in speakers. Is it audio over blue tooth? Or is this four guys playing a Saturday Night Live style performance 🙂

    1. Not sure what this AIR TECH HYBRID thing is…
      looks like this little AKAI Mini Play could be a nice one for kids…i mean it literally.
      a Kids-Synth. nothing bad about that…

  6. Reminded me of my favourite Childish Gambino song (Hearbeat).

    I don’t quite get the product though.
    If it came with a sequencer, so it would be possible to do something like this song using only one of them, then perhaps, as something to just play around with anywhere. Or if it was some sort of synth, with a limited set of parameters, but some interesting sound sculpting, as a complement to something like the Volcas, but at the same time the controller function. Or a vocoder for example.
    Now i just feel like it is a cheap controller, with extra bits thrown in, to increase the price. And since it it USB only, it is only a controller for a computer or iPad, and then I would rather use sounds from instruments in that, than the built in sounds.

  7. nah, this is kindergarten stuff. @jack o´donnell: FACE IT, MAN. COME UP WITH A MPC ROMPLER WORKSTATION BASED ON THE EXCELLENT KEYGROUP PROGRAM FACTORY PRESETS OF THE MPC LIVE/X. BLOW THE KROSS, THE KROME, THE JD-XI, THE FA-06, AND HELL, EVEN THE KRONOS OUT OF THE WATER, WORKFLOW/GUI-WISE. YOU CAN DO IT. BUILD A MPC FOR *KEYBOARDISTS*! i would order an item within a nanosecond.

  8. The footsteps at the beginning must be from the GM sound effects. They did say ALL the sounds came from it.

    I hate the joystick. It’d be hard to do only vertical or only horizontal motion. We’re not machines.

    As for the sounds, that’s not my cup of tea. Not horrible, I suppose. (That’s a good tag line:

    Akai MPK Mini: “Not horrible, I suppose.”

    1. > I hate the joystick. It’d be hard to do only vertical or only horizontal motion. We’re not machines.

      I own the MPK Mini 2 which has the same joystick. Like many joysticks of this design, it’s cleverly made mechanically to prefer x or y only movement but to allow both. It’s not quite the same as a xy joystick with free motion in every direction with the same force. There’s no problem in doing only bend or only mod. And you can also do both at the same time. It’s impressive to me that they got this into such a small joystick.

      I use the MPK 2 for situations where I’m traveling light, and also as a supplemental part keyboard on stage, and also as something easy to put on my desk for light work. Obviously a full size with aftertouch is better, but this the MPK 2 has been really useful as something that is extremely portable and small.

  9. I have the MPK Mini and the MPK Mini 2 which was a useful upgrade which added three features I asked for: the sustain jack, the joystick, and the full sized USB cable. I was very happy to buy it again.

    So this MPK Mini 3 adds a screen, a synth/drum machine/speaker/headphone jack, battery power, an on/off switch, and REMOVES 4 KNOBS.

    I have no objection to the additions. But the removal makes this a no for me personally.

    There’s only so much can do inside of a form factor of this size without making it a different instrument and not an upgrade. Losing features is a different instrument.

    This all said, it looks to be a great $129 portable intro synth which is not a MPK portable USB MIDI controller. On the other hand in that category I bought a brand new iPhone no contract for $99 on black Friday and I only use it to do music stuff like GarageBand which has a fully polyphonic multidimensional expression engine keyboard and sound engine… for $30 less. ALSO… in the $150 range and this sort of synth/drum engine I’ve bought as a gift a Yamaha consumer synth with a full sized 5 octave velocity sensitive keyboard, pitch bend wheel, speakers, USB and standard MIDI, sustain jack, 2 CC parameter knobs, battery power, and that awful arrangement stuff that does rhumbas. Decent starter synth for kids.

    PS – v4 drop the synth and add a good transposable step sequencer, and I’d upgrade again.

  10. SO SAD!!! why no MIDI DIN ports???? WHY???!!

    Im working DAWless and the lack of MIDI DIN ports make it complicated to implement in my setup…
    The MiniNova has MIDI DIN the Monologue has MIDI DIN, Electribes has MIDI ports, even the cheap Volcas has MIDI DIN…. Why Akai forget that important element ??

    1. probably because they are building on the old architecture. with the standard that came out recently they probably should have included the 3.5mm to din

  11. so much hate, this actually looks fun, personally I am interested in this for portable/battery powered gigs. combined with the skulpt that is coming soon and the circuit and either the jx03 or jp08 I can see myself doing some really fun compact dawless stuff.

  12. I was all hyped up to buy one, but the lack of midi in/out (din or mini-jack) is pretty much a dealbreaker. I love everyrhing else about it. Presets + cutoff/rez/adsr knobs gets you a pretty fun range of sounds – but if it can’t play nice with my other h/w gear it doesn’t get a spot on the team.

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