AKAI MPK Mini Play Mk3 Midi Keyboard with speakers out now! – Review and First Look

Akai Professional have just released a new version of their best-selling MPK Mini Play MIDI Keyboard with speakers. The AKAI MPK Mini Play Mk3 is a 25-note MIDI controller, and a portable keyboard with 128 built-in sounds.

Akai MPK Mini Play MK3 unboxing video

New Features

The Mini Play is a step up from the previous model, and now includes the 2nd generation dynamic keybed and MPC-type drum pads that are standard on the Mark 3 MPK Mini controller, which was released last year (2021). There is a larger built-in speaker compared to the old version of the Play, with better bass/low end response. The layout of the device has changed since the last version. It seems that Akai have altered the shape of the pads that are on the MPK Mini. They’re rectangular rather than square, which I presume is to create space for four of the dials/pots, which have been moved above the drum pads. The dials in turn have been moved in order to make space for the larger built-in speaker!

The built-in sounds seem to have been improved since the last version, but you’ll need to plug in some headphones to hear the best of them. The sounds look they’re standard General Midi presets, with pianos, synths, and orchestral names, but there’s no sign of the GM logo anywhere on the keyboard.

On the rear of the keyboard, there’s a switch to change between External (USB) power or internal batteries (4 x AA). This user had a few problems opening the battery compartment at the rear. Maybe my fingers, but it did feel like it may snap at any time! There’s also a USB-B socket, to connect to a computer, a 1/8 inch headphone jack, and a 1/4 inch sustain pedal socket.

Portability

Although the AKAI MPK Mini Play Mk3 can be used a MIDI controller, and map to your favourite DAW, it’s best feature is its portability. According to AKAI, the battery-life is now 14 hours, so you’ll get plenty of time before you have to replace them. Overall, for anyone who wants a portable synth to take anywhere and doodle around some tunes, it looks like it’s going to be well-worth investing in.

Conclusion

It’s worth noting that although the AKAI MPK Mini Play Mk3 is now available to buy on Amazon (affiliate link) and many other online and physical stores, it still isn’t featured on the AKAI website. Rumour has it that it will be officially launched in March this year (2022), so look out for more news on my website, or check out my unboxing video/first thoughts on the AKAI MPK Mini Play Mk3 on my Youtube channel or at the top of this page.

I’ve learned to make an Android App

Yes, I’ve learned to make a Google Android App, using the Googlelabs App Inventor (beta)….

I’ve made my very first app for my Android phone! It’s not an all-singing, all-dancing program, but it’s an app, all the same. Why make an app? I’ve always wondered how to make an Android applicationĀ for a while, and also wanted a way of makingĀ our College library induction leaflet available to more students, and making it instantly available and updatable. I recently found a couple of websites that you can pay to have an app developed for you, or make an app from an RSS feed fro free, but I wanted one where I could add content myself. I came across App Inventor for Android (beta), which is one of the gadgets on Google Labs. It looked just the thing I needed to make my own app.

The blurb on the website says:

Creating an App Inventor app begins in your browser, where you design how the app will look. Then, like fitting together puzzle pieces, you set your app’s behavior. All the while, through a live connection between your computer and your phone, your app appears on your phone

Android App Inventor Blocks Editor

(screenshot of the Blocks Editor)

The basic app that I made uses text-based lists and a basic navigation system to provide the content, and it’s even got a button that lets you dial the library’s phone number! I’ve so far added things like opening times and how many books you can borrow, but it’s a start. The App Inventor lets you add all sorts of complex programming, using drag and drop blocks that interlink, and updates the output via either an online phone emulator, or your own phone linked to the computer. It’s a great little program, and it’s got enough scope and complexity for me to add links to (and play) online induction videos, external content, and send updates to users’ phones, all using the same application.

One shortcoming of the Google Android App Inventor, is that you can’t, at the moment, add your self-made app to the Android market. You can, however, download it and share it with your friends and students.

Picture of Library App

(screenshot of the completed app).

This post was first made by me on Posterous.

Stop: Windows misery strikes again

Tree Swirl, by Paul Harrison
Tree Swirl, by Paul Harrison, aged 15

Windows never ceases to amaze me. It’s like the be-all and end-all to the world of computing. It’s like gateway to a parallel universe, that will only let you in if you meet a million and one criteria, all encrypted in hexadecimal code. BSOD (Blue Screen of Death), followed by STOP: 0x0000007B. What’s that supposed to mean, then? Run Chdsk /F or something – that’ll get you a ticket to ride the rollercoaster again. I feel like the world’s a blur when this happens……

As you’ve probably worked out by now, my laptop with all my Acid Pro files, VST plugins, and all my work projects, died on me. Or rather, Windows XP Pro died on me. It’s a 2 year-old HP/Compaq NC6400, which has been running very slowly for about 5 or 6 weeks but has been more reliable than my old desktop. Should have backed everything up, but there’s probably 20 gigs’ worth of files on there, but you wonder about viruses and spyware being passed on. Took ages to load up last week, then on Friday evening: STOP: 0x0000007B. Couldn’t run Chkdsk because I couldn’t get into Windows, so that’s not much use. So much for Windows.

Lots of trawling on the internet later, a Linux Rescue disk came to my aid – System Rescue, with TestDisk on it. It told me that all the contents of the drive where safe, and not corrupted. Runs from RAM, not the HD. Thank heavens for that! How to get to them without a good knowledge of Linux. Ahaaa! Bypass Windows! Find a sneaky way past the guard dogs at the eternal gateway! Took the drive out of the laptop, plugged into a USB drive adapter connected to another PC, and hey presto! There were all my files, looking the same as ever and (hopefully) not corrupted. This little incident, along with many other run-ins I (and so many people I know) have had with Windows, makes me realise that I should either by a Mac and get some decent recording software, or install Linux on a laptop and make music the open-source way. Either way, I’m getting very tired of having to second-guess the system and waiting around for an error message to appear. I very nearly lost all of the Pitch Black remix stuff I’ve working on for months, just when I’m clear about finishing off.

If you’re a Mac or Linux user, please don’t laugh at me. I’ve seen the light and I’ll be converted soon….

Don’t forget to bookmark this post, in case you ever get this problem!

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